Risk Management

Plan, Prepare, Prevent

Cottonwood Gulch has been leading quality expeditions into the Southwest since 1926. We emphasize sound decision-making skills to mitigate risk and ensure we’re as prepared as possible in the backcountry.

Risk Management & Prevention Philosophy

As with all active pursuits, there is inherent physical risk, but our risk management policy keeps potential dangers at a minimum.  Our staff are trained to weigh risk and danger in terms of trekker physical ability, weather patterns, and potential for injury. Danger is inherent in the backcountry, but we believe that prevention is the best medicine. Our staff are trained to be critical  thinkers and use reasoned judgement to make and prudent decisions. 


Risk Management Training

All staff are trained in mitigating risk related to:

  • Injury and illness
  • Weather patterns and storms
  • Flash flooding
  • Lightning
  • Bites and stings
  • Hypo/hyperthermia
  • Dehydration


Highly Trained Staff

  • wilderness medicine

    As a minimum, our field staff hold a Wilderness First Aid certification

  • At least one member of each backpacking group holds an advanced certification: Wilderness First Responder or EMT
  • Minimum age for staff is 21 (there is also an internship program for 19 and 20-year-olds). Our staff is made up of a variety of people, from enthusiastic educators in their 20s to experienced and equally energetic educators in their 70s. We’re an eclectic mix of artists, scientists, and adventure enthusiasts. 
  • All staff undergo a background and driver’s record check
  • Our staff team is committed to diversity and inclusivity. We cultivate a comfortable and trustworthy environment for all trekkers and families.
  • Visit the Gulch Staff page for more information