Snow travel school at the MCA's Basic Mountaineering School.

Photo by Brian Aho.

Snow travel school at the MCA's Basic Mountaineering School.

Photo by Brian Aho.

The Matanuska Glacier as viewed from Mt. Wickersham.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Carrie Wang illustrates the proper technique for a Butterfly Knot.

Photo by Wayne Todd.

Becoming a Trip Leader

The MCA encourages all qualified members to lead official club trips. Some training is required prior to becoming a qualified trip leader. If you do not have the required training the MCA has a program called "Training to Trips" (TROTS) through which the MCA will reimburse members a portion of the cost of the training.

IMPORTANT: Anyone may advertise a personal trip at the general membership meeting or on the MCA email group listserve. Personal trips are not and shall not be considered club sanctioned trips.

Trip Leader Qualifications

  1. Must be a member of the MCA.
  2. Must have majority approval of the Hiking and Climbing Committee.
  3. Must have received certification in Standard First Aid or a more advanced medical certification (e.g. WFR, EMT) within the last 10 years or lead trips with an approved co-leader that meets this requirement.
  4. Must attend an MCA Trip Leader Orientation course prior to leading any trips.
  5. Must have participated on trips of the same type and classification as the one being led, showing competence in the opinion of the leaders of those trips; or must demonstrate equivalent experience acceptable to the Hiking and Climbing Committee.
  6. Leaders on technical trips must have served as a co-leader with an approved MCA trip leader on at least one trip of the same type and classification, or have equivalent experience acceptable to the Hiking and Climbing Committee. Persons with technical climbing experience wishing to waive this requirement must provide a letter to the Hiking and Climbing Committee outlining their climbing/guiding experience, training, and include at least one personal reference.
  7. Leaders on trips that involve avalanche terrain must have completed formal training in avalanche hazard recognition and victim search and rescue as approved by the Hiking and Climbing Committee.
  8. Leaders on trips that involve hazardous stream crossings must have either formal training in safe stream crossing methods or have extensive experience crossing streams.

Trip Leader Responsibilities

  1. Use good judgment.
  2. The leader shall obtain approval for the proposed trip from the Hiking and Climbing Committee prior to advertising the trip.
  3. Per MCA bylaws, club sanctioned trips must be advertised in the club publication or on the club website. In other words, the MCA membership must be informed of the trip. In order to publish the trip in the Scree, the Hiking and Climbing committee must approve the club trip about 35 days before the trip so that the Hiking and Climbing chair can forward the approved trip list to the editor of the Scree. For example, a trip for the month of June or later would have to be approved by the Hiking and Climbing committee by April 25. A trip for July or later would need to be approved by May 25th, and so on. If a leader does not wish to plan a trip one month in advance, the trip may be submitted to the Hiking and Climbing committee to be posted on the MCA website and then advertised as a club sanctioned trip on the MCA email group list service.
  4. The trip leader shall ensure that all participants sign up on the club sanctioned trip sign-up sheet. The leader is responsible for providing and maintaining the trip sign-up sheets at monthly meetings.
  5. The leader shall coordinate with the Hiking and Climbing Committee Chair if he/she is unable to make the monthly meeting prior to the trip.
  6. The leader should describe their proposed trip at Club meetings.
  7. The leader shall contact all participants prior to departure and describe the physical demands, anticipated terrain, potential hazards, required skills and required clothing and gear.
  8. The leader shall coordinate meeting arrangements.
  9. The leader shall leave a trip roster containing a brief description of the proposed route and the names and telephone numbers of participants with a responsible person that will be able to contact a Hiking and Climbing Committee member (names and telephone numbers are on the sign-up sheet) in case of an emergency or delayed return.
  10. The leader should brief trip members on the General Rules for MCA Sanctioned Trips using the Trip Leader Checklist. If members already know each other and have been on previous trips, not much may need to be said. If new members are on the trip, use the checklist.
  11. For safety and liability reasons, the leader shall act in accordance with this policy.
  12. The mountains are a very dynamic environment. Since trips are planned more than a month in advance, factors such as weather, snow stability, stream water level, etc. must be evaluated at the time of departure. The trip leader shall use the best relevant tools available such as the National Weather Service, Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, Hydrology/Stream forecasts, etc. to check conditions prior to departure. When conditions are unsafe, the trip shall be cancelled or postponed.
  13. Trip Report: After every trip, the leader shall provide a brief trip report (over the phone or via email) to the Hiking and Climbing Committee. The report shall include any injuries, incidents or personnel problems. When requested by the President, a written report shall be provided.




© 2017 Mountaineering Club of Alaska     Box 243561,  Anchorage, AK 99524-3561     Contact Us

Many thanks to: Wayne Todd, Tim Silvers, Ross Noffsinger, Steve Gruhn, Carrie Wang, Billy Finley and many others who provided information, ideas and photos. And thanks to Willy Hersman who created, managed and hosted the first MCA website, without which this site's development would have been so much more difficult. Current website donated by Couloir Graphics.