The Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) is the most popular course for mountaineering in India. With the Himalayas flanking the country ranging from North to East, its popularity is only obvious. The basic mountaineering course is usually 25-28 days long and there are several mountaineering institutes in India that organise it in several batches annually. Participants get to learn an array of techniques and survival skills in the harsh climate and altitude of the mountains. This course is a great way to test and improve one’s endurance, as well as take the first step towards becoming a successful mountaineer.
Basic Mountaineering Course objectives
- Basic movement techniques on snow, rock and ice
- Practical aspects of mountaineering including weather, map reading, medicines, navigation, mountain hygiene etc. are taught
- The course includes reading material and literature on basic aspects of mountaineering
- Conservation of the Himalayas is also an integral part of the BMC course.
- Plenty of physical activity is done to increase one’s resistance towards hunger, cold and fatigue.
Basic Mountaineering Course structure
- The first 8-9 days are spent at the base camp where trainees undergo regular physical exercise and basic training including rock climbing, map reading, understanding weather, navigational skills etc.
- The next 13-14 days are spent in the mountains through 2-3 camps to help trainees acclimatize well. During this period, trainees are taught basic snow craft and ice craft and are then taken to higher altitudes ranging from 14,000 feet to 16,000 feet.
Basic Mountaineering Course techniques
There are several techniques taught and exercises done in the basic mountaineering course, including:
- Hill walk with a loaded rucksack
- Introduction to mountaineering equipment
- Introduction to ropes: coiling ropes, rope knots and roping up.
- Rucksack packing
- Tent pitching and campsite selection
- Basic and intermediate first aid
- Introduction to rock climbing: holds, bouldering, anchoring,
- belaying, making makeshift harness, rock terminology
- Basic and intermediate map reading
- Artificial wall climbing
- Crampons and gaiters fitting
- Campsite cleaning
- Introduction to ice craft: equipment, ascending and descending using ice axe and crampons, anchoring, belaying, belaying, using pitons and fixed ropes, crevasse crossing and jummaring
- Introduction to mountain hazards and rescue
- Introduction to snow craft: equipment, ascending and descending on snow slopes, glissading, anchoring and belaying
- Maintenance of equipment in harsh weather