Hike Leader Responsibilities

Hike Leader Responsibilities

ADK Guidelines on Hiking

Outings leaders must have knowledge of the ADK Outing Leaders Guide (OLG) that the Board of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has approved. The objective of this guidebook is twofold: (1) to provide a common certification program for ADK trip leaders; and (2) to provide best practices for trip leaders in order to enhance the outings experience for all participants. Implementation will be phased in and will require a combination of trainings offered by ADK and other organizations, some online and some in-person.

Planning the route: Select a route that accommodates the physical abilities of the group. Consult guidebooks, topographical maps, and other hikers familiar with the area. Plan to spend as much time for walking out as you spent walking in. Injuries are more likely to occur when rushing, at dusk or when going downhill.

Size of group: For most hikes group size is at the discretion of the leader. If the hike is particularly challenging, the hike leader may want to further limit the group size.

Describing the Trip

Trips should be adequately described to potential participants prior to signing up.

Descriptions should include:

1. Trip length (miles or kilometers) to the tenth of a mile

2. Elevation to be climbed (feet or meters) Cumulative Elevation Gain (CEG)

3. Mention of any special equipment or other factors

4. A brief description of the level of difficulty to be expected under ordinary conditions

5. Brief description of the trip plan, including parking and possible hiking options

Group Management

Trip leaders should count the number of trip participants at the start of the trip, periodically throughout the trip, and again at the end of the trip, to ensure that everyone is accounted for. A trail “sweep” should be designated on hiking trips.

Equipment and Supplies

Trip leaders and participants should carry equipment and supplies appropriate to the trip description and anticipated weather conditions. For hikes, a small pack with reasonable food, water and clothing, including a hat, rain gear and suitable footwear and extra garments suitable to the season, are recommended. Participants in hikes might also consider carrying insect repellent, sunscreen, a whistle, matches, a knife, small flashlight or headlamp, compass and trail map. A basic understanding of the use of map and compass is suggested.

Safety Procedures

Standard safety procedures, appropriate to the type of trip, and good common sense, should be observed by trip leaders and participants at all times. Be sure to leave an itinerary with a reliable person, including your estimated time of return.

Staying Together

A minimum party size of three (four during winter conditions) is recommended. In case of an injury, one person can stay with the victim while the other (two in winter) goes for help.

Sharing Responsibilities

Trip participants should share with the trip leader the responsibility of making a trip safe and enjoyable and should respect the trip leader’s advice and judgment.

On the Trail

Stay on the trail. Alpine vegetation is especially fragile. Camp at designated sites 150 feet from trail or stream. In the Adirondacks camp below 4000 feet, in the Catskills below 3500 feet. “If you carry it in, carry it out.” This includes orange peels, eggshells, and even the tiny pieces of aluminum foil. Bury all human waste 4-6 inches deep and away from any water or wet areas. Cover waste with soil to avoid exposure.

Hike Registration

Our chapter has implemented a new hike registration system called “iVolunteer.” This system is designed to streamline the membership sign-up procedure for outings and enhance the reporting of participation. To learn how hike leaders can make the most of iVolunteer, please watch the training video by clicking here. This training will illustrate how to handle sign-ups, establish sign-up periods, address outing cancellations or rescheduling, and address typical situations that hike leaders often encounter.


Membership at the Adirondack Mountain Club

ADK members are vital to the success of our mission. As direct supporters, members are connected with opportunities to engage with the ADK community and to give back to the public lands and waters we all love.