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!


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 to successful leadership. Therefore, we have minimum requirements for those interested in becoming a volunteer trip leader (see below). 


WFA/MOFA certification
(Trip leaders are strongly encouraged to keep their First Aid certification current, but it is not a requirement.)

Snowshoe Instructor experience


Intermediate Snowshoe or Alpine Scramble Snow Field Trips



At least one year’s experience as a trip leader in other Mountaineers activity (min. 3 trips) + Lead mentored snowshoe trip (min. 1 trip after committee approval)


Lead mentored snowshoe trips (min. 2 trips)

note: Mentored trips come after submitting your application and committee approval. They will match you with a mentor.


At least two years’ experience as a Snowshoe trip participant, including Moderate and Strenuous trips

min. 4 trips of which 2 must be basic.

min. 6 trips of which 4 must be  Intermediate trips rated Moderate or Strenuous

Current Navigation certification
Level 1 Avalanche certification Avalanche Awareness Seminar
Outdoor Leadership Course or 
Foundations of Leadership Course
Winter Camping grad or equivalent
Assistant Leader experience 

 • = recommended, ★ = required

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


For the level you would like to lead, if your experience appears close to (or exceeds) these guidelines, please submit your application found at the link below. The Snowshoe committee will review your application and match you to a mentor as the final step in becoming a leader.


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 safety and preparedness of the group for the designated trip.


  1. Determine the need for group and special equipment (crampons, beacons, shovels, probe, helmet, etc.) and notify/coordinate with party members in advance.
  2. Verify from the sign-up sheet that each member has a waiver on file and their emergency contact is current.
  3. If the original trip must be changed (weather or avalanche conditions) update the activity listing and persons signed up for the trip.
  4. Find and note the SAR or Sheriff rescue phone number for the area you are going; 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.
  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 turn around 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, 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 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)