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PCS Trip Leaders
PCS Trip leaders are members who volunteer their time in order to put PCS trips on the calendar. They plan the trip, interview and screen participants, and lead the party in the field. Trip leaders are responsible for the safety of the group. Although formal training is not required, trip leaders must be approved by the PCS Mountaineering Committee for the class of climb they wish to lead.
Requirements for Trip Leaders
The basic requirements for becoming a PCS trip leader are:
- At least eighteen years of age
- PCS member and Sierra Club member
- Currency* in a first aid class which is equivalent to or rated higher than American Red Cross Basic First Aid
- Currency* in the Sierra Club's Outings Leader Training - Basic ("OLT 101")
In addition, if a leader intends to lead a trip which involves an overnight stay in the wilderness, (s)he must complete the Sierra Club's OLT 201 course or its equivalent.
*Currency is defined as having met the requirement within the last four years.
PCS leadership status is granted on the basis of the general class of a climb. A leader may lead any trip at or below his or her class rating. There is a separate category for winter trip leaders.
Class 1: Walking on a trail or easy cross-country
Class 2: Scrambling; the hands are used for balance
Class 3: Climbing; the hands are needed for holding on
Class 4: Steeper climbing; a rope is usually needed
Class 5: Technical climbing; leader places intermediate protection
Winter: Snow & ice climbing, winter travel, avalanche awareness
The PCS Mountaineering Committee uses guidelines to help determine if an applicant is qualified to be a PCS leader for a given class. Ultimately, the committee chooses whether to grant or deny leadership to an individual for a given class on the basis of an assessment of that person's experience and judgement.