The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education expands their membership benefits to Outdoor Education with leading travel software company, PathWrangler
San Francisco, CA (January 21, 2014) – The Association for Outdoor Recreation Education, an organization developed by and for outdoor recreation and education professionals and students, is announcing a new partnership with San Francisco-based software company PathWrangler today. The partnership gives AORE members a 15% discount on PathWrangler’s travel software, which helps outdoor programs, clubs and trip planners to run better trips, mentor student leaders and grow their programs.
PathWrangler’s online app allows users to create interactive trips with all the assets they need to organize outdoor expeditions and guided tours. Through their accounts, trip leaders can create, share and host the data for traveler registrations, itineraries, packing lists and more of the many aspects of operating an expedition. An additional module, Formstack, allows operators to build the forms they need online, and host them on their unique trip page without leaving the PathWrangler app, eliminating the need for PDFs, emails and spreadsheets to collect traveler information.
“AORE is delighted to work with PathWrangler in order to better serve and address member needs. We understand that outdoor practitioners and academics work in an environment that is demanding updated technology to allow for better efficiencies within our programs,” says Jeannette Stawski, Executive Director of AORE. “I served as the University of Michigan’s Outdoor Adventures Director for 11 years and I am well aware of the challenges and demands for trip and program management for college and university programs. This technology will enable our AORE member programs to better manage the complexities of trip programming in a more efficient and effective way, and will ultimately allow them to shift their focus towards the educational and developmental aspects of the trip experience.”
“When we set out to build PathWrangler, we did it because the outdoor industry was being poorly served by technology,” says Doug Heinz, CEO of PathWrangler. “We didn’t just want to build a tool that helped the industry with their paperwork. We set out to build a tool that was an experience in itself; something where you could create, imagine and engage with your trip before you threw you backpack over your shoulders. Because of this approach, PathWrangler has not only greatly reduced the amount of time administrators spend processing ‘paper’ and organizing trips, it has become a place for people to tell and share their stories, while inspiring others.”
Heinz continues on why PathWrangler teamed up with the AORE, “Our Outdoor Rec Programs have taken the use of PathWrangler to the next level; they use the tool to train and mentor future leaders. We see the that the is AORE leading the charge in its vision not just to grow outdoor education, but to make it ubiquitous with the entire educational experience. We’re extremely excited to be a part of supporting these goals.”
This unique partnership will provide AORE members with an entirely cloud-based solution when organizing expeditions and outdoor activities. Ultimately, this will help the outdoor education community to improve outdoor education, while at the same time providing students a way to share and engage with their experiences.
For more information about PathWrangler or to start planning your expedition, visit http://www.pathwrangler.com. Simply put, PathWrangler makes building and storing experiences easier than ever before. Let’s face it, planning an adventure trip or an outdoor excursion is like herding cats. It can be maddening to get everyone and everything prepared. We’ve built a collaborative web tool that makes trip planning not only easy, but fun. The goal is to empower you so that your only limitation is your imagination and sense of wonder. It can be used just as easily by professional guides running recurring expeditions to the Himalayas to just a handful of avid outdoor enthusiasts planning their next hiking trip in Yosemite.
About the Association of Outdoor Recreation Education
The mission of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education is to provide opportunities for professionals and students in the field of outdoor recreation and education to exchange information, promote the preservation and conservation of the natural environment, and address issues common to college, university, community, military, and other not-for-profit outdoor recreation and education programs.
The ATTA expands their membership benefits to tour operators with a leading travel software company, PathWrangler.
San Francisco, CA (December 5, 2013) – The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA, http://www.adventuretravel.biz), a global adventure travel membership organization announced a new partnership with San Francisco-based software company PathWrangler today. The partnership gives ATTA members a 15% discount on PathWrangler’s travel software, which helps tour operators and trip planners to run better trips and grow their business.
PathWrangler’s online app allows users to create and host the files they need to organize outdoor expeditions and guided tours. Through their accounts, trip leaders can create, share and host the data for traveler registrations, itineraries, packing lists and more of the many aspects of operating an expedition. An additional module, Formstack, allows operators to build the forms they need online, and host them on their unique trip page without leaving the PathWrangler app, eliminating the need for PDFs, emails and spreadsheets to collect traveler information.
”We recently polled our members on software solutions needed for adventure tourism companies to thrive,” says Alice Gifford, ATTA’s Director of Community Development. “PathWrangler has been active in the ATTA community since 2008, and we’re delighted to be able to offer this kind of travel software solution as a benefit to ATTA Members.”
“Tour Operators have a tough task at hand. Their market is demanding more personal and relevant experiences to their lives. That presents significant operational and selling challenges,” says Doug Heinz, CEO of PathWrangler. “Our partnership with the ATTA is one of values. The ATTA is trying to preserve the unique identities and personalization that our industry brings to travel, while the rest of the world is moving to consolidation and commoditization. We are excited to join with the ATTA as they lead the way in providing their members a way to meet these new challenges while not just preserving their unique identities, but allowing them to grow and thrive.”
This unique partnership will provide ATTA members with an entirely cloud-based solution when organizing group expeditions and guided tours, making their data more accessible and accommodating their on-the-go lifestyles.
For more information about PathWrangler or to start planning your expedition, visit www.pathwrangler.com. Simply put, PathWrangler makes building and storing experiences easier than ever before. Let’s face it, planning an adventure trip or an outdoor excursion is like herding cats. It can be maddening to get everyone and everything prepared. We’ve built a collaborative web tool that makes trip planning not only easy, but fun. The goal is to empower you so that your only limitation is your imagination and sense of wonder. It can be used just as easily by professional guides running recurring expeditions to the Himalayas to just a handful of avid outdoor enthusiasts planning their next hiking trip in Yosemite.
About the Adventure Travel Trade Association
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves more than 900 members in 80 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism. (www.adventuretravel.biz)
Looks like climbing pays after all:
It reads like the opening scene of an “Indiana Jones” movie.
A young man climbing a French glacier finds a cache of glittering jewels wrapped in bags stamped “Made in India” — remnants, perhaps, of cargo from an ill-fated airliner called the Malabar Princess.
The best thing about it? This story is true.
It happened early this month on a glacier overlooking the southeastern French village of Chamonix, Albertville police Chief Sylvain Merly said Thursday…
…Merly declined to characterize the stones, which are being described in French media as rubies, sapphires and emeralds. They’re worth somewhere between €130,000 (about $175,000) and €246,000 ($331,600), Merly said.
I once found half of a rusty shovel, a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses and a half-eaten tin of tuna in the mountains. Suffice to say, I didn’t feel like Indiana Jones after my discoveries.
Tnooz writes about how Google’s latest travel focused initiatives are causing problems for travel start-ups:
Google is leading the charge on phase four.
Some previously announced projects:
- City Experts – Google is currently recruiting “Local Insiders” for their City Expert program. These individuals will “have access to fun, exclusive events. Free custom swag. Special online recognition”.
- Field Trip – A location aware app that tells you interesting things as you walk around a city. Also acts as a geocoded travel blog aggregator with many travel blogs integrated). Give it a go. Hundreds of travel data providers are involved.
- Helpouts – “Real help from real people in real time”. That’s the tips-from-a-local thing we constantly hear about.
So now Google has experts and a location aware app. Put those two together with its consumer facing traffic streams and you have a insurmountable combination.
For example, imagine you are in a city and you need advice. You could turn on your phone (or Google Glass spectacles), and immediately you are in live video contact with a local city expert. They answer you and you are satisfied.
Let’s face it, this is several travel startups that Google has wiped out, just there. In a flash.
Sounds pretty dire, doesn’t it? I cannot tell you how many times I pitched PathWrangler to potential investors over the years and heard the question, “What happens if Google decides to get into your space?” After considering the question, I’d usually say something like, “Well, a there are several options: 1) wet my pants, 2) get mad and write a nasty blog post, and 3) surround Larry Page’s house in the middle of the night with a row of 4×12 cabinets that would make Eddie Van Halen’s ears hurt and jam Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” until his relents and pulls the plug. Unfortunately, these are all reactionary measures and would likely do little keep big bully Google from crushing my hopes and dreams.
So, what’s happening here? Google has made some impressive moves here. They are really good at solving problems that are similar to “boiling the ocean.” The technology isn’t quite as important as the access to all the data and information that is being shared. It remains to be seen if Google can gain adoption of these new products, but as we know, these tools are going to be cheap or free as they continue to allow ad-revenue from search to drive monetization. Travel apps that are in this space have a lot of reason to worry.
Google is attacking an area of the travel tech industry that I think has been taking the easy road, specifically those that are driven by the algorithmic approach to trip planning. In particular, during the Inspiration Phase. On the other side are the travel agents who continue to see technology as a competitor to their long-held beliefs that travel is personal and needs live humans see another wave of 1′s and 0′s coming at them.
About a year ago, I wrote a post “Why Tech Companies Suck at Adventure Travel.” The focus was on how travel tech companies were so heavily focused on automation, that they were in danger of commoditizing a product that travelers want to be far more personalized. The data backs it up. The ATTA just released new market research that shows the experiential travel market booming with a growth rate of 65% annually since 2009 to $263 billion. Because of that, companies that provide travel services such as operators and agents are growing. However, they’ve greatly lagged behind in adopting technology and view companies with suspicion and fear that they’re going to be put out of business.
The key for travel tech companies who want to compete with Google, while also building a sustainable business model are ones that find a way to humanize their technology. This doesn’t mean a super advanced algorithm that “acts human.” It has to automate the parts of travel that don’t require humans, but provides a deeper human touch with the ones who are ultimately the ones responsible for providing travelers with personalized experiences. The art in solving these ongoing problems is in trying to figure out exactly which is which. Technology is doing a great job at dividing up the commoditized areas of travel from the personalized ones and there are $263 billion reasons that we can expect the human side of the business to continue and flourish.
The low hanging fruit has been picked. Tech companies need to shift and find ways to provide value on this side of the equation. Until, of course, Google starts building clones made from the DNA of Edmund Hillary, Ernest Shackleton and Jacques Cousteau. Then we’re all in deep trouble.
You are on your dream trip visiting the pyramids of Giza in Egypt. After spending the day gazing upon these ancient wonders, you rest your head on your pillow in your hotel in Cairo, tired, but excited from being able to experience something you had only read about in your textbooks in school. A few hours later, you wake up to a startling rumble outside of your hotel: you peek outside the window and you are witnessing a full riot. What do you do?
Traveling to politically unstable places could be an unplanned item on the itinerary for those who prefer adventure travel. With all the instability that is happening in the Middle East in some very popular travel destinations, some travelers who have set aside a big chunk of their time and money, have unfortunately been caught in the middle. While we urge caution, we actively encourage people to continue traveling to these places. The experiences these destinations offer can be extremely rewarding, but they do require some thoughtful preparation. So, here are some things you can do prior to your trip that can ensure your safety in case things go down.
Locate your Embassies and Consulates – prior to your trip you should print out maps of locations and contact information of your home country’s embassy and consulates. Technology is great, but if you are relying on internet access, the government often hits the kill switch (Egypt and Tibet). Carrying around a couple of slices of dead trees is certainly worth the price of your safety. Your smart phone, iPad and Laptop become a brick if you are without power. Bring the paper.
Also, spend some time on Google Maps/Earth getting look of what the buildings and the surrounding area look like. While a piece of paper and a map are helpful, getting a full visual can go a long way in helping you to get to safety faster.
You may be traveling to places far away from your home country’s embassy, or in the case in Middle East right now, your Embassy might not be a safe place. If so you should have a plan of what to do in case you need to get there.
Plan Alternative Exits - Many uprisings happen in capital cities or centers of political power. Before you leave, explore if their are alternative cities or borders that you could leave by plane, car, bus or train in case of emergency. Figure out what your geographical or political challenges would be and give yourself options. Many people who were in Lhasa in 2008 were able to drive and cross the Nepalese border in Nylam.
Make Sure Your Red-Tape is in Order – This one is uber-important anyway, but you should be very diligent to make sure that all your visas, passports and permits are in proper order. Sometimes authority figures will look for even the smallest reason to keep you from leaving as everyone is viewed with suspicion in these circumstances.
Buy Good Travel Insurance – Research the best options prior to leaving as travel insurance is often times a scam. You don’t want to find that out after everything is getting out of control. Travel Insurance Review is a great independent site to do your research. This can help you cover the costs of having to get out of Dodge quickly.
Global Rescue – while everyone else is waiting at the embassy for their name to be called in the lottery to get on a plane back home, Global Rescue is there to pick you. If, god forbid, you get injured, their plans cover a medical professional that will be deployed directly to you as your advocate. There are a few players in this space, but no one is even close to a more complete solution.
Familiarize Yourself with Local Culture, History and Current Events – Each situation is going to take a life of it’s own. The riots in Bangkok were much different than the ones in Egypt and Libya in their purpose and how the local government handled the violence. Knowing ahead of time what the climate is like will give you a better path to navigate if things go badly.
Knowing the local customs is always important, but even more so in a pinch. Being able to know how to conduct yourself around them will keep you from doing anything stupid unintentionally.
Stash Some Cash – Cash is always king; keep it socked away so it isn’t easy for anyone to get at it. Bribes can very powerful, however, this needs to done with the above recommendation of knowing the local customs. If you intend to bribe a local official, in some places it works (and may even be standard operating procedure), but in others it will land you in hot water. However, in the event that things get hairy, cash might be the only option for getting a car, train, bus or plane ticket.
Now that you’ve prepped yourself, what do you do when the @#$% hits the fan and you have to leave?
Contact the Airline That You Flew in on First – As mentioned above, a Global Rescue purchase would negate having to do this, but in case you don’t have it, here’s what to do: airlines are notoriously bad at helping with changes to itineraries, but in an emergency, they can still be the easiest and safest way of getting home.
In Egypt when the Mubarak Regime was collapsing, the US Embassy chartering flights for 1,200 people a day, but they prioritized for those that had medical conditions first. If you do get on a charter, you’ll have to reimburse the government the cost of the flight and the government isn’t exactly chartering Southwest at $99 one-way. However, if your only choice to bug out is a charter, TAKE IT.
Stay Away from the Windows - If you are in a hotel or residence and you have to hunker down for a bit, it might be tempting to take a peek outside to get a live view of what you’d be watching on CNN at home. Don’t. Stray bullets, molotov cocktails, rocks, tear gas, etc are not things that discriminate in the middle of fracas. If you can move to a room that faces an inner part of the hotel, that would be ideal.
Don’t Film or Take Pictures – I know it is tempting to film something to put on YouTube that might make it on every news network, but when people are doing bad things to each other, they don’t shrug off someone they see trying to document what they are doing. Leave the filming for the journalists and the locals. In these areas, pictures and videos can be just as potent of a weapon as bullets. Even unintentionally, you could find yourself on the wrong end of someone trying to protect themselves if they catch you filming them.
Move in Groups of 3 – 5 - If you are traveling alone, find some people to stick with. You don’t want to organize a 100-man group, but being alone can make you a target. If you are in a large group, break into “platoons” of 3 – 5 that can all get in one cab or car together. Communicate rendezvous or rally points.
Wear Earth Tone Clothes – If you find yourself wearing that neon-green I *Heart Florida t-shirt, switch it off for something that would blend in a little better. You don’t want to draw unintended attention to yourself and wearing clothing that blends in can help you keep a low profile.
Watch Your Mouth – Once you get home, you can wax political all you want about the injustices and horrors you witnessed, but while you are there, keep it to yourself. In fact, meddlesome foreigners are particularly held in contempt whether it is right or not. This isn’t the time to argue, it is the time to get away.
Traveling to politically unstable areas can be incredibly rewarding to adventurous types–most of the time you won’t have any incidents and you will be able to experience the great parts of these cultures beyond the nastiness you see on the news. However, in case something does happen, with just a little effort, preparation and some common-sense, you will greatly reduce your chances of something going wrong if you get caught in the middle.
Longtime PathWrangler Blogger Angelique Coffee is not just a great writer, but a phenomenal photographer. She spent the last couple of months tour up and down the Northern California Coastline photographing and documenting some of its iconic lighthouses. Check out her photos and trip stories here.
- Please immediately change your password. Under settings, you can do that here. Please use a strong password that has upper and lowercase letters, numbers as well as symbols. This will go a long way in helping to fend off these kind of attacks.
- If you receive an automatic password change request from PathWrangle that was unprompted, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. You will never receive an unprompted automated password change request from PathWrangler.
- No billing or private information or email addresses have been compromised.
- We spent the weekend tracking down and closing the loop-holes that these attackers took advantage of. We ensure that your account is secure and that we have not only solved this problem, but are taking active steps to make sure that any future attacks are protected against.
Since hearing the news of Marty and Denali’s recent passing on K2, the last few days for me have been full and focused around my responsibilities, I really have not had a moment to just sit and be in a present space until now as I write this. I first met Marty Schmidt in 2003 when we were both guiding a trip on Mount McKinley (aka Denali whom he be-lovingly named his son after). This was my third time guiding Denali and for Marty it was around his 30th. Up until this time I had never heard of Marty, but after our expedition together I felt that we had spent many lifetimes together.
Upon meeting our group of clients in Talkeetna (your departure point for flying onto the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier), it became apparent to me that Marty possessed a presence within him that was unique and completely unknown to me at that time. His ability to connect with the participants of our group was not from a logical head space, it was directly from the heart. Marty guided, communicated, and lived his life directly from the heart. When you were talking to him, it was direct presence, you were all that he could care about in that moment of existence.
Marty walked and lived his truth and he held the space for others to discover within themselves what it was that made their heart sing. I personally have been mountain guiding for over 17 years, I have had amazing instructors from my early days at Prescott College, and I have had the privilege to have worked alongside many amazing guides at both Alpine Ascents International and International Mountain Guides. But there is one person who has stood alone and who has supported me beyond anyone else. That person is Marty. I attribute to my growth as a guide and the catalyst to become a deeper human being from him.
Our Denali trip was amazing. Just being with Marty made you want to work harder and Denali is a working person’s mountain..something you cannot learn any other way outside of shadowing more experienced guides who pass their experiences onto you. I learned more from Marty in those three weeks about being a mountain guide then I had in the 5 years proceeding..it was a quantum leap in guiding from the heart.
We were one of many teams that had been stuck at 14,000 ft Camp (aka Adv Base) on Denali for about 8 days. As a result their was a backlog of over 120+ who were planning to move up High Camp at 17,200 ft. For us as a team, we were unable to transfer any of our load carries up to 16,800 ft at the base of Washburn’s Thumb due to the inclement weather. When the weather forecast became apparent that their would be a window of opportunity for us to get higher, we were still without any loads up high. Our team was strong and we were well acclimated after spending the last 8 days battling the weather up at 14 Camp, so physically we were ready for a move up high..but so were the 120+ that were waiting there with us!
Marty’s plan was to hang back at 14 while the rest of the teams broke trail and waited in lines at varies bottlenecks between the fixed lines at 15,600 ft and high camp at 17,200 ft. Instead our plan was to go ‘alpine style’ with the clients which meant paring down all of our group gear, personal gear, and food. We took exactly what we would need for the next 6 days. Our plan was to wait in the sun cooking quesodillas, and once the last group were to clear the bergshrund at the base of the fixed lines..we would then depart.
Our destination was not for the 17,200 ft camp, but for the snow caves that reside on the backside of the top of the fixed lines at 16,400 ft. It was smooth sailing as we ascended the lines with efficiency and ease..although upon reaching the snow caves we found that Mike Roberts (another amazing veteran guide) had already inhabited the caves with his crew.
We had a total of 7 grown men on this trip and we paired our shelters down to Northface VE-25 tents. So Marty’s backup was to cut a ledge on the protected leeward side of the West Buttress overlooking the Peter’s Glacier 3,000 feet below. We worked hard, cut out a secure ledge, setup and anchored our tents by running a matrix of ropes around and through our doors almost like a portaledge, and put the 3 biggest guys in one tent and the rest of us (including Marty and myself) were in the second.
The next day we moved without crowds up to high camp and dug in for the next 2 days. When it came for our summit window, us, along with 120 other persistent climbers departed the security of our tents and left for the summit..although this time Marty made sure that we were in front. After safely reaching the summit with all of our clients, we arrived back into our tents twelve hours later..right as the snow was beginning to fall again. We then spent the next 3 days weathered in our tents, Marty, myself, and our clients spent the tent bound days listening to NPR, playing cards, and making food..we spent this time getting to truly know each other as fellow human beings and most importantly we laughed.
After this trip Marty Schmidt became a fixture in my life. We stayed in touch the best that any mountain guides can do, but existence would constantly cross our paths. For instance, I would be walking down a street in Mendoza, Argentina..stop at a street crossing, and look to my left and their would be Marty. Or, I would be walking up a side valley in the Himalayas, look to my right..boom..Marty! In these crossings our connection just deepened and he became a rock in my life. Marty and his son Denali were living their truth with trust and totality. They were the creators and artisans of defining themselves as true human beings living in balance and flow with existence.
During his final visit to Seattle last summer, I had the opportunity to have Marty spend most of the week with me at my place. I would never had guessed that this would be our last crossing in this life. My heart and laughter now long for the next.