Flexibility and safety

Bushwalking and similar outdoor adventure activities such as ski touring, canoeing and rafting all contain elements of unpredictability. The weather may change quickly or a group member may have an accident. Plans must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate suddenly imposed difficulties.

Flexible planning does not mean incomplete planning. In fact, it goes beyond basic planning. You must first consider the points where some difficulties might arise, what those difficulties might be, and possible responses and their consequences. Experienced leaders seem to have a 'sixth sense' awareness of the areas or times when their group may be at risk.

Do not overdo the promotion of safety practices on a trip. People soon become bored by constant warnings of danger. It is much better to quietly note a hazard, explain how the group will avoid it and then steer them past the problem and onto some more positive feature.