Definitions of Beginner Friendly

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5 Definitions of Beginner Friendly in the VOC

In the VOC, many (and often most) trips are advertised as "Beginner Friendly". It is important to note, however, that this can have MANY different meanings and may not match up with your idea of what a "Beginner Friendly" Trip really is. It is important to attend the pre-trip meeting to see what type of skills may be needed, how long days are to be expected, how much elevation gain is to be encountered, etc. to get a better understanding of what you may be signing up for.

Below are 5 different Definitions of Beginner Friendly in the Club:

1. Beginner Friendly: This Trip Will be ‘Easy’

Easy is relative, and it therefore differs for every person. There are a few trips in the club which may fit the traditional terms of ‘easy’, but may depend on your endurance, experience and tolerance levels. A day trip to Garibaldi Lake would likely be the best candidate for this category. Other short hikes or kayak trips, such as the Indian Arm Sea Kayaking Trip, may also be considered in this category.

2. Beginner Friendly: No Previous Experience Needed, You Will Not be Left Behind

Most trips with the title “Beginner Friendly” are trying to convey that no previous skill is needed, i.e. no technical skills are required. However, the journey is not intended to be a walk in the park. The trip leader(s) (hopefully) will be there to cheer you on despite the potential difficulty level of the trip. You may struggle, and sometimes even cry a little on the inside or outside, but you will not be left behind! Someone will be there to watch you struggle and hope your struggles do not lead to any injuries, and help you if they do. Other beginners around you may seem like it IS a walk in the park at times! But everyone has a different beginner experience. This is what is generally meant by beginner friendly.

3. Beginner Friendly: No Previous Experience Needed, But Fitness and Courage Required

This is one level up from the previous description. Although fitness and courage are useful on almost all trips, there are some beginner friendly trips where it is more necessary than others. You may be scrambling on loose rock, or along narrow ridges. You may also find yourself on a weekend trip with 12-14 hour days. Some beginners may find themselves thinking “How is this Beginner Friendly?”, but often feel that they were able to do everything they did in hindsight once the trip has ended, and therefore realize "Huh. A beginner CAN do all of that!".

4. Beginner Friendly: Technical Skills Required

This is the type of beginner friendly trip where you may already need knowledge in some technical skills, such as self arresting, belaying for climbing, carrying a pack, or back country camping in general. “Beginner Friendly” here is trying to suggest that although you may need some previous 'technical' experience, you do not necessarily need to be an expert in the topic, and basic skills are sufficient. You will often come across this type of beginner friendly trip for rock climbing trips or scrambling trips.

5. Beginner Friendly: WTF!?!?

There will be the occasional trip you may attend that is listed as beginner friendly in the eyes of the very knowledgeable and experienced instructor, and after attending the trip, you may wonder how any beginner has ever been expected to do the things that you just did. But guess what? If you finished the trip without any great injuries that caused hospitalization, you did do it and you succeeded! Although it may have been far harder than you ever anticipated, you, a beginner, had an epic trip and learning experience. Some good old "Type II" Fun (fun that is only fun in hind-sight) will likely be dominant on these trips.