French Military High Mountain team during the Darwin crossing
What is the GMHM?
The military mountaineering Group is a team of soldier experts in mountaineering and arctic conditions. Since its creation in 1976 more than thirty five years ago, the Military Group of High mountain stood out as one of the headlight structures of the high-level climbing. Its Prize list is highlighted by great achievements, Premieres and exceptional ascents.
By equipping the French Military High Mountain Team, Millet involves itself in the alpinism and climbing elite. This group, composed by around 10 high mountain guides, realizes expeditions all around the world. Millet offers its technical know-how in order to help these exceptional men to struggle against extreme conditions of their expeditions.
Focus on their Millet clothes and equipment :
Find also the GMHM on Facebook
What has it done?
- Second winter ascent of Mount Eiger by direct Harlin route (1978)
- First and only one free solo ascent of the American Direct on the Ouest face of les Drus (by C. Profit)
- Numerous first routes in the Himalayas (Nepal- India- Pakistan- China)
- 6 summits above 8000m including Mt Everest w/o oxygen (1993)
- Speed climbing world record at Mt Aconcagua (1992)
- North Pole (1996) & South Pole (1999) independently (First French record)
- Second ascent of Mt Ross – Kerguelen Island (2001)
- Over 100 routes opened or reopened in the Alps
- challenge « 7 continents, 7 Mountaineering » (2005-2010)
- First Crossing of the cordillera Darwin (Tierra del Fuego)
Who are in the GMHM?
The team is composed of 10 alpinists, all mountain guides or in formation. The sourcing is done inside the armed forces, but also outside the service for th privates and all soldiers at the beginning of their careers.
- 10 people– 3 officers/ 4 NCO’s/ 3 Privates
- Practice of mountaineering at expert level
- High mountain Guide
- Internal recruitment
- Initial recruitment from civilian
We practice every discipline of mountaineering:
- Summertime and winter mountaineering
- Trad and Aid climbing
- Ice Fall
- Paragliding / PPG
- Polar conditions
- High altitude
Our mission, stated by the charter of GMHM in 2002, is to « Explore the niche of extreme physical and climatic conditions on land».This generic mission can be broken down into three secondary missions: communicate, experiment, counsel to the profit of the French Army. Through its activities and its numerous expeditions, the actions of the group push away the limits of the man in extreme climatic conditions. GMHM carries the flag of the Land forces. This elite team counsels the French troupe about the extreme human and weather conditions and all the really specific mountain skills.
The last challenge?
2010 has seen the completion of an around the world challenge initiated in 2005. This challenge has given us the opportunity to demonstrate the versatility of the team’s mountaineers, as comfortable on the burning Malian slabs as in the icy barrens of Greenland:
- Mali: 7 multipitch sport climbing routes on the Fatima’s hand
- Patagonia: mixed climbing, new route on San Lorenzo
- New Zealand: ski mountaineering, ascent of mounts Cook, Aspiring
- Greenland: Ice climbing into the water glacier caves
- Canada: Great snow ridges, first ascent of the north ridge of mount Augusta
- Himalaya: High Altitude, ascent of Mukut Parbat East 7130m
- Antarctic: Aid climbing. First ascent of the pilar De Choudens /Renard
In 2011, the military mountaineering Group GMHM achieves a world first by crossing the entire Cordillera Darwin in total autonomy. The Cordillera Darwin, a massive peninsula at the southern end of South America, in Tierra del Fuego. The skills and knowledge of each other learning during the around the world challenge and all the training have an important part of the success in Darwin. The GMHM is a stable team, the average time for a soldier in the team is near 8 years. This is our strength.
Can the members of GMHM be considered "commandos"?
No, we are soldier but we are not engaged on any conflict or trouble during the time we are serving the GMHM. We are advising and training the Mountain Commando of the 27th Brigade of Mountain Infantry. Some of the soldiers of the GMHM come from those commandos. All our resources are used to prepare and success expeditions.
Is GMHM part of the French Army?
Totally, the GMHM is part of the 27th Brigade of Mountain Infantry which is for example each winter engaged in Afganistan.
Is GMHM based in Chamonix?
Yes, at the EMHM which is the french Military High Mountain School. The EHMH is supporting the GMHM for the logistic. All the mountain experienced and graduate soldier are formed in the EMHM.
Were all 6 people who did the Cordillera Darwin, soldiers?
The GMHM is as same as the French Army is, there is a civilian working for the Army. Almost of the climbers of the GMHM are soldier, but one, Dimitry Munoz, is civilian of the defense. He was working as a civilian high mountain guide for the EMHM. He is now at the GMHM. The 9 other people of the team are soldier, so for the 5 other of Darwin.
Is there any sort of GMHM in other countries?
In the world, there are just two other countries where you can find a Military High Mountain Team: in Italy and in Spain. Those teams are not structured and working exactly as the GMHM – experience, stability and means - but they have done interesting climbing and are going to do some impressive ascent. In other countries, it is possible to find a military group formed for a single particular expedition, like in India.