Trip Planning

Adding your Event

Planning a trip has many different steps. This page will help guide you through the process of leading a trip for the Island Mountain Ramblers. You will find many suggestions and links to the documents and forms you need to use to have your event added to the Island Mountain Ramblers schedule.

To have your event added to the Island Mountain Ramblers schedule please complete the Trip Submission form. The club executive will review the trip details and post the event to the club calendar and Facebook (this usually takes less than twenty-four hours).

When planning your trip, pay particular attention to hazards and difficulty. Give special attention to any specialized equipment that you will need while in the backcountry. This may include maps & compass, GPS, two-way radios, cell phone, ropes etc.

Trips on snow add an extra element of danger from avalanches. If your trip includes travel on snow the leader should have knowledge of winter route finding, such as those obtained through a course like AST1. These hazards are present when travelling in avalanche terrain, crossing below it, and from terrain traps. Before leaving for your trip, consult the Island Avalanche Bulletin and weather forecast. If you’re planning a backcountry ski trip in avalanche terrain all participants must have avalanche safety gear (beacon, probe, shovel), and have experience using them.

In the week leading up to your trip watch the weather forecasts and respond accordingly. Be flexible if conditions change, sometimes it’s better to hike your plan-b.

With large groups find a co-leader. A co-leader can help with large groups, or can take over from the leader if necessary. Further, if you’re a new leader, a co-leader can act as a mentor; someone to give you feedback after the hike.

The club has a variety of gear that club members can use on trips: snowshoes, crampons, and mountaineering axes. Matthew Lettington ( stores the equipment. When you have a request to use the equipment contact to him. Guest may also use the equipment, snowshoes rental is $10.

You have the right cancel your trip for any personal reason. If you cannot lead your trip, please to find an alternate leader. If unsuccessful, advise participants that the trip has been canceled. Be sure to email or call the participants. If the trip is canceled at the last minute (miserable weather, for example) arrange for someone to go to the meeting place to inform any participants that may show up. Lastly, be sure to advise Matthew Lettington ( or John Young ( and they will change the schedule.

A minimum of three participants is required for a sanctioned club trip.

Selecting Trip Participants

Selecting trip participants is one of the most challenging tasks of trip planning. It sometimes requires a delicate hand, and at other times a deliberate one. On easy trips it may not matter what the participants level of experience is, but on more challenging trips it makes the difference between success, failure, or possibly even injury.

To help you with the task of selecting trip participants, the club has drafted a Trip Participant Questionnaire. You may find it useful for selecting trip participants. Feel free to alter the questions to suit your specific trip.

When communicating with your participants be sure that they are prepared for the trip. Communicate what equipment will be needed on the trip. The club has drafted several equipment lists. These lists contain the recommended equipment for trips. You can use these lists to communicate with your trip participants

At the Rendezvous Point

  • Set a rendezvous point. We commonly use Chapters and Whisky Creek Co-op and Southgate Tim Hortons, but you can set your own location
  • Introduce yourself, and make an effort to introduce everyone else too!
  • Have everyone sign in, you will want emergency contact information on hand
  • Ensure each member has read and sign the FMCBC Universal Waiver.
  • Arrange carpooling. Ensure that all drivers know the way to the trailhead or can be led there.
  • Ask drivers to account for their passengers for the return journey.
  • Screen participants if you consider that they are not suitably prepared (fitness or clothing for example). You have the right to refuse anyone for legitimate reasons in the interest of the group.

 At the Trailhead

  • Ensure that everyone has arrived
  • Have a brief meeting. Introduce and welcome new members and if necessary arrange for a buddy to accompany new members. 
  • Outline the trip with a brief review of the route, destination, and possible hazards.
  • Identify those who have first aid experience
  • Emphasize the importance of staying together or where to re-group.
  • Emphasize that no one leaves the group without notifying the leader.
  • Appoint a sweep person if the group is large or, if preferred, split the large group in two, each with a leader. If possible, use radios to keep in contact.
  • Indicate desired pace and frequency of rest stops.
  • Ask for and answer any questions.
  • Note for Photographers:
    If you plan to take photographs during club trips, inform the trip participants of your intentions and ask for permission to take their photo. This will allow them to advise you that they don’t want their picture taken. Please, respect their wishes.
    When someone doesn’t want their picture taken, the best practice is to avoid taking any photographs with these members in the frame. If the person manages to sneak into your photographs, please do not publish those images online.
  • Note to those that are Camera Shy:
    If you don’t want your image to be posted online, please be clear with the trip leader and other members that you do not want your photo taken. The best practice is to volunteer this information, even if no one asks. To help protect yourself and not interfere with those taking photographs, remove yourself from any group pictures.


On the Trail

  • Try to keep the group together and under control.
  • Re-group often, particularly at junctions and hazards.
  • Assess the group dynamics and adjust the speed and route if necessary.
  • Be aware that some members might be unwilling to speak up if they are having difficulties.
  • Stragglers (individuals going unreasonably slow for the planned trip):
    • Continue with a sub-group of slower hikers with an experienced leader.
    • Have them wait at a suitable site for the main group to return (preferably at least 2 people).
    • Arrange for them to return to cars with a suitable escort, bearing in mind the car pool arrangements.
    • Shorten or modify the trip.
  • Jackrabbits (individuals that want to surge ahead of the group):
    • Try to discourage.
    • Appoint a sub-group leader and arrange a forward regrouping site.


Return to Trail Head

  • Make sure that all members make it out.
  • Ensure that all vehicles are running and free to leave before leaving


After the Hike

Complete the trip reporting form. The name’s of the participants are needed for liability reasons, the form makes it easy to report them. Further, if you have photographs for the trip report blog and a short report, they are welcome additions to the ongoing club history.

Regarding newly signed FMCBC Universal Waivers, keep them safe until the next general meeting or mail them to Silvie-Marie Fortin


Safety Notes

  • If you feel that a person is not suitable to participate and could possibly jeopardize the trip, you have the right to refuse that person.
  • Regroup at hazardous spots, assess conditions and group dynamics before proceeding or deciding to detour. Consult with the group to assess comfort level.
  • In case of an accident give first aid if necessary. For more serious injury or illness the following actions may be necessary:
  • Designate an experienced/qualified member to take charge of the situation.
  • The whole group returns with the injured person.
  • At least two people escort the injured/ill person out, including the ride back to town.
  • If professional rescue is required call 911. Maintain positive communications. This includes feedback from persons leaving the group to make this call so that you know help is on its way.
  • In the case of providing any type of first aide up an incident report.

Special notes on snow travel:

  • Learn to recognize hazards such as avalanche terrain and thin ice etc. An excellent reference book is Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills
  • Ice axes are recommended and carry one snow shovel per party
  • Take a rope
  • Be prepared to stay out overnight and have a change of clothes


Talk to any irresponsible participants expressing your concerns and, if deemed necessary, report the problem to the club president.

Final Word

It is so important to maintain good communications with the group at all times.

Good luck and enjoy.