Trek Leader Course
This course is highly subsidized, taught in Hindi and is only meant for underprivileged youth from the mountain states of India (documentation proof is required).

Duration: 16 Days
 WFA & CPR (Valid for 2 Years)

Adventure tourism is a growing industry in Uttarakhand. Whilst the growing number of travellers to the Western Himalayas are increasingly putting pressure on the ecology and the landscape of the area, this situation also provides local and rural youth with job opportunities. In becoming a guide, cook, or porter, young people are provided the means to generate an income and are able to continue to live in their hometowns and villages, reducing the exodus to the cities.

The Hanifl Centre’s Diploma in Outdoor and Environmental Education (Trek Leader Course) is a pioneering experiment started in 2012. Besides the hard skills in the use of ropes, knots and other hardware, we placed “soft skills” at the core of the training. We thought that Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics, understanding environmental issues, learning wilderness first aid, knowing how to cook and keeping personal hygiene standards during long treks were as important as knowing how to dress for rainy weather.

Course Details

The course focuses on the following skills to train youth from Uttarakhand and neighbouring states to both value their environment as well as install in them the knowledge and expertise to take a more eco-friendly and professional approach to their livelihoods. The following subject matter is covered on the course

  • Types of Ropes and their Specific Use
  • Handling & Storage of Ropes
  • Basic Knots and their Usage

During the first 3 days of the course, harness use & rappelling will be taught and emphasised. Additionally, types of Anchors & Anchor Systems will be introduced.

Topics like patient assessment & extended care, injury/ illness identification & management (shock, chest wounds, spinal injuries, head injuries, wounds, fractures, cold injuries, athletic injuries, heat injuries, lightning, altitude, drowning, anaphylaxis, bites, stings, basic patient care, moving injured patients, etc.) will be covered. During the trek, practice sessions will be done through role playing and scenarios. The entire WFA curriculum (minimum 16 hrs) & CPR (minimum 4 hrs) will be taught spread over the 16 days. Successful participants will get a WFA & a CPR card, valid for 2 years.

Topics like wound treatment and management, athletic injuries, exposure to cold & heat, basic patient care, moving injured patients, etc. will be covered during the first 5 days of the course. During the trek, practice sessions will be done through role playing and scenarios.

Knowledge of local flora and fauna and their English names. On-going discussions on the role of the Village Panchayat, Van Panchayat and how these bodies can directly affect the land surrounding villages.

Pack packing, campsite selection, tent pitching, staying warm & dry, cooking & stove use will be taught and discussed on a daily basis. Basics of compass use and map reading will also be covered.

The importance of personal hygiene and practices that lead to good health will be stressed daily. Contamination of food & water due to poor personal hygiene, personal grooming, being presentable, avoiding smell from sweat & especially shoes & feet will also be addressed daily.

Interpersonal skills. Dos & don’ts in behaviour with clients, e.g. be friendly yet give clients their personal space. Attention to details in camp, like a clean kitchen will be discussed as an “ongoing” subject.

Story telling & informed conversations to help a traveller relate to their new surroundings in a better manner, helping them be sensitive to different cultures, rituals and people.

The 7 principals of Leave No Trace Ethics ®; Plan Ahead and Prepare; Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces; Dispose Waste Properly; Leave What You Find; Minimize Camp Fire Impact; Respect Wildlife; & Be Considerate of others will be taught, discussed and practiced.

Causes for conflict; negative effects of conflict especially in a group scenario& Conflict Resolution will be addressed during the course.

Good & bad Expedition Behaviour will be taught with on-going examples to demonstrate how in a wilderness setting, when the going gets rough, bad behaviour can ruin a trip.

Tools on decision making will be discussed, keeping in mind the travellers’ point of view, their skill and fitness levels. Decision making with regards to trail conditions, weather and group strengths.

  • Tools on effective & meaningful communication with clients as well as co-workers.
  • Equipment care and maintenance
  • Care and maintenance of equipment like stoves, tents, zippers, climbing gear, etc. will be addressed.

Hazard identification and evaluation in the context of camp site selection, river crossings, landslide crossings, rock-fall areas, extreme exposures, etc. will be covered.

Credibility of these certificates: Hanifl Centre  has collaborated with Aerie Backcountry Medicine, Montana, U.S.A. to teach these courses in India. Aerie Backcountry Medicine  has worked with other organizations in the USA specializing in wilderness medicine (e.g., WMA and WMI of NOLS), and under the guidance of the Wilderness Medicine Society, evolved a Scope of Practice (SoP) for courses. Hence not only is its content whetted but there is a review system in place where this SoP stands to be modified from time to time. Aerie Backcountry Medicine trained Indian instructors through a 10-day ‘instructor’s course’. All students on that course have had significant field experience in the outdoors, were already qualified in an 80-hour Wilderness First Responder course and are currently ‘re-certified’ in the same.

This 16-day course format has the participants spending 5 days at the Hanifl Centre, learning about ropes, knots, anchor systems and first aid etc. The field portion is 10 days where other parts of the curriculum are covered. The last day is spent with cleaning and returning equipment, evaluations and graduation.

At the end of the course, each participant will receive a written course evaluation, a diploma and WFA & CPR cards. (WFA & CPR certification has a 2-year validity)

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