As part of personal development training for Staff at the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA), 11 Personnel from the Headquarters completed Exercise EAGLE CLIMB 15, an adventurous training expedition to the Brescia region over the 18th and 19th of September. During the expedition, the participants succeeded in their aim to summit the highest peak in the Adamello range; mount Adamello itself – standing at a majestic 3539 meters above sea level.
As part of personal development training for Staff at the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy (NRDC-ITA), 11 Personnel from the Headquarters completed Exercise EAGLE CLIMB 15, an adventurous training expedition to the Brescia region over the 18th and 19th of September. During the expedition, the participants succeeded in their aim to summit the highest peak in the Adamello range; mount Adamello itself – standing at a majestic 3539 meters above sea level. The trek was organised by Wg Cdr Jason Payne (GBR-Air Force), and the climbers were made up of Italian and UK personnel. The Command Sergeant Major Bart Gema (ITA-Army), a well-qualified climber with extensive knowledge of the Adamello Range, led the expedition. He was ably assisted by WO Alfredo Liotto (ITA-Army) and WO2 Mal Thomas (GBR-Army). After a 3 hour drive from Solbiate Olona, the “Eagle Climbers” started from the car park at the Ponte del Guat (1528m). The selected route followed the infamous, 500 meter, straight-up Scale del Miller (Miller Steps). The fast pace meant that after just over an hour of hard work the trekkers were rewarded with a vista of alpine beauty, surrounded by an amphitheater of rock, lakes and alpine meadow. After a few more kilometers the Refugio Gnutti, at 2166m, was reached. After an overnight stop there, the climbers faced the second and most grueling day of the expedition; a challenging climb to the summit followed by a descent more that 2km in vertical height directly from the peak back to the Ponte Del Guat. From the Refugio, the Passo Adamello (Adamello Pass) could clearly be seen, along with all the challenges it represented. Focus was getting fed and watered, conducting administration of kit and getting some sleep before the 4am alarm. This focus did not prevent the group from celebrating the Birthday of Colonel Adam Edmunds with a hastily provided tart, a rustic candle and a round of grappa! The following day started dark and early. Headtorches on, the climbers trekked to the start of the Terzulli via ferrata, a series of chains and fixings in the steep and jagged rock face towards the summit. After a few hours, the dawn light lit up the huge rock wall ahead, with the top of the Adamello glacier, fresh and glistening, peeking out above. At the Madonna that marked the start of the via ferrata, the soldiers donned harnesses, safety slings and helmets and began the most precarious part of the ascent. The via ferrata led the group over precipitous cliffs to the base of the glacier, which was navigated using crampons and ice axes. The rocky and windswept summit of Mount Adamello, towering over the range at 3539m, was reached by the resolute team.
The successful summiting has been dedicated to those soldiers who fought and died in this area, 100 years ago, during World War One. The NRDC-Italy Flag was raised at the peak in their honor. The descent was tough; fatigued from the climb, the participants had to negotiate the via ferrata, lose rock, unstable terrain and jagged mountain whilst battling tired legs, sore joints and reduced energy levels. It was good physical training for the participants on the way down, not just valuable and wholesome, but exciting and rewarding, especially at the very end. The adventure training expedition has built on the success of other recent training in the area. Exercise EAGLE CLIMB has proven that there remains a high level of fitness of the Staff at NRDC-Italy. It is hoped that personnel from NRDC-Italy will continue to take opportunities to test themselves in difficult mountainous terrain by remaining flexible and adaptable to undertake similar challenges in the future.