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Mountaineering Institutes in India

Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Mount Everest (8848M / 29,028ft.) along with Edmund Hillary, in 1953 provided the desired impetus to mountaineering as an organized sport in India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru then Prime Minister and a visionary, wanted to channelize the abundant energy of the youth of the nation into a constructive field of mountaineering and hence planned to open a Mountaineering Institute.The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was founded in Darjeeling on 4th November 1954 by Pandit Nehru himself. In this manner Late Pandit Nehru ignited the spark of a new spirit for young Indians. The spark has already developed into a dazzling torch, lighting the path for those who accept the challenge of the Mountains and aspire to climb high.

Formation of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF)

  • A Sponsoring Committee of the Cho Oyu Expedition was formed in 1957, the success of which on May 15, 1958, encouraged the Committee to sponsor more expeditions.
  • In 1959, it changed its name to the Sponsoring Committee of Everest Expedition and in the following year Sponsoring Committee for Mountaineering Expeditions.
  • Finally, on January 15, 1961 a permanent organization was set up, in its role as the national body, with headquarters in New Delhi and was registered as Indian Mountaineering Foundation on November 3, 1961.

IMF – Objectives

Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) is an apex national body for mountaineering, skiing, rock climbing and trekking at high altitudes in India.

  • The main objectives are to organize, support and provide a base for expeditions for mountaineering, rock climbing, trekking at high altitudes and to promote, encourage, support and execute schemes for related adventure activities and environmental protection work in the Himalaya.
  • IMF coordinates climbing in the Indian Himalaya, organises national and international conferences, training / environment-cleaning camps and climbing competitions.
  • IMF is closely associated with the Ministries of Sports, Home, Defence, Tourism and Environment of the Government of India.
  • Foreigners can climb mountain peaks in India after obtaining the required clearances.

Mountaineering Institutes in India

  • The Indian Himalaya has six mountaineering institutes conducting different types of mountain adventure courses regularly.
  • The institutes are located in the five Himalayan States: Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Himachal Pradesh (H.P.), Uttarakhand (UK), West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Representatives of central and state government including the Ministry of Defense manage all the five institutes. The staff is sourced from the Indian defense forces and local community.
  • Each institute has a comprehensive set of training facilities and highly qualified staff. The medium of instruction is English and / or Hindi. They are as follows
  1. Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering & Winter Sports (JIM & WS), Pahalgam
  2. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, (ABVIMAS), Manali
  3. Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi
  4. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling
  5. Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute (SGMI), Sikkim
  6. National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) **

** In 2012, the government planned to set up another adventure institute, National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering & Winter Sports (JIM & WS)

  • This mountaineering institute in India was set up at Aru in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in 1983.
  • JIM organized the first basic mountaineering course (BMC) two years later. The institute was relocated in 90s to Batote and then again shifted to Pahalgam in early 2000.
  • The institute with headquarter in Pahalgam comprises of four sub-centers at Nalthi (Bhaderwah), Sanasar (Kud), Shey (Leh) and Gulmarg.
  • JIM was honoured with the Indira Priyadarshini Vriksh Mitra Award by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India in 2002 for hosting environment awareness programs.
  • The institute is governed by the Executive Council consisting of representatives from state and central government, including the Ministry of Defence.
  • Go through the Application Form  & Joining Instructions before applying.

Contact: C/O JIM & WS, Nunwan, Pahalgam District: Anantnag Jammu and Kashmir ,192126
E-mail: principal@jawaharinstitutepahalgam.comJoining
Website: http://www.jawaharinstitutepahalgam.com/
FB Group: www.fb.com/JAWAHAR.INSTITUTE.MOUNTAINEERING.WINTER.SPORTS
Phone No: 01936-243002

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, (ABVIMAS)

  • The institute, located on the bank of the Beas River, imparts training in mountaineering, aero sports, water sports and skiing.
  • ABVIMAS offers adventure courses across the state through various sub-centers, including Regional Mountaineering Center (Mcleodganj, Kangra), Regional Water Sports Center (Pong Dam, Kangra), High Altitude Trekking & Skiing Center (Narkanda, Shimla), Adventure Sports Center (Hotkoti, Shimla), Mountaineering Center (Bharmaur, Chamba), Skiing Center (Solang, Kullu) and Water Sports Center (Luhnu, Bilaspur).
  • The mountaineering training area comprises charming Solang Nala, Bakar Thach, Patalsu Peak and Beas glacier. More than 50 years old institute has helped in promoting adventure tourism in Himachal Pradesh and India.
  • The institute, set up in 1961, also offers corporate adventure training programs.
  • General Information is available here.

Contact: Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, Himachal Pradesh.175131
Email: whmi_manali@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.adventurehimalaya.org/mountaineering.asp
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/130576133644176/
Phone No: 01902-252342 / 253789

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM)

  • A prestigious address in the Asian mountaineering landscape, NIM instills sense of adventure and respect for the environment through different courses.
  • The institute, founded in 1965, is located amid the Ladari Reserve Forest. The institutional real estate includes NIM Beach in Rishikesh and Tekla Rocks (Uttarkashi), about 3.5 hectares of boulders and rocks for rock climbing training. Ice and snow craft are taught in Gangotri Glacier area.
  • The institute hosted 1st Uttarakhand Cup, 13th National Cup and 1st Asia Cup for artificial wall climbing at Pine Bowl,15.5 meters tall Himalayan International Artificial Climbing Wall..
  • The institute has led several successful expeditions to virgin and non-virgin peaks including Draupadi Ka Danda, Dudhana, Swaragrohini I and Chaukhamba II.
  • Go through the Application Form  & Medical Form before applying.

Contact: Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. India. 249193
Email: nimutk2004@gmail.com
Website: http://www.nimindia.net
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NIMIndia/
Phone No: 01374 -223580

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI)

  • HMI was first set up in Sister Nivedita’s House (Roy Villa) in 1954, was shifted to the current location, Brich Hill’s Western Spur, in 1958.
  • The institute lends itself to the views of Kanchanjunga (8,589 meters).
  • Rock climbing training is imparted at Gombu and Tenzing Rocks, located near the institute.
  • Ice and snow craft is taught at Chowrikhang (about 4,380 meters) and Rathong Glacier area in West Sikkim.
  • The institute features a library, restaurant, cyber café, tea parlor, research wing, mountaineering museum, ice cream parlor, public communication office (PCO), Jayal Auditorium, international sports climbing wall (50*20 feet) and Chima Wall – an indoor training wall.
  • Go through the Application Form  & Medical Form before applying.

Contact: Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Jawahar Parvat, Darjeeling, West Bengal . India. 734101
Email: hmi_darj@rediffmail.com
Website: http://www.hmi-darjeeling.com/
FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/319787844771865/
Phone No: Principal :- 0354-2254083 / Training Office:- 0354-2254087

Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute (SGMI)

  • S.G.M.I., headquartered in Baluwakhani, Gangtok, Sikkim, was set up in 1963.
  • The mountaineering courses are a combination of theory and hands-on experience. The participants learn to crawl on rocks at SGMI Rocks.
  • The new complex was inaugurated in December 2009. The institute, named after Sonam Gyatso, a famous mountaineer from Sikkim, also imparts mountaineering training to Sikkim tour operators and NSS volunteers.
  • A number of preeminent mountaineers like Yangdi Sherpa, Phul Maya Tamang, Nima Wangchuk Sherpa, Phu Dorjee and Sonam Wangyal learned the ropes of mountaineering at the institute. The teams from institute have successfully climbed Everest and Pandim.
  • It has conducted 159 Basic Mountaineering Courses, 29 Advance Mountaineering Courses and trained more than 8,000 personnel from the IB, Assam Rifles and NSS.
  • SGMI trains participants from Armed Forces Only.

Contact: Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute, Baluwakhani, Gangtok Sikkim.
Further details are not yet known.

National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS)

  • National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) was set up at Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh in the year 2013.
  • It is the first national institute mandated to conduct activities in land, aero and aqua activities. It has specially designed a course for young students in adventure and outdoor camp life.
  • The entire training team has qualified on mountaineering courses from High Altitude warfare School, Gulmarg (J&K) with minimum of 5 to 6 expeditions to major peaks in Himalayas.
  • Follows the highest HSE (Health, Safety and Environmental) safeguards as quantified in NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety & Health) UK.
  • The institute established four camps at New Melling (9000 feet), Mago (11,600 feet), Jithang (13,500 feet) and Merathang (14000 feet) in Tawang to reach the mountaineering training area.
  • The first BMC was conducted from August 26 to Sept 30, 2013. A total of 25 students participated.
  • The Principal is Colonel Gulshan Chadha, who is also managing HMI Darjeeling.

Contact: National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, C/O 690 FPO, C/O 99 APO.
(This is Army postal service – mail will be received  in 6-7 working days from anywhere in the world . Reliable)
Email: nimasdirang2013@gmail.com (Prefer SMS & Email, as phones are difficult to get through)
Website details will be posted soon

Nimas 1617

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/nimasarunachalpradesh (WIP)
Mobile: 09434054084 / 09435722400 (Phone Numbers may work intermittently), Landline No: 03780-242137. 8:30 am to 13:30 pm , 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Procedure of application

  • Seats are allotted on first come first serve basis. If the required course is not available, vacancy will be given in the next available course.
  • JIM & WS:- Course fee should be remitted through bank DD payable at SBI, Pahalgam, J&K (code 2445) in favour of Principal, JIM&WS Pahalgam-J&K
  • ABVIMAS:-  Course fee should be remitted through bank DD payable at State Bank of India and drawn in favour of Director, ABVIMAS, Manali.
  • NIM:- Course fee should be remitted through a Bank DD, payable at State Bank of India / Punjab National Bank, Uttarkashi in favour of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi.
  • HMI:- Course fee should be remitted through bank DD payable at SBI, Darjeeling in favour of Principal, HMI, Darjeeling. Course fee can also be remitted directly to State Bank of India, Darjeeling. HMI Acc No:-10833264757 from any branch of SBI in India.
  • SGMI:- Trains personnel of Armed Forces Only.
  • NIMAS:-  Course fee should be remitted through bank DD payable at SBI, Dirang (Branch Code: 06010). The fee can also be paid through NEFT / RTGS. The details are as follows Account Name: National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports
    Bank Name: State Bank of India, Dirang 790101, Arunachal Pradesh
    Account Number: 32776934236
    IFSC Code: 06010, MICR Code: 784002519

Refund Of Fee 

Seats are allotted on first come first serve basis. Refund of fee is categorized as follows in the Mountaineering Institutes.

  • JIM & WS:- 15% deduction if seat cancelled 3 months prior ; 25% if 2 months prior; 50% is 1 month prior and No Refund if less than 15 days prior to course commencement.
  • ABVIMAS:- 100% refund if ABVIMAS cancels the course. 50 % deduction if the seat is cancelled on the individual’s request. No refund after joining the course.
  • NIM:- 25% deduction if seat cancelled 2 months prior. Once participated in the course, training fee will not be refunded or transferred.
  • HMI:- 5% deduction or transfer to a subsequent course if seat cancelled 2 months prior; 15% or transfer if 1 month prior; 25% or transfer  if  21 days prior; 40% or transfer if 14 days prior; 50% & No Transfer if 7 days prior; 60% & No Transfer if 3 days prior; 75% & No Transfer if 1 days prior and No Refund  & No Transfer after the course commencement.
  • NIMAS:- Cancellation of seat two months earlier entitles full refund of fee & No Transfer after the course commencement.

Physical Fitness Standards

  • Trainees should be in good physical condition prior to undertaking any course. 
  • Taking long walk on uneven tracks with load is preferable.
  • Long distance running and regular fingers and arms exercise will prove to be helpful.
  • Trek with 15 – 17 kg load may be taken before a trainee is accepted in the Basic Mountaineering Course.
  • Search & Rescue course requires a high level of physical fitness. A test to qualify 15 kms.

Armed Forces & Para-Military Personnel

  • Serving Armed forces, Para Military and NCC Personnel, should apply through their respective Service Headquarters and Departmental Channels.
  • They can also however apply as private trainees.

Foreign Nationals

  •  NIM – Have to report to the Principal one day in advance along with the Passport and valid Visa for direct admission into a course, USD 650 each for all the courses is to be paid as course fee.
  • HMI – Have to apply for admission in the desired courses to the Principal, HMI, Darjeeling at least three months in advance.
  • ABVIMAS – The application should be submitted 45 days prior to the commencement of course by post /fax or email or through online booking at least a month in adavnce in the prescribed form. Complete in all respects alongwith full course fees by Bank draft in favour of Director, Directorate of Mountaineering & Allied Sports, Manali or the Incharge of the training centre concerned. The fees may also be deposited through the wire transfer SWIFT Account.
  • Forward the following details for Government clearance – (a) Name in Block Letters (b) Father’s Name (c) Date of Birth (d) Educational Qualifications (e) Occupation (f) Permanent Address (g) Postal Address & Email Id (h) Passport No (i) Visa details (j) Married / Unmarried (k) Nationality

Types of Mountaineering Courses

Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)

  • The applicants must be able to understand, read and write English & Hindi (Language of Instruction may vary among Institutes). It is good to know both.
  • The minimum educational qualification is Secondary School Certificate.
  • It aims to create a correct attitude among the trainee so that we view mountaineering as an art and not merely a physical activity.
  • It stimulates a spirit of adventure.
  • It teaches us to face new challenges with much more confidence & accept responsibility with courage.
  • To work as a team and understand others point of view.
  • To teach them how to make themselves comfortable and manage their health in the mountain environment.
  • To toughen their bodies by increasing their resistance to cold, hunger and fatigue.

Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC)

  • Only those trainees who obtain “A” grade in BMC from HAWS, C/O 56 APO OR HMI, Darjeeling OR NIM, Uttarkashi OR JIM, Pahalgawn OR ITBP Trg Centre, Auli OR ABVIMAS, Manali OR SGMI, Gangtok OR NIMAS, Dirang are eligible.
  • The course provides information on advanced techniques for planning and execution of expeditions.
  • The aim is to train Trainees to becoming potential leaders and members of expeditions into the Himalayas and produce  ‘Lead Climbers.
  • Trainees are given an exercise on planning an expedition to a peak above 6000 Meters/20,000 feet which is actually executed by them under supervision of their Instructional Staff.
  • You need to submit a report (Thesis) on Expedition Planning of the peak for which you will be graded.
  • You will also learn the various rescue operations in different mountainous terrain.

Method of Instruction (MOI)

  • Trainees must have obtained “A” grade in AMC.
  • Those who have an inclination to pursue mountaineering as a career are Recommended for this course.
  • The trainees knowledge on advance techniques is tested.
  • They are given practical training to handle students and develop instructional ability.
  • It aims to create a pool of potential instructors who can promote mountaineering in their respective areas.

Search and Rescue (SAR)

  • Trainees must have obtained “A” grade in AMC.
  • You must know the basics on GPS & Map Reading.
  • It covers Search & Rescue operations in the Himalayas with particular reference to Rescue techniques on rock, snow and ice.
  • First-aid, Mountain Navigation, Radio Telephony, Liaison with various organizations and their involvement during Rescue operations.
  • Audio and Visual communication Signals and evacuation methods including use of helicopters.
  • This is primarily intended to assist the hill district authorities and other organizations to establish their own Search & Rescue cells.
  • NIM is presently the only institute in India conducting this course.

Comparison of Mountaineering Institutes

  • Mountaineering Courses Vs Institutes

Institute             BMC        AMC           MOI            SAR
JIM & WS           Y                Y                  Y                  N
ABVIMAS           Y                Y                  Y                  N
NIM                      Y                Y                  Y                  Y
HMI                      Y                Y                  Y                  N
NIMAS                Y                Y                  N                  N
SGMI                   Y                Y                  N                  N

  • Duration in Days & Fee (* is the applicant’s fee for SAARC Countries, $ for Foreign Nationals)

Duration in Days & Fee

  •  Age Limit & Number of Seats

Age Limit & No of Seats

  • Number of Batches & Season (Month)

Batches & Season

How to Reach

  • JIM & WS
  • NIM
  • HMI
  • ABVIMAS
  • NIMAS – From Guwahati (Nearest Railway Station or Airport) take a public bus to Tezpur (travelling time-4 hours & fare Rs 200). From Tezpur board shared Tata Sumo (between 6 am to 11 am) and ply up to Dirang (travelling time-6 hours & taxi fare Rs 500). At Dirang keep walking towards Regional Apple Nursery or Apple farm from Police station, after 2 kms you will see NIMAS.

Mountains are calling

Hope this information will be helpful to those striving to do a mountaineering course in India. 

Courtesy :- HMI, NIM, JIM&WS, ABVIMAS & NIMAS