Guidelines for Leaders

The Island Mountain Ramblers always welcome more volunteer trip leaders. You can contact for more information about leading a club trip.

Summary of Leading:

Trip Leaders perform the following:

  • Determine the dates, locations, times, and other details related to the event
  • draft and submit events for the event coordinator to post to the club Meetup, manage the event in Meetup and answer questions
  • Meet and welcome registered participants at the rendesvouz location
  • determine the route, keep the group together, schedule stops, keep an eye on safety, getting everyone back to the vehicles.

Trip Planning

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

Please do not create your events using Meetup. We use a process to facilitate documentation in the backend. Our events coordinator will post the event to Meetup once they get the notification form.

Adding your Event

Add a trip to the club schedule by completing the event submission form.  The club’s events manager will automatically be notified and post it to the schedule.  This is usually done within 24 hours. They will assign you as the trip leader and adjust the appropriate Meetup settings.

The form guides you through the planning process, from setting the difficulty rating, setting the start and return times, which equipment to bring on the trips and even letting you submit a question to ask participants before they join a trip. Your description should include special hazards or difficulties that will be encountered.

With large groups, it’s a good idea to find a co-leader who can share the burden, and take over 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.

Trips on snow add an extra element of danger due to avalanches and tree wells. If your trip includes travel on snow the leader should know winter route finding, such as those obtained through a course like AST1. These hazards are present when travelling in or crossing below avalanche areas; be aware of terrain traps as they are usually deadly.


Members can borrow equipment from the library for club trips. We have snowshoes, crampons, mountaineering axes, and more. Members can connect with  Matthew Lettington ( to borrow club equipment. View the equipment library:

Cancelling a Trip

You have the right to cancel your trip for any reason. If you can’t lead your trip, please attempt to find an alternate leader. If unsuccessful, advise participants through Meetup that the trip has been cancelled and edit the event to cancel it. If the trip is cancelled 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.

Selecting Participants

Guests on Club Trips

      • A trip leader may allow a guest on club day trips
      • Leaders must manage participant numbers on Meetup manually
      • Leaders should advise participants that a guest is attending
      • Leaders must ensure that guests complete the FMCBC Liability waiver
      • Leaders record the guest’s name in the trip submission report
      • A guest may attend two club day trips before becoming a member

Screening Trip Participants

Screening participants is one of the more challenging tasks of leading that sometimes requires a delicate hand, and at other times a deliberate one. For easy trips, it may not matter what the participant’s level of experience is , but on more challenging trips, it could be the difference between success, failure, or possible injury.

If you don’t know which questions to ask to gauge suitability check out the Trip Participant Questionnaire. One to more of these questions may be useful for selecting trip participants. Feel free to alter the questions to suit your specific trip.

Before Leaving Home

Clear and early communication with participants will ensure that your group is prepared for the trip. Communicate what equipment will be needed on the trip. The club has drafted several equipment lists that you can use or modify.

In the week leading up to your trip, watch the weather forecasts and respond accordingly. Be flexible if conditions change, setting a plan B early can be a good idea.

Create a trip plan and leave it with an trusted person. Adventure Smart has a model to help you make your own plans,

At the Rendezvous Point

  • Set a rendezvous point. This may be the trailhead, but sometimes it’s closer to home. We commonly use Chapters and Southgate Tim Hortons, but you can set a location that makes sense.
  • Introduce yourself
  • Arrange to carpool. 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 everyone sign in (register), with this form or devise your own. You will want emergency contact information on hand. Ensure that someone knows where you keep this info.
  • Have a brief meeting. Have everyone introduce themselves, welcome new members and if necessary, arrange for a buddy to accompany new members.
  • Designate an experienced/qualified member to be the first aider (the trip leader manages the people and the first aider manages the injured party)
  • 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. Ensure that the sweep has a whistle (and that you do too). Ask them to whistle if they need you to wait up.
  • Indicate the 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

  • Keep the group together and under control. Large groups tend to get spread out, so they may need more opportunities to regroup.
  • 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 carpool 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 drivable and have started before departing. It’s recommended that the group convoy on logging roads until you reach the paved highway. 

After the Hike

Complete the trip reporting form. We document participant names for reporting to the FMCBC for liability. If you have photographs for the trip report blog and a short report, they are welcome additions to the ongoing club history.

Safety Notes

  • If you determine a person to be ill-suited to participate you have the right to refuse that person.
  • Regroup at hazardous spots, and assess conditions as a group. Consult with the group to determine participants’ comfort level before proceeding or deciding to detour.
  • In case of an accident, give first aid if necessary. For more serious injury or illness, the following actions may be necessary:
    • The designated first aider takes charge of the injured party. The trip leader manages the other members and communications. The trip leader should not be the first aider.
    • At least two people escort the injured/ill person out, including the ride back to town.
    • In some cases, the whole group may need to exit with the injured person.
    • 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 aid, write up an incident report.

Special notes on snow travel

  • Learn to recognize hazards such as avalanche terrain, terrain traps, and thin ice, etc. An excellent reference book is Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills
  • Ice axes are recommended, carry one snow shovel per party. 
  • In avalanche terrain, each participant should carry an AVI beacon, shovel and probe for each members.
  • 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 communication with the group at all times.

Good luck and enjoy.