India, with its vast and dynamic terrain, is home to a few of the most majestic mountain ranges in the world including the mighty Himalayas. India ranks high on the list of mountaineering hot-spots of the planet. Mountaineering serves many as a grueling adventure sport any many take it up for the thrill of it. It involves exploring, discovering and climbing the highest summits, peaks or passes. Be it traversing through the narrowest of ridges or climbing snow-covered peaks with breathtaking views, mountaineering gives you a thrill like no other.
Mountaineering might have come into the spotlight as a mainstream adventure sport in the latter half of the twentieth century but it always had a presence in India given the remarkable landscape the country provides for the sport. Over the past fifty years, mountaineering has gained popularity at an unprecedented pace with India producing numerous quality mountaineers. There are numerous trails, peaks, passes, varied-altitude summits and more at offer throughout the country to cater to any and every kind of mountaineer.
India has on offer seven major mountain ranges including the Western and Eastern Ghats along with other smaller ranges. The great Himalayan range offers spectacular views and some of the tallest peaks in the world whereas, the Karakoram and Pir Panjal ranges offer the most distinct and dense Bio-diversity on display and mountains with deep forest covers. India has a substantial number of high altitude mountaineering options with numerous peaks ranging from an altitude of 6,000 meters to above 8,000 meters. These extreme expeditions require immense fitness and mountaineering skills. The various mountaineering institutes in India provide a range of mountaineering courses with quality training from professionals.
Popular Mountaineering Destinations in India
The prominent landscape variations in the Indian mountain ranges provides for mountaineering options throughout the year. However, the majority of high altitude areas in the Himalayas are accessible only through spring and early winter i.e months of March to December, due to excessive snowfall and temporary geographical restrictions in peak winters. While most part of the lower Himalayas is accessible round the year, the Indian monsoon turns the southern and eastern ranges of Nilgiri and Pir Panjal into difficult marshy terrain. The plethora of options when it comes to mountaineering, spread throughout the geography of the country, make mountaineering a lucrative adventure sport for many in search of nature, peace, adventure, thrill and that oh so satisfying adrenaline rush.
Mountaineering Institutes in India
Nestled in the Himalayan belt are all the major mountaineering institutes in India. All mountaineering institutes listed below are affiliated to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), New Delhi and provide professional courses like the Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC), Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC), Search and Rescue and various other certified courses related to mountaineering and corresponding adventure sports.
● Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
● Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, West Bengal
● Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
● Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering & Winter Sports, Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir
● National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh
● Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
● Pandit Nain Singh Surveyor Mountaineering Training Institute, Munsiyari, Uttarkhand
● Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute, Gangtok, Sikkim
● High Altitude Warfare School, Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Career in Mountaineering
Apart from being an adventure sport, mountaineering is very much a viable career choice for most. People who want to make the sport their profession have numerous lucrative opportunities in the private as well as the public sector. From sports service providing companies to independent trek leaders, freelance expeditions to the adventure corps of the Indian armed forces, there are enough options for you if mountaineering is something you would want to make a career out of.