Covid-19 Protocols

Our Covid protocols are designed to keep our clients and guides safe, and they will be based on scientific facts and official guidelines.

This pandemic has been dynamic since the beginning, and I expect it to remain so in 2021. As the circumstances change throughout the season, our protocols will also change. I’m optimistic that mass vaccinations, widespread rapid testing, and effective therapeutics will effectively destroy this virus in 2021, but until real progress is made I’m looking at 2021 as being a continuation of 2020, when we operated Covid-free (as far as we know) during 24 trips with 173 clients.

Last updated: March 30, 2021

Individual behaviors

Before the trip

To prevent the spread of Covid within a group, the most effectively strategy is for clients and guides to simply not bring it into the field!

We will require that all participants (1) display no Covid-like symptoms at the Day 1 check-in and (2) confirm no known prolonged exposure to anyone Covid positive within 10 days of the trip. These requirements apply even if a participant has been vaccinated or has had Covid, since data currently suggests that a small percentage of these individuals can still contract the virus and/or they can still shed it.

The operational definition of “prolonged” refers to a cumulative time period of 15 or more minutes during a 24-hour period. The presence of extenuating factors (e.g., exposure in a confined space), could warrant more aggressive actions even if the cumulative duration is less than 15 minutes.

During this lead-up to the trip, take the steps necessary to reduce your risk, like by physically distancing, wearing a mask, keeping your pod small, washing your hands, etc.

If you are unwilling follow these measures, you should circle back in 2022 when it will be like 2019 again.

If you are exposed before your trip

If you are exposed within 11 days of your trip, immediately begin your quarantine and contact me. The CDC currently recommends that you can stop quarantining (and join the trip) after:

  • 10 days without symptoms, without a test; or,
  • 7 days without symptoms after a negative test.

If you are unable to join the trip due to exposure, we will get you on a future trip or roll your credit to the following year.

If you develop Covid symptoms before your trip

If you develop Covid symptoms (confirmed with a positive test, or not) within a month of your trip, contact me as soon as you’re able. The next steps will be conditional, and our goal will be to avoid any risk to your group.

Current CDC protocols indicate that infected individuals can be around others after:

  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
  • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

If you are unable to join the trip due to Covid, we will get you on a future trip or roll your credit to the following year.

Once in the field

Our chief goal is to not bring Covid into the field. But if it’s out there with us, additional measures should help prevent its spread. Clients and guides must:

  1. Remain physically distanced when practical;
  2. Wear a mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained; and,
  3. Wash hands before breakfasts and dinners.

Participants will be respected if they abide by more stringent measures (e.g. wearing a mask at all times), but they should expect others in their group to follow only the minimum behaviors defined above.

Program protocols

In addition to requiring certain behaviors of clients and guides, we will take mitigating steps of our own in operating the program.

Demo gear

Stove systems will be sanitized in hot soapy water after every trip.

Between trips, shelters and sleeping bags will be lightly sanitized and aired out for several hours, and have a 36-hour break between uses.

Sleeping pads will will not be used on two consecutive trips at the same location, creating a gap of at least five days, in excess of the known longevity of virus particles.