ACC Book Club | Outdoor Leadership: Technique, Common Sense & Self-Confidence – Week One

June 1st 2021


In this virtual discussion series we will explore the key concepts presented in Outdoor Leadership: Technique, Common Sense & Self-Confidence. Participants are encouraged to attend all three sessions, as the sessions build on each other. Please read chapters 1-4 prior to this session and be prepared to discuss.
June 1, 7:00-8:30pm: Foundations
The first of the three sessions will focus on chapters 1-4, exploring topics such as: identifying your personal leadership style, building self-awareness, and understanding mental models, bias, and heuristics.
June 8, 7:00-8:30pm: Group Dynamics
The second of the three sessions will focus on chapters 5-10, exploring topics such as: communications styles, consensus decision making, inclusivity, conflict resolution, and crisis management.
June 15, 7:00-8:30pm: Blazing New Trails
The final session will focus on chapters 11 through to the afterword, exploring topics such as: strategic and organizational leadership, systematic approaches (information systems for trip management), change management and governance.

  • We will be conducting this workshop via Zoom
  • This workshop is being offered in partnership with The Alpine Club of Canada Squamish Section
  • Please only register for this event through one Section’s calendar. All participants will join the same Zoom meeting

Required Items to Bring:

  • Computer or mobile device with Zoom
  • Outdoor Leadership: Technique, Common Sense & Self-Confidence by John Graham (Mountaineers Books)
    • eBook available for purchase online via library loan from
    • Paperback copies available for purchase from the ACC Vancouver for $15 CAD (contact organizers to arrange purchase and pick-up)

Outdoor Leadership: Technique, Common Sense & Self-Confidence:

Technique, Common Sense & Self-Confidence (1997, Mountaineers Books / Seattle)

“It would be bad judgment to venture into the wild outdoors or even into your own career without reading and digesting this masterpiece.” —Paul Petzoldt, Founder, National Outdoor Leadership School

“Outdoor Leadership’s discussion, advice and techniques for learning and improving leadership skills will prove invaluable to anyone, hard-core mountaineer or not, in the outdoors or any other part of life. This book is so good I will strongly recommend it to all my staff and friends. A real gem.” — Gary Neptune, owner, Neptune Mountaineering

What does it take to be a good leader, especially in outdoors situations that can get both complex and stressful? Yes, good leaders must plan effectively, hone technical skills, make tough decisions and deal with conflicts. But they must also develop trust, communicate with sensitivity, and balance intellect with intuition, head with heart.

Outdoor Leadership is a practical, readable guide to the skills, attitudes, and inner resources you need to be an effective leader, at whatever level you are called to lead, in the great outdoors or in your own office, community or family.

The book covers all aspects of leadership, including

  • forming a personal style,
  • finding courage,
  • making decisions,
  • communicating effectively,
  • resolving conflicts,
  • building teams,
  • coping with stress and
  • inspiring others to be at their best.

Separate chapters discuss women in leadership, running organizations, and forming and leading political initiatives, for example, on environmental issues.

Author John Graham, a seasoned mountaineer with thirty years’ experience as a leader and crisis manager all over the globe, recounts his personal experiences throughout to provide insight into real-life leadership situations. Sidebars by a variety of noted outdoor leaders, including Lou Whittaker, Sharon Wood, Royal Robbins and David Brower, offer further inspiration and insight.

While the examples given focus on the outdoors, the lessons in this book can apply to any life situation. Use it to lead a company work team, organize an event or campaign in your community, or guide a family beach walk in the rain. Leadership issues crop up in all aspects of our lives—expect this book to affect more than your next hike in the hills.

Guest sign-up

Sign-ups are no longer available for this event.