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Coordinates: 38°21′33″N 119°30′45″W / 38.35917°N 119.5125°W / 38.35917; -119.5125

Mountain Warfare Training Center, MWTC
Mono County, northwest of Bridgeport, California
File:MWTC Logo.jpg
MWTC Insignia
Type Military base
Site history
Built 1951
In use 1951–present
Garrison information
Current CO

The Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) is a United States Marine Corps installation located in Pickel Meadows on California State Route 108 in the Toiyabe National Forest, 21 miles northwest of Bridgeport, California. The training center exists to train units in complex compartmented terrain.


The Marine Corps' Mountain Warfare Training Center, as a major subordinate element of Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, and with support from Marine Corps Installations - West, conducts unit and individual training courses to prepare USMC, Joint, and Allied Forces for operations in mountainous, high altitude, and cold weather environments in support of the Regional Combatant Commanders. Additionally, MWTC provides support to Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC); Training and Education Command; Marine Corps Systems Command; and other USMC and Department of Defense (DOD) agencies engaged in the development of warfighting doctrine and specialized equipment for use in mountain and cold weather operations.[1]


File:MWTC Basecamp.jpg

MWTC Basecamp, Pickel Meadows

The Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) is one of the Corps most remote and isolated posts. The Center was established in 1951 as the Cold Weather Battalion with a mission of providing cold weather training for replacement personnel bound for Korea. After the Korean War, in 1963, the school was renamed the "Mountain Warfare Training Center" due to its expanded role. During the 1980s the Training Center's focus was on training and preparing Marines and operational units for deployments on NATO's Northern flank, particularly Norway.[2] Recently, with the Global War on Terrorism, the MWTC provides pre-deployment training in support of Operation Enduring Freedom—the war in Afghanistan.[3]

Operating Areas[]

File:MWTC RHU and MOUT site.jpg

MWTC MOUT site in Hawthorne (lower left) and RHU Village set up in Summit Meadows Sept 2007

MWTC is located in what's known as Pickel Meadows of the Sierra Nevada mountains south of Lake Tahoe on 46,000 acres (190 km2) of mountainous terrain with elevations from 6,700 ft (2,000 m) – 11,000 ft. Other areas utilized by MWTC: Sweetwater Airstrip 6,835 ft (2,083 m), Mt Shasta 14,179 ft (4,322 m), the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada (U.S.) and Hawthorne Army Depot for live fire exercises. 38°21′24″N 119°30′59″W / 38.35667°N 119.51639°W / 38.35667; -119.51639[4][5]

MWTC Installation Capabilities[]

MWTC School of Mountain Warfare[]


Marines conduct cold weather live fire small arms range

Scout sniper snow MARPAT

Scout Snipers train at the Mountain Warfare Training Center

Formal Courses / Training Programs Offered[]

File:New Mountain Leader (summer and winter) Logo.jpg

USMC Mountain Leader (S/W) Logo

  • Mountain / Cold Weather Pre-Environmental Training
  • Mountain Operations Staff Planning Course
  • Summer and Winter Mountain Leader Courses
  • Tactical Rope Suspension Techniques (TRST) Course
  • Mountain / Cold Weather Scout Sniper Course
  • Assault Climber Course
  • Scout Skier Course
  • Mountain / Cold Weather Survival Course
  • Mountain / Cold Weather Medicine Course (Navy)
  • OSV (Over the Snow Vehicle) / rough terrain driver training
  • Animal Packing Course
  • Custom tailored packages for Aviation units
  • Mountain Warfare Instructor Qualification Courses

Pre-Deployment Training Programs (PTP)[]

Rough Terrain driving at altitude

ETTs conducting Rough Terrain Driving in Hawthorne May 2007

  • Mountain Exercise (MTNEX) (revamped summer/winter package customized per METL)
    • Training for all USMC MAGTF elements/units for OEF

MWI (Mountain Warfare Instructor, AKA Red Hats) Training[6][]

Basic MWI[]

  • MLC or IQC (Instructor Qualification Course) Graduate, Seasonal
  • BIC (Basic Instructor Course)
  • SAT (Systems Approach to Training) and ORM (Operational Risk Management) Online Courses
  • ORM (Operational Risk Management)
  • RSO (Range Safety Officer)
  • 225 score on the [United States Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test] (PFT) unadjusted for age or altitude
  • Recommendation from Course Chief

Senior MWI[]

File:MWTC MWI Training.jpg

MWIs (aka Red Hats) conducting advanced winter mobility training in the Eastern Sierras (Evolution Loop) March 2005

  • Summer and Winter Mountain Leader Course (or IQC)
  • Completed AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course[7]
  • Qualify as a BSI (Basic Ski Instructor)
  • Complete Snow II Clinic
  • Complete Rock II Clinic
  • Complete Alpine II Clinic
  • Certified as a Wilderness First Responder or higher
  • Completed 20 hours of platform Instruction
  • Recommendation from OIC.

Master MWI[]

  • Completed AIARE Avalanche Level 2 or Level 1 Instructor Course
  • Qualify as a MSI (Military Ski Instructor).
  • Complete Snow III Clinic
  • Complete Rock III Clinic
  • Complete Alpine III Clinic
  • Completed 40 hours of platform Instruction
  • Recommendation from OIC.

See also[]


  1. MWTC Command and Staff "A Training Complex for Complex Terrain"
  2. [1] "The U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center 1951-2001"
  3. MWTC Command and Staff "A Training Complex for Complex Terrain"
  4. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (2011-02-12). "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. MWTC Command and Staff "A Training Complex for Complex Terrain"
  6. Academic Training Center Order, Dated June 2010
  7. AIARE

External links[]

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