How to lead a club trip

OUTC Trip Leaders Guide

This is a guide aimed at new/ beginner leaders. At first glance, this guide may seem exhaustive, but in reality, much of it is common sense and things you would do without a second thought.

Before Advertising Your Trip

Investigate your route and possible alternatives.

Information sources: the DoC website and regional offices, other trampers and committee members, route guides (the OUTC library), and Antics articles.

Maps: available for hire from OUTC, downloaded from the LINZ website, or use the “print screen” function and crop from the topo maps website

Trip Ratings

Rate your trip as ‘easy’, ‘medium’ or ‘hard’ according to the OUTC  ‘standardised’ trip difficulty rating.

Easy: A trip involving:
• A track of a good standard (defined as well marked, major streams bridged, largely free of
obstruction).
• Up to 5 hours walking each day.
• Climbs should be no more than 600 m.
Moderate: A trip with a mix of the following characteristics.
• Greater than a 1000 m climb. Or multiples of climbs / descents.
• Substantial travel on well marked but rough track,
• More than 6 hours continuous walking per day.
• Off-track travel at an unhurried pace.
• Significant river-crossing required
Hard: A trip involving some of the following elements:
• Greater than a 1500 m climb. Or multiples of climbs / descents
• Significant scrambling with exposure.
• Significant route-finding required with time pressure
• More than 10 hour days required
Use easy/moderate or moderate/hard to differentiate between ratings.

Check the weather forecast

See MetService or Metvuw

Identify hazards

Fords on the road, gravel roads in bad condition, rock/ tree falls, river crossings, steep terrain, avalanche potential, wasps, cold, wet, or hot weather, giardia etc.

Identify the safety equipment you need

i.e. ice axes, crampons, helmets, and an emergency locator beacon or mountain radio.

Decide how will you get there

Travel directions: Google Maps, guidebooks, ask someone who has been there before.

Transportation: private cars or hire a van (contact the transport officer – driver must be 21 years old with their full drivers license or equivalent international license).

Decide where you will stay

Accommodation: huts, tent flies (hire from OUTC), tents (hire from Unipol)

Set a budget

Write a basic list of costs to determine the price per person (food, hut tickets, car hire, petrol, cooking gas, hire costs).

Guide:

Food $15-$20 pp covers 1 dinner, 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches (with takeaways on Friday and Sunday nights)

Hut tickets $5.10 pp/night for standard huts and campsites, $15.30 pp/ night for serviced huts (annual hut passes cost $85 from DoC with the FMC discount)

Cooking Gas $7-10/ butane gas canister. 2 canisters for 5-8 people for a weekend

Petrol $110/ tank (5-6 h driving – terrain/ driving dependent)

Questions to ask yourself before advertising your trip

How far/ long will you be walking each day? Does the route suit your own abilities?

What is the terrain like (i.e. steep, flat, tussock, scree)?

What are the conditions like? How does the weather forecast look?

What are the current track conditions?

Is the trip within your ability?

Where can you stay? What is the cost? Do you need to book the hut? How many people does the hut fit? Do your punters have annual hut passes?

How will you get there (i.e. cars, vans)? Do you need a 4WD?

How many people can you take?

Do you need permission to drive/ walk there?

Will you need any specialist/ safety gear?

What is your back-up plan if the things conspire against you?

How much will the trip cost?

Advertising your trip

Email list

Advertise your trip via outc@lists.otago.ac.nz. Include details on the route, difficulty rating, gradient and expected walking times, accommodation, approximate trip cost, dates and times, any specialist gear, and points of interest/ geographic features.

Club Meetings

Tuesdays 5-6 pm (announcements at 5:30 pm) or Fridays 12:30-1:30 pm (announcements at 1 pm). Advantageous as you can meet your trip members before the weekend and pre-assess their suitability for the trip.

Safety Officer

For safety advice or questions, contact the safety officer at safety@outc.org.nz.

Before you leave on your trip

Confirm trip members

Medical history/ allergies: Ask your trip members about any medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, asthma, allergies, knee/ joint issues etc.) or major food dislikes.

Confirm Trip Details

Keep your trip members up-to-date with any changes (i.e. due to bad weather), time and place of departure, anticipated return time. Ensure they have/ will bring suitable equipment.

Gear List

Refer to the general ‘gear list’ on the OUTC website: www.outc.org.nz/?page_id=29

Collect Gear/ Equipment

OUTC meetings: maps, cookers, billy, gas, crampons, ice axes, tent flies, EPIRB etc. ($20 bond)

Unipol: personal items (i.e. tents, sleeping bags, gaiters, packs etc.), ~$5-10/ day.

R&R Sport: technical gear (i.e. boots, snow shoes etc.), ~$5-10/ day.

Food Shopping

Plan your meals and go food shopping. Generally 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1dinner are provided. Generally, punters should bring their own snacks.

Intentions

Leave with someone responsible. Download the MSC ‘outdoors intention’ template from: www.adventuresmart.org.nz/outdoors-intentions/download-printable-pdfs.asp

Trip Payment

Get your trip members to pay the treasurers at an OUTC meeting prior to departure. You should let the treasurers know to expect ‘$x’ payments from ‘x’ number of people for ‘trip x’, and they will collect the money and provide receipts.

During the Trip

Introductions

Make sure everyone knows each other. Show your trip members where you will be going.

Navigation

Driving: it is the trip leaders responsibility to know the way (even if you aren’t driving).

On-route: Consult the map, keep your trip members involved in the decision-making.

Group Gear

Ensure that the group gear is evenly distributed around the group and redistribute as necessary.

Cooking/ Camp Chores

Set an example. Set an alarm for the morning and initiate cooking. Delegate and/ or ask for help.

Timing

Keep an eye on the time and progress of the group. Ensure someone responsible leads at the front and stops regularly for breaks. Set a steady pace, suitable for the slowest members.

Weather

Watch how the weather changes and associated hazards. Consider risks such as snow and avalanches, rain and river levels, wind chill, sunburn, and heat exhaustion.

General Leadership

Decision-making: Make appropriate decisions that take into account the safety of the entire group. Involve the group in decisions as much as possible and discuss options.

First aid: Carry a good first-aid kit to cover more severe group injuries (i.e. sprained ankles/ joints, larger wounds, blisters). OUTC has fist-aid kits (replaced used items before returning).

Walking pace: Keep your group together. Rotate who travels at the back. Make frequent stops and ensure slower members have a chance to catch up.

Awareness of group: Keep an eye out for signs of tiredness, hypothermia (excessive coldness), overheating and dehydration, blisters and other injuries, being scared (e.g. of heights), and struggling to keep up.

Pass on knowledge: Discuss points of interest, pass the map around and point out features. Teach skills such as river crossing, fire lighting, tent pitching, and choosing a campsite.

MOST IMPORTANTLY…. Have FUN!!!

After the Trip

Upon your Return

As common courtesy, the driver should drop trip members off at their flats in the Dunedin CBD area. Contact your ‘responsible intentions holder’ and let them know you have returned safely.

Refunds

Fill out a blue form and return it to the treasurers along with the corresponding receipts in order to get your refund (a cheque). If the trip comes in under-budget (say >$5 pp), then the treasurers can provide each of your trip members with a reimbursement.

Return Club Gear

Return club gear promptly and report any damage to the gear officers.

Photo-swap/ Pot Luck Evening

Optional. A nice way to re-connect after a nice weekend away.

Antics

All that is left now is to write an article about your epic trip and submit it to Antics (the annual journal of the OUTC) – you should encourage your trip members to do the same! Articles can be anything from a long-winded, blow-by-blow accounts of the route you took (which is particularly useful for off-track routes), recipes, jokes, quotes, photos, and poems – whatever takes your fancy. So put your pen to paper and immortalize your trips in Antics!

Summary

At first glance, this may seem like an exhaustive list but in reality, the pre-advertisement checklist will only take around 30 minutes to complete. And as you lead more trips, organizing things like food shopping and gear/ equipment hire becomes automatic and requires no special effort. It is perfectly achievable to decide to head away and plan the entire trip on the Monday or Tuesday beforehand. Remember that the committee members are invaluable resources with extensive knowledge and experience, who are willing to lend a hand and offer advice. So if you have any questions, come along to one of the meetings and find one of us. Otherwise, get planning and head out into the hills!