Otago Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Leading an OSONZAC trip

One of the primary activities of the OSONZAC is to organize trips for its members. These trips are a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to the area, go to cool places, and learn new skills. These club trips are instigated, organized, and led entirely by volunteer club members. The section is always looking for more members who are willing to lead trips, but, in order to safeguard our members and our reputation, we have instituted a simple vetting procedure ensure that new trip leaders are able to plan and execute appropriate trips. Below are five steps necessary for becoming a trip leader.

  1. Become a member of the New Zealand Alpine Club. Organizing a section trip is reserved for members only.
  2. Go on at least two club trips. This will let you see how club trips are organized, both in the planning stages and in their execution. This also lets an existing trip leader make sure that you are competent. Ideally, if you are looking to lead particular kinds of trips, such as a ski touring trip, then you should go on a ski touring or mountaineering trip beforehand.
  3. Contact the section committee and let them know that you are interested in leading trips for the club and some of the club trips that you have been on. A committee member will get in touch with the organizers of the events that you have been on and see if they will vouch for you as someone who could capably lead a club trip. You can contact the committee directly at
  4. Familiarize yourself with the NZAC trip leader guidelines. These can be found at the main Alpine Club website. The trip planning form/tool on this website will lead you through the information that you need to consider when planning a trip.
  5. Plan a trip! You will be able to create an event using this website when you are logged-in using the "New Section Event" button. Your first couple of trips may need to be approved by the event coordinator or other committee member. Once your event has been approved, an email will be sent to all registered members who have indicated that they are interested in that kind of trip.

Trip Policies

Trip difficulty/risk

Generally speaking, club trips should be relatively low risk. As an example, mountaineering trips should be alpine grade 2 or lower. Trips planned for harder/riskier objectives are unlikely to meet with approval from the trip coordinator or the committee. Ski touring/tramping/rock climbing trips are subject to a similar risk assessment. If you wish to lead a more difficult trip, contact the trip coordinator directly and discuss it with them beforehand, otherwise your trip may be suspended.

Emergency communications

The New Zealand Alpine Club has a policy that all club trips must have "field communications," so that you can call for help if necessary. If you are planning a trip that remains within mobile phone coverage, then a simple mobile phone will suffice. Otherwise, you will need a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon (PLB) or equivalent. The section has a number of these that can be borrowed by trip leaders.

Let the committee know that you are back safely

When you get back from the trip, you should let the committee know that you have returned safely: a text message to one of the committee members is sufficient, as is an email to the committee email address.