Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stupid is as stupid does

I am in the midst of trying to organize a Summer Mountain Leadership course for my local "mountaineering" (using the term loosely) club. This club has almost 300 members. I need a minimum of three to run this course. Astute readers will have quickly worked out that this equates to 1% of the membership. The course, which will be taught by a full ACMG guide, has an excellent curriculum and is sponsored by our club (i.e. we will actually pay a portion of participants fees). Now you would think that a measly 1% of the membership might take advantage of this opportunity. But, you'd be wrong. To date, I have two people interested, that's right two (and without money in the bank, interest is only interest).

No doubt there could be, and probably are, many reasons why this course is not drawing great attention, but I have to suspect that one of the reasons is that people think they know everything there is to know about running a club (or private) trip. News flash, if you've ever done any of the things listed below (all of which I've seen happen), you are much more incompetent than you think and should sign up.

  • Organized a trip to a summit and not actually known where the summit is (because you are too stupid to look at a map).
  • Ran a trip without looking at a map.
  • Ran a trip without taking a map.
  • Ran a trip from the wrong start location when more than one person has told you exactly where to start and how to get to the top of the mountain.
  • Ran a trip to any mountain on which you took only a section of the 1:250,000 map (could be used as fire starter or, at a pinch toilet paper, but serves no other purpose).
  • Been the trip leader and had no map, compass or GPS.
  • Been the trip leader where the only navigational device in the party was a GPS.
  • Left too late in the day.
  • Ran a trip with too large a party.
  • Taken people on your trip that had no hope in hell of actually completing the trip.
  • Used inept, inadequate and just plain stupid group management techniques that resulted in falls on rock, slips on snow, or people being lost, and parties separated. And, yes, it is your fault.
  • Used no group management techniques whatsoever with resultant falls on rock, slips on snow, people getting lost, and etc.
  • Failed to notice that participants on your trip could not manage the terrain resulting in a whole other series of falls on rock and slips on snow.
  • Put trips on the schedule that you don't have the ability to do. If you can't lead 5.5 in the mountains, don't put a 5.5 route on the schedule.
  • Thought an early start meant meeting at 7 am and starting to climb or ski at 10.30 am or later!
  • Watched anyone slide 200 metres down a 40 degree snow slope and not gone down to help them.
Recognize yourself?  Stupid is as stupid does.

This party is too large

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