Advice for IBSC Trip Contacts

All club trips need a volunteer Trip Contact (sometimes referred to as a trip ‘organiser’ – the terms mean the same thing), who as well as participating has a role to help ensure the day or weekend runs smoothly. The ethos of IBSC is that there is no formal ‘leader’ or supervision but instead participating members need to be reasonably self-reliant. The following advice sets this out in more detail.

As trip contact you are only responsible for the day in that you are helping to make the trip happen. You are not expected to be qualified or regarded as a ‘technical expert’. Any less experienced members should be aware that they take any advice on this basis, and that the onus of responsibility for deciding whether or not to rely on any such advice lies with the less-experienced member.

Beforehand the Trip Contact should:

  • Receive a contact list of those who are attending from the events officer. Should this not arrive, then they should contact any member of the committee.
  • Provide a central point of contact for trip participants using up-to-date contact information. Setting up a WhatsApp group for the trip is the norm. If a member does not use Whatsapp it is their responsibility to find out arrangements
  • Ensure participants know the plan for the day and level of skill, fitness and personal equipment needed. This will have already been communicated via the trip description as well as the auto generated trip email.
  • Facilitate discussions with attendees about the about venue changes, meeting times or cancellation decisions (weather, poor snow etc)
  • Facilitate transport and lift sharing
  • Liaise with attendees to ensure that any required group kit (e.g. first aid kit, group shelter) is brought and sharing agreed

On the Day the Trip Contact should:

  • Check participants have all arrived and if someone is running late, facilitate a group discussion about whether to wait or to notify the person running late that the group is setting off.
  • Facilitate a transceiver check before setting out and remind participants to check that they have have key safety equipment, such as ski crampons, transceiver, shovel, probe and ice axe, boot crampons and helmet if the conditions and planned route requires them (as set out in the trip grading).
  • Ensure all participants have the opportunity take part in key decisions on the hill, especially when varying an objective, or making decisions about the conditions.
  • Facilitating discussions about whether setting up a buddy system between more and less experienced attendees would be helpful.
  • If the group is larger than 6, then facilitate a discussion to ensure the group splits into two or more independent groups.
  • Issue any club equipment being loaned on the day. You may also consider bringing spares of some of the most frequently forgotten items such as a warm hat, gloves, buff, ski poles. This is entirely a personal choice, but it could save a simple oversight spoiling someone’s day.
  • In the unlikely event of someone being injured, notify a member of the committee, who in turn will arrange for the injured persons emergency contact to be notified

At the end of the day the Trip contact should:

  • Ensure that everyone is off the hill, especially any who opt to turn back early or follow a different route.
  • If necessary, recover any club or personal equipment they have loaned members

Trip Co-ordinators are NOT responsible for:

  • Taking on any supervisory or leadership role on the hill.
  • The safety of the members on a trip beyond what can reasonably be expected between a group of friends.
  • For checking personal fitness, clothing, gear or individual competence.
  • For deciding an attendee is not suited to the day – this should be a group decision by all other participants. If the participant insists on joining the group, the group should jointly inform the individual that he or she cannot join the group. The reasons should be given drawing the individual’s attention to the previously provided trip requirements. Failure to bring key safety equipment could be one such reason.

Any further questions can be directed to the club President or Training and Safety Officer or any other committee member.

ISBC Committee, December 2020