Become a leader
QI’m due to climb Scafell Pike soon with a group of friends. None of them are regular walkers and they will be relying on me for navigation, but they have varying levels of ability and fitness. Should we all try to stick together or should everyone go at their own pace?
Rob says When leading a group of walkers many different skills and talents must come into play. There are the obvious technical skills, such as navigation, route finding, scrambling over steep ground and gear and equipment knowledge. There are also softer skills, which are much harder to teach and take experience to develop. These skills include having empathy for your group, and understanding and managing varying expectations, fitness levels, abilities, wants and needs.
These softer skills separate a leader from a good leader, and you will rely on them for the scenario in question. Most problems can be avoided by good planning and preparation, so make sure the chosen route is suitable for the whole group and appropriate for the weather and conditions – don’t be too rigid with your plans pre-walk.
Try to get everyone involved in the planning and route finding, and agree on stopping points along the way. On the day, make it clear the group will be walking as a team, and part of the fun will be in sharing the route and all that’s seen along the way! Highlight the fact that people will inevitably peak and trough, emotionally and physically, at different times in the day – but work collectively and the experience should be greater for all involved.
Stress that weather changes can happen quickly and a group that stays together will avoid losing anyone off the back or the front if visibility drops. A slow and steady pace will ultimately be most efficient. If everyone is able to keep moving rather than having lots of stop-starts then the summit will be reached in no time!