Green Mountain Club
Montpelier Section


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Helpful Hints for Trip Leaders


Before the Event

- Know where you are going. Consider scouting the trip in advance and checking on parking.

- Get phone numbers from those who call to inquire about the event, in case plans change.

- Screen participants for their preparedness: fitness, skills, and equipment. Focus on their recent experience.

- Clarify the extent of the event with callers; this will eliminate surprises.

- Dog owners may attend at your discretion and must be prepared to leash their pets. They are responsible for their dog's behavior and waste.


Before Leaving for the Meeting Point

- Pack your map, guidebook, first aid kit, cell phone, and flashlight.

- Consider carrying extra supplies for the group: water, food, clothing.

- Bring the trip sign-up form, pencil, and extra copies of Trail Talk.

- Check the weather forecast.


At the Meeting Place

- Adjust the trip plan to fit the weather and conditions. As the leader, your judgment prevails.

- Introduce yourself and participants.

- Give a detailed trip briefing, including travel to the starting point. Describe the trip route and planned stops.

- Again, screen for preparedness. Focus on essentials and recent experience.

- Have everyone add their names and phone numbers to the sign-up form.

- Encourage carpooling.

- Count participants and cars.

- Remind drivers to not lose track of the car behind. Drive within the speed limit.

- Before leaving the meeting place, wait 5 minutes for latecomers; otherwise, keep to the announced schedule.


At the Trailhead

- Give a detailed trip briefing that includes the designated lunch spot as well as reminders to wait for the group at all intersections and to leave a marker if one leaves the trail.

- Clarify for the group the expected degree of cohesiveness between trail intersections and the participants' responsibilities to each other.

- Assign someone as sweep: either yourself or another. The assigned sweep may change during the event.

- Allow enough time at the trailhead for all to get ready: to organize essential gear, put on boots, take off layers, make a toilet stop, etc. Don't rush participants.

- Count the participants.


On the Trail

- Stick to your published plan.

- Watch for changing weather. Watch the time.

- Turn back (or change the plan) if safety is an issue. Be prudent. Being clear is essential.

- Consider the needs of the weakest participants.

- Count and recount the participants. Reassemble periodically.

- Know where everyone is. Circulate within the group.

- Practice "Leave No Trace."


Back at the Trailhead

- Make sure all are back. Count the participants.

- As leader, you must ensure the safe return of slow participants.

- Thank people for coming. Talk up future outings and give Trail Talk to nonmembers.

- Ensure that everyone has a ride, that all vehicles start, and that drivers know the way back. Caravan if needed.


After the Trip

- Submit your trip report, with optional narrative and digital photos (on-line or hard copy).



For more details, check your copy of A Trip Leader's Handbook: Advice for Successful GMC Outings (rev. ed., 2008).

[August 22, 2013]


© 2018 Montpelier Section of The Green Mountain Club, Inc.     Top    Sun 5 Aug 2018