Become A Trip Leader

Updated on Mar 22, 2023

Who can be a Trip Leader?

Trip Leaders are not professional guides, but rather experienced members who organize mountain-related trips. These trips happen both in town and in the mountains. A basic level of competency is required to become a Trip Leader, but there is no standard for technical skills outside of standard first aid. However, Trip Leaders are initially vetted by the Chair of the related trip committee, e.g. ski Leaders are vetted by the Ski Committee Chair, etc. Occasionally, as a result of a significant lapse in a Trip Leader’s technical experience their ability to post trips may be removed until they are again vetted by an event committee chairperson. Committee chairs endeavour to monitor trips to assess the trip’s level of difficulty v.s. his assessment of the Leader’s skill level. Trip Leaders technical ability varies widely, as does the level of trips posted to the Event Calendar. Therefore, the Trip Leader is expected to only lead trips within their current ability. In short, anyone who has the ability to safely lead intended trips can become a Trip Leader. handbook

Why would I want to become a Trip Leader considering all the hard work required?

There are a number of reasons to become a Trip Leader:

  1. Respect. The majority of participants appreciate the opportunity to go to the mountains. Any skills taught, knowledge shared and encouragement given does not often go unnoticed.
  2. Trip Coordinators were once novices and got to where they are with the help of other individuals that can roughly be categorized as Trip Leaders. Organizing a trip is a way of returning the favour
  3. All the trips on the Calendar generally fill quickly. Better to lead a trip than stay at home watching TV.
  4. The Trip Leader can define the trip. The Trip Leader chooses the destination, the pace and the style. For example, the Trip Leader can choose fast and light, or slower with better food and more time to take pictures. The Trip Leader selects the participants and should select the participants based on making the trip a success. This means that a Trip Leader needs to define a minimum allowable skill level and is in no way required to select novices. In fact, there is no reason the Trip Leader must be the most skilled individual on the trip and can recruit more skilled participants than themselves. This strategy combines all of the above benefits in addition to giving themselves the opportunity to gain greater knowledge through interacting with more experienced members.

How to become a Trip Leader?

  1. Read the Coordinator’s Handbook
  2. Complete questionnaire for the activity you’re interested in leading. There are questionnaires for the following activities, each managed by the respective ACC Calgary Sport Chairs. For their contact information, please visit the Section Board Members page.
    1. Ski Chair – Skiing
    2. Climbing Chair – Rock Climbing and Ice Climbing
    3. Alpine Chair – Mountaineering and Scrambling
    4. Student Rep – Easier student priority trips
  3. Standard First Aid is okay, but Wilderness First Aid is recommended.
  4. Co-lead an ACC trip with someone who has led more than 5 trips in the past two years.
  5. Review the questionnaire with either one of the Sport Chairs, the Training and Leadership Chair, the Vice Chair, the Chair, or someone who has led more than 5 trips in past two years.  The reviewer will also check the references you provided in the questionnaire.  Note the same reviewers can also vet you for hiking, biking, etc., trips if that’s what you’re interested in leading.
  6. A Welcome letter should be sent out by the person that you were working with who made you a Trip Leader.

Extra Perks for Trip Leaders

Annual Volunteer Dinner
Trip Leader badges
MEC gift certificates based on the number of trips lead
Available to leaders who meet minimum trip thresholds
Trip Leader Courses – see calendar, contact training & leadership or discipline chairs.
    1. Course Subsidy – $200 toward a relevant course after leading just 1 trip per year.
    2. Multiday Trip Leader Subsidy (up to $500 for 5-days/$750 for 5+ days)
    3. Multi-part/Progression Program Coordinator Subsidies ($300 per year for a coordinator of BITS, ROCK-IT, WMMG or new progression programs)
    4. The North Face Courses – subsidized by ACC-National with further subsidy possible from the Calgary section after leading 6 trips:
      • Summer: 1 week general mountaineering skill development at ACC GMC
      • Winter: Multiday ski-mountaineering skill development at a rotating location. 

Trip Waiver & Forms

See the Documents and Waivers page.