"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
~ Edmund Hillary


Basic Training at NIM Uttarkashi

Kriti Pant returns form a 15 day basic training camp, with some skills to travel in the higher Himalayas and unforgettable memories.

On my way from Haridwar to Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal, excited beyond control, my constant refrain to the bus conductor was, "Aur kitni door hai bhayya" (how much further is it?). I was on my way to Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) to attend an Adventure Course in Mountaineering. A well maintained institute, every nook and corner reflects the passion for mountaineering.

The training starts the day after you reach the institute. You get up at 5:00 am and have to be ready by 6:30 am. A room is shared by six people. For late risers it takes three or four days to adjust to the early routine. Training starts with various exercises and an early morning jog. The entire group is divided into smaller groups of six to eight people called patrols.

After three days of training which includes hurdle training, rucksack packing, rope knots, bivouacking, laying of tents, and map reading, we are ready for our first camp. To reach this camp one has to trek about eight kms. After reaching Tekla, which is NIM's training area we put up our tents. After a good breakfast, we are taught various techniques of rock craft (rock climbing, rappelling, bouldering, anchoring, and belaying). A four day camp, the first three days are spent practising the various techniques of rock crafts. We are given a briefing on personal hygiene and sanitation at the camp. Instructors inform you about the flora found in the region near Tekla.

More on Uttaranchal
An Overview

Mountains Beckon
Across the Himalayas

Rock climbing
Scuba Diving

Kumaon Remembered
Road to Khardung La

After the heavy doses of information and training, it is time for competitions. A field cooking competition is organized amongst the various patrols. Raw material for cooking is rationed and handed over to the various patrols. The challenge is to cook savoury dishes from the limited materials.

On the last day at Tekla, we trek to a river stream and cross using ropes. After returning to the camp, the camp is packed and the camp area cleaned. At around 6:00 pm, we start the trek back to the institute.

The next morning after regular morning exercises and lunch there is a hurdle race competition organized amongst the various patrol groups. After this, we start preparations for the second camp. We trek to Oyali, at the edge of a forest with great trekking trails nearby.

The second day, training begins with techniques of Bush craft, an essential skill to find our way out if we get lost in the jungle. On the third day, we trek to Nachiketa Tal, with beautiful views along the way. We return to camp tired and awestruck. On the fourth day here we go for a trek to Nagni Thang, a Devi mandir surrounded by breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains. The first half of the fifth day is spent closing camp and cleaning up. At around 6:00 pm we begin our night march back to NIM. The night march with torches in hand, walking through the forest, is a thrilling experience.


Back at NIM, the following day is reserved for competitions: Drawing, Flora Collection, Cross Country Race amongst the patrols. The last day is the graduation ceremony and distribution of certificates for the inter patrol competitions. A cultural programme follows in the evening. The 15 days adventure training course comes to an end. It is one of the most memorable and wonderful experiences of my life.

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.