Group Size Norms

Group Size Norms

Leaders should use this page to help determine the appropriate group size for their activities.

As good stewards of our public lands, The Mountaineers strives to respect and preserve outdoor areas, as well as to abide by the policies of all land management agencies. The following group size norms are guidelines based on our Outdoor Ethics Policy.

For more information, read our blog How To: Determining Party Size for Mountaineers Trips.

  • All Mountaineers activities should be scheduled in the activity database. Unless otherwise specified to allow for "multiple bookings", this system only allows one party per route per day. We do this to minimize our impact as a large organization. Please note! Activities that are not scheduled in our activity database are not covered by The Mountaineers liability insurance.
  • Even one overlapping day with another activity on a given route/place will prevent you from scheduling an activity on the website. If you have questions or need support, please contact Member Services.
  • If two Mountaineers parties encounter each other in the same area, activity leaders should select separate routes and campsites.
  • Generally speaking, The Mountaineers recommends that leaders keep their party sizes to 12 members or fewer. Many times - such as in some cross country zones (think North Cascades climbing destinations) or in special permit areas like The Enchantments - a smaller party size is better choice (or required). In other cases, a larger party size is ideal, and our Outdoor Ethics Policy is designed to provide ethical guidance to empower our leaders to make good-faith decisions in the interest of preserving the outdoor experience for everyone.
  • Leaders who lead activities that are larger than 12 should consider the guidelines outlined in our How To: Determining Party Size for Mountaineers Trips blog before making that decision.
  • Wilderness and/or overnight camping permits should be obtained as required. 
  • Course Field Trips: In many instances, course field trips - or other large, fee-based activities - require a facilitated access permit. Please review our Facilitated Access Permitting page for more information about the requirements and annual permitting process for each of our land manager partners. If you are a new course leader, please consult the previous course leader for information regarding the proper permits for your course area.
  • Stewardship Activities: All stewardship activities at The Mountaineers must be planned in conjunction with the land manager for that area. Depending on the project needs, stewardship activities may necessitate a larger group size than the maximum party size noted on the route/place listing. The land manager works directly with the organizing committee on the total group size allowed at that location, and the maximum party size allowed on the corresponding route/place may be updated by our staff on a case-by-case basis.
  • Need a route/place to have a higher capacity? Please contact Amanda Virbitsky with your request. 
  • See a route/place that does not reflect the correct land manager limit? Send an email to with a link to the route/place and updated information what the true capacity should be.

For more information, read our blog How To: Determining Party Size for Mountaineers Trips.

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