Basic Mountaineering Course

The Call of Snow

The sight of tall, snow-capped peaks has always evoked an irresistible fascination in a human heart. They exude a challenge, inspire courage and promise serenity. Time holds innumerable tales of explorers crossing frozen passes, traversing icy slopes, braving the forces of nature and even defying death to get to those snowy portals, to herald the flag of undefeatable human spirit and valor on the top of seemingly unconquerable mountains. Climbing a mountain is the victory of human strength, will power and fortitude. It is the ultimate test of a person’s mettle.
For those who love challenges and despise a conventional life, mountaineering may be the right call. In addition to satisfying your daring side, it can also be a good profession. But before jumping into the fray, one needs to be equipped to deal with the hazards associated with mountains. The risk factor is what makes mountaineering so thrilling and gives those who dare it, a heroic aura. 

Enrollment in basic mountaineering course

To start with, you may enroll for a Basic Mountaineering Course in Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) Darjeeling, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) Uttarkashi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute, Manali, or Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Pahalgam. Throughout the year except in the rainy season, courses are conducted in several batches. However, the seat should be booked in advance as the number is limited. The 28-day training which would transform you forever would cost you around Rs. 18,000-20,000. Equipment and clothing are provided by the institute.  

Training in basic mountaineering course

To tackle the rocks, one must be rock solid, hence the stamina building exercises would begin from day 1. You will be initiated into the fascinating world of mountains and your allies in adventure- the ropes, climbing shoes, rucksack, crampons, harness would be introduced to you. Rock climbing, trekking, mountain manners, tent erection, knots, snow climbing would all become familiar. In guidance of experienced instructors, you would scamper on the rocks, first staggeringly and afraid then confidently and without fear. The rise in your self-confidence would astonish even you. First you would be made to trek with a backpack on plains and then would climb through beautiful forest to the Base Camp at a higher altitude. Here you would take your first steps in snow and would discover the joys, challenges, discomforts, and thrill of being a mountaineer.

You would learn to tackle varying degrees of slopes. The usual hazards and dangers of climbing and the way to survive them would be taught. How to put your step on snow to avoid skipping, how to cross an avalanche prone area, what to do if your companion falls in a crevasse, would be demonstrated. When you have learnt the basics, you would be taken to climb a moderate peak.
You would be shown on screen the amazing climbs of veteran mountaineers while you wonder how they achieved such heroic feats. But by the end of the course, you will happily realize that you yourself have done something remarkable, that you have gone much beyond your perceived limits, that you have forever fallen in love with mountains.
Note: If you are unable to get into a mountaineering institute for the basic course due to a long waiting list, which is usual, or if you would rather train in a small group or individually instead of being clubbed with 70 odd beginners, you may contact The Mountain Knights (TMK), which specialises in personalised training, by highly qualified mountaineering instructors. Check Out the Mountain Mentorship Program (MMP) which is kind of a mini version of the Basic Mountaineering Course.

 Squadron Leader (Dr.) Toolika Rani

(*Author is the first woman from U.P to climb Mt. Everest, first Indian woman to climb Asia’s highest volcano in Iran, and has done 25 mountaineering and trekking expeditions in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Russia, Tanzania, and Uganda (Africa). She is an ex-Indian Air Force Officer, Mountaineer, International Motivational Speaker (TEDx), Author of the books, Beyond That Wall: Redemption on Everest, and, ‘Sherpas of Solukhumbu: History and Evolution’ (2023). She has done her Ph.D. on Sherpas of Solukhumbu, and is an Assistant Professor of History. Contact her on

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