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Trip Leader Information Sheet

From:  Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
To:  Trip Leader Volunteers

First of all I would like to thank you for volunteering to lead a Hiking Club trip. Without people like you there is no Hiking Club. We want to make leading a trip an easy and positive experience. To that end here are the steps you need to do.

  1. Make your reservations, obtain any permits required, etc. Note that the Club pays for permits so save your receipts.
  2. Set your prices. The club aims to at least break even on the trip. Prices should be set to include subsidy for the trip leader. If the response indicates an obvious money losing situation you will need to cancel the trip or maybe forgo the subsidy. This is a judgement call of the trip leader. The club treasurer, can cut you a check for any up-front expenses.
  3. As soon as possible write up the text for the announcement that will appear in the club email and on the web site. Your text should include the usual what, when, where and how – Including the meeting time and place. Be descriptive. It’s more fun if people actually come on the trip so “sell the sizzle not just the steak.”
  4. Include your cell phone number (or any alternate phone number where you can be reached) in the hike announcement. Sometimes an email address is not enough, if a hiker needs to reach you at the last minute.
  5. Send the a reminder email a week before any hike. The Webmaster will send it out to everyone on the club’s mailing list.
  6. Get the club backpack with 2-way radios and the first aid kit from the last hike leader or club executive.
  7. The club has a standard Trip Release Form and Trip Report Guidelines which you should use. You can find both on the web site or find a hard copy in the notebook in the club backpack.
  8. Within two weeks after the trip send all accounting information, and checks to the club Treasurer. Send the sign in sheet and any Accident/Injury Forms to the Statistician.
  9. Write your Trip Report and email it to the along with digitized pictures for the web page. Just the words and pictures. Don’t worry about converting it to HTML: the Webmaster does that.
  10. Have Fun!

    NOTE: We would like to have at least 3 photographs from the hike for the web site.
Tools and resources available to trip leaders:
2-way radios
Club First Aid Kit
Books, maps and videos (backpacking the Grand Canyon) available from the Club Library

First and foremost, a chance to travel to some great outdoor places with a good group of people!  Not only that, but on all for-cost trips, trip leaders go for free. This is a great deal!

Emergency Phone Numbers
Following are some important phone numbers and web pages to check before you go
Following are links to the emergency telephone numbers of the Arizona County Sheriff’s offices whom you would call for rescue after calling 911, and the National Forest offices.

  Sheriffs, Police, Constables, Fire & Rescue
  Arizona National Forest Offices

List of Items to Carry

It is impossible to say what a good list should include, since conditions can vary so much. A 12-mile hike in the GW National Forest in mid-January requires preparations quite different from a walk around Burke Lake in late May. So use your best judgment.

The leader should also carry, in addition to the items listed below, all items that a regular hiker should carry. This is a separate list, and is described in the hiker guide.

Recommended Items: These are a “must” for a hike leader.
  1. First aid kit - the club has one available
  2. 2-way radios - to maintain contact with other hikers
  3. Moleskin
  4. Pocket knife
  5. Safety matches in a dry bag
  6. Trail map
  7. Emergency phone numbers for the area

Suggested Items: These are useful items to carry. Some of these items become essential depending on the nature of the hike. For instance, a flashlight is essential for night hikes.
  1. Flashlight
  2. Topographical map
  3. Compass - preferably an “orienteering” type, which is accurate and easy to use
  4. Road map - for driving to the trailhead
  5. Nylon rope
  6. Whistle
  7. Small change - for making telephone calls
  8. Paper and pen - for leaving notes
  9. Extra food and water
  10. Water purifying tablets
  11. Toilet Paper

Tasks At Meeting Place

The meeting place can be confusing to the leader, with several incidents taking place at the same time demanding the leader’s attention. Following is a suggested list of items to help jog your memory. You are welcome to modify this list or the order of items as you see fit.
  1. Write emergency phone numbers on the sign-up sheet.
  2. Sign up hikers: Ensure that the Trip Release Form is complete with signatures. Collect dues of anyone who wishes to join at that time. The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
  3. Distribute hike information: maps and good driving directions. Driving directions should include road names and numbers, exit names and numbers, landmarks, distance to travel to the next segment, and approximate time of travel for each segment. See sample below.
  4. State the preparations the hikers need to make in order to go on the hike. Be firm, and do not hesitate to turn away unprepared hikers.
  5. Make announcements about the trail: distance, elevation change, hike rating, terrain, stream crossings, rock scrambles, view points, and other special features
  6. Make announcements about the hike: (This may also be done at the trailhead.) Pace, regrouping points, bailout points, places of interest, and special instructions such as the signs used to mark the trail.
  7. Make announcements about driving: Give drivers an option to follow you. If directions are complex consider meeting at a more convenient place near the trailhead and driving on from that spot in a caravan. Indicate stops for gas or food, parking at trailhead, suggested car pool fees, and park entry fees.
  8. Arrange car pools. Do not pick drivers or assign persons to car pools; the car pools should be formed voluntarily. Ensure that each driver has the driving directions and a map if necessary. Each car should have a TalkAbout radio so you can keep in contact during the drive to the trailhead.

    → Carpool meeting locations

Hike Leading Precepts

  1. Carry first aid kit and other items: First aid kit is perhaps the most essential item needed in case of an injury. Other items are listed elsewhere on this page. Go through the checklist at parking lot: Items are listed elsewhere on this page. Ensure that people have proper directions and trail maps.
  2. Wait at all trail junctions: every junction is important!
  3. For groups larger than 10 use a sweep. A sweep may be useful even with smaller groups. The sweep should be a reliable person, and should preferably know the trail well. The sweep should have a radio and should never leave anyone behind.
  4. Cancel or modify the hike if needed. If the weather or the trail seems dangerous prior to the start of the hike, cancel it. If you are already into the hike, modify the route if necessary to avoid dangerous sections. If you do modify the route, gather all hikers in a group and explain to them carefully what the new route will be.
  5. Record any unsafe situations encountered. You can use the back of the sign-up sheet. Use a separate sheet if a more detailed report is necessary. Blisters and minor scratches don’t require a separate sheet, but serious incidents do. For serious incidents like puncture wounds, lacerations, or broken bones, fill out the Accident/Injury Form in the back of the notebook in the club pack. Use your judgment. By keeping records we can evaluate and improve our safety policy.

© Copyright 2024 by the Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club updated January 13, 2024