Injury and bad weather
On most of our holidays you stay in a different place each night, such as on the Tour du Mont Blanc. If for any reason you don't wish to or are unable to walk, there is no need to worry. Your routecards tell you the local bus or train routes needed to reach the next staging post. Almost all stages have these local travel options, but just in case, you'll also find details of local taxi companies in your joining notes. Some huts are of course impossible to reach other than by walking, and we would find a good hotel for you.
Rearranging a night or two
If you would like to change your accommodation for a night or two, for example to swap a hut to a hotel, please ask us and we will try to arrange it. Generally we ask you to pay the new hotel directly and are unable to refund the missed night, but sometimes we can arrange a swap to the new accommodation at no cost or just the difference in cost. Alternatively, you are welcome to book your alternative hotel; please just let your original hut/hotel know, or let us know. Thank you.
Rearranging longer periods
It is generally not possible to change more than one or two nights, for example to put back a substantial part of the trek by a day. This is due to space being hard to find during the season and due to the time involved in rebooking things.
Leaving the trip
In a rare case, an injury or a development back home might prevent you from carrying on your route. Please let us know as soon as possible. We will let your remaining accommodation know that you won't be coming, help with any new hotels you need to get home, and give you a letter for your travel insurers to explain the portion of your trip that you missed and any extra hotel nights needed. In some cases we are able to refund some of your unused hut/hotel nights; we would let you know after the trip.
If you miss the start of your trip, perhaps because of a delayed flight, the best thing is to join your trip a day into the route. Please call us for advice.
Contacting us from your trip
Trekkers on the TMB in Italy
As an Alpine Exploratory client you are encouraged to contact us at any time with queries before, during and after your trip. Your info pack contains extensive details of how to contact us.
Dates and times
Our team will be on-call from 1 May to 16 September 2019 which encompasses our UK, Norwegian and Alpine seasons. During this period one or more of the team are on-call between the hours of 8am to 8pm UK time. In the Alps and Norway this is 9am to 9pm. By this time, we hope that all clients will be safely ensconced in their accommodation, enjoying a hearty meal or perhaps an after dinner drink. If something was outstanding after 8pm we would of course continue until the matter was resolved.
Examples of how we help
Most clients will go their entire trek without needing to contact us, which of course is the best outcome as this usually means that theyíre having a great time and things are running smoothly. Please do not hesitate to contact us, however, as we are here to help and make sure that everything goes to plan. This can mean even the smallest things. Some common requests are, for example: an injury which prevents a person from walking the next day; adding baggage transfer or extra bags; or an extra night being added onto a trip.
On-call is an integral part of our business; itís a crucial part of the service we provide to clients. During our on-call hours we are checking diligently for things coming in, so that if something were to happen we could give a fast response. Particularly if an injury is involved, we aim for the quick, comprehensive and professional response that we would hope for if we were walking. We therefore leap on issues as they come in and try to deal with them as efficiently as possible, using a combination of our protocols and our extensive experience on the routes we operate.
Ways to contact us
We think itís important to have a few ways to contact us and all receive the same response time. Some people prefer email, others the phone. It is ideal to trek with the ability to email on your phone, and your info pack suggest how to do this cheaply with local SIM cards, but virtually all hotels - and more and more huts - offer wifi. Sometimes there isnít enough signal in the more isolated mountains to make a clear phone call, so sending us a text message can work well. We monitor all channels so feel free to get in touch however suits you best.
Managing on-call in our office
We take turns on-call, sharing the evenings and weekend shifts out between our team. We appreciate being able to enjoy our hobbies and a social life in the fine Scottish Summer, including the fantastic festival month of August! On the weekends and evenings we normally work from home which means we can enjoy some relaxation if everything is quiet.
In the peak of Summer, it can be rather busy in the office. We think itís important that time on-call is balanced with the normal daily work of the office to keep stress to a minimum. Anyone who has worked a weekend on-call is given a day off during the following week.
We think itís important that our team is compensated for their time fairly and that on-call is recognised as an important part of our role, so our on-call time is paid as per normal work hours.
On-call can be a little daunting for new team members and we want everyone to feel confident to deal with any scenario that might arise over the Summer. The role sometimes requires quite specific geographical and procedural knowledge about a number of trekking routes. We have a shadowing system for any new team memberís first few shifts. A more experienced team member will be on-call simultaneously so that the new member can ask questions about how to approach an unfamiliar issue.
We have written operational protocols which we keep updated on how to best solve some of the more challenging scenarios we might encounter. We all recognise that trekking in the mountains carries risk and we want to be as prepared as possible for the worst situation: a lost or severely injured walker. Our emergency protocol is updated by the office team and our International Mountain Leaders, some of whom are current or former members of mountain rescue teams in the UK. We hope that such a call will never happen but we are prepared if it ever did.
After on-call we hand over anything from the weekend to the rest of the team on Monday. This ensures everyone is aware of anything that happened, what action we took, and anything that still needs resolved.