Becoming a Snowshoeing Trip Leader - Seattle Branch

Becoming a Snowshoeing Trip Leader - Seattle Branch

Learn about becoming a snowshoeing trip leader and find leadership resources

We are always interested in adding more trips to the schedule and becoming a leader is a great way to help us out! Also, we like to to guide you through this process as it could be at times overwhelming or cumbersome to review by yourself, please reach out to the committee chair or leadership chair.


Before you can sign up to lead a Mountaineers snowshoe activity, you must be on the leadership roster. Leadership qualities, group and individual safety, experience, and level-headed decision-making are four major components of successful leadership. Therefore, we have minimum requirements for those interested in becoming a volunteer trip leader (see below). 


Snowshoeing Experience (assistant leader roles are also encouraged to gain experience and a perspective of trips via a leadership lens)

min. 4 trips of which 2 must be Basic trips. min. 6 trips of which 4 must be Intermediate trips.

Snowshoe Instructor experience (to be familiar with our current curriculum)

Basic field trip Intermediate field trip

Mentor trips

2 mentored trips on different basic routes are needed to get different perspectives from leaders but also to allow time to learn website navigation and general leadership skills to gain perspective into winter leadership skills.
(Individuals who already are trip leaders for other activities, need only 1 mentored trip)

Join the trips scheduled for the Intermediate Snowshoe Leader - Mentorship Program until you gain confidence to be a lead


1 mentored trip on an intermediate route (refer to trip ratings)

WFA/WFR certification

Wilderness or Basic Navigation certification
Avalanche certification

Avalanche Awareness Seminar
(Recommend taking Basic Backcountry Preparedness - Winter Trip Planning)

AiARE Recreational Level 1 Course
Outdoor Leadership Course or 
Foundations of Leadership Course or 
Foundations of Leadership Development Seminar Series
Emergency Biviouc / Overnight Experience Min. knowledge and experience in developing various emergency bivouac systems is required. Winter Camping Course or equivalent is required.

★ = (Trip leaders are strongly encouraged to keep their respective badges current, but it is not a requirement.)

The trip ratings and club-wide standards were updated for 2020-21.


For those who are interested in trip leadership, please submit your application at the link below. The Snowshoe committee will review your application, provide guidance on the next steps, and match you to a mentor if you don't have one in mind to work with.

(list Seattle as your branch to be reviewed by us)

Note: Depending on the season and volunteer availability, the review process may take several weeks to complete. All applications are subject to Snowshoe Committee approval. The Committee reserves the right to hold or reject any application for any reason. 

Leaders are expected to maintain their skills by leading at least one trip every three years as described in the Seattle Snowshoeing Roster Retention Policy For Leaders and Instructors.


Trip leaders are expected to follow certain protocols to ensure the safety and preparedness of the group for the designated trip.


  1. Review your resources for finding snowshoe destinations and choose a destination.
  2. Post a trip on the Mountaineers website (Reference: Schedule and manage an activity
  3. Determine the need for group and special equipment (crampons, beacons, shovels, probes, helmets, etc.) and notify/coordinate with party members in advance.
  4. Verify from the sign-up sheet that each member has a waiver on file and their emergency contact is current. Use the roster to find this information and save a copy or print emergency contacts for your participants.
  5. If the original trip must be changed (weather or avalanche conditions) update the activity listing and persons signed up for the trip.
  6. Find and note the SAR or Sheriff rescue phone number for the area you are going to; along with the contact info and directions to the nearest medical and trauma hospitals from your activity location.


  1. Check-in party members and verify from the sign-up sheet that each member has a waiver on file and please comply with the 12-person party size. We recommend small sizes of up to 6 people.
  2. Determine any special medical or physical concerns. It may need to be confidential, so please encourage folks to talk to you in person, if they have any concerns and do not want to mention that to all in the group.
  3. Check individual gear, conduct introductions, and assess each party member’s condition and skill level, for the trip.
  4. Assign an assistant leader, First Aid leader, and rear guard.
  5. Describe the trip and route as well as establish and announce a turnaround time.
  6. Describe your philosophy of leadership (pace, breaks, etc.).
  7. IMPORTANT - Snowshoe trips usually have members that have a wide variety of experience levels and technical skills. Make sure each party member is aware of the physical and technical demands of the trip as well as the expectations of their performance, physically and technically. Party members may be excused from the trip if they don’t meet expectations.
  8. IMPORTANT - Develop a contingency plan and inform the group, in the event, that party members become separated from the group, include meeting place and time, making sure they will adhere to the plan. Please keep the group together.


  1. Monitor everyone's needs for breaks and limitations.
  2. Deal with and assess conditions throughout the trip and day (weather, snowpack, weird behavior, etc.).
  3. Maintain the level of the trip as listed. Do not increase the difficulty even if all party members agree. Some members may feel intimidated to go along with the group.


  1. Take a final headcount and make sure all party members have returned.
  2. Review the day, decision-making points, near-misses, or incidents, if any.
  3. Dismiss the group and make sure that all party members get on their way.


  1. Close out the activity.    
  2. Complete your Trip Report online in a timely manner – i.e. within a few days.

    If there was a near-miss / incident or accident on your activity, please file an Incident Report. When reporting, please give as much detail about the incident as possible. Do report even seemingly minor "near misses."  If you have any doubt, do send us a report... it might just help prevent someone else from having a similar incident or worse.

    To file an incident report, find the activity on your My Profile page's My Activities section or from an activity search. When viewing the activity's details, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "Report an Incident."

 CONTACTS FOR EMERGENCIES (in order of notification)

  1. Have a copy of the current available Mountaineers Emergency Contact Procedures and Call Tree
  2. Print a copy of the roster with emergency details and add any medical or trauma concerns to it when discussed with the group.
  3. Seattle Snowshoe Committee Chair(s)