Best Mountaineering Institutes and Trekking Courses in India
Trekking and hiking might be one of the most sought after outdoor activities because, for the challenge it offers, it requires no equipment, experience or training to start off with. But, once the one-day hikes become multi-day hikes, the craving for more challenging climbs increases. This next level of climbs not only requires basic knowledge of hiking or mountaineering but also need technical, medical, navigational and instinctual expertise. To acquire such knowledge, formal training from institutions is the best available option. Courses from reputed institutes will teach being a team sport, knowledge of emergency responding in wilderness, rescue & survivor techniques, helps amp up the regular hiker to become a skilled one and most importantly the inspirational stories from fellow participants. Here is a list of the best trekking and mountaineering institutes in India and the courses they offer.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
It is located in Darjeeling, West Bengal and is ranked as one of the top institutes in the world. It was founded in 1954 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and has trained thousands of people from across the world in mountaineering and allied activities ever since. They aim to promote mountaineering among the youth and train individuals interested in mountaineering activities in the Himalayas both as a sport as well as an entrepreneurial pursuit in the field of adventure. They offer an array of courses which include rock climbing, for visually challenged people and short term refresher courses. For more details about the institute, visit https://hmidarjeeling.com/
Their three noted courses are:
- Basic course – The duration of the course is 28 days. This course introduces beginners to the world of rock, snow and ice climbing. The skill of climbing mountains from the necessities is taught to the participants. The field training is conducted at Chaurikhang in West Sikkim, which is the institute’s base camp. Frey and BC Roy peaks are where the trainees are trained. It is offered in March, April, May, September, October and November of every year.
- Advance Course – The duration of the course is 28 days. Trainees graded ‘A’ in the basic course are qualified for this course. It offers advanced training and an expedition planned by the trainees themselves under the supervision of an instructor. Various rescue operations are taught in different mountain terrains. 21 days are spent in the mountains by the trainees as part of this course. It is offered in March, May and September every year.
- Adventure Course – The course is specially designed for teenage boys and girls. It includes a stimulating experience of outdoor activities like trekking, camping and water sports.
To learn more about the courses offered, the applications and other details, visit https://hmidarjeeling.com/courses-offered/
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering
It is located in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. Known as one of the most prestigious institutes in Asia, it offers the best climbing training in the world. It was established in 1965 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and this is the only institute in India certified by the International Federation for Climbing and Mountaineering – UIAA. It aims to introduce young women, men and even school children to the concept of adventure and nature. They also aim to ensure they follow environmental conservation and awareness. For more details about the institute, here is their website: https://www.nimindia.net/. This institute offers a separate search & rescue course and a special skiing course of 21 days in January and February along with the below courses.
- Basic Course – The duration of the course is 28 days. It focuses on teaching basic movement on rocks, snow and ice along with helping the trainees increase resistance to the weather, hunger and theoretical aspects like map reading, navigation and mountain hygiene. The trainees spend 9 days in the NIM campus to undergo physical conditioning and learning theoretical basics. The next 14 days are spent in the mountains. Upon completion of the basic training in their base camp, they are taken climbing in altitudes in the range 14,000 ft. to 16,000 ft. It is offered from March to June and September to November. For a detailed itinerary of the basic course, visit https://www.nimindia.net/basic-mountaineering-course-bmc
- Advance Course – The duration of the course is 28 days. Any individual with an ‘A’ grade from the basic course if eligible for the advance course. The course covers advanced techniques on climbing rock, snow and ice. The task at the end of this course is to plan an expedition to a peak above 18,000 ft. in the Garhwal Himalayas under the supervision of NIM staff. It is offered from April to June and September to October. For a detailed itinerary of the advance course, visit https://www.nimindia.net/advance-mountaineering-course
- Adventure Course – The duration of the course is 15 days. It is open for school students, teachers and adults interested in outdoor activities like trekking, rock climbing, camping, cooking, navigation and bush crafts. It aims at making the trainees realise their physical and mental potential as well as helping them lead an active life under natural conditions. This course is very well the most popular and heavily booked in this institute. For a detailed itinerary of the adventure course, visit https://www.nimindia.net/adventure-course
For further information about the institute, admissions, applications and opportunities, visit their website https://www.nimindia.net/
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports
It is an initiative of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and is located on the banks of river Beas, Manali. It consists of 9 sub-centres across Himachal Pradesh and is the largest sports adventure training centre in India.
- Mountaineering Course – The duration of the course is 26 days. Organized in the ABVIMAS location of the Indian Himalayas which is an excellent peak for beginners as well as advanced individuals to surmount. The clothes are arranged by the institution and at the end of the course, the trainees are made to attempt a peak at 17,000-19,000 ft. For further application details of the mountaineering course, visit http://www.adventurehimalaya.org/mountaineering.php
- Water Sports – The course duration is 14 days. Basic, intermediate and advanced courses of water sports are offered here. The course is designed to teach river skills like throw bag rescue, rapid water kayaking and rafting. The center also has activities like canoeing, water skiing, swimming and white water rafting with centers at Pong and Bilaspur. For schedules of these various activities, visit http://www.adventurehimalaya.org/watersports.php
- Trekking – The duration of the course is 26 days. The route from Kullu or Manali to Lahaul, Spiti, Mandi and Kangra takes at least a week to cover by foot. The trek covers ascents and descents into the Himalayan trails of the Kullu valley. The best time to trek is from April to October this course promises beautiful scenery and some friendly company. To get more details of the applications and schedule of trekking course, visit http://www.adventurehimalaya.org/trekking.php
- Aero Sports – The duration of the course is 5 days. It advances from familiarisation of the equipment to hopping technique and flying solo. By the end of the course, paragliders will be able to reach a height of 18,000 ft. above sea level as per the instructor’s guidance. For more details regarding the detailed schedule, visit http://www.adventurehimalaya.org/aerosports.php
To get more information regarding the institute and applications, visit their website http://www.adventurehimalaya.org/index.php
The Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports
This institute is located in Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir. It was established in 1983 aiming to provide all adventure activities under one roof. They have sub-centers in Gulmarg, Shey, Patnitop Kud and Nalti Bhaderwah respectively. Along with mountaineering courses, the institute also offers river rafting and paragliding as part of their curriculum. Their list of expeditions includes Mt. Stok Kangri (6,135 mts), Mt. Nun (7,135 mts) and so on. The top courses offered by the institute are listed below.
- Mountaineering Course – Their mountaineering course includes basic and advanced levels which cover skills like rock, snow, ice craft, survival in the mountains, environmental awareness and an expedition to a peak at 18,000 ft. They also offer methods of instruction and rescue operation training. For details like duration, fee structure and applications it is required to contact them directly. You can do so through http://www.jawaharinstitutepahalgam.com/mountaineering.php
- Skiing Course – They offer basic, intermediate and advance skiing courses. For any further details, visit http://www.jawaharinstitutepahalgam.com/skiing.php
- Adventure Course – The duration of this course is 15 days. They aim to build adventurous attitudes, personality development, tent pitching, survival in jungles and inter-cultural exchange through visits to local villages. For further details, contact them through http://www.jawaharinstitutepahalgam.com/adventure.php
To get more details of the institute, availability of courses, fee waivers and applications, visit their website http://www.jawaharinstitutepahalgam.com/index.php
National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports
Located in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh this institute was established in 2012 and is famous for allowing civilians to experience outdoor challenges and build a career around adventure sports. Every one of their training programmes is designed upon the ideas of self-exploration and individual evolution, inspired by those associated with the institution. While the institutes mentioned above may be the best in their games, they have 6-8 months or even 2 years of waiting time. But, this institute is known for nearly zero waiting time after application.
- Mountaineering Course – Their basic mountaineering course is for 28 days in March-April pre-monsoon and August-October post-monsoon. The capacity of the course is 80 seats. The advance mountaineering course is for a duration of 32 days from April to September, one batch and August to September another batch. The capacity is 30 seats. To get the schedule, availability and fee structure in detail for these courses, visit http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#813277
- Paragliding Course – They offer a basic and intermediate (P1 and P2) paragliding course for 10 days with a capacity of 20 seats. It is offered during March and November. Their advance paragliding course (P3) is of duration 8 days from September to December. They also have a paragliding combined course offered from October to November with a capacity of 20. Their prices and duration can be checked here http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#136273
- Mountain Terrain Biking Course – Their basic mountain terrain biking (BMTB) course is for 12 days post monsoon from August-November with a capacity of 12. Detailed information can be found http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#273634
Their advance mountain terrain biking course (AMTB) is for 15 days post-monsoon and has a capacity of 12 seats. Their availability, fees and schedule can be check here http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#881653
They also host an MTB cum cycling expedition for 18 days and a capacity of 12 people in October. The route they follow is Dirang-Sela-New (Melling-Mago-Jithang-Mago-Dumping-Jang-Sela-Dirang). The details for it can be found here http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#683342
- White Water Rafting Course – The basic WWR course is for a duration of 10 days from November to January with a capacity of 20 seats, for which the details are given here http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#232236
Their intermediate white water rafting course is for a duration of 12 days from November to February and details are here http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#823227
- Scuba Diving Course – It is for a duration of 5 days and is conducted in Dawki, near Shillong from August to November. The advance course is for 4 days at the same time. Their details are found here http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Programs#667366
Apart from the above courses, they also offer basic & advanced paramotor courses, search & rescue scuba diving course, rafting expeditions and method of instructions course. All details regarding the same will require direct contact with the institute. Hence, visit http://www.nimasdirang.com/Home/Index
Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering
It is located in Gulmarg, Kashmir and was established by the Govt. of India, department of tourism. They are known for providing high-quality sporting equipment and one of the best training available. The courses they offer are Snow skiing at Gulmarg, Water skiing in the lakes of Kashmir valley, White water rafting in Lidder and Sindh rivers, Paragliding at Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Yousmarg and Trekking/Mountaineering at Kashmir and Ladakh. Every course mentioned requires direct contact with the institute for negotiating with dates, availability and fee structure. You can visit their website www.iismgulmarg.in for more details.
Indian Himalayan Center for Adventure and Eco-Tourism
It is established by the Govt. of Sikkim and is located on the hilltop of Chemchey village in south Sikkim. Along with providing trekking, mountaineering and paragliding courses, they are known for their eco-tourism courses.
- Mountaineering Course – Adventure course for 7-14 days is for both amateurs and experienced mountain lovers. It included lectures, cooking, the study of flora & fauna and navigation inculcating team spirit as well as physical and mental strength. The basic mountaineering course (BMC) is for 28 days and teaches acclimation of higher altitudes, the study of mountain vegetation, rock & ice craft and survival. Their advance course (AMC) for 30 days aims to cover expeditions, survival, search and rescue operations, only for participants with an ‘A’ grade from BMC. For further details on these 3 courses, visit http://www.ihcaesikkim.org/mountaineering.php#tab1
- River Rafting Course – The institute offers basic, intermediate and advance courses. They aim to cover the understanding of water, rescue strategies, safety procedures, overcoming rapid waters and use of rafting equipment. They will teach and cover white water rafting grades through 1 to 6. For more information about this course, visit http://www.ihcaesikkim.org/rafting.php
- Paragliding Course – Their course for beginners and advance pilots are offered on certified Tandem flying sites in Sikkim. Tandem flying is when a certified pilot flies with a passenger. The sites are at Bulbulay Dara, Gangtok and Chakung Durpiney Dara, Jorethang, West Sikkim. Apart from these, they provide paragliding tours and organize para trekking and gliding expeditions in Sikkim. For further information about the course, visit http://www.ihcaesikkim.org/paragliding.php
- Rock Climbing Course – This course needs no prior experience or knowledge required by the participants. They offer two courses namely artificial rock climbing which is a 2-hour session with basic knots and belaying techniques taught. Under natural rock climbing, they have basic rock climbing course (BRCC) and advance rock climbing course (ARCC). In BRCC, you can expect to learn climbing techniques, rope handling, rappelling and so on. It consists of 15% theory and 85% practical learning and is offered to individuals in the age range of 10-60 years. In ARCC, individuals interested in tougher climbs are encouraged to participate. Skills like rope coiling, stretcher making, lead climbing and many more are taught. The duration of the course is 5 days, with 15% theory and 85% practical training, for age 16-60 years.
Apart from the above mentioned, courses like skiing, rescue operation, mountain biking and trekking are offered on the availability of suitable conditions and no. of participants. For further information on these courses and details about the organization, visit http://www.ihcaesikkim.org/index.php
We have listed a few Mountaineering and adventure sports Institutes in India if you are an adventure junkie, you must check this list and get yourself enrolled in any course you wish for. Stay Safe, Travel Safer!