Modifying trip plans

Monitoring group circumstances, environmental conditions and changes in the weather will be of little value unless the leader makes practical, sensible use of the information gained to modify the trip plans for the ongoing enjoyment and safety of the group. When faced with slower progress, more difficult conditions or deteriorating weather, some of the options include:

  • seek alternative, more sheltered routes, camp sites and rest stops
  • shorten the trip
  • relocate off-track sections to tracked alternatives
  • make use of planned or other identified escape routes.

In the event that weather is better, or progress faster, some of the actions which could be considered include:

  • a packless side trip to an adjacent feature such as ridge, waterfall, or item of interest
  • an off-track alternative to a marked track section
  • a ridge route rather than a lower valley or intermediate height route.

One of the key ingredients of good leadership is the flexibility to modify plans in response to changing circumstances. The weather may change, the terrain may be tougher than anticipated or the group may not perform to the standard expected of them. Groups are rarely homogeneous, and leaders will always have to balance the needs of the less capable against those of the more demanding members.