France

High Mountain Military School

74403 Chamonix

link: school homepage

Historical Overview

The High Mountain Military School (EMHM) offers a specialized technical and tactical training to officers and NCOs belonging to mountain troops. After more than 80 years in existence, it has become an unparalleled center of expertise for mountain units operating in an environment where conditions (weather, terrain) are harsh, sometime extreme.

The EMHM is part of the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade as of 1st July 2012. The school missions are to provide expertise for commitments in mountainous and snowy areas, to promote mountain troops in the Army, and to provide officers and NCOs with the capabilities to operate as leaders in mountainous areas. The aim of the training delivered is to provide them with the capabilities necessary to be sufficiently at ease in a mountain environment to prepare their manoeuvres in a friendlier and more controlled environment without thinking anything else.

The basic principle relies on the principle that the mountain has to be turned into an ally ; to this extend, it has to be known enough to control it.

Located in the Chamonix Valley, the school is close to four ski resorts and two cable cars providing easy accesses to high mountain areas. It is based at the foot of the Mont Blanc, the “roof of Europe”, and attracts thousands of mountaineers from all around the World. This easy access to high mountain areas has no equivalent avoiding time wasting in transportation or in long approaches.

About 1.500 troops are trained each year at different levels in our school. Some of them come from foreign countries.

To this part dedicated to training, must be added two specific units :

The High Mountain Military Team (GMHM for Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne) is a very specialized group tasked to master extreme conditions. It is responsible for the testing of new techniques and equipments that will help and change procedures and clothing of mountain troops. This group is used to operate in extreme conditions, providing expertise the Army needs to prepare its commitments in difficult terrain. To promote the high level mountaineering and to become a real extreme laboratory, the GMHM develops new techniques, acquiring and perpetuating a framework of knowledge for the benefit of the French Army, primarily for the 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade.

The last specialized unit belonging to the High Mountain Military School is the famous French Military Ski Team. It consists of 34 athletes among who Sergeant Martin Fourcade our world champion in biathlon. This military team is a major part of the French National Ski Team. If the French Military Ski Team is not supposed to be involved in training, the High Mountain Military Team shares its experience with the mountain commandos trough common trainings organized several times per year.

Nevertheless, both promote and support the high level in military sports and contribute to the promotion of the French Army during civilian and military international championships. 

1932 - Founding of the High Mountain School

1947 - Founding of the French Military Ski Team

1961 - First group of NCO «students »

1976 - Founding of the High Mountain Military Team

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