HMI Darjeeling

HMI Darjeeling is one of the best mountaineering institutes in India. I got an opportunity to join Basic Mountaineering Course at the Institute where legendary Indian mountaineers have either instructed here or trained themselves. Mountaineers from HMI Darjeeling have challenged the mountains all over the world including the eight-thousanders.

This page is dedicated to the great institute when I got an opportunity to spend some time.  I will share my experience at HMI Darjeeling and the latest information about the institute.

Application for Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI Darjeeling

HMI Darjeeling conducts wide variety of courses to suit the needs of different age groups and varying difficulty levels. The courses preferred by beginners, amateurs and professionals alike are:

  1. Basic Mountaineering Course
  2. Advance Mountaineering Course
  3. Methods of Instruction Course.

It is necessary to complete the former to apply for the later.

Other courses like Adventure Course, Course for the Visually Challenged Person and Special Courses are also conducted which are more of an introduction to the world of adventure and mountaineering.

Read my experience of applying for the Basic Mountaineering Course.

Transfer of Vacancy at HMI Darjeeling

Though every applicant must try to attend the allotted course, in case of unavoidable circumstances or emergency, HMI can be requested to change the allotted course. Due to work pressure at my office, I requested HMI to transfer me into another Basic Mountaineering Course. I am thankful to HMI for considering the request and allotting another course. Though with an instruction to attend the course and such accommodation will not be possible the second time.

Read my experience of Transfer of Vacancy.

My Experience of Basic Mountaineering Course

I attended the course in September 2014. The blog posts given below share day to day experience with information which I found useful to share with readers.

Part-1: Inspiration, Preparation and Travel to New Jalpaiguri from Khandwa

Part-2: Transportation from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling, HMI Darjeeling, Paper Formalities, Exploring the HMI Campus and HMI Hostel

Part-3: First Day, First Class, Introduction to Instructors, Division in Ropes, Mountaineering Equipment, Mountaineering Manners and Customs and Medical Inspection

Part-4: Second Day, Principal’s Address, Classes on Ropes and Knots, Avalanches and Himalayas

Part-5: Third Day, Classes on Rock Climbing, Mountaineering Terminology, Mountain Hazards

Part-6: Fourth Day, Meeting with Principal over Medical Reports, Practice on Tenzing Rock, Cheema Indoor Wall, Lecture on Ice Axe and Crampons

Part-7: Fifth Day, Tiger Hill Trek, Lecture on Map Reading

Part-8: Sixth Day, Rappelling Practice at Tenzing Rock, Introduction to my Roommates 

Part-9: Seventh Day, Outdoor Artificial Wall Climbing, Outing, Plan-B

Contact Details of HMI Darjeeling

Website: http://www.hmidarjeeling.com/

Address: The Principal, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Jawahar Parvat , Darjeeling-734 101 (WB), India

E-mail ID: 

hmi_darj@rediffmail.com

hmidarj@gmail.com

Important Telephone Numbers:

Training Office —  0354 2254087
Principal — 91 354 2254083
FAX No — 91 354 2253760

Himalayan mountaineering Institute Logo

HMI Darjeeling Basic Mountaineering Course – Part-9

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Click here to read Part-08 at http://yadavmanoj.com/hmi-darjeeling-basic-mountaineering-course-part-8

Last Day at HMI

19.09.2014, today would be the last day at HMI Darjeeling for us in two ways: If we get selected, I will go for the trek with all students. If not, then also I will have to leave HMI due to medical reasons. Today, the weather seems fine after last night’s rains. Khilap sir took us for the PT session and we enjoyed it. He introduced lot of stretching exercises.

After breakfast I talked with Rasheed.  He shared his travelling experience and tips. He and his friend are avid travelers. They have this peculiar style of travelling with a destination in mind but with no plan on how to reach there. They try to use free and cheap services. In one of such travels, they decided to go to Kathmandu. They started from Hyderabad and reached Nepal via Howrah, New Jalpaigudi, Darjeeling, Indo-Nepal border. Their story was quite interesting and inspiring. I also thought of going for similar adventures in future.

Outdoor Artificial Wall Climbing Session

Today forenoon there was an outdoor artificial wall climbing session. HMI wall is 45 meters high. I gave a try to the wall but could not climb more than 15 meters of that giant. Only one student could cover the whole height of the wall. He was a NCC boy with speed and technique. Most of the students failed to cover even half of the wall. Few could cross 30 meters mark and my roommate Sagar was one of them.

From the way we were given the training, I realized that Basic Course just introduces one to all the aspects of mountaineering while Advance Course looks in the finer aspects of mountaineering. Advance course students were seen planning their own expeditions in library referring books on the subject.

After the wall climbing session, we assemble outside the Equipment Room with our instructors. Tenjing Sir, our rope instructor asked us to double check our equipments as this would be the last chance to do the same. He suggested me to change my crampons.

Outing — Fun and Shopping

At 10:30 hours all the students were allowed to go for outing so that students can purchase the things they need for coming days in mountains. We were reminded by the instructors to have personal items such as:

  1. Woolen gloves
  2. Balaclava/cap
  3. Woolen socks
  4. Sunglasses
  5. Thermals
  6. Toilet papers
  7. Sunscreen cream
  8. Raincoat/cover
  9. Polythene (for covering backpack)

With strict warning, we were asked to reach back to HMI by 1730 hours.

Since I had all the things with me already except for the woolen socks, I did not go for the outing. Sagar would bring them for me. Instead, I preferred taking rest for the final medical checkup due at 1600 hours. I came early in the canteen and seated myself till lunch was ready thinking and writing. At this stage I did not even know if I would be going to home or for the trek, but I had already packed my backpack properly to go for the trek.

After lunch, I slept for two hours in the hostel room. We, the unfit group, assembled in the Medical Inspection room at the given time. Unfortunately this time also I failed the test. The BP did not come down even a single point. I had been declared unfit for the trek but still as a formality and a last hope we were asked to come the next morning at 0600 hours, if we were able to get the blood pressure lower we would be allowed to go for the trek.

By this time I have lost all the hopes and this seemed stupid to be able to manipulate readings which are not in anyone’s control. Along with me, Kalypso, Mukul and Prabhu were also declared unfit. Since we already had Plan-B we decided to go for it.

Plan-B

At 1740 hours we assembled in the Quadrangle. The chief instructor was informing us about the trek in detail. Tomorrow i.e. on 20.09.2014, we were asked to take tea at 05:30 am, have breakfast by 06:30 am and assemble at 07:30 am for the trek. All valuables should be deposited at HMI Warden Office before leaving for the trek else no one will be responsible if they get lost or stolen. Other luggage which is to be left at the hostel must be kept in cupboards and properly locked. In Kanchenjunga National Park, cameras will be chargeable at Rs 20/day. Ration for kitchens had already left for the camps ahead of us. At campsites, huts are available but may not be open yet after the monsoon season.

In the evening we discussed our options with Tenzing Sir who was most friendly and supportive to us. We discussed both the options with him i.e. Goecha La and Sendakhpu treks to go for as a small group on our own. Tenzing Sir was most cooperative and gave us good guidance with all aspects involved.

In Goecha La trek, we will have to take ration and kitchen with us. We would be able to cover the distance easily if we hire a trekking company. He said that huts are available but the problem is they may not be open yet.

Instead if we go for Sendakhpu, tea-houses are available en route where we can get food and shelter. After further discussion within our group, we decided to go for Sendakhphu. Prabhu has already done Sendakhphu and would prove a good guide to us. He promised the views of Kanchenjunga and Everest if the weather is clear on one of the days of our treks. He even made a five day itinerary in case in tomorrow’s final medical checkup he is cleared. We would be leaving shortly after other students have left from HMI.

Since only 10 days of my 30 days leave has passed yet, I had planned to travel the whole time available with me. Me and Prabhu will explored the possibility of Bhutan after we return from Sendakhpu. Although a Passport or Voter ID Card is required to cross the border, I have my company ID and I hope this would be sufficient to cross the border without any problems.

I came back to the room after the discussions. Since, I had already packed, I watched my roommates packing their bags and getting excited about the coming days. Since, I had given up all hopes that I would be cleared for the trek, I shared my plan of Sendakhphu and Bhutan with them. But everything was bleak as compared to HMI trek and Mountaineering training in the lap of Mount Kanchenjunga. This was not the ending I had expected.

20.09.2014

I woke up early at 04:15 hours got ready and waited for 06:00 hours to go for medical checkup. My roommate Sameer gave me a small scaly fruit to consume, which looks like Litchi from inside. He had purchased it from a vendor near Tenzing Rock. He said that this has the property to alleviate Blood Pressure temporarily. I did not eat it because, in case it worked, I did not want to influence my Blood Pressure readings. I believed that if high Blood Pressure is something which is taken quite seriously by these institutes then I better not go to avoid facing problems at higher elevations.

I went to the MI room with others. Mukul got lucky and his readings had come down to normal. All others were handed over a slip and asked to go home. I dearly wished I had been selected but was happy at last this tumult will end and I can now move on to other adventures. Two of the rejected students were from Sikkim Scouts. They were admitted for the course on the insistence of their captain who is also a student in the course.

The institute tried their best to take us in. They gave advise on lowering the blood pressure, gave us multiple opportunities and all the moral support. I said goodbye to all my friends and left HMI Darjeeling for a new adventure.

To the beginning of the HMI adventure:

Basic Mountaineering Course at HMI Darjeeling