Mountain Warfare Training Centre

The Training Centre
Griffith Pugh
Letters 1943
Letters 1944
Diary 1943
Memories of GP by James Riddell
Biography of Griffith Pugh



The Syllabus

Phase I (one week). Early Essentials And Technique

Mastery of this phase enabled beginners to move about on flat or undulating country with reasonable efficiency and to go slowly up and down slopes of gentle gradient. Men of this degree of training were comparable to snow-shoe troops.

Phase II (two weeks). Control

Mastery of these two phases enabled men to proceed slowly up and down slopes of almost any gradient and to ascend and descend mountain ranges with reasonable efficiency. If, for any reason, further training could not be continued these men could be used as porters. Progressive load carrying has, however to be practised before they could carry useful loads.

Phase III (four weeks). Slow Continuous Running and Short Distance Patrols with Light Loads

Mastery of these three phases enabled men to move efficiently and continuously, with reasonable speed in any mountainous country. At this stage men could be used in minor roles and short range day patrols.

Phase IV (twelve weeks) Fast Continuous Running and Long Distance Patrols with Heavy Loads

Mastery of all four phases completed the training, and students of this category could operate efficiently and with considerable speed under all conditions. They were then suitable, from a skiing angle, for armed and self-sufficient patrols of up to and including six days duration.



Before going on long distance patrols or taking part in full scale exercises in the mountains students had to pass two tests the Elementary and the Advanced. The former, which had to be passed at the end of two weeks training (failing this men were returned to their units as unsuitable) consisted of three parts

  1. Ascent. A climb of not less than 500 feet to be done at a rate of 500 feet in 25 minutes (without skins).
  2. Descent. A descent in reasonable control of not less than 500 feet to be done at a rate of 500 feet in seven minutes.
  3. Control. Students had to prove that they could control speed during continuous descent both with snow-plough turns and with alternate straight running and braking (snow-plough); that they could side-slip and negotiate obstacles and bumps; and that they were sufficiently in balance to shift weight from one foot to another during descent.


The Advanced test usually took place between the fifth and seventh week of training and consisted, quite simply of the following:

Part I. A climb in full kit of not less than 3,000 feet, carrying a load of 25 lb. load, rifle and ammunition at a specified rate of not less than 1000 feet in 45 minutes (without skins).

Part II. Without rest after completion of part I, and carrying the same equipment and load, a descent of not less than 3000 feet at a specified rate of not less than 1000 feet in 6 minutes.

Tests were carried out in natural, unbeaten snow, and once a student could pass these two he qualified as being sufficiently mobile in more or less all conditions to take part in military schemes.

Average cross-country speeds were as follows:



   Minimum  Maximum
 Ascent 1000 ft per hr 2500 ft per hr
 Flat cross-country  3 kph 12 kph
 Descent 5 kph 60 kph

Concurrently with ski tuition, periods were devoted to Navigation, Snow-craft, Snow-shelters, First Aid, Rescue Work, Load Carrying, Care and Maintenance of Equipment and subjects of military application such as Communications, Concealment and Camouflage, Tactics etc.