How to Become a Packraft Trip Leader

How to become a Packraft Trip Leader.

We are expanding our cadre of qualified Trip Leaders.  

We have one type of leader:  Packraft Trip Leader, which qualifies someone to lead all packraft trips that are within their ability to manage safely.  Each leader, the leadership sub-committee chair, and the committee chair work together to define each leader's remit - which is the range of trips they are ready and able to lead.  This may range from lakes, to river deltas, to class I rivers, then class II rivers and so on, as the leader develops.

The actual way that people become leaders is that the committee votes to approve them as leaders. This requires some committee members to know and trust the skills and judgement of the leader candidate.  The best way for that to happen is for you to paddle with us.

A recommended progression includes:

  • Fill out the leader candidate questionnaire.  Then alert the Leadership Sub-Committee Chair and the Committee Chair.
  • Provide a personal river log that shows enough river experience in which you have encountered a variety of safety and logistical difficulties. 
  • Teach a minimum of two days on either our course field trips or clinics
  • Paddle on a minimum of two river trips with us
  • Lead at least one mentored trip
  • Lead one assessment trip

This may be modified according to the candidate's prior experience with the Mountaineers and with packrafting.

Assessment Criteria

We are looking for leaders with the following skills:

Judgment to choose appropriate trips based on a range of factors:

  • their own paddling and leadership skills
  • participation of an assistant leader
  • the paddling skills and experience of each of the participants
  • the group dynamics 

Trip Planning

  • Weather temperature, precipitation, and wind
  • River flow, forecast flow and diurnal consideration
  • Route plan and logistics

Awareness of the paddling environment

  • River gradient, volume, and current speed
  • Water temperatures
  • Named rapids
  • Unnamed obstacles that may appear and change over time

Risk management

  • Awareness of risks from the environment and within the group
  • Thinking about options should problems be encountered 
  • Managing incident management equipment

People skills

  • Attentiveness to the needs of participants
  • Awareness of limitations of participants
  • Effort to create an enjoyable and safe outing both physically and emotionally 

Knowledge of Mountaineers trip leadership process

  • Creating a posting
  • Managing the roster
  • Mountaineers specific incident management actions
  • Setting trip results
  • Closing trips
  • Posting a trip report
  • Reporting incidents after the trip 

Please see our leader policy for full details

This may be modified according to the candidate's prior experience with the Mountaineers and with packrafting.