Every year beginner groups as well as experienced groups run into the same common setbacks. In order for you as the coordinator to look like a professional and for a much smoother trip, read this advice in order to make your trip the best it can be.
Get everyone in the best shape possible - It sounds like common sense to get in shape for climbing a mountain, but most people neglect to do it. Impress upon your group, that in fact you are climbing a real mountain! The best way I have heard it put is that the trip is “neither easy nor impossible.” Make a workout list for participants and have scheduled work out times. Finally, use your best judgment on if a participant is mentally and physically capable of climbing a mountain. For most people, the trip will push them mentally and physically and in turn build them up spiritually. In extreme cases, there are people who are physically or, in many cases, mentally incapable of completing the trip.
Don’t drive through the night after the final day - Even though you come off the mountain around noon, the final day is filled with vital activities for wrapping up the week. If you plan to try to get out that night, it will only rush and ruin the day if not the trip. There are affordable places to stay at base camp and in Salida. If you really want to get down the road, travel to nearby cities such as Pueblo, Colorado Springs, or Trinidad. It will make the next day shorter and safer than traveling trough the night.
Make sure all the medical forms are compiled, signed, and completed - Check, double check, and triple check that you have every medical form and that every box is initialed and signed. Without this completed form a participant will not go on trail!
Also, many times a friend who happens to be a doctor will sign all of the medical forms. Make sure that your group gets the advice they need. There is a reason why a doctor’s signature is required. The number one way to keep your group safe is to make sure everyone is capable of completing a rigorous trip.
Get all the items on the gear list - Bring warm clothes. I cannot stress it enough—bring warm clothes and rain gear!! You are climbing a mountain and yes it is summer and many weeks are mild, but you never know when the bad weather will come. On many occasions the weather goes from 90 degrees to 30 degrees and snowing and back in the same day. Advise your group to have many layers to take with them up the mountain. Also note that it is essential that everyone has something that is waterproof to keep the rain out. Do not bring emergency ponchos, they do not hold up.
Have a positive laid back attitude - As a group coordinator, normally all of the responsibility of a trip is on you. The great part about our trips is that after you get the group here everything else is taken care of. For most group coordinators this is an easy transition, but a rare few have a hard time letting go. The guides are well trained and if you ever have any concerns don’t hesitate to pull them away from the group and ask them a question.
Don’t be afraid to tip your guides - After a week out on trail with our staff, most people are blown away by how much energy they put into your group. After such a week people often ask, “is it ok to tip my staff?” The answer of course is yes! Tips are always appreciated but never expected. Though rarely achieved by our guides, the industry standard is 10% of the cost of your entire trip for all of your guides combined. Many of these staff members make major financial sacrifices to serve you. Tips range from Wal-Mart gift cards, gear, cash, or even a framed picture to remember the group by. After the effort a staff member puts into your trip it feels good for the guides to be affirmed by their group.
To all our group coordinators, we want to thank you for putting a trip together. Without you it would not be possible for your group to experience such a trip! Hopefully these simple tips will make for a hassle free trip for yourself and your group.