Imagine yourself heading up an icy Himalayan peak, all roped up, walking with a bagpack and an ice-axe with the snow-shoes; training to negotiate rock-walls and snow slopes for a month… if this is your ultimate aim then Basic Mountaineering Course offered by Government of India is where you should enroll.
This 28 days long course teaches outdoor enthusiasts techniques in rock climbing, snow and ice craft, making you a government certified mountaineer.
You need to be 18yrs or older and have base level fitness as we are made to run 5-8kms every day. Do pushup and crunches. You also need to be able to carry a 8-12kgs bagpack for 6 hours climb during the trek to base camp.
- Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand)
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute, Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
- Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering, Darjeeling (Sikkim)
- Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Kashmir
If you are not an athlete or a trekker, there are some things you need to prepare yourself for:
- Go running every morning for half an hour on ground or uphill depending on your fitness level.
- Once a month, you need to trek to a nearby hill with a bagpack of 8-12 kgs (fill it properly with blankets, books etc. and check proper padding or you’ll hurt your back before the course itself).
- Learn the basic rock climbing knots.
- Do breathing exercises taught during yoga like pranayama.
- Check your haemoglobin levels and other things mentioned in the medical form.
Equipment and clothing:
The institute gives you a good quality bagpack, sleeping bag, water-bottle, balaclava, feather jacket, climbing shoes, snow shoes etc. and clothing that would be required in high-altitude and all the mountaineering and climbing gear.
What you need to take along:
- A diary to take down notes
- Your personal clothing: tshirts, trackpants, etc
- Goggles, fleece jacket, fleece skull cap/ balaclava.
- Good quality high-ankle shoes (to avoid ankle twist and injuries)
For a more detailed list, email me. Would be happy to send you one.
The course is split into following segments:
- Rock Craft
- Ice Craft
- Snow Craft
This 28 days course teaches us right from bagpacking to what to wear in the mountains, how to stay, walking and climbing techniques, map-reading, setting up campsite, weather and climate. In short all the basic things we need to know before heading to mountains are taught there.
Important things to note:
- You are being watched for your fitness and behavior throughout the course and the grading depends on that. If you get ‘A’ Grade in your certificate, then only you will be eligible to do Advance Mountaineering Course. Otherwise you will have to repeat the course. ‘B’ grade also makes you a certified mountaineer but not eligible for other courses.
- Currently admissions for NIM and Darjeeling fill up for entire year in advance so you’ll need to apply considering that.
Choosing your Institute:
- If you are planning to do Advance Course in the future, then I’ll suggest you to do Basic from Darjeeling or Manali because for Advance Course, you must go to NIM.
- Basic Course techniques are taught the same everywhere but locations differ.
- The Base Camp at Darjeeling is very beautiful and since the trek to Base Camp is tough normally you won’t have opportunity to go there on your own hence choose that. It also develops our endurance and fitness during course. I did there.
- If you are a person with a luxury lifestyle and a foodie then opt for Manali Institute. They serve gajar ka halwa above base camp where you come down after ice climbing! It’s lavish. Even the equipment and accommodation is very good and so are the instructors. Just that since it’s semi-funded, you have to pay a higher fee than other institutes. The basecamp of this Institute is the basecamp for a number of high-altitude peaks so it’s worth a go if you are planning for solo trek or going to do a lot of Himalayan expeditions by yourself.
Successful Completion of Course:
- You become a government certified mountaineer.
- You are equipped with basic techniques required to ascend a rock face, snow or ice terrain in the mountains.
- Exposure to high- altitude.
- You can then apply for Advance Mountaineering Course to gain more proficiency and if you want to continue doing mountaineering.
For application and medical forms, kindly visit the official websites of respective institutes: