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Trip Leader advice
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Hnak





Joined: 06 Jan 2003
Posts: 1765
Location: Prescott, AZ

PostPosted: 11/9/2007, 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

Suz wrote:
11 dead Shocked Good golly thankfully I didn't know you then.........but Hank........are you still trying to kill people? Wink


Well, not in such large numbers anymore....

BTW, I've come up with a great idea for a loop hike! Down the Fence Fault route (a mile or so north of the South Canyon shortcut) to the river, paddle across then back up onto the Redwall, maybe 3 miles downstream to the Bridge Canyon surveyors route down to the river, wander a bit downstream to Redwall Cavern, paddle back across the river, hike back to South Canyon, and out the shortcut route... Hiking Multi Silly
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/9/2007, 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

He's only tryin ta kill one this time me thinks.
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azbackpackr
Hi Tech Wizardess




Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 3639
Location: Needles CA

PostPosted: 11/10/2007, 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I started doing some trip leading with Boy Scouts in the Canyon and the Catalinas in the 90s. Then I moved from Tucson up here to Eagar in '99, and I started doing some trip leading for the So. AZ. Hiking Club, based in Tucson. By the way that club does have everyone sign waivers and carries insurance in case someone sues the club or the guide.

I started doing this because I didn't know anyone around here (and I still don't!!) who was a backpacker, so I thought, well okay, I belong to that club, why not just post a backpacking trip in the bulletin and see if anyone shows up? I have made some long lasting friendships over the years in that club, just by leading trips. Now sometimes we do private trips where we don't post it in the club bulletin.

At first I found I was not decisive enough. I am not a bossy sort of person, and I am not very decisive at times, and someone would say, "Well, SOMEONE needs to make a decision here!" Okay, so I needed to learn leadership skills. I needed to learn how to deal with a mixed group of slow and fast hikers. (I'm usually in the mid-range as to speed, myself.) I also needed to learn how to deal with various personality types. Along the way I got certified in Wilderness First Responder. I needed to adjust my attitude at times. There was a lot of learning going on there. I needed to learn that sometimes the group expects ME to make a decision as opposed to other times when I can ask for a consensus and talk it over with them, make a group decision.

This last trip I did to South Bass was very successful, and the people (none of whom I had met before the hike) made a fuss over me afterwards, they all said I did a good job. This made me feel good, but I feel I still can improve a LOT in my leadership skills. We had one person on the hike who came down with a minor illness. She had to hike very slowly. One guy volunteered to be tail guide most of the time, as he wanted to stop and take photos a lot anyway. So he stayed with her.

Someone said on a backpacking trip with no radios you could stop every 4 hours to wait. That is way too long, I think. We stopped and waited for the two slow ones at least once an hour. There were two women who were a lot faster than I was, they would stop first. Then I'd catch up and we'd all wait for the rest of them.

I have had situations in the Canyon where the slowest one was very tired, and the fast ones agreed to go ahead, sending one person back to get the tired one's backpack and carry it up. This was a very nice thing to do.

On a long trip you may run into problems where people don't get along very well with each other. I have seen this happen a few times, am not sure how to resolve it if I am the trip leader. Or IF I should even TRY to resolve it.

In the case of the lady who was way too slow on the dayhike, I agree that turning around sooner, insisting on it, probably would have been wise, but when you are there on the ground, sometimes it is hard to make that decision. I also agree that radios would be nice in some cases, although I have seen them in use on SAHC hikes and some hikers really don't like to see them in use, because the people using them are always chattering back and forth and it's very annoying.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Daryl





Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Posts: 1168
Location: Everett, Washington

PostPosted: 11/12/2007, 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I won't take people I don't know on any hike that is remotely difficult or dangerous. Sad to say, people don't know their limits and are too persistent to admit they can't do something. And now today people are too eager to sue for any reason as we become the "it's not my fault" generation.

Since you do it for the city though, I'd strongly suggest a waiver with scary stuff like "hiking is dangerous and can lead to serious injuries or death..." and end with "...and I take no responsibility for anything that happens to you."
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k9hiker





Joined: 09 Jan 2003
Posts: 390
Location: NW Phoenix

PostPosted: 11/20/2007, 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

Tom Treks wrote:
Jamie,

You say that you're leading hikes for the City of Peoria. Is there a fee involved? Do the attendees sign any type of waiver? Unless I was on the City payroll, I'd require a waiver of some sort. Especially if I was donating my time. You never know what can happen.


Hi Tom,
I am on the payroll and they do charge a fee of $20 for residents and $24 for non-residents. I think they sign some kind of blanket type waiver when they pay/register.

I agree with your perfect world situation. I think in the future we (the leaders) need to worry less about feelings and more about safety.

jamie
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Jamie
Canine Hiking Club of AZ
www.mydog8az.com
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k9hiker





Joined: 09 Jan 2003
Posts: 390
Location: NW Phoenix

PostPosted: 11/20/2007, 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I appreciate ALL the input on this topic. Thank you all for your funnies, and for your wisdom.

I agree, it's a learning curve for me and my co-leader. I have been leading hikes in one form or another since I was a kid but my co-leader and I are a fairly new partnership so we need to learn more about each other. The radios were tried on the last hike and they are a great asset.

I think, as I do with all aspects of life, it's important to keep my eyes as the leader on the main focus of the trip. With that in mind I can set the expectation level of all involved and we can more easily make the "hard" decisions when they come up, and they will.

Living to hike another day is usually that focus so with that as the foundation for my decisions, giving someone the "hook" is not as difficult. The only iffy spot here is that I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from moving beyond their abilities if in fact they CAN do it. This is were it gets trixie.

Again, I appreciate the advice. Keep it coming. I'm learning.
Thank you
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Jamie
Canine Hiking Club of AZ
www.mydog8az.com
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gpsjoe





Joined: 01 Feb 2004
Posts: 535
Location: Mesa AZ

PostPosted: 11/20/2007, 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I am not a lawyer and don't have any special legal knowledge. But I think since your hikes are sponsored by the City of Peoria and you are paoid and the hikers pay a fee, then if something goes wrong and someone sues, they probably wiould sue the city because there is more money to get there. Or maybe sue both the city and the leader.

Signed waivers are never an absolute guarantee that you will not get sued. An individual does not give up his right to expect reasonable treatment for those around him/her.

I have signed may waivers, just about every time I go Scuba Diving with a commercial operator. Yet I have seen a Dive Shop lose track of a diver in a quarry during her first certification dives. Shortly thereafter the otherwise busy dive shop was out of business forever. And I agree there is no excuse for that and it was the Shops (and their hired leaders) responsibility to constantly monitor the beginnning diver. If there is gross negligence involved (and that is a judgement call), you do not sign away your rights on a simple waiver.

The Dive shop owners understand this but feel they are better off going into court with the waiver than without it.

I don't know what that means for clubs whose participants are all volunteers and nobobody is paid or certified in anything. Just a group of friends going on an adventure with a leader who is more of a guide than anything else. I would hope there would be a lower standard for expected bahviour than if these were paid, professional, trained guides as you have in paid rafting trips or camping adventures.

It's all a judgement call but if you respond to an emergency in a reasonable fashion rendering assistance and not doing anything stupid you probably are OK. 10 years of hiking here and I have not heard of any lawsuits yet so it's a hypothetical rather than a real issue so far.
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