Now Training in Alaska
The Peak Inc now offers customized courses in the mountains surrounding Anchorage, Alaska using certified and experienced instructors.
Contact us to schedule your teams training today
USAA: 4 Tips to Weather Harsh Winter Conditions – the Special Ops Way
It’s a long way from the frigid Hindu Kush mountains - where Rod Alne was attached to a unit of special operators for a mission after 9/11 - to Butte, Montana, where the former Air Force pararescuer now lives and works.
In the rugged mountains of Afghanistan, Alne and the team experienced high-altitude conditions no one expected. “The U.S. hadn’t fought in that type of terrain since World War II,” Alne says. “We had great guys in the unit, but the skill set wasn’t there.”
So they quickly adapted, learning which techniques and equipment to use on the fly. And by the time the USAA member retired from the Air Force in 2005, he was as skilled at thriving in the cold as he was at parachuting, rock climbing, combat diving, emergency medical treatment and land navigation.
A veteran climber, Alne now puts those skills to work running The Peak Inc., a business specializing in extreme environmental training and performance, where he teaches wilderness survival.
Alne says the biggest mistake people make when going outdoors in winter weather - whether on skis, snowshoes or simply on foot - is failing to prepare.
Here’s what he recommends:
Plot a proper route. “You might hike somewhere in the summer that takes you only three hours to finish, but in the snow in winter, even in snowshoes, it might take you six,” Alne says. Be realistic about how much ground you can cover. Whatever time it takes to walk a path in the summer, expect it to take at least twice as long in the cold and snow.
Tell a friend. Give a friend or family member your detailed route and plans before you depart. Leave a copy on your car’s dashboard when you park at the trailhead. If you get into trouble, you want rescuers to be able to quickly pinpoint your possible location.
Check the forecast. “Weather is a huge player,” Alne says. “You may think you’re going out for a short time, but you can get hit by a snowstorm and can be stuck somewhere.”
Pack a survival kit. The final and most essential step is to pack a winter survival kit. “You want to be able to maintain 98.6 degrees body temperature,” Alne says. “That’s the goal.”
Alne suggests a three-tiered equipment system, based on the military approach:
1. Equipment for all hikes
Wear a lanyard around your neck for easy access, and attach a small button compass, a whistle or other signaling device, a flint fire starter, a light source and a jackknife. If possible, also attach a 40- to 50-foot length of parachute cord (also called paracord or 550 cord).
2. Backpack gear for short treks
For short treks, stock your backpack with a small first-aid kit, high-calorie snacks, an industrial-sized orange garbage bag that can be used as a shelter (and that searchers can spot easily), duct tape, a hand-held compass and an emergency space blanket.
3. Gear for long trips - 24 hours or more
Include all of the items from the first two tiers plus a tent or tarp, ground pad, sleeping bag, portable avalanche shovel and extra layers of warm clothes.
Click here to read the full article on USAA.
4x4 Training - Moab, UT
The Peak Inc is excited to say we now have even more training opportunities with our recent permit for the use of the Moab UT 4x4 trails system. Here is a map showing some of the major trails. Give us a call and we will set your next 4X4 training event in Moab UT.
Contact us to schedule your teams training today
Click the map to the right for a larger trail map of Moab, UT
Outdoor Life: Survival Skills - Peak Performance
ROD ALNE has spent the better part of four decades navigating high-pressure situations in some of the world's most demanding and unforgiving locales. He served with the United States Air Force's elite Pararescue units for 27 years, including stints in both Iraq wars and in Afghanistan. He's summited some of the world's tallest peaks, including Mt. Rainier, the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Mt. McKinley (twice), Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano (three times), and Mont Blanc in France (five times). He's even competed in two grueling multi-day Eco-Challenge adventure races.
Now, he's parlayed his experiences into a career as a Special Operations Forces training instructor based out of Butte, Montana. Since 2005, his The Peak training program has equipped...
Click here to download the full article.
Click here to read the full article on outdoorlife.com.
Into the Wild - Pilots (and a reporter) learn survival shills at clinic
Last weekend the Judith Mountains were the site of the Montana Department of Aeronautics annual winter survival clinic. The idea was to simulate a winter plane crash and to learn the skills a pilot - or outdoorsman - would need to have to survive an emergency winter situation. The Duvall Inn served as the base for the clinic, serving meals and providing housing on Friday night.
Expert survival instructors taught nine pilots, 10 Rocky Mountain College students, nine volunteers and administrators, and one fumbling reporter. Nearly everyone who attended the clinic and learned from top experts in the field "survived" unscathed in their snow shelters.
The winter survival clinic was hosted by the Montana Aeronautics Division - the aviation branch of the Montana Department of Transportation - and led by The Peak, Inc out of Butte...
Click here to read the full story.
Tech to Offer Safe Travel Abroad Course
Starting in the fall semester, Montana Tech will offer a semester-long course that will teach people how to stay safe when traveling to foreign countries.
The course will cover everything from how to dress, recognizing health issues, and even kidnapping risks.
"We're hoping to help people recognize the threats and possibly mitigate those risks by having a little knowledge ahead of time," said Mark Gollinger, the professor from Peak Inc.
Montana Tech is teaming up with Peak Inc. to bring a course that will teach students about...
Click here to read the full story.
High elevation niche: Butte-based Peak Inc. offers high-altitude training for military, civilians
Not too many people make a living teaching other people how to jump out of airplanes into 10,000-foot mountains, but that's exactly what Rod Alne does.
Alne is the president and CEO of the Butte-based The Peak Inc., a veteran-owned small business that was established in 2005 to enhance the performance of military special operations units, elite law enforcement, wilderness professionals and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Peak provides high altitude training to ensure maximum performance during extended periods of operation in austere environment.
The idea for The Peak came to Alne when he was deployed in Afghanistan. Alne is a retired Air Force chief master sergeant with 27 years of service under his belt. But while deployed in Afghanistan, he noticed many of his fellow soldiers suffering from altitude sickness.
"I want to get (soldiers) to understand the effects of altitude, especially when they're not acclimated," Alne said. "Our training is geared toward mountain movement - how to negotiate mountainous terrain on ATVs, skis, on horses, on foot. What makes (The Peak) so attractive to the military is they can land at the airport, off-load at the hangar, and they can do multiple training events in the area."
When Alne retired from the Air Force, he wanted to find somewhere to put his business that would help soldiers acclimate to high altitudes. He'd been to Butte before, and knew it was just the place. He moved his wife and two daughters from Florida, where he'd been stationed, to Butte without much second thought.
While The Peak has in the past primarily attracted the attention of the Department of Defense for training soldiers prior to deployment because of its three drop zones at elevations 5,600, 8,000 and 10,000 feet, The Peak is expanding its training courses offered to the general public.
The Peak offers wilderness first aid, CPR, avalanche awareness, navigation, swift water rescue, technical rescue climbing and basic survival courses. The Peak helps facilitate the survival skills course offered at Montana Tech.
With the anticipated cuts to the Department of Defense budget, Alne recognized a need to expand his customer base away from just military personnel.
"We have to diversify to stay fluid with the way things are with the (federal) budget," he said. "There are so many activities you can do within 45 minutes of Butte."
The Peak is based out of a hangar at Bert Mooney Airport. During an interview with The Montana Standard, the hangar was filled with an artificial village destroyed by rubble. The village was part of a training simulation The Peak had created for military personnel to practice rescuing wounded people during combat. The hangar also has a climbing wall and a classroom where Alne and his staff teach their courses.
The Peak has also used abandoned mine shafts in the area to train confined space rescue courses. The Peak has dropped soldiers onto Red Mountain and the soldiers traverse the ridge to get back to camp at Pigeon Creek.
The main challenge The Peak has faced is also its greatest asset - location.
"The training environment is outstanding," Alne said. "But the exposure is not so good. We're isolated out here."
But nearly a decade after establishing his business, Alne has the pleasure now of a diverse clientele base.
Alne said the most rewarding part of his work is hearing from people who used the training he gave them and that training really helped them.
"(Soldiers) have sent emails while they're deployed about how valuable the training was and how it saved their butts," he said. "We've trained 600-700 people here, people who have done missions overseas."
Alne believes that his business has been a boon to Butte as well.
"I have guys come in for two week and it's a boost to the airport, to the hotels, to the grocery stores and restaurants," he said. "Once they come they all want to come back."
The desire to come back has certainly been true for Air Force Major John Shoemaker, who is the commander of a parachute water survival school in Pensacola, Fla. He said he's done training exercises with The Peak five times since 2009.
"It was really great for guys going into Afghanistan because of the altitude work," Shoemaker said of the course. "It helps these guys get acclimated. If somebody gets in trouble (while serving overseas), our guys have the technical expertise to set up a hasty recovery."
Shoemaker said The Peak has facilitated training courses for all branches of the military, and that the training in the thin air of the Highland Mountains south of town has been particularly helpful to his men.
"I've done the Highland traverse course three times," he said. "We jumped into a high altitude drop zone, we hiked up just above the tree line and spent the night up there. Then we got up before daybreak and started our traverse across the mountain because it takes eight hours. Meanwhile the aircraft flies overhead doing resupply drops with water. It's like service to the moon up there."
During the on-the-ground training, Shoemaker said, the C-130 crew also gets training doing resupply drops and low-level flight training in the mountains.
"It's been an outstanding course," he said. "The high altitude element and the mountain environment brings a quality aspect to the training we do."
By Kelley Christensen The Montana Standard
Click here to read the full story.
Hanging out: Firemen practice their rescue techniques way up high
About a dozen Butte-Silver Bow firefighters spent the day Thursday just hanging around.
Hanging around 70 feet off the ground.
They trained in high- and low-angle rope rescue tactics all week. Their efforts culminated in a “real life” situation Thursday morning in which firefighters practiced what they learned off the side of the Hennessey Building in Uptown Butte.
The firefighters dangled six stories off the ground from the roof and the building’s fire escape. They practiced rescuing a person from the upper floor by rappelling down the side of the building.
The training was conducted by The Peak Inc., of Butte, which specializes in military-style high-altitude and rescue training. Peak president Rod Alne spent four days training the firefighters in rope rescues. He said the firefighters did a good job picking up this complex form of rescue.
“With all the buildings we have around here, sometimes the only way a firefighter can get people down is from the roof, because a fire’s on the lower levels,” Alne said.
Alne is an Air Force veteran with 27 years of rescue experience and training.
Butte Director of Fire Services Jeff Miller said it’s important for his firefighters to get this type of training, because it expands the department’s capabilities to perform difficult rescues. Miller noted that his department covers an entire county that is more than 700 square miles, which includes urban areas and rough, isolated terrain.
“The potential for using this type of training is ever present,” Miller said.
He noted that his firefighters enjoyed this challenging type of training. Firefighters learned to make certain types of knots, use pulley systems, anchor ropes to walls and bring a wounded person down from a high place.
“They’re getting pushed to their limits,” Miller said. “The training is physically demanding and your life depends on it.”
written by: By John Grant Emeigh of The Montana Standard
Click here to read the full story.
The "Dog Days" of summer are coming to an end but the morning sky is still filled with smoke from distant forest fires. The nights are already getting cooler and soon the leaves will turn different colors, the Elk will begin their rut, and old man winter will return. It has been a busy, busy summer and the past month has been especially crazy. It's all good when you have a job you really love and are able to work with the finest troops in the free world.
June started with scouting trips to two new and exciting "base camps" for your training. Mark and I checked out the Upper Canyon Outfitters operation near Alder Montana and the Altoona Lodge near Phillipsburg Montana. You can read more about these awesome locations later on in this newsletter.
After Independence Day, we hosted the USAF 6th SOS for two weeks of intensive training including Small Team Technical Rope Rescue, Rock Climbing, River Rescue, and High Altitude Movement in the beautiful Highland Mountain Range South of Butte. The Airmen of the 6th SOS picked a great month to visit Butte. The weather is usually great and Butte is host to the Montana Folk Festival and Evel Knievel Days. Hint! Hint! Plan next year's summer training around these weekends for some added fun.
August started with a Wilderness Advanced First Aid Course for the Survival Instructors at the USAF Survival School in Fairchild AFB (see article below). Next on the list was a USAF STS unit consisting of Pararescuemen and Combat Controllers. They utilized the Granite Creek Range for High/Low Angle shooting with Bill and Tyler, performed a high altitude mountain movement in the Tobacco Root Mountain range, and improved their Rock Climbing skills with Gene and Gord. In addition to all of that, Randy and Mark guided each group (PJs and Controllers) on three-day, 200 mile on/off road movement on ATVs, UTVs, and motorcycles through the mountains of Southwest Montana.
In August, we also conducted our first K-9 Summer Mountain Operations Course. Working with an elite military unit, we helped develop a course that not only improved the skills of the special operators but had the added challenge of conducting all of the operations with military working dogs. During the two-week course the dogs and their handlers improved their rope skills in Small Team Technical Rope Rescue and were introduced to the Trace System (See Article Below), conducted a High Altitude Movement, enhanced their riding ability on ATVs, and then moved to the Upper Canyon Ranch where we introduced the dogs to Swiftwater Rescue/River Crossings and Pack Animal Operations. You should see the dogs riding a horse:) The training concluded with a Final Training Exercise encompassing all of the skills followed by a good lo' Montana Barbecue put on by the folks at the Upper Canyon Ranch.
We finished out the month with another outstanding group of Pararescuemen. They also improved their rope skills and learned the Trace System, braved the Class Six rapids coming out of Earthquake Lake during River Rescue, and completed a High Altitude traverse with Gene and Rod.
We have a little bit of a break before the next group comes in so now it's time to do what you're supposed to do during the "dog days" and that is be lazy and lay around. Yeah right!!! We are more like those military dogs than we want to admit. Take care and have a great month.
Wilderness Advanced First Aid
In August The Peak successfully certified 48 Air Force Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) Specialist Trainees. This course was instructed by veteran Peak instructors including: Dr. Susan Borjesson-Newman, The Peak's Research Director and Physiologist; Adam Pope, retired AF MSgt Pararescuemen; and Dan Lasich, paramedic and former AF medic.
During this six day course, held at Fairchild AFB SERE School in Spokane, WA, students learned basic and advanced wilderness medical skills including: bleeding and trauma emergencies, bone and joint injuries, respiratory and cardiac emergency care, treatment of shock, austere environment concerns, allergic and diabetic emergency care, and other common wilderness injuries. Practical skills were taught first in a controlled classroom environment with commercially available medical supplies, and then the same skills were honed in a wilderness setting using a combination of commercial and improvised medical solutions. The highlight of the training always seems to be the gruesome Moulage and mass casualty exercises were triage and evacuation are required.
Thank you to Fairchild AFB 66th Training Squadron for the opportunity to bring semi-annual Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification to SERE Specialist Trainees over the last several years.
Altoona Ridge Lodge & Upper Canyon Outfitters
Are you looking for a serene, secluded "base camp" surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest? Well we found the place for you. The Altoona Ridge Lodge is off the grid and sits at 7600' up in the Flint Creek Mountains. We think it will be an ideal location for that small group that wants to backcountry ski and snowmobile all day then come back to a very comfortable lodge with incredible views. Check it out at http://www.altoonaridgelodge.com and then let us know when you want to book it for your winter training.
Jake and Donna McDonald run an outstanding operation at the Upper Canyon Outfitters ranch in the Upper Ruby outside Alder Montana. We used their place as a base of operation for three separate groups during the month of August alone. Everyone including The Peak staff had nothing but praise for the outstanding horse and pack training, the comfortable lodging, and the spectacular and very tasty meals. A big thank you to Jake and Donna, Rocko and Val, and all the rest of the very professional and friendly Upper Canyon Staff. Check them out at http://www.ucomontana.com and let us know when you want to go there so we can go back.
Please check out this outstanding organization, based in Montana that has been working with veterans. We have recently started talking to them about our organizations working together to give back to our wounded brothers and sisters. Please take a few minutes to look at their site and check out all the great things they are doing.
I pulled this statement from their Mission Statement on their website - http://www.camppatriot.org
“Camp Patriot exists to take Disabled U.S. Veterans on outdoor adventures.
The task is monumental. Today, there are over 2.3 million disabled veterans in the U.S. The number of disabled men and women veterans is growing with each day the war on terror continues.
These brave veterans sacrificed much in order to ensure our safety and freedom. All of these veterans had dreams about the future, but many of those dreams were lost due to injuries suffered in the line of duty. Outdoor activities that they hoped to do in the future have vanished due to their disability. We want to thank these veterans by showing them that with the right help, they can again enjoy the great outdoors.”
The Peak's Avalanche Awareness Course
Every day we get a report from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center and the reports have been bad all year. This has been an especially dangerous season and there have been six deaths in Montana since January 1, 2012. Across the nation there have been 25 fatalities this winter and numerous accidents not resulting in death. We even received an article (link below) this morning about a village in Afghanistan that has lost approximately 200 people in one avalanche.
If you are going to play or work in avalanche country, please take the time to educate yourself about the dangers and basic rescue techniques. Attend an Avalanche Awareness class and acquire the gear that will keep you alive or help to rescue a victim. Beacons, shovels, probes, and float packs may seem like an expensive investment but you might only get one chance. Just knowing what to look for in avalanche country may save your life. If you can't attend one of the Peak's Avalanche Awareness Courses find one in your local area and bring your friends.
Avalanche buries village in northeast Afghanistan
Winter Warfare Training in Utah and Montana
Gord, Gene, Mark, and I started off 2012 with a road trip to Northern Utah. We worked with 75 members of an Air Force Special Tactics Squadron (STS) during their winter warfare training phase. During the two week evolution, Gord, Gene, and I spent the majority of the time up in the mountains around Little Cottonwood Canyon. In addition to mountain mobility training, we conducted winter survival, avalanche, and snow shelter training. Other than a couple snow shelter cave-ins and some cold feet, the training went well and the men were able to get a lot of their upgrade qualifications signed off. The very ambitious schedule also included some cross country and downhill skiing at Alta ski resort. I had a great time teaching the guys how to "attack" the slopes on cross country skis. However, the rental shop was starting to get a little bummed about all the broken skis.
After coming back to Butte, we hosted another STS team for their winter warfare training. Gene and I took them up on Red Mountain and spent the night. We planned to ascend Monument peak the next morning but the winds were blowing in excess of sixty miles an hour making it not only extremely dangerous but hard to stand up with a large pack. We made the call, the first time in hundreds of trips, to turn around and head to the exfiltration point. We finished the trip with a great day of snowmobiling at Red Lion (Georgetown Lake Area) and some downhill skiing with Shawna at Discovery Basin Ski Resort.
Winter Warfare Training in Jackson Hole
Gene, Gord, Carl, Mark, and I spent the latter half of October in Jackson Hole, Wyoming conducting Winter Warfare Training with a group of sixty warriors. I know everyone feels sorry for us (yeah right) but we had a very ambitious training schedule and put in some very long days. During the two weeks of training, each man spent two days rock climbing, two days in Swift Water Rescue training, and two days learning Pack Horse Operations. In addition to that block of training, they spent four nights and six days in the Tetons developing advanced mountaineering skills. Despite all the moving parts and personnel, no one was hurt and everyone really enjoyed the training. We owe a big thank you to our partners in the Jackson area. Nat Patridge and the Exum Mountain Guides, KC Bess, and Carlton Loewer, Sam Coutts, and the Black Powder Ranch all went above and beyond to make it an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Thanks again to Sam and Carlton for the great elk feed/party at the end of the trip.
Alternative Training Locations
It's always nice to sleep in our own beds so we prefer to work out of our headquarters in Butte. Our hangar on the Butte Airport is set up for your training and our location is centrally located for a variety of evolutions. We know the area well and already have everything wired but we know that people want to explore other areas. We can, as we did in Jackson Hole, conduct our training in any location with the appropriate terrain. In addition to numerous locations around Montana, we are also working on trips this winter to Northern Utah and the Tahoe area in California. With enough of a head's up and within reason, we can go pretty much anywhere you desire. We'll bring in the right people and use the local resources as much as possible but we will always be on site to insure that you get the Peak quality experience.
Just this month we met with the leaders of two great organizations here in Montana. Both of these alternative locations could be used as a base camp for your training. Camp Bighorn in Northwest Montana is right across the road from the Clark Fork of the Columbia and is a perfect launching point for a number of activities. Upper Canyon Outfitters in Southwest Montana has the Ruby River running right through it. This beautiful Montana ranch, located at the confluence of three major Rocky Mountain ranges, is very close to our High Angle Shooting Area (Granite Creek Range). Whether it is pack horses, mountaineering, or just tossing a line after a long day of training, Donna and Jake will welcome us.
Check the links out below and let us know if you would like to set up our training at either of these locations. If Jackson Hole, Northern Utah, or Hawaii is on your list, we can work those locations as well.
Do you Need to Get Out of Handcuffs or...
Chew Someone Out in Pashto?
The Peak is always looking for new courses that we can offer our clients and are currently working with two vastly different organizations to provide some great training. We have started working on a one or two day Cultural Awareness/Survival Language course with The Defense Critical Language and Culture Program at the University of Montana. In addition to a "Working with Interpreters" course, they have Pashto, Dari, and Baluchi Language programs and Afghanistan/Pakistan/Iran/Iraq culture and regional studies programs. We are very excited to be working with this outstanding organization and will keep you posted on developments and in the meantime, check them out here.
Another small company we are working with offers an Advanced SERE course that focuses on escape techniques. During the two to three day courses, students will become proficient at escaping from various types of restraints and environments. If this sounds like something you or your team could put in their toolbox, please contact us for further details.
Our Newest Team Member
LTC John Nugent - US Army Retired
We are excited to welcome our newest staff member, LTC US Army (retired) John Nugent to the Peak team. John is our new Business Development Manager and will help take our rapidly growing business to the next level. He has a wealth of experience including 38 years of service in the U.S. Army. He is a college professor at Montana Tech, heavily involved with a variety of community programs, and seems to know everyone in town. Click here to view his bio.