As a trip leader you set the conditions for your trip. Specifically:
- Design trips according to your experience and abilities. For new leaders, lead trips that you have already done.
- Learn all you can about the area, routes (including avalanche conditions) and weather from online resources, maps, books and Bushwhacker articles. Contact experienced mountaineers, wardens, or guides to obtain information on the physical and technical demands of the trip. Be aware of changing weather and road conditions, especially avalanche hazards. Check weather forecasts (and online bulletins of the Vancouver Island Avalanche Centre during the snow season) immediately before a trip.
- Limit group size based on safety, environmental impact, and logistical considerations, including your own comfort level.
- ACC-VI encourages new mountaineers on its less-demanding trips. It is left to the discretion of leaders to determine their preference to lead easier trips for a more diverse group or to lead more challenging trips for more experienced members (or both).
- If there are more novices expressing interest in your trip than you are comfortable with, start a waiting list and include them if more experienced members sign up whom you can count on to assist you.
- Trips can be targeted to specific groups of the membership such as youth, women, beginners, immigrant youths, LGBTQ, and others. However, it is advisable to specify on the posting whether other members can be admitted on the trip, and if conditions apply.
- It is highly recommended that the group carry at least one satellite communication device, such as InReach, ideally allowing 2-way communications. Be aware of sporadic cell phone coverage in some areas on Vancouver Island.
- Make sure the participants understand their responsibilities. This includes technical skills and necessary equipment (and their proper usage). Arrangement to rent club equipment is the responsibility of the participant.
- Ensure all participants understand and adhere to leave-no-trace principles and backcountry ethics guidelines.
- Unless it is explicitly stated in the trip description, dogs are not allowed on club trips (with the exception of guide dogs if they are permitted on the selected route).
You may find the following checklist useful.
Before a trip
Use this trip planning template to gather information.
- Email email@example.com and include, at a minimum, the following information:
- Date(s), start time, meeting location, route, and objective
- Trip rating (A1-D6)
- Experience level and technical skill and gear requirements (e.g. AST1 or 2, ice axe)
- Is the trip weather-dependent or “rain or shine”?
- Trip leader(s) email and/or phone
- Ask each participant to provide his/her ACC membership number. Guests are welcome to participate on up to two trips. Members, however, have priority. Use this template spreadsheet to help keep track of your participants.
- Consider asking about the following information when screening all participants:
- Their recent trips (and names of trip leaders if ACC-VI trips)
- Past experience with similar trips, and when
- Ability to cover the terrain at the intended pace
- Medical conditions that might be of concern
- Other beneficial skills such as first aid or medical background
- Confirm that participants are willing to share contact information to facilitate carpooling and in case of delays.
- For multi-day trips, facilitate gear and food sharing and management.
- Leave your Trip Plan and emergency contact info with a responsible person not on the trip.
- Consider sending a reminder 1-3 days before the trip.
During the Trip
- The trip leader has the right to refuse participation of anyone if the person has not been confirmed for the trip beforehand.
- Do a headcount and ensure everyone knows the number of people on the trip.
- Establish a turnaround time (if applicable).
- Confirm that everyone has read, understood, and signed the waiver and have signatures witnessed. The waiver has to be signed on the day of the trip. The leader can be the witness and must also sign her/his own waiver.
- Outline the day’s activities.
- Describe how you want to keep the group together such as having all within earshot, establish a designated hiker at the end of the group, or designate specific spots to wait for those who get ahead, or if multiple radios are available if the group splits up.
After the Trip
- Scan and send all waivers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the name(s) of leader(s), the date(s) and route.
- File incident reports as appropriate.
- Prepare a trip report and post on Discourse.