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 it will be a significant safety consideration until then.

Last updated: August 10, 2021

Vaccinations

All guides are required to be fully vaccinated, unless they have a religious or health exemption.

Participants are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated, and will be required to disclose their vaccination status as part of their health history.

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.

If you are vaccinated or unvaccinated

We will require that all participants display no Covid-like symptoms at the Day 1 check-in.

Please be respectful of participants who abide by more stringent measures than required (e.g. wearing a mask at all times).

If you are vaccinated

“Breakthrough” cases are rare but not impossible. So starting 10 days before your trip, reduce your Covid risk when possible, especially if you reside in an area with high and increasing case counts.

If you contract Covid, you will be unable to participate in the trip, even if you have mild or no symptoms. And that’d be a big disappointment for you and us.

If you are not vaccinated

I am responsible for keeping guides and other participants safe, and my preference is that every group member be fully vaccinated. Whatever your concerns are about the risks, those risks are probably less severe and less common than the risks of you having Covid in the backcountry, tens of miles and thousands of vertical feet from medical help.

If you are not fully vaccinated, that’s your decision, but we expect you to follow pre-vaccine era behaviors to reduce the risk of you contracting and spreading Covid.

Before the trip

All unvaccinated participants must confirm no known prolonged exposure to anyone Covid positive within 10 days of the trip.

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 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.

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. Unvaccinated clients 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.

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.