Steps to Leadership

Hikers on forest trailThe Basics for Candidates 

Angeles Chapter Outings Ratings: Per the Angeles Chapter Safety Policy, a system of classifying outings has been established in the Angeles Chapter according to 6 levels of difficulty (C, O, I, M, E, T).  Angeles is the only Chapter with this system. Five of these levels correspond to leader certification levels (O, I, M, E, T) as described below:

Level C (Conducted): Certain outings are conducted almost entirely under external control, such as by a concessionaire or ranger. During a conducted outing, the Sierra Club leader has little responsibility beyond administrative matters. Organizers of conducted outings require only minimal leader qualifications and, therefore, conducted outings are not included in the leader certification system.

Level O (Ordinary): O-Level outings are trips on trails or off trail with no navigation or terrain difficulty (class 1) and require basic technical skills of outings leaders and participants. New leaders who have not led a backpack as a provisional leader are identified as O Level 1 (O-1) leaders who may lead day hikes and car camps but not backpacks. Such O-1 leaders may subsequently upgrade to O Level 2 (O-2) status by completing a provisional lead of a backpack.

Level I (Intermediate): I-Level outings include cross-country travel and possibly class 2 terrain. Leader qualifications shall include demonstrated navigation, cross-country travel, and backpacking skills in addition to the O-level requirements.

Level M (Moderate): Outings that involve class 3 rock or snow travel requiring the use of an ice axe shall be classed as M. Technical training in rock climbing and snow travel is required in addition to lower-level requirements. Leaders may be rated full M (both rock and snow), M-Rock, or M-Snow.

Level E (Exposed): Outings that involve greater than class 3 rock or snow travel that requires the use of crampons in addition to ice axe for safety shall be classed E. Leaders are required to demonstrate more advanced skills involving rock climbing and snow travel than are required for level M. Leaders may be rated full E (both rock and snow), E-Rock, or E-Snow.

Level T (Technical): T-Level outings involve specialized technical skills (for example, sailing, kayaking, or ski mountaineering). These outings impose highly specialized leadership requirements, and certification of leadership qualifications shall be in accordance with the requirements defined by the entities that sponsor such outings.

Requirements for Candidates:

  1. Be a current Sierra Club member and at least 18 years old.
  2. Attend a Seminar and pass the written exam, including reading the materials and doing the online OLT.
  3. Have current CPR and First Aid. For Club purposes these will expire as of the expiration date of the card. See also our First Aid page.  We require an in-person or blended class for first time and during renewing cycle.
    1. A "Blended" class such as from American Red Cross (ARC) or American Heart Association (AHA) is acceptable as long as it has an in-person skills assessment component. Online alone is only acceptable once you are rated and every 2x after an in-person class. 
  4. Experience: go on at least five Angeles Chapter outings within the last ten years. For O-2 ratings, at least one experience trip needs to be an overnight backpack. For I level ratings, at least three experience trips must be at the I level (cross-country component) with one a backpack.   *See Experience items below.
  5. Be designated as a Provisional Leader. Leadership Training Committee (LTC) Administrators do this after you have completed the above requirements.  If you are no longer current with your requirements  at the time you plan your provisional, you'll be reminded to refresh certifications and/or membership.
  6. Plan your Provisional! Work with your sponsoring entity to schedule and help you find an evaluator. See below for more on those provisionals. For I provisionals, check the I Rating page for information on navigation and other components for you and your evaluator.
  7. Lead your trip! Turn in your evaluations and wait for LTC and Safety to complete your rating.
Notes about those experience outings requirements.
  • Candidates with Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) experience. Students and Grads: we count one of your Course Outings towards the experience requirement: either Snow Camp (I rated backpack) or Rock Day (M-rock rated, depending on destination), plus your WTC experience backpacks and other hikes.  WTC instructors: we count one trip as above from your student year and the other from a staff year, plus your other experience trips. We do not count the other course outings because they are conducted differently than regular Chapter outings.
  • Training events as experience.  Technical checkoffs (rock, snow, navigation, etc.) do NOT count as experience outings. Exception: a training event led as a group hike will count, e.g. navigation practice hike to a destination. Ask us!
Want to up your rating or go for that M or E? (We do recommend starting with O first so that you can demonstrate group management skills.)
Already a Leader? Want to Refresh that Rating? 
Discover the Chapter's Activity Sections and imagine more possibilities for leadership.
Here is a chart of requirements as in the Leaders Reference Book. See the LRB Page.

Summary chart

For the O-1 level, the provisional outing is a day hike or car camp.
For the O-2: an overnight backpack.
For an I: one trip must be a backpack with significant cross-country wilderness travel, and the other may be a day hike, with same.
For M Rock and M Snow: 1 outing if you are already an "I" rated leader and one each for a "full" M rating.  An additional outing is required if you are not an "I" rated leader. See M/E ratings for additional information.
For E Rock and E Snow: 2 outings if you are already a rated I or M leader. For "full” E, one additional outing.
Want to learn more? Visit the other pages on this site and learn about our program. If you have been given "access' to Campfire Events - the online method of entering events that outings chairs coordinate - you can learn how to do it on our Campfire Events page. 

Visit Trip Planning for guidelines, ideas and Rules of Conduct.

About Those Provisionals

New candidates will learn what these are during the Seminar as well as reading the Leader's Reference Book (LRB). On your way to leadership? Again, refer to that LRB, ask LTC Admin Team, and your outings chair for your sponsoring group, section, committee or task force. We like to see unique and personalized write-ups for destinations you want to go within the rating you are seeking. For that O-1, you won't be jumping in to lead a recurring conditioning hike as your provisional, for instance. You'll plan your own. For I and beyond, similar guidelines apply: create your own. Or, if going to a familiar destination, don't copy; instead, create your own write-up and enticement to lure (screened) participants. 

O-1: lead one day hike or car camp outing. O-2: lead one overnight backpack on-trail.

I: two I-rated trips with significant off-trail component, one must be a backpack. Consult with LTC Admin to ensure your route plans meet the I rating standards. See I Rating page

M & E - see Advanced Ratings.

Want pointers on Provisionals? see this excerpt from LRB:  Pointers on Provisionals.  More guidelines for I ratings on I Rating page.

Want to know more about what outings chairs have to know about provisionals? Go to Provisionals and Recruiting page.