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Archive for the ‘Mountaineering’ Category

Climb to Connectivity: 10th Mountain Division’s Alpine Legacy Echoes in Hunter EMS Mission

Friday, January 19th, 2024

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 7, 2023) – In a poignant echo of the 10th Mountain Division’s historic roots, two seasoned warriors shaped by the division’s legacy embarked on a perilous ascent of Whiteface Mountain, towering at an elevation of 4,867 feet.

Rooted in a tradition forged during World War II, where the division played a pivotal role in the Italian Alps, these Soldiers drew inspiration from their predecessors who braved the harsh terrain to dislodge German forces.

Tasked with a mission crucial for Hunter EMS VIIb, an exercise where Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division Artillery (DIVARTY) executed electronic warfare tactics, Lt. Col. Gregory Eldridge, 10th Mountain Division deputy fire support coordinator, and Staff Sgt. Alex Miner, a fire direction noncommissioned officer from DIVARTY’s Fire Control Element, faced a race against time.

“We’re trying to see what electronic warfare assets can do against our systems so we can defeat it in the future,” Eldridge explained.

The exercise, held on Fort Drum and Ethan Allen, Vermont, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5, aimed to validate and improve the division’s operational capacity in an ever-evolving battlefield by combining kinetic and non-kinetic effects.

“In addition to the electronic warfare, we conducted some training with radars,” Eldridge added. “We did a lot of work with the extension of line-of-sight communications.”

The previous day’s efforts to drive up the access road to Whiteface summit were thwarted by a snowed-in road and gate. This obstacle hindered industry partners from installing a directional antenna atop the mountain, vital for completing a line-of-sight linkage between Fort Drum and Ethan Allen.

“At the end of the day, we needed to get that antenna up to the top of that mountain,” Eldridge said. “I knew that there was a route to get there, and I had the equipment to get there. I just wanted to ensure that we had exhausted every means possible to extend the line of sight as far as possible.”

The two Soldiers ascended Whiteface on Dec. 5, the last day to attempt establishing communications between Fort Drum and Ethan Allen; it was all or nothing.

“To say Lt. Col. Eldridge and Staff Sgt. Miner’s efforts were crucial to the successes in extending line-of-sight communications during Hunter EMS VIIb is an understatement,” said Maj. Mark Smerka, DIVARTY fire support officer.

This was the unit’s last chance to attempt closing the communications link between Fort Drum and Ethan Allen before industry partners would have to depart for other obligations.

“If it weren’t for Lt. Col. Eldridge and Staff Sgt. Miner’s commitment to the challenge before them, we could only establish communications at approximately half the distance we did achieve,” Smerka added.

With the technical analysis underscoring the peak’s critical role in closing the communication link east of New York state, Eldridge and Miner volunteered for the challenging task.

“It takes specialized equipment to get there,” Eldridge explained. “I just wanted to get the job done.”

In less than 10 hours, they prepared for the cold trek, driving two hours from Ethan Allen, where they were supporting Hunter EMS VII, to commence their ascent at first light.

Their journey, spanning five miles, mirrored the division’s historical feats in the Italian Alps.

“I don’t know if it necessarily impacted my decision to volunteer to do it,” Eldridge said. “But you certainly think about it when you’re feeling sorry for yourself on the five-mile trip up, knowing full well that our forefathers went a lot further and were getting shot at.”

Battling a minus-2-degree wind chill, the trio, including industry partner Pat Murray, reached the summit. Despite the adversity, the two Soldiers, drawing on the division’s mountain warfare training, successfully installed communication gear at the observatory.

As they conducted troubleshooting efforts in conditions reminiscent of the division’s past battles, the communication link between Fort Drum and Ethan Allen proved elusive. Within 45 minutes, the weather turned on them.

“At first, it wasn’t too bad, and we didn’t have to troubleshoot too much. We just had to change the positioning of the antenna,” Eldridge said. “From our end, it was just a matter of finding where to put it, and then once we did that, we were able to establish the link.”

However, their selfless service paid homage to the 10th Mountain Division’s enduring legacy.

“I think it was appropriate, and it’s something that we as a light infantry force should be used to doing,” Eldridge said. “We just carried stuff in a ruck and got to a location and executed a mission.”

“And that’s really what the 10th Mountain’s about,” he added. “That’s what Alpine’s about. It’s about moving in small teams with your feet, skis, or snowshoes to a discreet place to do a distinct thing.”

The establishment of a digital line-of-sight link spanning 82 miles further solidified their place in the proud history of a division forged in the crucible of alpine warfare.

By CPT Eric-James Estrada

27th Public Affairs Detachment

AUSA 23 – DNS Alpha Vapor Barrier Sock System

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

DNS Alpha exhibited with Mountain Horse Solutions which is a division of Global Ordnance. In addition to their clothing systems, they showed us their Vapor Barrier Sock system which was recently adopted by a NATO SOF unit.

It comes in 6 sizes with the VBL made from silicon treated 30D nylon and fully taped. The liner sock is manufactured by CEP from Merino wool.

Halo International Limited Agrees on the Purchase of Shares of tactical Equipment Provider, Helix Operations Limited

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023

Halo International Limited is set to acquire shares of tactical equipment provider, Helix Operations Limited, through an agreement with Excalibur Ltd, reinforcing its commitment to enhancing its product portfolio and market presence.

Halo, owner of Brigantes Consulting Ltd, has recently confirmed an agreement for the acquisition of shares of Helix. 

Halo is the parent company of on-the-soldier equipment provider, Brigantes Consulting Ltd. Combining decades of military experience with keen technical expertise and advanced industry awareness, Brigantes are the go-to specialist for on-the-soldier equipment. With a product range that spans apparel, footwear, vertical movement, signature management, technology, mobility, and sustainment. Founded in 2014 by ex-military personnel, Brigantes unites decades of military experience with advanced technical expertise, cementing itself as a trusted international supplier to NATO military, government, and elite police units. Through unique alliances with world-leading brands, Brigantes pioneers the latest, bleeding-edge equipment solutions in state-of-the-art soldier systems for every conceivable operational environment.

Tactical equipment and training provider, Helix is a Wales-based company that specialises in the provision of tactical mountaineering and climbing equipment. Helix provides the complete capability for vertical access and rescue in mountain, maritime and urban environments. With headquarters in the north Welsh mountains, Helix has over 30 years of experience in the supply of tactical climbing solutions. Their customer base includes the UK MOD and several NATO forces. In addition to the provision of expert equipment, Helix also provides externally accredited training programmes that incorporate best practices from industry and operational environments. Helix cooperates closely with teams to develop bespoke systems that are fit for purpose for tactical use – deploying quickly and discreetly and can work with incumbent military equipment.

Having worked together for several years, Brigantes and Helix are closely aligned in terms of product focus and customer base. This latest development represents a natural continuation of the longstanding partnership and a significant opportunity for expansion into global markets. Brigantes’ first-hand experience of military operations and on-the-soldier equipment solutions unite seamlessly with Helix’s acute understanding of tactical mobility systems, particularly in the context of vertical movement, rescue and mountaineering equipment. 

Matt Williams, Halo International CEO, commented:

“Brigantes has worked very closely with Helix for many years on the provision of tactical equipment solutions and training for mountaineering and vertical access. Their expertise in this realm is unparalleled and so this agreement made complete sense and will enable us to move up a gear, enhancing our existing specialisms with even more bespoke knowledge and expanding our offering to worldwide markets.”

This acquisition represents a continuation of Halo’s strategic vision. By leveraging the international potential and unique tactical equipment and training expertise supplied by Helix, Halo will drive innovation and value for Brigantes’ military customers, further solidifying its position as an industry leader in the provision of on-the-soldier equipment. 

The combined strengths of the Halo Group and Helix will result in a stronger, more diversified market presence, delivering exceptional procurement knowledge, robust testing capabilities and quality training opportunities for their customer base. This acquisition sparks huge potential for further growth and development for both entities, uniting specialised expertise and industry experience across adjacent sectors to deliver an enhanced offering for military customers across the globe. 

Misty Mountain Mountain Mobility Sit Harness

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

Since 1985, Misty Mountain has been providing customers with strong, durable, comfortable harnesses for climbing and vertical activities. The last two decades, we’ve been working directly with military and tactical operators to provide them with gear tailored to their specific needs. Our Mountain Mobility series takes the operators’ heavy duty belts, and makes them part of a modular harness solution. For 2023 we redesigned the MM Operator Belt and Leg Loops, and these new harnesses are quickly becoming the choice of Special Operations Forces. 

The MM Operator Belt is a load rated gun belt featuring a new laser cut CORDURA Polymer composite outer layer for mounting mission essentials. The two piece system has a 1.5″ wide lightweight liner belt with Velcro loop outer for holding up trousers. The 1.75″ wide load rated nylon outer belt mounts securely onto the liner belt, and features front and rear attachment loops and the load rated AustriAlpin Cobra buckle. Suitable for edge restraint, the MM Operator belt can be used while tethered into rotary wing aircraft for safety. 

MM Cobra Light Leg Loops can be added to the belt with an enclosed auto-locking carabiner to create a full strength sit harness, UIAA Safety Label approved, suitable for fall protection. The MM Cobra Light Leg Loops are made from US woven 2″ wide nylon, and feature auto-block loops for rappel backup, and 1″ AustriAlpin Cobra buckles. These leg loops stow easily around the operator’s waist until deployed, making them suitable for high speed operations.

MM Cobra Leg Loops (not Light), have the same features as their lighter counterpart, and additionally, they have closed cell foam padding and elastic leg loop hold up straps. These comfortable leg loops are a better choice for operations where longer harness hangtime is anticipated. Auto-locking carabiner is included with MM harnesses. All Misty Mountain tactical gear is made in the USA and Berry Amendment Compliant. 

The harness is available in Black, Coyote, MultiCam and MultiCam Black in sizes Small – XLarge.

Please contact Misty Mountain at phone # 828-963-6688, or [email protected], for further information and quotes. Orders can be placed online at mistymountain.com

Peak Rescue Establishes Elite Mountain Services Team to Provide Specialized Military Mountaineering Training

Monday, July 31st, 2023

Casper, Wyoming – Peak Rescue, a renowned leader in rescue training and crisis response, is proud to announce the formation of a new division, Peak Rescue Mountain Guides. This specialized division is dedicated to offering Military Special Operations Units comprehensive mountaineering training. With over a decade of experience in training rescue professionals in mountain rescue, technical rescue, and industry rope access, Peak Rescue continues its commitment to excellence with this new venture.

Led by Industry Experts:

The newly established Peak Rescue Mountain Guides will be spearheaded by a team of industry experts, each holding an impressive array of certifications and experience in their respective domains. Heading the division is Micah Rush, a distinguished rescue tech with credentials encompassing Rope Access, Rope Rescue, Mountain Rescue, ITRA Instructor Confined Space & Rope Level 3, ITRA Registered Assessor, and full International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) certifications.

Working alongside Micah is Joe Thompson, Chief Guide and licensed by the IFMGA – the highest level of professional guiding in the world. Joe’s expertise extends to being a senior instructor for the AMGA, proficient in alpine, rock, ice, and ski disciplines, and holding two of the highest Avalanche Forecasting certifications in the US with the American Institute of Avalanche Research and Education and the American Avalanche Institute.

Additionally, Cody Carroll, former Force Reconnaissance Officer and Mountain Leader, assumes the role of Military Program Director, bringing over 23 years of military experience, specializing in military mountaineering, special insertion and extraction techniques in mountainous terrain, and tactical application of mountaineering.

The medical director position is held by Alan Oram of Mountain Medicine LLC, a board-certified physician specializing in Emergency Medicine and internationally licensed by the IFMGA.

Expert Instructor Staff:

The instructor staff at Peak Rescue Mountain Guides comprises fully certified IFMGA mountain guides, including Mike Abbey (Former Force Recon and current IFMGA certified, AMGA Rock, Alpine, and Ice Instructor), Matt Hartman (IFMGA certified, and AMGA Instructor), Karsten Delap (IFMGA Certified), and current Special Operations Mountain Warfare Specialists. With their extensive experience in training military personnel in mountaineering skills, the team is poised to deliver tailored programs to meet the specific requirements of military units.

Comprehensive Training Programs:

Peak Rescue Mountain Guides offers a diverse range of training programs, including Basic Summer and Winter Programs, mountain rescue, and medical training, as well as deployable advisors to mitigate risk for DFTs and training missions. By leveraging the expertise of world-class mountain guides and current/former special operations staff, the division equips military units with the knowledge and skills to navigate complex scenarios involving casualties, heavy weapons, and transporting equipment through challenging mountainous terrain, granting commanders access to areas previously considered denied.

Full-Service Solutions:

As a full-service mountain and rough terrain solutions company, Peak Rescue Mountain Guides also provides outfitting of personnel with environmental clothing and specialized equipment. The company will soon announce industry partners to further enhance its capabilities.

For inquiries about the military program, interested parties can reach out to Cody Carroll at [email protected].

ADS Federal Range Day 23 – Misty Mountain Commando Belt

Friday, June 9th, 2023

The Commando Belt from Misty Mountain consists of two belts, a lightweight, 1.5” wide inner liner belt faced with Velcro loop for wearing beneath belt loops, and the outer load rated belt. It can be worn alone or in conjunction with leg loops, which offers a 15 kN load rating as a sit harness. You can also combine with the MM Chest harness to create a full body harness.

Units and agencies can procure products seen at ADS Federal Range Day by contacting ADS, Inc.

OpEx 23 – Point6 Cold Weather Vapor Barrier Liner

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023

The Point6 vapor barrier liner has been under development for awhile but it’s now available and included in their 3-sock system.

Worn in extreme cold weather, the vapor barrier liner traps sweat so that it may not freeze into ice within clothing and footwear. The VBL features a fold-over toe box and ultrasonic welded seams.

The sock system includes a thin Merino liner sock and a heavier Merino outer sock which are worn with the VBL sandwiched in between.

Ninety-Pound Rucksack Recounts Story of World War II’s 10th Mountain Division

Monday, April 17th, 2023

A new podcast, Ninety-Pound Rucksack, is recounting the story of World War II’s 10th Mountain Division and its contributions to outdoor recreation in America.

Hosted by veteran alpinist and climbing historian Christian Beckwith, the podcast offers a deep dive into the origins of the 10th, an unprecedented unit of US Army climbers and skiers who trained for more than two years in the Colorado Rockies to fight the Axis powers in extreme cold and mountainous terrain.

Informed by an advisory board of the 10th’s foremost experts, the podcast details a different chapter in the unit’s history with each episode, providing a sweeping overview of the Division’s influence on both American military and its outdoor recreation industry. Post-war, 10th Mountain Division veterans founded and developed ski areas across America, started companies like NOLS and Nike and launched the fields of avalanche science and wilderness rescue.

Based on the podcast’s first few episodes, Beckwith was invited to keynote the XVIII Airborne Corps’ Leadership Forum at Ft. Drum, New York, in February. He is now serving as an advisor to the 10th Mountain Alpine Club, a nascent organization that is helping the unit reconnect with its historic identity, and will keynote the 10th Mountain Division’s Mountain Fest 2023 in June.

Ninety-Pound Rucksack is available at www.christianbeckwith.com