NATO MW COE and the USA ARMY 173rd ABN BDE chasing IBEX

NATO MW COE and the USA ARMY 173rd ABN BDE chasing IBEX

After initial talks between the NATO MW COE leadership and the USA 173rd ABN BDE which were held in fall 2022, the time for chasing the Ibex came between 11 and 21 April 2023.

Troops of the 1st Battalion, USA 173rd ABN, together with SMEs of the NATO MW COE, and the SAF132rd Mountain Regiment, supported by the Radovljica Mountain Rescue Service, began tailor-made outdoor mountain warfare activities in very harsh weather conditions with an 11.5 km march, gaining 1300 altitude meters. Already on the first day of the event, all participants realized that movement in freshly fallen deep snow without snow shoes would be impossible and the Ibex was far away to be reached.

In the days to follow, although getting used to a variety of mountain equipment, such as crampons, snow shovels, snow probes, avalanche beacon, ice axes, touring skies as well as building up iglus, snow shelters and gaining 1000 altitude meters per day in average, the Ibex did not give up.

Finally on 20 April 2023, after more than 50 kilometers covered by using snow shoes, more than 5000 m of altitude gained, cold nights spent outside and with lots of blisters and new experiences collected, the chasing successfully ended in the SAF Training Centre on the Pokljuka Plateau.

The visit of U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia, Her Excellency, Jamie L. Harpootlian as well as a speech delivered by the NATO MW COE Director, Colonel Borut Flajšman, marked the successful closure of the exhaustive, but then again successful mountain warfare activity.

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