DVIDS – News – Mountain Brigade begins to assemble their team to participate in the Austrian Edelweiss Raid 2023


The 86th Infantry Brigade (Mountain) Combat Team conducted the first round of trials on September 10 to participate in the biennial Edelweiss Raid held in Austria in February.

Held in the Tyrolean Alps, the Edelweiss Raid brings together 8-person teams from over 10 countries, including NATO and NATO partner states, to compete in a rigorous military mountaineering competition. Teams must traverse 40 kilometers of high mountain snowy terrain with 4,000 meters of elevation gain while completing a variety of tactical mountain warfare tasks over a two-day period.

“It’s an incredible challenge,” said U.S. Army Maj. Nathan Fry, team leader and 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, executive officer of the 86th IBCT (MTN) from Hinesburg, Vermont. “Unlike other skimo races, the emphasis in the Raid is not on lightweight gear and Lycra suits – competitors race in military skis with full combat gear, guns, sleds bags and radios Bags can weigh between 30 and 50 pounds.

This test round consisted of a timed run on the Mount Mansfield Toll Road, 4.3 miles of steep incline up to 2,564 feet in elevation. Of the 12 competitors, 1st Lt. Josh McDougal, A Company, 3-172 IN (MTN) from Dannemora, New York and Capt. Brad Patnaude, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 86th IBCT (MTN) from Williston, Vermont finished with the fastest times, at 44:42 and 50:00 respectively.

Fry will eventually put together two teams of eight supported by 4 alternates based on performance over a series of trials this winter, as well as each competitor’s experience and training.

Fry led the first American team to participate in the Raid in 2019. This first team was made up of soldiers from the 86th IBCT (MTN) and the US Army Mountain Warfare School. They became the only freshman team to complete the race with all team members. They finished 13th out of 23 teams.

“Western military mountaineering is really dominated by Germany, France and, of course, Austria,” Fry said. “Our participation in 2019 was the first attempt to show our European allies that the United States has a small but capable cadre of military mountaineers who can partner with them in the event of a mountain warfare operation. “

The Vermont Army National Guard operates the United States’ premier mountain warfare school, as well as the National Guard Bureau’s biathlon program out of Ethan Allen’s range in Jericho, where the headquarters of the army’s only designated mountain brigade. The Edelweiss Raid fosters community between participating nations as they compete and share the best practices and tactics of mountain warfare.

Date taken: 09.11.2022
Date posted: 09.11.2022 11:59
Story ID: 429007
Location: Jericho, VT, USA

Web views: 3
Downloads: 0



Comments are closed.