Keen on turning your dream of scaling a peak, into a reality? Read what an enthusiastic mountaineer Madhav Juneja, has to tell the writer of this story. 

Nerves of steel, physical stamina and a solid foundation of techniques. These are basic tools you need in your arsenal, if you want to learn mountaineering as a sport. Is the payoff worth it? Definitely, say proponents, who feel that nothing can match scaling a peak.

Take the case of Madhav Juneja, 20-year-old student from New York University who just completed his advance course in mountaineering. But he began with a basic course in mountaineering at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMS).

According to him, this served as a litmus test to figure out whether mountaineering was something he could take up seriously. “I left knowing more than ever that the sport was definitely my cup of tea. It really solidified my love for mountaineering,” he says.

Courses in this institute usually start in May, and end in October. Each cycle is 26 days long. You can find their prospectus and other details here.

Madhav’s tips

#1 Physical fitness

This probably goes without saying, but you best craft a regular exercise routine for yourself before applying for the course. Useful tip: carry a backpack weighing around 15-20 kilos and take a long walk. This is sure to prepare you for the long hikes with weight.

#2 Your gear

Gear up (especially mentally) for rough conditions: camping in the wilderness, endless days of rain and army-style exercise routines.

Set of outfit for climbing and mountaineering sport outdoor
The right gear is crucial for rough conditions at high altitudes.

#3 What to expect

1) The course will introduce you to the basics of mountaineering. You will engage in activities that include training at the camp in Manali, scaling heights to acclimatize, and height gain practices. Moveover, you will learn mountaineering techniques, how to use equipment and the basics of rock, snow and ice craft.

2) Another big part of the course is learning respect for Mother Nature. The instructors and institution believe in the importance of environmental awareness and designate teams to clean up the mountainous regions visited.

3) The practical aspects of scaling mountains, will be accompanied by lectures.  At the end of the course, you will have to clear a written test.

4) Mountaineering is a team sport. So, it’s you must contribute to building a team spirit, because this will help you survive real-life expeditions. In life and death situations, your ability to be a team player is your strongest asset!

A professional guide helps you set up and dress alpinist crampons for a beginner mountaineer before climbing
Mountaineers are team players.

You can also check out Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports for courses.