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


Our Mountain Steward volunteers have a passion for hiking, climbing, and sharing the outdoors with others. They can be found on trails on the north and south side of the mountain, educating visitors about hiking safety and the natural history of the mountain. In addition to roving key trails on Mount St. Helens, mountain stewards also assist with our guided climb programs and field seminars.

There are two volunteer assignments within the Mountain Steward program: Climbing Stewards and Recreation Stewards. Climbing Stewards volunteer primarily on the winter or summer climbing routes, while Recreation Stewards rove some of the most popular trails on the Monument: Lava Canyon & the Boundary Trail. Both opportunities require a passion for exploring the outdoors and both allow volunteers to spend time in some of the most beautiful and spectacular places on Mount St. Helens.

Required Qualifications

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Documented, current basic first aid & CPR training
  • Competent using a map and compass for navigation.
  • Ability to attend and complete the pre-season training: Climbing Stewards: June 3rd & 4th, Recreation Stewards: June 24th
  • Possess excellent customer-service and communication skills as well as a desire to work with the public.

Additional Required Qualifications – Recreation Steward

  • Ability to hike a minimum of 5 miles and 1500 ft. elevation gain on uneven terrain, on and off trail.
  • Carry pack weight of 15 lbs minimum.
  • Ability to hike in a variety of environmental conditions and able to assist others who may have challenges doing the same.

Additional Required Qualifications - Climbing Steward

  • Prior ascents of Mount St. Helens, or hikes and climbs of similar difficulty (9.5 miles round-trip, 4600+ feet of elevation gain).
  • Carry pack weight of 20 lbs minimum.
  • Physical ability to climb to the rim in a variety of environmental conditions and able to assist others who may have challenges doing the same.

Time Commitment

Although the Mount St Helens climbing and hiking season is year-round, we ask that Mountain Stewards commit to a minimum of 2 volunteer shifts each month between June—September.

Recruitment Information

    Mountain Stewards must attend a pre-season training as part of their volunteer commitment. Because of this required training, we recruit both Climbing and Recreation Stewards only at the beginning of the summer season.

  • Climbing Stewards: recruitment begins in February, ends in May
  • Recreation Stewards: recruitment begins in February, ends in June

Do you have further questions about being a Mountain Steward? Please email Allison Watson, the Volunteer Programs Manager for the Mount St. Helens Institute.