It is often easier to speak of a team than to be one. The team is nothing more than a grouping of
George, as the initiator and "leader" of the group was in a position of delicate authority. I say
delicate because in a situation such as this a leader actually has no authority at all. The ability to
lead hinges purely on the willingness of all to accept leadership that is offered. Within a group of
strong willed individuals, some with more experience than others, there are times when a
difference of opinion arises. With all the members having done many hikes before, there were few if
any who believed they were dependent on others to complete a days walk or the hike itself. As
such, on certain occasions multiple groups followed multiple routes despite initial ground rules
requesting the team stay together. I know of traverses where mutiny occurs and the group has
chosen to ignore the leader altogether. In certain scenarios I believe the leader must exercise a
casting vote and make the final call if the team does not reach consensus. Other than that, if the
team functions well, the leader can act as and be the same as any other member of the group.
George did this well. At different times different members led the way. Route changes were
generally agreed on and consideration was given to the views of each member.
This raises the point of ground rules for the hike. Apart from agreeing start times, break times, and
end points for each day, there is little else to agree on. Common sense should prevail. If the
weather is fair and unchanging the group can spread out over a larger area. If the weather is
changing or poor, the group stresses are better managed by staying close. The leader has no
authority to expel a member from the team or prevent him from staying with the group. This position
should not arise if all behave maturely, managing their own internal conflicts and responses to
Complaining and grumbling are counter productive. Constantly highlighting one's pain or problems
does not achieve anything. The hike must continue unless severe challenges exist. Aches and
pains are private experiences that should not be harped on. Address the condition as best as one
can and get on with it.
Team selection is probably one of the most important aspects of traverse preparation.
Fortunately our group experienced limited challenges from a physical perspective and the fair
weather prevented major conflicts associated with team dynamics. There were some challenges
but maturity prevailed and we moved on beyond the conflicts.
One of the things we did at the end of most days was to get the team to come together in a
circular embrace or huddle and end the days walk. I suggested we should use this time to
symbolically cast our grudges and negative emotions on the floor in the circle between us before
we all stamped our feet as a means of putting problems behind us. It was interesting to me that
there were days where I had difficulty letting go. I was sometimes reluctant to stamp my foot down
in the circle and move on. Silly, but interesting.