In May 2004, on a sudden whim, I signed up for the Basic Mountaineering Course at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling (HMI). In retrospect, it was a great decision. Although I was well past my prime, I was older than most of my batch, I was also physically quite fit and very keen. I enjoyed the course and I have very fond memories of the time I spent at HMI.
The images in the gallery below were taken by me while doing this course at HMI.
But before we go on to the image gallery, a few words about the The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling (HMI). HMI was founded in 1954, the foundation stone was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru himself. Set up with and objective of encouraging and promoting the science and art of mountaineering, the HMI has consistently achieved and maintained high standards of excellence and has always ranked as one of the best institutions of its kind in the world. For the past six decades HMI has trained some of the finest Indian mountaineers.
HMI runs highly regarded training programs for people interested in mountaineering. The main courses offered by the HMI are the Basic Mountaineering course and the Advanced Mountaineering course. HMI also offers a “Method of Instruction” course for those interested in teaching mountaineering techniques.
The Basic Mountaineering course takes 28 days and is an ideal introduction to the higher Himalayas. The course includes about 14 days of hands on training in the HMI base camp, located at a height of about 4500 meters. This training is followed by a “Height Gain” exercise during which the participants climb up to a height of about 6000 meters.
If you are young and are interested in Mountaineering, sign up for a course at HMI. I can think of no better Introduction to the higher Himalayas. The courses offered by HMI are highly subsidized. At just INR 4000/- for Indian citizens and INR 8000/- for foreign nationals, they are a steal.
You can get more details about HMI by visiting their site :