First of all, the lodge has a limited amount of solar panels that provide electricity. Now, as you can imagine, when LeConte is getting bad weather, there is not much solar to produce power. We have a bank of batteries that stores a limited amount of electricity. One has to be very picky about how much "juice" you will need in case you do not see sun for a while. Alex is not able to run his computer all day because he has limited amounts of electricity.
As for what the caretaker does. He is there to call in the weather and look out for the lodge. The caretaker works with the National Park in an emergency situation. As you can imagine, when the weather is bad, there are more emergencies. Unprepared hikers, late hikers, and more injuries. The park service will ask the caretaker to assist on any rescues around the lodge.
Now, on to how the caretaker passes time on the mountain. I like to call those of us who love working up top a "special breed". I can say that because I am one. Many of the crew come to the mountain to enjoy a simpler life and have time to enjoy nature. Alex has said he is learning different music, the art of homebrewing, and I also know Alex is a great artist. Many caretakers take the winter job for a chance at solitude. They are usually people who like peace and quiet and want a chance to be alone with their thoughts.
This blog was continued after last winter, as a way to share the weather conditions and some of the amazing views we experience from the top. As for using this site to plan your visit, I started a forum page so people could share with one another their experiences and advice on climbing the mountain. I would not rely on this site for contacting people, figuring out road closures, or any other trip planning. Due to the unreliable conditions, we are not always going to be on the computer. The National Park has a great site that will share road closures, weather information, and any other emergency issues that may arise. I hope this answers some of the questions.
Oh yeah, one more answer. The camera that is being used for the photos is an entry level Cannon point and shoot digital camera. I use a Nikon P5000 point and shoot and a Nikon D200 during the season.