Legal liability considerations

When accepting people on your trip, especially if the person is unknown to you, or you have doubts about their ability to cope, it is strongly suggested from a legal liability point of view that the leader should describe the trip, including potential difficulties and dangers as fully as possible. This might include river crossings, ledge walking, icy snow, camping in snow, blizzards, hot dry conditions and so on. It is strongly suggested that leaders should not accept someone for a trip if they have doubts about the person’s ability to cope. Not only will the person potentially endanger themselves and the rest of the group, they will make the leader’s job harder, and in any case, the person concerned will probably have a horrible time.

If the person is an adult, and is participating as a volunteer (not under some arrangement with payment for the leader’s services) and the leader decides to accept them, the leader could say something like ‘From what you say, it appears you would probably be OK, but I don’t know you, and you must decide if you can cope. You are coming on this trip as a volunteer, and as such, you are taking the responsibility for the decision to participate.’

There is more discussion of legal issues in Part 8.