Mountain Stewards

“One of the most satisfying aspects of volunteering as a Climbing Steward is helping people achieve their goal of climbing to the rim of the volcano and taking in the awesome sights. It is like watching a child come into the living room on Christmas morning and take in the sight of the presents under the tree!”

- Frank Barsotti, Mountain Steward

If you enjoy outdoor adventures as well as helping others, consider volunteering as a Mountain Climbing Steward.  Breathtaking scenery is your new office as you provide visitors with safety advice, guidance regarding hiking routes and current conditions, information about Forest Service regulations and procedures, and provide educational information about the extraordinary features of the National Volcanic Monument.  Other duties include: providing search & rescue and injury assistance, conducting minor trail maintenance and reporting on the current status of climbing route trail conditions, trail signage and resource monitoring.

Although the Mount St Helens climbing season is year round, we ask that volunteer applicants for the Mountain Stewards position be prepared to commit to a minimum two to four days of service per month during the 4-month peak climbing season (June 1 through September 30). Mountain Steward volunteer positions are physically demanding and may require volunteers to hike 10-15 miles per day on steep and/or challenging terrain.  Applicants must have strong climbing skills, excellent communication skills, a desire to work with the public, and experience in outdoor recreation.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Stewards will focus their time primarily on the Monitor Ridge (summer) and the Worm Flows (winter) climbing routes and elsewhere as needed.
  • Represent the Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI) and the Forest Service (USFS) in a positive way while engaging with and educating the public.
  • Help to ensure the safety of climbers, hikers and visitors by providing advice proactively as well as responding to the needs of climbers who have incurred injuries or otherwise put themselves at risk.
  • Provide the public with interpretative information regarding the volcano and its landscape.
  • Understand and demonstrate adherence to Forest Service requirements, including radio protocol and use, incident reporting, and personal conduct.
  • Perform minor trail and signage maintenance along the Monitor Ridge (summer) and the Worm Flows (winter) climbing routes.
  • Submit timely trip reports describing trail conditions and other pertinent information to MSHI staff and the Climbing Program Rangers at the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Provide hikers/climbers on the Monitor Ridge and Worm Flows climbing routes with permit and resource-protection information.
  • Experienced Stewards who have completed required training and demonstrated leadership skills may be asked to mentor and coach new and/or less experienced Stewards.

Required Qualifications:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Documented, current Basic First Aid & CPR knowledge and training.
  • Competent in using a map and compass for navigation.
  • Basic understanding of biological and geological concepts present at Mount St Helens.
  • Able to attend and complete the pre-season training, participate in an end-of-season debrief session and take additional training as needed.
  • Possess excellent customer-service and communication skills as well as a desire to work with the public.
  • Strong follow-through on commitments.

Additional Qualifications:

  • Prior ascents of Mount St. Helens, or other mountains with similar difficulty within the past two years.
  • Hike distances of 10-15 miles a day with a pack weight of 20-25 pounds.

Time Commitment:

Two to four days per month during peak climbing season- June 1st through September 30th

Benefits Provided:

  • Volunteer uniforms and some all-weather gear provided.
  • Training in basic scientific concepts of the volcanic landscape.
  • Invitations to participate in MSHI field seminars at no cost.
  • Earn additional climbing permits each year based on hours contributed.


1) You must be available to attend an orientation in Vancouver.
2) You must be available to attend an overnight training in Amboy, WA. Car camping available.

For more information about the Mountain Stewards program, please contact our Volunteer Programs Manager Allison Watson at 360.891.5199 or