Valley To Summit
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“And this, our life exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

William Shakespeare

Frequently Asked Questions

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing:

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing – Ralph Stover

Outdoor Rappelling Adventure

Outdoor Rappelling Adventure – Ralph Stover

Whitewater Rafting:

Whitewater Rafting – Lower Lehigh

Multi Activity Schedule:

Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing – Ralph Stover


How many participants are permitted on a VTS trip?

VTS considers several different factors to determine how many participants are permitted on a trip. Some of the relevant factors include, for example, the type of trip, the location of the trip and the relevant regulations. In some cases, the number of participants may be limited in the range of 8 or 10, depending on trip location. For certain trips, such as whitewater rafting or frontcountry car camping, however, it may be possible to split a large group into two or more smaller sub-groups. There also may be certain accommodations for larger groups that want to backpack. Please contact VTS for more information if you have concerns or questions about group size and guide to participant ratios.

What are the sleeping arrangements on a VTS trip?

The sleeping arrangements are trip specific. You may sleep in a co-ed tent with two or three other group members. You may sleep in a backcountry hut or lean-to. You may even sleep in a hotel during different stages of your trip. Depending on the time of year and the weather, you may have a chance to sleep under a tarp or even sleep out in the open with nothing but the heavenly stars sparkling above you.

For most trips, you will need your own sleeping bag appropriate for the season and a sleeping pad, such as, for example, a foam or an inflatable Thermarest Pad.

What is the age range for people on a trip?

VTS trips are for youth and adults. Some trips will be geared towards a specific age range and those trips will specify the general age for that particular trip.  Please note that all minors must be accompanied by their parent(s) or guardian throughout the duration of the trip.

Does VTS do custom trips?

Yes. In addition to the specific trips offered on VTS’s website, VTS welcomes requests for custom and private trips. Custom trips are great for a group of friends, business partners, school groups, reunions or even families. Custom trips can include a preset trip that VTS offers or we can create a unique trip in collaboration with you to fit the group’s needs. The possibilities are endless. Please call VTS if you are interested in a custom trip.

May I sign up for a VTS trip with a friend?

You may sign up for a VTS trip with friends, but we cannot guarantee that you and your friends will be in the same tent/cooking groups every night and be partnered together in all activities everyday. While going on a VTS trip with friends can be an awesome experience, we want to be sensitive to inadvertently creating a situation where you and your friends interact to the exclusion of the rest of the group. We will be cognizant of your desire to bond with your friends and the need to balance that with the larger desire to establish good group dynamics amongst all participants on the trip.

Does VTS practice risk management?
Do VTS guides have any medical certifications?

Yes. All VTS guides are certified either as a Wilderness First Responder or in Wilderness First Aid.  Please note, however, that while the guides have these and potentially other certifications, they are only permitted to act within their scope of practice.

Does VTS permit participants to bring electronic devices with them on trips?

We strongly encourage and do challenge you to not bring any electronic devices with you once we hit the trail, river, climbing destination or wherever your trip might begin. If you choose to bring an electronic device en route to where your trip begins, VTS is not responsible for safeguarding the device, even if you leave it in a VTS van or other location. VTS shall not be liable in the event any electronic device is lost or stolen.

Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, communication devices such as cell phones/hand radios/walkie talkies, tablets such as ipads, music devices such as ipods/radios, gps devices and emergency communication devices such as personal locator beacons.

Interact with nature. Listen to the wind, birds, squirrels, rain, rivers and streams. Embrace the silence and stillness of solitude. Study the beauty of nature with your eyes, nose, hands and at times mouth. Talk and listen with your fellow participants. Bring reading material, cards and games. Bring a camera (but please do not use the instant social media upload function or otherwise send pictures/videos). Detach from work, from your daily schedule, from the daily grind. No emails to respond to, no meetings to reschedule and no social media updates; Just immersion into wilderness.

Is there an expectation for participants to tip VTS guides?

Simply put, no. But, hey, who doesn’t appreciate a tip in the service industry for doing a job well done. Tips are pooled and split evenly between your guides.

What is VTS's inclement weather policy?

We embrace the weather as part of nature and the environment in which we conduct our wilderness adventures. Rain, sun, wind, high and low temperatures, we will still do the scheduled trip, unless too many participants cancel. If we find ourselves in inclement weather while on the hike, we will strive to follow certain inclement weather guidelines as necessary, which may include changing the route, location, ending the trip early or waiting out the weather.

We monitor the weather closely and will cancel the trip or otherwise change the trip itinerary due to inclement weather when we believe the potential risks associated with the inclement weather outweigh the benefits of running or continuing the trip.

Does VTS provide confirmation emails for trip bookings?


What is VTS's cancellation policy?

  • If you cancel 7 days or more prior to the scheduled departure date, you may apply the value of your payment to any other VTS trips. All other cancellation/rescheduling requests will incur a $15 administrative fee. However, if you cancel the day before, there are no refunds or credits.
  • If VTS cancels your adventure due to circumstances beyond our own (e.g. weather or size of party), VTS will work with you to reschedule for no extra fees. If rescheduling is not possible, you will be reimbursed in full the total amount of your purchase, minus a $10 administrative fee.
  • Whitewater rafting trips have a different cancellation policy. Continue reading the Whitewater Rafting Frequently Asked Questions below for more details.


What do we wear?

In warmer weather, a swimsuit or shorts and T-shirt are best. A baseball cap, visor, or sunglasses are helpful in bright, sunny weather. Old sneakers or shoes that lace-up offer the best foot protection. Flip flops, loose-fitting sandals, “crocs” and bare feet are not permitted. Snug fitting sandals (like Tevas) that attach firmly at the toe and heel are acceptable, but don’t offer the same foot protection against sharp rocks as old sneakers do. You may rent wet suit booties on-site. If wearing glasses, be sure to secure them with reliable glass-straps.

In cooler conditions, a wool sweater or windbreaker is ideal. In cool or cold conditions avoid wearing cotton, either on its own, or under a wet suit or windbreaker. Wet suits and waterproof paddling gear can be rented on-site. (Rental fee is $20 for full wet suit package; or $6 for jacket; $6 for pants; $5 for booties and $3 for mittens.) Cotton, when wet, loses all insulation value and will make you colder, not warmer. A ski-type cap is helpful in colder weather, such as in early April or late October.

What can we bring?

In the raft, bring as little as possible. On the Lehigh River, a light lunch. (On warm summer days, we recommend you bring a small ice pack or frozen water bottle(s) to place in the water-tight lunch container inside your raft). If there is medication you might require, keep it with you on the river. Towels, dry clothes, valuables, alcohol, glass containers, pets and cameras (unless waterproof) should be left locked in your car.

How do we get back at the end of the day?

Your vehicle will remain at the raft launch site, and a free shuttle buses will take us to and from the river.

How deep is the water?

River depths vary. Slow, calmer stretches of water tend to be those that are deeper. Faster, choppy water tends to be shallow, often 4 feet deep or less. Regardless of the depth, however, if you should find yourself overboard in fast moving water, the proper procedure is to float on your back, feet pointed downstream. Don’t attempt to stand until the water is less than 18 inches deep. When you reach calmer water, swim toward a guide or nearby raft, or swim to shore.

Is there pre-trip instruction?

Your trip leader will review paddling and safety tips, such as how to sit in your raft (on the perimeter tube with both legs inside), how to hold your paddle, how to steer, the importance of avoiding rowdy behavior (the leading contributor to river injuries), keeping your life jacket on and buckled at all times except lunch stop, how to self rescue in rapids, leaning towards big rocks, but away from little ones, never splashing with your paddles, remaining seated and paddling as a team when entering rapids, never standing up in fast moving water, and so on.

Do I have to know how to swim?

Swimming ability is not required. Nevertheless, if you are especially apprehensive in or around water, you may want to consider one of our land-based adventures. Rafting, by its nature, places you on, in or around water most of the day. On all of our trips a PFD (life jacket) is worn at all times. Safety equipment will not fit all shapes and sizes, so please consider this in planning your reservations. Also, please remember that whitewater rafting is an active sport that requires some exertion on your part. The larger the rapids, the better your physical conditioning should be.

How big are the rapids?

Rapids are rated from Class I (easiest) to Class V (most challenging). Class VI is considered to be not navigable without unreasonable risk of injury. Our easiest trips feature Class I or II rapids. At the Lehigh River, it’s not uncommon to see Class III whitewater.

What do I do if I fall out of the raft?

Your first priority is to get back into the raft as quickly as possible. Grab onto the raft, or its carrying rope. Your raftmates should reach under your armpits and then lean backwards, helping pull you up and over the raft tube. You can help by kicking, just as if you were swimming.

What do I do if I fall out into the rapids and get separated from Mm raft?

Whatever you do, DO NOT STAND UP in moving water. The force of the water is powerful, even if only knee-deep. Instead, lie on your back, feet pointed down stream, and float through the rest of the rapids. Then in the next calm spot, you can swim back to your raft, or to whatever raft is closest.

Do I need experience?

No. Be sure to check minimum age requirements, though.

Is lunch provided?

Yes, lunch is included in the price of the trip.

What is the cancellation policy?

Unlike most of the other trips we offer, there are no refunds for a cancellation and you may not apply your payment to another trip in the future. Also, rafting trips are governed by strict launch schedules and there can be no refund for late arrivals or no-shows.