Basic Mountaineering Courses in India
I applied for Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI Darjeeling in June 2013. Since the seats are less and demand is more, there is a long waiting list in the top two mountaineering institutes of India namely:
1. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi- when I enquired in June 13, waiting list was for more than a year.
2. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling – when I enquired in June 13, latest batch with seat available was in March ’14. I applied for this course and have now received a call letter confirming my admission.
Other two institutes i.e. ABVIMAS, Manali and Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Srinagar informed that seats were available in July 2013 batches but with the reviews I read on various forums, I preferred to wait and develop physical strength before I go for such a course. HMI and NIM were appreciated by almost everyone for serious training and I had to choose between the two.
Why HMI Darjeeling?
I chose Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI Darjeeling, even though I would have liked to go to NIM Uttarkashi because of the following reasons:
1. I was getting a seat in March 14, which was an ideal time, neither too early nor too late.
2. I would get sufficient time to develop physical fitness. I was never much of a sportsman, always a couch potato and lazy sort of person so this factor was very important.
3. This course would take me near the base camp of the world’s third highest peak, Mount Kanchenjunga. This was a bonus.
4. I am working as a Safety Personal at a Power Plant construction site and it’s quite possible that by March, the work pressure will reduce, as major activities would be finished and it will be easy to get a month long leave from my job.
5. I do not like winters and winters also don’t like me. So, I hope March would be somewhat warm in Sikkim.
Why to do a Mountaineering Course?
1. Well, I do not want myself to be judged, but wilderness has always appealed to me, I find it is friendly and welcoming when compared to cities.
2. I think doing this course will open me to the world of travelling and adventure. It would be a skill which may help me get a short term job in future if I chose a life of travelling. I can even opt for AMC (Advanced Mountaineering Course) at NIM Uttarkashi after successfully completing BMC at HMI.
3. I want to remain fit throughout my life.
4. I understand this requires sufficient time and money, but I believe the returns would be fun.
Challenges in a Mountaineering Course
Well, it won’t be easy to take a different path and that too at such time when I am comfortably settled in my job which is a quite-obvious-well-trodden path. So, there are going to be many challenges I will be facing. These are as follows:
1. Physical Fitness: The most difficult of all. I never played many sports. But, it has to be done. I don’t have any coach, but I found my way when I downloaded the US Army physical fitness training pocket book. You can also download it by clicking here http://www.goarmy.com/downloads/physical-training-guide.html. It does not specifically prepare for mountaineering but improves general fitness, strength, stability and endurance. I am working on it and found it really effective. With this book coach, I believe I will be able to work out my way through this challenge.
2. Managing one month leave in March 14: March 14 will be the end of financial year and it will be difficult to convince my seniors here to get a month long leave. I hope my luck will support me here because I rarely try to convince anyone, I just go my way.
3. Psychological Preparation: I have never lived in mountains and higher altitudes. Many fears will engulf me and my family regarding the dangers of the course. But, the best way to deal with fears is to face them. And if I am planning to travel a lot I will have to face such things always and I can’t afford to live in a state of constant fear.
I have recently joined IndiaMike.com for getting more information about travelling, trekking and mountaineering and to allay my fears of the unknown. It is also possible that I make acquaintances that will be willing to travel with me. Equipped and ready with this I am waiting positively for March. Himalayas, here I come!