Exercise Arctic Diamond Army Air Corps Snowy Mountain

Exercise Arctic Diamond was a seven-week ski touring expedition to Northern Norway celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Army Air Corps (AAC). The plan was to summit 60 peaks above 60 degrees North.

Each week saw a different group of people arrive, given initial safety briefs and then sent straight onto the hill.

Day one for each group revised the basics of ski touring and familiarised the group with the kit.

Exercise Arctic Diamond Army Air Corps 60th Anniversary

From then on the groups aimed to climb as many peaks as possible over the next five days.

The two instructors covering the entirety of the exercise were Mark Brennan and Carlos Vickers. Their talent and experience made the exercise into a great success.

The last team to take on the challenge were all quite tall and were given the nickname Team XL.

They wanted to beat all previous records so went to the extreme of venturing into a Fjord every day in temperatures of one or two degrees Celsius.

Exercise Arctic Diamond Army Air Corps Investigating a Fjord in underwear

The highest peak summitted was a huge 1,275m.

Exercise Arctic Diamond Army Air Corps highest peak

At the age of 19, AirTrp Chippendale was youngest participant (shown in the centre of the photo below).

Exercise Arctic Diamond AirTrp Chippendale Army Air Corps 60th Anniversary

The total number of peaks reached is yet to be calculated but they did reach more than the initial aim of 60.

A total of 48 Army Air Corps personnel took part in the trip and completed distributed training or achieved their Ski Foundation 3 qualification.  

For many on the expedition this was their first experience of real ski touring and the conditions were at times quite challenging, with temperatures dropping below -15 degrees Celsius on the summits.

But how many people get the chance to see the Northern Lights?

Exercise Arctic Diamond Army Air Corps Northern Lights

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