Up North, the Himalayan ranges are the most intimidating, enthralling and beautiful mountains in the world. For any mountaineer, the Himalayas are a perennial challenge.
The mountaineering season is normally between April and November but the winter seasons, though colder have clearer days.
There is something new to see in every season and every region: the gentle slopes of the Garhwal and Kumaon region, the sharp ragged gorges of Kulu and Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh, the pristine untouched beauty of Sikkim, the almost unexplored Arunachal Pradesh, the fantastic moonscapes of the Zanskar range in Jammu and Kashmir.
The high altitude peaks of Nun-Kun Massif in Ladakh, Nanda Devi in Garhwal, and Dunagiri in Kumaon offer challenging peaks for mountaineering. In Kumaon, the popular areas are the Kalabaland glacier system, the Panch Chulhi, the Rajrambha, and Chaudhara peaks, and the peaks of the Nandakot basin.
Most mountaineering routes are graded, according to levels of difficulty and accessibility. A moderate degree would require very basic mountaineering techniques. These can be learnt at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi and the Western Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering at Manali.
An advanced degree of mountaineering would require the mountaineer to be in absolute fit physical condition. Skills can be learnt either by actual experience or doing advanced courses at recognised institutes.
The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam has a full-fledged mountaineering and trekking division based at Muni-ki-Reti, Rishikesh. Here equipment can be hired as also from clubs and specialized agencies. Prior to the expedition, all equipment must be tested, and members must familiarize themselves with its use. Kerosene must be carried as cutting of wood is not encouraged in the mountain environment.
The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF),
Anand Niketan, Benito Juarez Road,
New Delhi - 110021
Tel: 671211, 602245, 6883412
For information about booking fees, inner Line restrictions, import of equipment, camera permits, insurance, medical attention, and evacuation procedures, contact the IMF at the address above. This is the national apex coordinating body for mountaineering in India.
All expeditions, whether Indian, foreign, or joint, are required to apply to the IMF, at least six months prior to departure. Leaders of returning expeditions, are required to submit reports, and proof of the climbs. While Indian nationals and IMF sponsored joint expeditions, can attempt peaks beyond the 'Inner Line', foreign nationals are as a rule not permitted to do so. All expeditions by foreigners, are required to be accompanied by an Indian liaison officer at their cost.