Home' Army News : September 17th 2009 Contents PHILLIP DAHLER
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Army September 17, 2009
Don't look down:
Staff cadets from
RMC test their
mettle on cliff
faces in the Blue
and over ice and
snow in the Snowy
By Capt Ben Taylor
EXERCISE Stretton pitched staff cadets
from RMC out of their comfort zones last
month and into a multi-discipline unit
adventurous training activity.
More than 170 staff cadets deployed
on the activity, supported by at least
30 unit adventurous training leaders
Training disciplines included caving,
sea kayaking, climbing and Nordic ski-
ing.Kayakers headed for Jervis Bay for a
day of capsize drills before moving on to
their base camp at Honeymoon Bay.
For SCdt Sarah Bawden, the princi-
ples underpinning adventurous training
certainly pushed her comfort levels.
"We were told to choose activities
that stretch us a bit, and I'm terrified of
everything below the water -- so it was
interesting," she said
While the weather stopped the
cadets from going outside the heads,
the exhausting paddles by day and night
soon taught them about leadership in
The skiers went to Perisher, where,
after a quick introduction to stay-
ing upright and moving forward, they
donned their packs and sleds and head-
ed off towards Charlotte Pass.
Four days later, they returned to
Perisher, having learnt a good deal
about alpine survival, mental toughness
and what it means to be really cold.
The cavers were the only group to
change locations during the exercise.
They were split between Bungonia,
near Goulburn, and Wee Jasper, about
54km south-west of Yass, and swapped
half way through the exercise.
SCdt Timothy Farrell learnt caving
terminology does not tip-toe around the
truth. "There's a couple of moves in there
-- one's called the hip-hugger and one's
called the knee-breaker, and they're
fairly literal in their descriptions," he said.
"What we saw was typically charac-
terised by really tight spaces and so the
perceived risk there is confined spaces."
The climbers worked in the Blue
Mountains and based themselves out of
Marrangaroo Depot for canyoning, multi-
pitch abseiling and climbing.
Using extra-long ropes, the culmi-
nating activity was a huge, single-pitch
abseil off "Dog Face".
This experience gave the cadets
a valuable insight into individual and
group stress reactions, as well as coping
SCdt Nicholas Barletta said the
100m drop was probably the biggest
abseil any of the cadets had done.
"I was feeling a bit apprehensive, but
it's probably going to help me develop
my sense of confidence in stressful situ-
ations, which will be useful as a leader
in the future," he said.
SCdt Fredrick Clark was philosophi-
cal. "That's what it's all about -- facing
fears," he said.
Another exercise is scheduled for December
11-18. Current or lapsed UATLs interested in
supporting this activity can contact Capt Ben
Taylor on firstname.lastname@example.org.
High and not always dry
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