29/01/2020 • Three-member military teams in a winter competition face physical demand, sleep deprivation, cold, constant considerations of further moves from one checkpoint to another and completing the activities. They move on the hill tops but also on the paths in the valleys covered with fresh snow. The strategy in force usage distribution and energy resupply is crucial.
On the first day of the international competition, the military teams moved from the Ovcarna hotel through the Velky Maj hilltop to the Dlouhe Strane lakes to go a cross-country ski race around the upper lake and free terrain downhill time trial to the lower one. From there they moved eight kilometres to Svycarna chalet which was the place for the "Search in an Avalanche Area" activity. The movement ended at the Videlske Sedlo parking area. The best results of the first day were achieved by the teams for the Logistics Agency, followed by the teams for 73rd tank battalion Praslavice and for Austrian 26 mountain infantry battalion. The teams spent the first freezing night after demanding twenty-seven kilometres move in the forest near "Ztracena" chalet.
The second day of the competition arranged by the University of Defence's Physical Training and Sports Centre teachers was in the spirit of demanding marching up and down, around and across the ridges of the Hruby Jesenik Mountains. On the twenty-five-kilometre route with a hilly profile the teams crossed gulches and hills featuring quite high elevations.
That day offered two true tests in the form of the rope path in the rocks or moving a heavy burden. At the first one, two team mates climbed on a rope ladder and rope net on a twenty-metre high rock under "Skalnaty" hill. Then pulled together the third team member through the rocks using a pulley. All moved across the flat rock to a place where they crossed a deep chasm on the prepared dual horizontal rope and an inclined ladder. At the end, they rappelled down the rock top one at a time.
Only four teams were able to hold the 15-minute time limit, among them the Logistics Agency's team. "The rope path was a really challenging activity that took a lot of us," assessed captain Michal Pech his team performance. "We had the ski boots on all the time on the move as we kept hoping for moving on skis. It was some 70 per cent eventually despite the heavy snow fall that came," said same team's sergeant Jan Rada.
When done, the teams checked the equipment, read the right bearing from the map and went on through the hills of the Hruby Jesenik Mountains up to the place where they stop for a moment. A 200-kg burden awaited them at the "Videlske Sedlo" parking lot. The teams could use ropes to move it over 10-metre distance and had one fixed point available where a carabiner hung on a steel loop on a tree. The only additional thing that could help them to accomplish the activity was their creativity.
The provisional results of the Winter Survival 2020 championship keep holding the teams for the Logistics Agency, 26 Mountain Infantry Battalion and for the 73rd tank battalion among the favourites. As many as five teams withdrew from competition on the two first days for health reasons.
Today, the teams may, along with many more kilometres to go across the Hruby Jesenik Mountains, expect activities in military climbing on "Rolanduv Kamen" rock near Karlova Studanka Spa or in administering first aid for the wounded near Ovcarna pod Pradedem.
Author: Pavel Pazdera, WS 2020 press officer, photo: The Dung Nguyen