Khumbu icefall

Mountaineering Courses in India – Xpedition Series

Any mountaineering course would focus on imparting skills related to rock craft, ice craft and snow craft. BMC would offer an orientation of the entire mountaineering essentials. You would be trained for rope essentials, outdoor survival techniques, expedition planning and team-work and a climb to the summit of a high-altitude peak.

You might have already been to a lot of treks, including the high-altitude ones. Now you want to take on some serious climbs and possibly go higher. Your entry into the world of mountaineering depends on the mountaineering courses you take along. Read on to find info on the various mountaineering courses and the institutes making them available in India.

Mountaineering institutes in India:

  • Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) Uttarkashi
  • Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) Darjeeling
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) Manali
  • Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM) Pahalgam.
  • NIMAS (National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports), West kameng, Arunachal Pradesh

Types of Mountaineering courses:

There are primarily 4 different mountaineering courses available:

  1. BMC (Basic Mountaineering Course)
  2. AMC (Advanced Mountaineering Course)
  3. SAR (Search and Rescue)
  4. MOI (Methods of Instruction)

BMC (Basic Mountaineering Course): 28 days

Who is it for:

  • Perfect course for those wishing to start a career in the outdoors. Most of the trekking companies need a BMC certified guide to lead their batches.
  • Mountaineering aspirants looking to gain skills, endurance and more perspective for higher altitude treks, also as a prerequisite for the Advanced Mountaineering Course.

Any mountaineering course would focus on imparting skills related to rock craft, ice craft and snow craft. BMC would offer an orientation of the entire mountaineering essentials. You would be trained for rope essentials, outdoor survival techniques, expedition planning and team-work and a climb to the summit of a high-altitude peak.

Khumbu icefall

Eligibility:
Should be at least a 12th standard graduate: A lot of websites would mention this criteria but one can check personally with these institutes. HMI, for example, does not prioritise this criteria and many Sherpas who couldn’t pursue education and young school students have completed a course from there in the past.
Age-limit: They normally follow a limit of 18-45 years, with some relaxation on both the younger and the older sides.
Physical fitness: You would be asked to submit a medical form. It’s very important to take it seriously and not fake it just to get an entry in the course. You should get a medical test done and it would adequately help the institute determine whether you are fit enough to enroll. Pulse, blood pressure and haemoglobin levels are usually the most important parameters.
Trekking can be done easily with good lower body strength and decent strength on the shoulders. Mountaineering demands a grueling regime where you must develop tremendous lower as well as upper body strength and have a rock solid core, without ignoring the cardio (more on the training in our next article).

Institute Name Location Course Fees for Indians Year of inception
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) Uttarkashi

 

Rs 7600 1965
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) Darjeeling

 

Rs 7750 1954
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) Manali

 

Rs 17000 1961 (Earlier named as Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute)
Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM) Pahalgam Rs 14000 1983
National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) Arunachal Pradesh Rs 15500 2013

AMC (Advanced Mountaineering Course): 28 days

Who is it for:

  • Serious mountaineers, those craving to go higher, learning to apply the crafts practically and becoming capable to organize and participate in expeditions on their own.
  • Those looking to become leaders for companies that organize peak climbing and expeditions.

AMC is very practical oriented and focuses on learning by doing. It’s better to do AMC right after your BMC training.

”AMC training would require using the previously learnt skills which are fresh in your mind, you are in good physical shape after the BMC, you have already climbed a peak and well acclimatized to go higher. It makes sense to go for AMC right after securing an A grade in your BMC” – Simran Chanda (AMC at HMI, 2017)

Eligibility:
Age limit: 18-40 years
BMC grade: An ‘A’ grade in BMC is a must to secure a seat in the AMC. People who couldn’t secure an A grade during the BMC might have to repeat the course. Repetition is usually prohibited at the same institute.

SAR (Search and Rescue): 2-3 weeks

Search and rescue

Who is it for:
If you’re planning to lead an expedition, it’s not enough to be a conqueror; you have to be a rescuer as well. The Search and Rescue course would make you a rescuer in the extreme mountain conditions. For those looking to lead mountaineering expeditions, know about the emergency evacuations and rescue procedures in detail.

Eligibility: An ‘A’ grade in the Advanced Mountaineering Course

 

MOI (Methods of Instruction): 2-3 weeks

Who is it for:
Those who wish to become an instructor in mountain training. You could become a climbing or an outdoor instructor after doing this course and it would set you firmly in the adventure industry.
Eligibility: An ‘A’ grade in the Advanced Mountaineering Course

 Besides the mentioned institutes you can also enquire for Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute (S.G.M.I.), Gangtok, which conducts mountaineering courses for staff of government offices. The courses are not open for public. The Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering (IISM), Gulmarg, offers courses in skiing as well as trekking.

With all this info in hand, we would encourage you to apply for a mountaineering course as soon as you feel you’re motivated enough and fit the criteria. Please note that the seats to these institutes are limited and an application doesn’t guarantee a seat confirmation in the same year. It is however strongly recommended to keep following up with the institute regarding applicants’ cancellations as there is no set wait list and you might end up in the course same year even when you applied quite late. NIMAS Arunachal currently has the least waiting time.

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