BLOG warms to Whistler Adventure Training

BLOG Adventure Training

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer — Base Logistics (BLOG) team members are giving rave reviews following a five-day Adventure Training exercise in B.C.’s Sea to Sky region.

Eighteen military personnel and two DND civilian employees participated in Exercise Frozen Narwhal, a winter-themed training exercise from Feb. 27-March 3 in the snow-covered mountains and valleys of Whistler’s backcountry and surrounding area.

“Our mission intended to provide an exhilarating and enjoyable exercise that also challenges the team while developing basic and advanced soldier skills,” said Sergeant (Sgt) Dave Newman of BLOG, who works as a Supervisor of Vehicle Maintenance at Work Point. “We pushed our limits and left with a perfect sense of camaraderie and self-esteem.”

Adventure training is open to all Canadian Armed Forces members. It aims to enhance physical fitness, endurance and morale, to inspire leadership, and to test individual and group abilities under challenging conditions.

The participants were housed in a dormitory of the Whistler Athletics Centre. Their daytime hikes and outdoor adventures took them to locations close to Whistler and further afield, including Squamish, Garibaldi Provincial Park and Duffey Lake.

Corporal (Cpl) Emily Barnard of BLOG’s SMP section says BLOG’s trip to Whistler was the first time her unit had conducted Adventure Training in over 12 years. She hopes their latest adventure isn’t soon forgotten.

“Hopefully, this starts a trend of continued adventure training endeavors for Base Logistics as most of the participants now truly believe this activity can be a key to unit success,” she said.

Josh Barnswell, a civilian employee who works as a stores person at CFB Esquimalt’s warehouse Colwood 66, said one of his biggest personal challenges to overcome during the exercise was losing his fear of trying new activities such as ice climbing.

“I tend to doubt myself sometimes, so I was trying to enjoy the experience as best I could. I ended up having an amazing time,” Barnswell said.

Their activities included hiking, ice climbing, snowshoeing to the summit of Mount Tusk (a dormant volcano) and its crater, ski touring that involved a long cross-country climb followed by a downhill decent, ‘dogsledding’ and being pulled along the trails by a team of (mostly) Alaskan Huskies.

Safety was the overriding concern while preparing for and throughout their adventure, says Master Corporal (MCpl) Justin Roper, BLOG weapons technician, and the expedition’s leader and tour guide.

“Many personnel had to quickly acquire new skills in ice-climbing and ski-touring, then apply them to achieve our objectives,” MCpl Roper said. “It was great to see our team push beyond what they perceived as their limits and succeed.”

Pre-event training included completion of a First Aid course, a FORCE Fitness test, and Avalanche Awareness training, along with a climber’s tying and belaying course. The movement came in handy as the group encountered some obstacles. Heavy snow had fallen for several days before their trip and blocked some of their intended routes. During the snowshoeing portion, the group encountered a very steep and treacherous part of the trail.

“MCpl Robert made the right call and we circumnavigated that area via an alternate route,” Sgt Newman said.

Proper training and planning went a long way in making the adventure a success, Cpl Barnard said.

“After months of planning it was rewarding to see everyone succeed as a group and have a great time doing it,” she said.

BLOG Adventure Training

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