Becoming a Sierra Club Outings Leader


Hikers on the Gabrielino Traiol

Becoming a Leader for the Sierra Club can be a very rewarding experience.  Not only will you select when or where you wish to lead, but you will share your knowledge and enjoyment of the outdoors with others. 

Sierra Club outings range from social activities, such as going to dinner and a movie, to extreme mountaineering and everything in-between.  Most outings are led at the O-level, which is on trail and “uncomplicated” (including bike rides, city walks, trail hikes not requiring extensive navigation skills).  Leadership ratings can also be O-2 (which is overnight backpacking on trail), I-level (cross country travel requiring navigation skills), M-level (climbing that may require belay on rock, or ice axe when on snow), or E-level (more exposure requiring climbing gear and crampons).

We will focus here on leading at the introductory O-level.  Prospective leaders must meet the following basic requirements.

  • be a Sierra Club member in good standing
  • attend five (5) Sierra Club hikes at the O-level
  • attend the one-day LTC (Leadership Training Course)
  • complete CPR and Basic First Aid
  • After those requirements are met, they must lead one provisional outing with a Sierra Club check-off leader  

Once a leader’s status is approved, then they can submit write-ups to lead outings at their rated level, with at least one other leader (who is also rated at that level). 

The best way to get started on this journey is to talk to the Outings Chair of your local group, section, or committee that you want to lead for.  They can direct you as to when/where the various courses and outings are, and where to attend First Aid/CPR.  They can also help you find a check-off leader.

The first step would be to attend the LTC class, a one-day course that is offered multiple times per year.  Registration two weeks in advance is required.  LTC staff will provide the necessary information regarding the skills and requirements needed to become a Sierra Club leader, including practice of potential scenarios encountered on outings and how to handle them.  Please contact for further information and to sign up.

Should you have questions or comments about any of this, please feel free to contact us. 

Sylvie Cote & Todd ClarkI-rated Sierra Club leaders, Sierra Sage Outing co-chairs