Jack’s Place

One day the current Summit house may be a beautiful hotel overlooking Mount Rainier where you can wake up to the sunrising over the Cascades.  But until then, just one patroller a night gets the amazing view from Mountain Top with their morning coffee.  Every night of the season (yes I was up there on Christmas) a patroller stays in the Jack’s apartment to do weather observations, deem if control work is needed, help start lifts, prevent pipes from freezing, and have general eyes on the mountain.  The apartment is under the Summit House restaurant and named for Jack Lewis who is quite the Crystal Mountain legend and lived at Mountain Top for many years.  I wish I had known Jack better but if you were one of the fortunate who did, please write in your memories and stories of him to share with others.

Dog’s early morning view from Jack’s- she is scouting a line over on Dog Leg.

View one morning from my pillow- aren’t I lucky?


4 thoughts on “Jack’s Place

  1. Jack’s is a special place, named for a legend at Crystal. The place is still much like the man. His gravelly voice hinting at a tough personality was only a veneer. In reality Jack was a softy. And the apartment (and job) that bears his name is a soft place too. But it can be hard–there’s the dreaded east wind to contend with. The midnight weather checks, the diesel heaters, the old S.S.Feces (which is fortunately dead and buried).
    But a night on the summit, the alpenglow lighting up the peaks, the snowcats starting to twinkle in the valley, is surreal and special. And the best of all–the nights I loved the most in my old Jack-duty days–were the snowy ones. Watching out the window, as the snow piles up against the glass, and the wind whistles through the chinks in the old walls, the world becomes a fleeting and wonderful place.


  2. I had the pleasure of being the regular lift operator at the top of Chair 2 during the winters of 87-89 and thus was often the first human Jack saw each morning. I can tell you about his hard and soft sides very well from experience. Jack imparted his wealth of mountain experience and knowledge on me bit by bit as we worked each day to open the lift. I remember Kevin Shank riding up the chair with me on my first day of work (basically the first time I’d ever run a lift) and handing me off to the old man. You can probably imagine Shank knowing I was about to get an education.

    Jack was like a ninja around the lift equipment when it was moving, but one morning his radio started chirping long enough (or importantly enough) to distract him and he let himself get knocked by the moving chair into the net on the download ramp. The old man was cussing like a sailor at me for that one. I offered to help pull him out but he gruffly refused. After a few moments of wallowing around in the rime-covered net in his ski boots, he finally let me lower a shovel to pull him up. We were still digging out so there were no public on the chair to see the old man flailing and swearing. But he insisted that I never tell anyone about it. And until now I hadn’t…

    I loved that old guy, it was like hanging out with my Grandpa at Mountaintop all day.


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