Matchng groups to trips

Correct matching of participant experience and activity difficulty will ensure maximum satisfaction and safety for the participants. Mismatching the participants and or the leader to the difficulty of the activity can lead a group into fear, terror, or worse, into real risk.

For matching groups to trips consider the example of a club ski tour. An overnight trip was planned and advertised for intermediate to experienced ski tourers. The planned route was a round trip from Guthega village in New South Wales, up Pound’s Creek to the Main Range, along the range, down via Blue Lake to the suspension bridge over the Snowy River and back to Guthega. In good weather with firm but not icy snow, this would be a challenging trip. If conditions are icy, the difficulty increases; if the weather is poor, this further increases the difficulty. The skills and experience required by all participants in the group include good pack-carrying technique, experience in snow camping, good fitness and enough general experience to believe in their own ability to do the trip.

As shown in Figure 6.2, a good match between all participants and the actual trip in favourable snow and weather conditions (Situation 1) results in all members of the group feeling that it was an adventure or a peak adventure.

Situation 2 shows another possible outcome where the mismatch of the group to the trip due to terrible snow and weather conditions, leads most of the group into fear and some into terror. Another possible outcome is Situation 3, where a mismatch within the group, stemming from lack of experience and skill by some members leads some of the group to feel fear or terror, while others feel bored or have only a low level of interest.

Figure 6.2 Interaction of perceived risk, experience of the group and trip outcome.