How tough is the Edelweiss Raid?
When a U.S. team competed in the international military mountaineering contest for the first time in 2019, it made history as the first team ever to finish the competition on its inaugural attempt, placing 13th out of 23 teams.
In two days, teams cover 40 kilometers (24.85 miles) of rugged Austrian Alps terrain with up to 14,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain, completing various military tasks at 12 stations in the process. They carry a litter with their equipment — both for challenges and in case of real casualty situations.
U.S. National Guard soldiers — most from Vermont, home of the Army Mountain Warfare School and the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) — returned to Austria earlier this year to compete in the biennial event. This time, the 16-member U.S. team competed in two groups. Both finished; one cracked the top 10.
“We all pretty much call it Type 2 Fun,” Connecticut National Guard Capt. Scott Stone, one of the U.S. competitors, said. “Which is basically … not ‘Ha ha, we’re all having a good time’ fun, but it’s one of things that once you’re done with it, it’s a really awesome experience.”