VTS’s trips immerse participants in wilderness variables that encourage and necessitate direct interaction with nature. The wilderness environments, and VTS’s activities that take place in those environments, have real dangers and have inherent and other risks. These risks could result in injury to person or property and can even result in death.
Inherent risks are those that are integral or intrinsic to the activity. Without inherent risk, the activity loses its essential character or benefit. VTS participants are exposed to these types of risks, including but not limited to those involved in using gas camping stoves, hiking on uneven trails with protruding rocks and procuring and drinking water from streams. During trips, unpredictable weather can also add certain risks. We are also subject to human risk factors such as error in judgment.
VTS has a goal of using sound outdoor recreation risk management practices. VTS strives to reasonably and responsibly manage risk and inform participants and others involved of the risks, knowing VTS cannot eliminate those risks. VTS tries to ensure that participants and all others involved understand that they share in the responsibility for their own wellbeing and for the wellbeing of others in the group.
VTS aims to have participants who understand their responsibilities, the trip activities and associated inherent and other risks. VTS provides participants with information pertaining to trip characteristics, required equipment and other aspects of their particular outing. VTS may also provide documents to participants, including but not limited to the Participant Agreement form, which includes Assumption of Risks & Release and Indemnity Agreements. Participants may also receive medical forms and any required third-party release forms. VTS wants participants to understand the importance of responsible behavior and good risk management practices. We believe this approach plays an important role in VTS’s risk management practices.
At VTS, the health and wellbeing of participants and staff are a top priority. The remote wilderness environment increases the complexity of most emergency scenarios. Most medical related injuries that might occur are treatable in the field and do not require evacuation. Other types of injuries, however, may require evacuation. It could take many hours to several days for an evacuation and to receive medical help. VTS guides are either certified as Wilderness First Responders or certified in Wilderness First Aid. VTS guides may carry a cell phone, satellite phone and/or a personal locator beacon for emergency communication use only, but these communication devices can be unreliable due to environmental factors.
Please contact us for additional information about Valley to Summit trips and associated risks, and participant responsibilities.
This Statement on Risk Management was crafted, and in part adopted, from information originating
from the National Outdoor Leadership School and the High Mountain Institute.