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Thread: AMC Backcountry Caretaker?

  1. #1
    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    AMC Backcountry Caretaker?

    Greetings -

    My son is a sophomore in college and he recently applied for a Backcountry Caretaker position for the summer. The position is based out of Pinkham Notch. He loves hiking and we've both done Tuckerman's Ravine many times along with a few other trails in the Joe Dodge Lodge area. He really likes the job description and is hoping to get the job.

    My question is this... have any of you ever worked for the AMC? Was it full-time or seasonal? Did you ever work as a Backcountry Caretaker? What did you think? Are there any other positions with the AMC that you would recommend for college students during the summer?

    Sorry, that's more than one question. Any info would he helpful.

    Thanks.
    "The laborers day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to
    devote himself to his chosen pursuit, independent of his labor and his
    employer". Henry David Thoreau

  2. #2
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    My summer working in the AMC huts was the best and hardest job that I have ever had and I wish that I had returned for three more summers while in college. Made lots of lifelong friends, including many rock and ice climbing partners who worked in the huts or on the AMC trail crew. AMC backcountry shelter and campsite caretakers did not exist during my time in the huts, but I have known many who have gone that route since.

    You will get lots of comments to this thread from the AMC haters who abound on this site.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteMTHike View Post
    Greetings -

    My son is a sophomore in college and he recently applied for a Backcountry Caretaker position for the summer. The position is based out of Pinkham Notch. He loves hiking and we've both done Tuckerman's Ravine many times along with a few other trails in the Joe Dodge Lodge area. He really likes the job description and is hoping to get the job.

    My question is this... have any of you ever worked for the AMC? Was it full-time or seasonal? Did you ever work as a Backcountry Caretaker? What did you think? Are there any other positions with the AMC that you would recommend for college students during the summer?

    Sorry, that's more than one question. Any info would he helpful.

    Thanks.
    I was at the Highland Center getting coffee the other day and they were looking for kitchen and dining room help. It's another option, I've never worked for them, so I can't comment on the conditions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteMTHike View Post
    Greetings -

    My son is a sophomore in college and he recently applied for a Backcountry Caretaker position for the summer. The position is based out of Pinkham Notch. He loves hiking and we've both done Tuckerman's Ravine many times along with a few other trails in the Joe Dodge Lodge area. He really likes the job description and is hoping to get the job.

    My question is this... have any of you ever worked for the AMC? Was it full-time or seasonal? Did you ever work as a Backcountry Caretaker? What did you think? Are there any other positions with the AMC that you would recommend for college students during the summer?

    Sorry, that's more than one question. Any info would he helpful.

    Thanks.
    That gig is more than a job. Itís a lifestyle and for a college kid a cool one. If he loves the outdoors and can deal with the occasional dumb ass heíll love it. And it is probably less of a grind than working in a hut.

    Iíve done a lot of volunteering at Pinkham and Highland and like all organizations there are good and not so good staff and managers. But thatís life in the real world of work.

    My guess is heíll make great friends, learn a lot, go on a few rescues and not be very well paid. All hallmarks of a great summer in the hills.
    Don't let your mind write a check your body canít cash

  5. #5
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    I have not worked for them but have talked to lot of AMC (and RMC) folks over the years.

    He may want to see if it is too late to apply for the RMC trail crew. I think they do 4 ten hours days instead of 5 eights. It's a much smaller crew and their facilities are arguably better but I have not seen the upgrades at Camp Dodge so AMC may now match the RMC. Every RMC staff member has a canvas wall tent on platform and the Sterns lodge has the showers, laundry, cooking and rec space. The trade off is a far lower chance of meeting a lot of people like AMC as there are only 6 to 8 trailcrew, possibly an SCA person or two and the hut caretakers but the folks of Randolph tend to adopt the trail crew so usually trail crew gets invites to RMC events. The AMC backcountry caretakers tend to move around a lot and are used to backfill other AMC positions. Just because it states based out of Pinkham my guess is it several days in the backcountry with days off at Pinkham (or Dodge) but they report out of Pinkham (or more likely Camp Dodge down the road). There is steep learning curve for some as inherent in the backcountry caretakers job is composting human waste from the privies. Generally, people are using the site long before there is caretaker and the privy's are what MATC call "Code Brown" int he spring meaning full to the seat and that is definitely part of the early season training. Some folks just do not deal well with hauling buckets of crap around and having to rake out the stuff that is not supposed to be thrown in. People skills are essential with AMC backcountry caretakers, they are the ones that have to stuff far too many people into far too few spaces at the campsites on almost a nightly basis. Many folks are really clueless about backcountry regs and the caretakers need to take on a ridgerunner role and educate them. They also are defacto first responders to any real or imagined emergencies occurring nearby. AMC used to get more locals but given the crazy job market, AMC is reportedly no longer competitive with many local tourist jobs but AMC provides a place to stay which is important these days. The AMC also has a shuttle and bus access rrom Boston so it is not essential to have a car (but real handy). RMC staff need a car or be good at hitching.

    If he does his job well, he has a summer job as long as he wants or needs one. Due to a big increase in use during the fall season the club will need to get a commitment to work as late as possible in the summer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member WhiteMTHike's Avatar
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    Thanks to you all for the helpful responses. I will pass this thread along to him. Much appreciated.
    "The laborers day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to
    devote himself to his chosen pursuit, independent of his labor and his
    employer". Henry David Thoreau

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