Guidelines for participants

These notes contain information about what to expect and what to bring on a Club trip, about the risks you may face in taking part in one of our activities and your obligations as a participant.  They cover similar topics to the Getting Started page, but in more detail.

How to make a booking

Once you have found a trip that interests you, check whether bookings are required or whether it is a no-need-to-book trip. If bookings are required, send your booking request as soon as possible. Many walks book out early. Ensure that your emergency contact details in your ‘My profile’ are up to date.

  • What’s On >> Current Activities
  • Browse the list till you find an activity that interests you
  • Hit the activity title (or the blue triangle, or the image) to see more detail
  • Note whether the activity is ‘Need to book’ or ‘No need to book’. If ‘Need to book’ = no, make a note of the meeting place and time. For all ‘no need to book’ walks except Wednesday Walks, just turn up.
  • If ‘Need to book’ = Yes, hit ‘Request a Booking’. If you are not a member or registered guest, hit ‘Continue as Guest’. If you are a member or registered guest, log in.
  • If this is your first activity with this leader, please describe your fitness level and experience in the ‘Comments’ box.
  • Hit ‘Send booking request’.
  • The leader will contact you.

Don’t hesitate to send an Inquiry to the Leader if you need any information about the walk, or equipment, or any other aspect.

Cancelling a booking

If you need to cancel, log in, go to ‘My Bookings’, select the activity and cancel it. The earlier you cancel, the sooner the Leader can re-allocate your place, if there is a waiting list.

Gradings, activity descriptions and assessing difficulty

Walks are graded by distance (short/medium/long) and difficulty of terrain (easy/medium/rough). We recommend that your first walk should be no harder than Medium length/Medium terrain. If you have not walked with the Club before, please describe your fitness and walking experience to the Leader when you book. The leader has the right to refuse your participation on any walk if they doubt your ability to do it.

Like the grading, the activity description is there to help you assess your ability to complete the activity comfortably and safely. So it is worthwhile reading the description!

Risks and your obligations

Bushwalking, like all outdoor activities, involves risks. The Club has policies and procedures to help manage risks, but you remain responsible for your own safety

On the day of the walk the Leader will give you the Club’s Acknowledgment of Risks and Obligations form (PDF) to sign. If you are not prepared to sign this form, you will not be permitted to go on the walk. The form requires you to acknowledge that your participation in a Club activity may expose you to known and unanticipated risks that could lead to injury, illness or death or to damage or loss of property.  These risks include, but are not restricted to, slips and falls, being hit by falling rocks, prolonged exposure to extremes of weather, drowning, burns, bites and stings and getting lost.

These risks cannot be eliminated without jeopardising the essential qualities of the activities carried out by the Club. You have an obligation to minimise these risks by ensuring, as far as possible, that any activity you do with the Club fits your experience, skills, fitness and confidence and that you are carrying food, water and equipment appropriate for the activity, including a compass, map(s), GPS if you have one and a first aid kit. The form also requires you to tell the leader if you are taking any medication, have any physical limitation or suffer from any condition that might affect your participation in a Club activity. In particular, you should tell the leader if you are asthmatic, epileptic or are allergic to insect stings or bites.  Asthmatics should carry a puffer. The leader will not disclose your medical information to others without your consent, except where necessary for your medical treatment or where the safety of the party would otherwise be compromised. You must take care to avoid acts or omissions which you can foresee could lead to injury to others or could place them at risk.  Your signature on the Acknowledgment of Risks and Obligations form (PDF) indicates that you have considered these risks and have advised the leader of any medical condition you have that the leader needs to know about.

Your leader may cancel an activity if they have concerns about the trip’s safety. Leaders are required by the Club to cancel activities in areas of Total Fire Ban, except activities that are within the urban area.

Duty of care

All participants in CBC activities owe a duty of care to other participants. If someone suffers injury or loss because you did not provide the level of care that a court considers reasonable in the circumstances, the court may require you to pay damages.

In assessing whether you provided an appropriate level of care, a court will consider:

  • whether you gave a warning about the hazard that contributed to the claimant’s loss or injury
  • whether the hazard was something inherent in the activity and/or should have been obvious to the claimant
  • whether the claimant themselves understood the risk (whether they signed the Club’s Acknowledgment of Risks and Obligations form is part of what the court may consider) and whether they should have taken more care
  • the relative levels of experience of the people involved.

Transport

On most walks there is a car pooling system with transport costs shared among all participants including drivers. This cost covers fuel and running costs of the vehicle. The current transport rate is 38c per kilometre. There may also be national park entry fees and camping fees.

The leader is responsible for making transport arrangements. The Club software will supply your address and contact details to the leader so you can be included in the car pool. The leaders will contact you about transport a few days before the walk. You should be prepared to offer your vehicle once you know how the car pooling system works. For more details please see the Transport Pooling Guidelines.

At the start of the walk

The leader will introduce the participants, show them the planned route on a map and answer questions. The leader will ask you to sign the Acknowledgment of Risks and Obligations form. The leader may ask another participant to act as a ‘back marker’ (i.e. walk at the back of the group to keep an eye on the slower walkers), particularly in larger groups.

On the walk

Participants who do not co-operate with leaders and other members of the party may be refused participation in other Club trips.

During the walk, you need to keep with the group. Stay in visual contact with the people immediately in front of you. If you lose contact, call out to those in front to stop and wait for those behind to catch up. You should not walk ahead of the group without the consent of the leader. You must tell the leader if you are not comfortable with the pace of the trip, if you become affected by heat, cold, illness or an injury, or if you have any other concerns.

The leader will stop from time to time to allow people to rest, go to the toilet and drink, with longer breaks for morning tea and lunch.  If you need to make an unscheduled stop, you must let the leader or ‘back marker’ know.

At the end of the walk, you will be asked to pay your driver for transport. The amount may differ from that advertised especially if some cars are not full. The group may stop for coffee or a meal on the way home.

After your first walk you will better understand your own fitness and that of others and the ‘style’ of your leader, all of which will help make the choice of your next walk easier. Some of the other people on the walk will probably recommend forthcoming trips to you!  If you enjoyed the walk, tell the leader!

Leaders

The Club has taken taken reasonable steps to ensure that your leader is capable of leading the activity in which you are taking part, but you must recognise that our leaders are volunteers and not paid guides and certainly not infallible.

Insurance

The Club has Public Liability insurance to protect the Club, its leaders and walk participants from claims for damages arising from injury and/or property damage caused by negligent acts committed on Club-operated activities. Personal accident insurance is your own responsibility.

Equipment, clothing and footwear

You should bring appropriate food, water and equipment for the trip in a suitable backpack. You should, as a courtesy to your driver, also bring a towel and spare clothes to change into at the end of the trip if you think you might get wet or dirty.  What you carry and wear on a trip will depend on the expected conditions. Club trips may take place in alpine areas, coastal areas and many places in-between. Temperatures in the Canberra area may exceed 30°C in summer and fall well below zero at night in winter. You may be exposed to rain or wind at any time of the year and it can snow in alpine areas even in summer. You must prepared to cope with conditions worse than those anticipated and with accidents and emergencies.

On day walks you will need to take your lunch, water, toilet paper and a plastic bag to carry it out, wet weather gear and a warm top.

Your gear for multi-day activities will normally include a tent, sleeping bag and fuel stove. The Club runs an equipment hire service for members and prospective members at nominal cost. Hiring equipment is a great way to get informed about equipment options and your first Club activities are an opportunity to observe the equipment of other walkers, who will readily give advice. The trip leader will advise if there is any particular equipment required on a trip.

The clothing that you wear needs to be appropriate for the conditions. In sustained cold, wet weather it is unrealistic to expect to stay dry.  Wool when wet and next to the skin becomes warm and is recommended. There are synthetic materials that are also quite good and which may dry more quickly. Cotton is always cold when wet and slow to dry-out but would be preferable in hot weather. Denim jeans are not a good choice for walking as they are cold when wet and cause chafing. Hats and gloves are also important for protection from the sun, wind and cold. Head covering is important in winter because most heat loss occurs from the head.

Wet weather gear must be carried on all trips. A Goretex jacket or one made of a similar membrane material is recommended. Proofed nylon does not provide adequate protection in extended wet weather.

Footwear is a very individual thing and the primary consideration is that it should be comfortable for you. Joggers and walking shoes are often satisfactory on easy walks, especially on tracks. If you are planning a longish walk, especially in rough conditions, you should probably use boots, which give better protection to your feet and provide better arch and ankle support. You should consider high grip footwear (e.g. Dunlop Volley tennis shoes) if the walk involves a lot of wet rock surfaces.

In deciding what to pack for a trip, you need to strike a balance between being well equipped and the weight in your pack. The Club has equipment checklists and your trip leader can advise you; but deciding what to pack is ultimately up to you. The leader will not inspect your pack to make sure that you have brought the right gear, but if you are obviously ill equipped, you may not be allowed to take part in the trip.

Food

People mostly cater for themselves. On some multi-day trips, the group may choose to share dinners.

On multi-day trips, cold breakfasts are the norm.  Lunches are seldom cooked but dinner is usually cooked, though this may not be possible due to rain or the risk of fire. What you cook should be capable of being easily prepared.

Weight is an important consideration on longer trips. As a guide, we recommend that people of average build aim to keep their total food weight below 1kg per day.  With careful kilojoule planning, it is possible to keep your food weight to about 600g per day. On multi-day walks, you should consider carrying enough food for an extra night out, in case there is an unplanned delay.

On multi-day walks, you should carry food of high calorific value, such as chocolate, nuts and dried fruit, and dried food such as instant soup and dehydrated dinners. Plastic containers or bags with snap locks are suitable for carrying most food. Liquids should be decanted into leak proof, unbreakable containers. Aluminium or plastic screw top containers are good for liquids or easily damaged items.  Glass containers and cans are not generally taken on walks.

Water

It is important to drink regularly to avoid becoming dehydrated. Water needs vary with body weight and the length and strenuousness of the trip, but two litres would be the minimum for a day trip. You should carry more if it is hot, even for a medium length walk.  On day trips, you should be able to carry all the water you need from home, but you should ask your leader about availability and purity of water on overnight trips.  Some walkers use drinks with electrolytes (such as Gatorade) in addition to water.

First Aid

You should take a first aid kit with any medication you are likely to require, and sunscreen, band-aids, elastic and triangular bandages, antiseptic, and an analgesic such as paracetamol.  For longer trips in remote areas, you should consider carrying medically prescribed antibiotics for your personal use.

We recommend that you carry a copy of the Club’s Emergency Information sheet in your first aid kit.  We also recommend that you undertake appropriate first aid training; the Club subsidises members to do so.

Packing your pack

On a weekend trip, you might aim to carry a pack of around l0kg or less in summer, a little more in winter.  For winter alpine trips your pack may weigh 15kg or more. You can often save weight by arranging beforehand to share a tent or cooking equipment.

It is important that the contents of your pack remain dry during the walk. Items should be placed inside a pack liner, often called a ‘canyon bag’.  Rain covers on the outside of your pack provide only limited protection, and should lot be relied upon for multi-day walks or ‘Wet’ grade walks. Two strong garbage bags make an inexpensive substitute for a canyon bag.

Most people put their sleeping bag at the bottom of their canyon bag, with items for use during the day closer to the top. Put softer items near your back. Don’t tie anything to the outside of your pack as it can be easily damaged or detached.

Minimal impact bushwalking

The Club has developed its own guidelines on Minimal Impact Bushwalking describing how to minimise erosion, how to bury your faeces and avoid contaminating watercourses. It also addresses issues like the use of fire and campsites and the removal of rubbish.  All participants in Club activities are requested to observe these guidelines.

Getting ‘unlost’

If you become separated from the party, call out immediately.  If there is no response, return to where you were last with the party, if you can confidently do so, as this is the first place they are likely to look for you.  Otherwise, remain where you are, sit down, have something to eat and think it out. The rest of the party will begin to search for you once they realise you are missing, and is unlikely to be far away.  Do not keep going if you are not absolutely sure of the party’s direction.

If you have your mobile phone and are in a location with reception, phone the leader or any other member of the party known to have a phone, or if you do not know their numbers turn the phone on so the rest of the party can phone you. Alternatively, call the Check-In Officer  – the number is on the Contact Us page or in the Newsletter.  Do not call in emergency services unless you have given the party reasonable time to find you and you are unable to make phone contact with anyone else on the trip or the Check-In Officer.

It is difficult to be specific about what to do if you are lost – it depends on your experience, the weather, the type of terrain, your fitness and your degree of disorientation. You must use your own judgement.  Determine as well as possible your location. If you decide to sit and wait, choose a prominent but sheltered place. Mark it well with bright colours contrasting with the bush so that you can be seen even if you are asleep. You should always keep your pack with you. If you expect to wait for some time, make sure you have ready access to drinking water. Do not wander around aimlessly! If you think the emergency services are searching for your campsite, you should stay there.

If you decide to move, head for a suitable landmark such as a road or hill and, if possible, keep to the ridges. Leave prominent messages giving your plans, the date and time.  If you get lost or delayed overnight or longer and then ‘unlose’ yourself, make sure you urgently contact the Club’s Check-In Officer to call off any search for you at the earliest opportunity.

What happens if an activity finishes late?

Late finishes are rare, but can happen. Before the walk, please let anyone who is likely to worry about your late return know that the first contact point is the Club’s Check-In Officer, not the police or National Parks service.

Training

The Club runs training courses in navigation and use of a GPS and will subsidise training in first aid. To see a list of upcoming training opportunities, go to Current Activities, select ‘Activity Type – Training’ and hit Search.

Kangaroo Creek, Carr Boyd Ranges, WA

Image: Kangaroo Creek, Carr Boyd Ranges, CBC trip 2014