Essential Eligibility Requirements

AOA’s goal is to provide challenging and meaningful experiences through guided and self-guided tours to unforgettable destinations. These criteria have been developed to help our guests identify the skills and abilities needed to successfully and fully participate in these tours. If you are unable to meet certain criteria. Please contact us; we may be able to assist you with reasonable accommodation(s) unless it would change or otherwise risk the fundamental nature of the tour, would compromise your safety or the safety of other participants or guides, or would place an undue financial or administrative burden on AOA.

Universal Essential Eligibility Criteria

These criteria apply to all participants on any AOA tour.

Each participant must be able to…

  • Perceive and comprehend the inherent risks of the activity
  • Review and understand all pre-trip documents, trip policies, cancellation or payment policies, liability of risk documents, and/or trip challenge ratings in full
  • Meet the physical demands of the trip as outlined or implied on AOA’s website, in pre-trip documents, or by any means of communication by AOA’s staff, including but not limited to, mileage, trail conditions, safe negotiation of terrain, sleeping arrangements, drive and/or transfer times, visual identification of route/trail, judgement in accordance with preserving personal safety, etc.
  • Withstand the environmental factors associated with the tour (e.g. temperature extremes, exposure to natural elements such as sun/precipitation/wind/elevation, water crossings, exposure to heights, proximity to wildlife and insects, etc.)
  • Effectively communicate with AOA Guides or staff, especially in the case of personal distress, injury, or need for assistance
  • Be able to independently understand and follow directions and instructions given by AOA Guides to avoid hazards and/or manage risks
  • Independently manage all personal care or activities of daily living
  • Meet daily nutrition standards for an active multi-day trip with the provided food; dietary requirements may be subject to trip- or location-specific logistical challenges
  • Adjust personal pace or other variable at the request of an AOA Guide to maintain proper supervision of the group for the purposes of safety and/or compliance; all participants must be able to complete the scheduled activity within the allotted time
  • Remain respectful and contribute to a safe, welcoming environment for all participants and guides on the tour

Tour-Specific Essential Eligibility Criteria

These criteria are in addition to the universal requirements listed above; some tours may have multiple categories that apply.

Backpacking tours

Each participant must be able to…

  • Carry up to 50 pounds in a backpack for the entirety of the route while traveling at a pace similar to that of other trip participants

Phantom Ranch tours

Each participant must be able to…

  • Ascend a vertical ladder into a bunk bed as part of possible sleeping arrangements in the Phantom Ranch dorms and/or cabins

Cycling/biking tours

Each participant must be able to…

  • Wear a properly fitted cycling helmet for the duration of the tour
  • Visually identify routes and hazards
  • Independently mount, dismount, sit, and balance on a bicycle for the duration of the tour
  • Ride at a pace sufficient to complete the course as prescribed in the tour description
  • Adapt to terrain changes brought on by inclement weather and changing light conditions. This may include rain, snow, ice, cold, tree cover, etc.

Hiking Tours

Each participant must be able to…

  • Walk for prescribed tour duration and complete the course as prescribed in the tour description
  • Independently navigate rough terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs
  • Walk and maintain your balance on hiking trails, including trails with rocks, roots and low branches
  • Carry your own water, snacks, or “group gear” as prescribed in the tour description
  • Carry your own personal health and care items such as an inhaler, allergy pen, or other required items and if taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently

Self-Guided Trips to the Havasupai Indian Reservation

Each participant must be able to….

  • Understand and recognize the hazards inherent in the activities covered by instruction and be capable of deciding to assume those risks.
  • Independently, or with the assistance of a companion, move/transport all rental gear and food from the rental area to the area of intended use and back to the rental area. Individual pieces packed for transport weigh up to 70lbs.
  • Independently, or with the assistance of a companion, setup, operate, and disassemble all gear to the manufacturers specifications.
  • Follow written and/or visual instructions for gear setup and food preparation.
  • Be aware of and able to perform proper, and safe, food handling, cooking, and sanitation techniques.

Tours involving access to bodies of water

Each participant must be able to…

  • Independently wade across and/or swim (defined as safe and timely forward progress while keeping head above water) through bodies of water, even those with a strong current
  • If a watercraft is involved: hold their breath while under water; independently enter and exit the watercraft, even in the event of an emergency evacuation; sit upright in a seated position, or in the position of maximum safety, for the entirety of the activity
  • Wear a properly fitted life vest or other required safety gear
  • Independently remain in an appropriate and safe body position, while in or on the paddlecraft, for the duration of the course
    • Raft – upright and seated position
    • Kayak – upright and seated position
    • Stand Up Paddleboard – standing or kneeling position
  • Independently or with a companion enter and exit the watercraft on shore
  • Independently exit from the watercraft in the event of a capsize and perform an appropriate self-rescue or cooperate with an assisted rescue

Tours involving transportation by vehicle

Each participant must be able to…

  • Independently enter and exit the provided vehicle, even in the event of an emergency evacuation; sit upright in a seated position while wearing approved seatbelt for the entirety of the transfer time

Tours taking place on public lands

Each participant must be able to…

  • Adhere to all rules, laws, and regulations put forth by the land management agency or Tribal agency (e.g. National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, etc.)
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles