Before leaving on a trip
- Talk to the trip leader about the physical demands of the trip and decide whether or not you are fit enough to go. Don't be afraid to push yourself, but if you suspect the trip will be too long or too hard, go for something easier until you are in better shape (physically, mentally, emotionally).
- Always check the trip rating (A1, B3, etc.) and realize that there is a lot of leeway in each category. An easy weekend for some people is cruel and unusual punishment for others...
- Pack the essentials. Don't sacrifice safety for a light pack. If you aren't sure what to take, ASK! We are each responsible for ourselves out there.
- Tell someone at home of your intended destination and what time you expect to return. Include a bit of leeway into your estimate - see the heading "Broken Board" under VOC awards. Leave the phone numbers of the trip organizers and your driver.
- Extended medical insurance is reccommended if you are travelling out of the country; try Travel Cuts in the SUB or any other insurance outlet. Consider whether you just want coverage for common accidents (ie for motor vehicle accidents). Covering rock climbing and other "hazardous" activities will increase the cost - if it's allowed at all. Ask, as some policies exclude "mountaineering" in the fine print.
- VOC trips are typically posted on the message board outside of the clubroom as well as being included in the weekly VOCene. Make sure you attend the pre-trip meeting, as important information is distributed here and rides/food groups are often arranged. If you absolutely cannot make the meeting, contact the leader BEFORE the meeting and work something out.
Notes for Trip Coordinators
West Coast conditions - thick bush, short winter days, poor weather, etc. - when combined with the uncertainty of having persons of unknown capabilities along on a trip, can quickly turn the easiest trip into an epic of unimaginable proportions. The following suggestions are intended to help the prospective trip coordinator avoid embarrassing or even tragic incidents on their trip.
- Consult guidebooks, maps, air photos, club members, etc. Obtain as much information on the route as possible. Bruce Fairley's "A Guide to Climbing and Hiking in Southwestern BC" is and excellent reference and includes a comprehensive list of other books and sources of information. For ski trips, John Baldwin's "Exploring the Coast Mountain on Skis" can be consulted.
- Obtain a map of the area and know how to use it! Topographic maps may be photocopied at the UBC map library and are available for sale at the Geological Survey of Canada (100 W Pender). Check weather forecasts, snow reports, tide tables and/or road conditions, as applicable.
- Advertise the trip. All the planning in the world won't be worth much if no one comes along! Mention difficulty, length, equipment needed and any limits you intend to impose on group size. Arrange a time for a pre-trip meeting.
- After the pre-trip meeting, leave a complete set of trip details (date, names and addresses of participants, proposed route, date and time of return, equipment carried by the group as well as location and license number of vehicles) with a reliable person who is remaining in town. Make sure the to contact this person upon the safe completion of the trip to prevent a rather embarrassing situation.
- Inform people of difficulties, strenuousness and dangers to be expected on the trip. Persons who are probably not up to the rigors of the trip should tactfully be referred to an easier one.
- Show people the intended route on the map. They may wish to pick up their own copy.
- Ensure that all participants have the necessary personal footwear, clothing and equipment.
- Arrange for appropriate amounts of group gear to be brought along (tents, stoves, fuel, ropes, etc).
- If safety equipment is being brought along, make sure that all participants are sufficiently skilled in its use.
- Arrange rides. Do this in such a way that people are not left standing around on rainy street corners when someone's vehicle won't start. Have all vehicles meet at the trailhead or, preferably, in Vancouver to drive up to the trail head together.
- State the conditions, if any, in the event of trip cancellation.
- Each trip should be equipped with all necessary gear including map, compass, first aid kit, flashlights or headlamps, extra clothing and food, repair kit, etc.
- Distribute group gear equitably, taking into account a persons size, fitness and experience. Some redistribution of weight from time to time may be a relief for those lagging behind. Be tactful - egos have been bruised in the past.
- Keep the group together if practical, but have pre-determined lunch stops and campsites in case of separation. Be sure everyone knows where these stops will be.
- Any group or individual splitting off from the main party should be prepared to function as an independent unit for the trips duration; as often as not, plans to meet later go astray.
- At the start of the trip you may wish to initiate a "buddy" system of travel, in which each person stays with one other person for the whole day.
- Appoint yourself, or some other reliable, experienced person to bring up the rear and watch for stragglers.
- Suggest rest stops when someone appears to be getting tired or is lagging behind.
- During cold or wet weather, make sure everyone is staying warm - if necessary find some spare clothing for them.
- Keep an eye on the time and know when it will be getting dark. Head for home before darkness sets in, even if it means not attaining the original trip objective.
- Novices may have no idea prior to the trip what they can or cannot do. Thus, it is not their fault if they are slow, and the pace of the trip should be adjusted to suit their capabilities. NO NOVICE SHOULD EVER BE LEFT BEHIND!
If Someone Gets Lost
- Determine as best as possible the time and location they were last seen.
- If time and conditions permit, search for them; however, do not split up the group and risk having someone else get lost.
- Return to base camp or the trailhead by dark.
- Notify the RCMP. Have complete details available - person's description, clothing, last location seen, vehicle and license number at the trailhead, etc.
At the End of the Trip
- See that all persons are back to the vehicles, and that all vehicles start, before anyone drives away.
- Let the designated contact person know that you have returned safely.
- Contribute to the VOC's knowledge of local areas and conditions by submitting a trip report.