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How Hiking Guides Are Trained in Taiwan

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: January 5 , 2021
Disclaimer: Please note some of the following are based on my personal condition, and I will try to provide the latest and correct information as possible as I can. Please feel free to let me know if I make any mistake and thank you for reading. Please also note that your safety is your own responsibility.
LOHAS is a non-profit organization. I am a member of LOHAS, but I'm not affiliated with them. Those are from my experiences hiking with their guides.

The Government Regulations about Outdoor Activity Guides

According to the regulations, there are four kinds of hiking guide certificates: hiking, river tracing, rock climbing and ice climbing. To obtain the qualifications, the perquisites to be qualification are the prospective guides must be older than 18 years old and have no criminal records and need to have at least 24-hour indoor training for related knowledge and 24-hour outdoor training, Basic Life Support (BLS) training at least for 8 hours and others. To obtain hiking guide qualification, you can also sign up for the training organized by registered hiking associations.
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Good and professional hiking guides are important to ensure the safety on the trails, especially on the rugged terrains.

How Taiwan Mountain LOHAS Association trains their guides for Suburban and Middle Range Mountains

I had some bad hiking group experiences when I first started hiking, and later I realized some of them weren’t qualified at all. So, I started wondering how those hiking associations train their guides. Taiwan Mountain LOHAS Association is very kind to provide the details of their training and pictures. 
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LOHAS has been training many hiking guides for more than 10 years.
Taiwan Mountain LOHAS Association requires participants to spend at least 2 and half months training before passing the tests. The recruitment holds every year. LOHAS also has another training for guides who will take the hikes to the 100 Peaks, and they recruit new guides from current qualified ones every three years.
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Reading maps is a must have skill for hiking guides.

The Training Curriculum Provided by LOHAS

"For those who enjoy hiking in Taiwan, if you can establish correct trekking skills that serve the special trail terrains in Taiwan, you not only can protect yourself from potential dangers but also can help your fellow hikers to embrace the nature furthermore. LOHAS believes only through the strict training led by qualified trainers in the harsh outdoor trails can establish qualified hiking guides to ensure the safety of hiking mates. As long as you are willing to devote 2 and half months, you will learn the lifelong hiking skills and have a group of like-minded buddies being there for you through the thick and thin."
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Trainees were learning how to start a fire in the wild.
Training Purpose Establish trekking and team management skills to become LOHAS’ qualified hiking guides for Suburban and Mid-range Mountains.
Training Period From April to June
Indoor Training: 19:30 – 22:30 pm on every Tuesday and Thursday
Outdoor Training: Every Saturday and Sunday. Participants need to stay in the wild every Saturday night. Some training requires participants to stay overnight on Friday.
Training Venues Indoor: LOHAS office
Outdoor: Trails in northern Taiwan
Training Fees Miscellaneous fee: NT$1,000
Deposit: NT$3,000. Deposit will be refunded after participants receive the qualifications within the required time.
Qualifications Please join the required briefing so you can sign up for the physical fitness tests. Once you pass the tests, you are qualified to start the training.
Maximum Number of Participants 20 people
Briefings There will be two briefings and the maximum number of participants is 40 people for each. Please sign up as soon as possible.
Briefing Venue LOHAS office
How to Sign Up Fill out the form to attend the briefing section. Please contact LOHAS if you have any inquiries.
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Rock climbing
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River tracing
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If an accident happens, guides need to know how to take care of the injured hiker and call for a help.
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A more advanced training to become a guide to hike 100 Peaks in Taiwan.

LOHAS Training Schedule for Hiking Guides

1. Participants Registration and Introduction of Gear Participants register and pay fees. Introduce the clothing and gear for training.
2. Training Opening LOHAS director and the lead instructor explain the training rules and matters needing attention.
3. Knotting Introduction of knotting, and practice and applications of six main knot tying skills.
4. Mountain Weather Introduction of mountain meteorology and how to interpret the weather forecast and data from Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan for hiking.
5. BLS Training from Red Cross Taiwan Red Cross instructors give the training of providing CPR, treating fracture and injuries, bandaging, and immobilizing, etc.
6. Camping Skills How to find and lay out a campsite, pitch a tarp or tent, set up a campfire and cook, how to stay warm, and learn knotting skills for camping, etc.
7. Hiking Communication and using portable handheld two-way radios How to use portable handheld two-way radios (walkie-talkie) and how to call for help.
8. Outdoor Camping Camping: set up and lay out a camp site, set up a campfire and cook meals, how to send smoke signals, and clean up the campsite.
9. Use Maps and Compass Introduction of maps and compass, how to use a compass and an altimeter.
10. Orientation and Navigation How to use a compass to orient the map, how to read a topographic to visualize the terrains and heights to navigate and march on the trail.
11. Outdoor: Orientation and Navigation Outdoor navigation courses using maps and compasses.
12. How to Read a Map 1/2 How to prepare, read, report and navigate maps.
13. How to Read a Map 2/2 How to prepare, read, report and navigate maps.
14. Outdoor: Orientation and Navigation How to use a compass, an altimeter, and a map to orient and navigate in the woods.
15. Discussion and Review of Orientation and Navigation Discussion and reviews.
16. Hiking Guides’ Responsibilities and Team Management Guides’ responsibilities, team management and people skills, and how to react and deal with different situations, etc.
17. Hiking Ethics Hiking ethics
18. Outdoor: How to Traverse in the Woods Orientation and navigation with maps in the real-world situations, how to deal with accidents, emergency drills, team management skills and other drills.
19. How to Deal with Accident How to deal with and react to accidents, injuries or other hazards, introduction of poison plants, and how to manage the team when accidents or injuries happen.
20. Report Accidents and Call for Emergency Assistance When and how to call for emergency assistance, how to communicate with the rescuers, and how to organize a rescue team.
21. Outdoor: Report Accidents and Ask for Help Accident drills: slips and falls, applying first aid, carrying the injured, remaining with the team, searching for the missing hiker, reporting an incident, and asking for a helicopter rescue.
22. Introduction of River Tracing and Rock Climbing The basics of river tracing and rock climbing and gear.
23. Rock Climbing at the Bouldering Gym Rock climbing at the bouldering gym.
24. Outdoor: River Tracing Climbing, rappelling, and rope using techniques.
25. Introduction of the Exams to Receive Certificates Introduction of exams and rules.
26. Written Tests Written tests
27. Outdoor Tests Outdoor tests
The maximum hours of taking a leave are 6 hours for indoor training and 2 days for outdoor ones. Participants will be asked to drop the training if they take leaves more than the maximum hours. Please make sure you are available to participate the training.
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Find where you are in the evening.
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How to traverse the difficult terrains safely.
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Crossing a river
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Sometimes GPS devices can't totally replace paper maps.
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Overcome the fear of height.
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How to set up a temporary shelter to put the injured hiker.
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Good hiking guides will help you a lot when you are in need.
Dali and Datong Villages and Trails: Place worth to visit every year to see the most epic mountains in the East Taiwan
LOHAS is my favorite hiking group in Taiwan and I met many good guides and befriend with them.

Trainings from Other Hiking Associations

Please note that not every hiking group trains their guides like this. Some hiking groups charge fees for participants who are passionate about becoming a guide.
If you are interested in becoming a hiking guide in Taiwan and also speak Chinese, the following hiking associations also have training for future guides. I only list hiking or mountaineering associations here: THMA 新北市山岳協會
Chinese Taipei Mountaineering Association 中華民國健行登山會
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