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Army High Altitude School
 
 History

Army High Altitude School was established at Rattu (Northern Area of Pakistan) in December 1987. This institution trains troops in High Altitude and Mountain Warfare operations including skiing. During summers students are also given a chance of climbing 19000 feet altitude on various peaks.
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 Location

Army High Altitude School is located at Rattu (Northern Areas). Rattu is one of the century plus old cantonments of Kashmir. It is located at an altitude of 9000 feet above sea level. The weather during summer remains very pleasant but winters are very cold and temperatures vary between ~20°C to -35°C. Rattu receives 3 feet to 6 feet snow during winter.
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 Educational Philosophy

This school train students in skiing, High Altitude and Mountain Warfare operations. Training is imparted in the shape of lectures, demonstrations and practicals. In order to ensure realistic training, tactical exercises are conducted at altitudes of 12000 feet to 16000 feet at the base of famous Nanga Parbator Rakaposhi peaks. In the basic training, students are taken to 19000 feet altitude. School also undertakes number of trekking and mountaineering expeditions on famous peaks to ensure following:

  • Maximum stress is laid on practical training i.e. mountain/ snow crafts to enable trainees to overcome difficulties faced at high altitude.
  • To develop in trainees the confidence to operate in small groups and to survive in high altitude snow bound and glaciated areas.
  • To increase the awareness in use, care and maintenance of weapons/ equipment at high altitude.
  • To organize training in a way to develop endurance, liking for mountains and inculcate comradeship in the trainees to operate in most inhospitable environments


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 Faculty

Training team consists of Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Non Commissioned Officers. Entire training staff is qualified in mountain warfare and high altitude operations.
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 The Courses

Training activities of various courses run at this institution are as under:

  • High Altitude Warfare Course
  • Mountain Warfare Course
  • Ski Course

High Altitude Warfare Course

  • Basic Training
    In basic training students undergo acclimatization process, training related to high altitude, mountain craft and mountain tactics. The training is imparted in the form of lectures, discussions, demonstration and practical exercises.
  • Endurance/Acclimatization
    Physically fit and well-acclimatized soldiers can operate successfully at high altitude and snow covered areas. School lays maximum emphasis on this aspect. Regular physical training, endurance and acclimatization periods are held to make the students physically and mentally robust, well acclimatized and battle worthy.
  • River Crossing
    Troops operating in mountainous areas come across various water obstacles, which are difficult to negotiate owing to their fast current and cold water. Students are taught and practice the technique of negotiating these obstacles.
  • Skiing
    Students are taught basic skills of downhill/cross country skiing. Emphasis is laid on assault formation and casualty evacuation on skis.
  • Survival
    Students are taught to fight and survive in snow clad areas. Students are issued dry rations for self-cooking and make improvised shelters for themselves.
  • Glacier Craft
    Students are taken for glacier training for two weeks. This includes ice wall climbing ice wall traversing, casualty evacuation from crevasse, use of avalanche beacon, preparation of anchor points/step making and fixing of rope on ice.


     
  • Up hill and Down hill Firing
    The students are taught techniques of shooting in mountains/snow-clad areas and use of cover while shooting the enemy. Students are also taught how to fire while repelling.
  • Establishment of Post/Route Selection
    Students are taught to construct bunkers in mountains/snow clad areas and how to prepare a safe route to post.


     
  • Tactical Exercises
    Minor operations exercises are conducted at altitude of 12000 feet and above which includes Hide out, Raid, Ambush and Patrolling. Various tactical problems are given to students and their actions are monitored accordingly. In the end of tactical exercises, debriefing is carried out and weaknesses are identified for future guidance.

     

  • Instructional Practice
    Last week is utilized for instructional practice. Basing on their knowledge, skills and instructional ability students are recommended as instructor.

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  Mountain Warfare Course

  • Basic Training
    In basic training, students undergo acclimatization process, training related to high altitude, mountain craft and mountain tactics.

  • Endurance/Acclimatization
    Regular physical training, endurance and acclimatization periods are held to make the students physically and mentally robust, well acclimatized and battle worthy.


     
  • River Crossing
    Students are taught and practiced in techniques of negotiating water obstacles. /li>
  • Mountain Craft
    Two weeks are devoted for mountain craft, students are trained in repelling/belaying, crevasse crossing, use of rope, making of anchor points, piton craft and rock climbing.


     
  • Mountaineering
    Students are taught basic techniques of mountaineering. In this course, students get ample practice of mountaineering and also get a chance to climb 19000 feet on famous peaks of Karakurram and Himalayan ranges.

     
  • Survival
    Students are taught to fight and survive in snow clad areas, students are issued dry rations for self-cooking and they make improvised shelters for themselves.
  • Up Hill and Down Hill Firing
    Students are taught techniques of shooting in mountains/snow-clad areas and use of cover while shooting the enemy. Students are also taught how to fire while repelling.


     
  • Establishment of Post/ Route Selection
    Students are taught construction of bunkers in mountains/ snow clad areas and also taught how to prepare safe route to post.


     
  • Tactical Exercises
    Minor operations exercises are conducted at altitude of 15000 feet. Various tactical problems are given to students and their actions are monitored accordingly. In the end of tactical exercises, debriefing is carried out and weaknesses are identified for future guidance.


     
  • Instructional Practice
    Last week is utilized for instructional practice. Basing on their knowledge, skills and instructional ability students are recommended as instructor.

     

 Ski Course
   
  Students are taught down hill, uphill and cross-country skiing during the courses, which includes following:

  • Ski Borne Physical Training
    Regular Physical Training classes are organized throughout the course to make the students fit for skiing.


     
  • Basic Technique
    During first week students are taught basic technique of up hill and down hill skiing.


     
  • Cross Country
    In second week students are given training of cross country skiing which includes negotiation of different types of terrain/gradients covered with snow.

     

  • Combat Skiing
    During third week, once the students are confident enough on skies, they are taught techniques of casualty evacuation with the help of stretchers, sledges and on man's back. Beside casualty evacuation, students are also taught sledge pulling, ski joring and different assault formations.


                                  
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Selection Criteria

All the courses run at this institution are of practical nature and only physically and mentally fit students can undergo these courses. Pre-requisites of various courses are as under:

High Altitude / Mountain Warfare Courses

  • Officers
    Should be basic course qualified and under 30 years of age.


     
  • Junior Commissioned Officers
    Volunteers, physically fit and educated Junior Commissioned Officers with one army course and age under 40 years.


     
  • Non Commissioned Officers
    Volunteers, physically fit and educated Non Commissioned Officers with one Army Course and under 35 years of age.


     

Ski Course

Volunteers officers with inclination to mountain and winter sports.

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 Campus

Rattu Campus is surrounded by River Kalapani and River Mir Malik. Mountain craft training sites, river crossing sites and ski slopes are located within the campus.

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 Conclusion

Army High Altitude School is one of the youngest institutions of Army. In a very short span of time this institution has trained considerable number of troops in High Altitude and Mountain Warfare operations, the school is also making efforts to promote mountaineering and skiing in the country.top
 


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