Steve's Climbing Partner Expectations

Revised 10 Oct 1998
by Steve Eckert

On a 1998 climbing trip we had a good mix of "old hands" and "new folks"... who did a pretty good job of talking through all their differences in expectations about how a trip should go. It was clear that we all had different ideas about different aspects of the trip. Near the end of the trip we talked about putting together a checklist for finding out whether the people on your trip do things the way you expect. This document is the result.

It may make people uncomfortable to talk about it but better uncomfortable than angry and upset when a misunderstanding of expectations occurs.

For a blank template, including some observed norms, please see:

The owner of the carpool vehicle
  -  gets reimbursed for _____% of the gas actually used
 ==> charges __10__ cents per mile per rider
  -  charges ______ cents per mile split between the riders
  -  charges a flat rate of $______ for the trip

If carpool participants are charged by the mile the per-rider rate
  -  should be independant of the number of riders
 ==> should be lower with more riders

When carpooling, you should expect to eat dinner
  -  before you meet
  -  in the car after stopping for fast food
 ==> at a sit-down restaurant along the way

When carpooling, you should expect to be able to
  -  eat snacks in the car
  -  drink from a bottle with a screw top in the car
  -  drink from a fast food cup or pop-top can in the car
  -  smoke in the car
 ==> none of the above unless the driver says OK

When carpooling, you should expect to sleep
 ==> at the trailhead even if there is no camping allowed
  -  at a campground along the way where you have to pay
  -  part way to the trailhead, with an early morning drive

When carpooling, you should expect the driving to be
  -  done entirely by the driver
 ==> split between the owner and those who are approved by the owner

The permit cost (generally $3 per person reserved) should be
  -  split among those who ACTUALLY go on the trip
 ==> split among those who SIGN UP for the trip even if they cancel
  -  paid for by the leader

You should get to the trailhead
  -  when the leader plans to meet so you can eat and pack
 ==> when the leader said to be ready, with your pack, ready to walk

You should expect to start hiking after a night on the trail
 ==> at a pre-arranged time of day, no matter how long it takes to get up
  -  at a pre-arranged number of minutes after the leader wakes you up
  -  after you have had enough sleep to be comfortable

You should expect to get back to your car
  -  when your driver wants to, even if the trip is cut short
  -  when the entire group returns to the trailhead
 ==> after climbing the last scheduled peak, even if it's late
  -  in time to drive home befor dinner on the last day of the trip
  -  before ______ AM/PM on the last day of the trip

When leaving the group, participants are expected to
  -  leave at any time they wish, going ahead or staying behind
 ==> notify the leader and sign out before leaving
  -  get concensus from all participants before leaving

If someone can't keep up, they should
 ==> stay behind and/or climb alone
  -  set the pace for the entire group
  -  split the group into different speed sub-groups
  -  turn around and go back to the trailhead

If someone has a water filter, it should
 ==> be used by that person alone
  -  becomes group gear in an emergency
  -  be shared by everyone who wants it
  -  be shared by those who agree to carry it in advance

If someone has a good (or heavy) first aid kit, others should
 ==> carry their own and use only what they bring
  -  assume they can use anyone's kit, unless they will use up supplies
  -  assume they can use anyone's kit, even if they use up supplies
  -  take turns carrying the heavy one as group gear

If someone has a GPS, HAM radio, or cell phone, it is
  -  a bad thing to take into the wilderness, and should be left at home
  -  personal gear like a camera and the owner carries it
 ==> group gear (like a rope), and group weight is shared
  -  group gear only if it is needed, and weight is not shared

If someone runs out of sunscreen, bug juice, fuel, etc, they should
  -  tough it out or go home early
  -  beg or borrow only in an emergency
  -  ask nicely but don't demand that others make up the shortage
  -  expect others to happily make up the shortage
 ==> pay for what they need at _3_ times the retail price

Dinners other than while driving should be
  -  provided by the leader (group comisary)
  -  shared by those sharing a stove
 ==> packed and prepared by each person

The person who provides a shared stove should
 ==> bring a pot for heating water only
  -  bring a pot for cooking food in
  -  assume the pot(s) will be provided by someone else

If you plan to cook food in a pot (vs. just heating water) you should
  -  plan on using the group pot, even if others just want hot water
 ==> bring your own pot even if there is a group pot

If the car breaks down
  -  everyone splits the cost
 ==> the owner (or their insurance) pays the cost
  -  the person driving (or their insurance) pays the cost
  -  the person driving pays the cost if the driver is at fault

If the car is damaged (pothole, animal, accident) while driving
  -  everyone splits the cost
 ==> the owner (or their insurance) pays the cost 
  -  the person driving (or their insurance) pays the cost

If the car is damaged (while parked) by an animal
  -  everyone splits the cost
 ==> the owner (or their insurance) pays the cost
  -  the person(s) who left food in the car pay(s) the cost

If the driver gets a speeding ticket
  -  the owner pays even not driving
 ==> the driver pays even if told to drive faster
  -  the driver gets a record, everyone else pays
  -  everyone splits the cost

If the car is driven or parked illegally and gets a ticket
  -  the person who drove pays even if told where to go
 ==> those who decided where to go pay, those who disagreed do not
  -  the owner pays
  -  everyone splits the cost

If shared gear (stove, rope, filter, tent) is damaged or lost
  -  the owner has to live with(out) it or replace/repair it
  -  the person(s) using at the time pay full cost to replace/repair
 ==> the person(s) using buy the item at depreciated value

If shared gear wears out from "natural causes" and not damage
 ==> the owner has to replace
  -  the person(s) using at the time pay full cost to replace
  -  the person(s) using buy damaged item at depreciated value

Expensive shared gear like expedition tents and should be
  -  used at no charge (just take turns)
 ==> paid for based on estimated life (200 nights ==> $4/night, etc.)