Everything You Need to Know About Mountaineering Courses in India | OWLS

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Mountaineering courses in India have gained immense attention in recent years. With the rise of adventure tourism, demand for certified mountaineers and Outdoor Leaders is also increasing. Though many people desire to go for Mountaineering Courses in India, they often struggle to find information on how to go about a course in Mountaineering in India. 

What is a mountaineering course? How do you choose an institute? What are the career prospects after the course, and the eligibility criteria for joining a mountaineering course in India? What are the course fees? 

People often have the above-mentioned doubts when considering mountaineering courses in India. This blog will walk you through a comprehensive guide to joining a Mountaineering Course in India. 

Mountaineering Courses in India

Mountaineering Courses in India introduce you to varied aspects of mountaineering. A mountaineering course is recommended if you are planning to pursue a career as a mountaineer or in the adventure tourism industry. 

Mountaineering trainee prepares for a lesson on Ice Craft Training in Meerathang Glacier in Arunachal Pradesh
Photo Credit – Himanshu Singla

There are two popular courses in India – Basic Mountaineering Course or BMC, and Advanced Mountaineering Courses, or AMC. Once you complete these courses, you become eligible for more advanced courses in Method of Instruction and Search and Rescue. You need an “A” grade in the Advance Mountaineering Course to apply for the advanced courses. 

Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)

Basic Mountaineering Course is a foundation course that introduces trainees to mountaineering.  The course lasts 26 to 28 days and focuses on basic orientation and skills in rock craft, ice craft, rope work, mountaineering awareness, expedition planning, outdoor survival, camp craft, wilderness navigation, and exposure to glaciers and high Himalayan Ranges. Trainees across the institutes partake in an expedition or an actual climb to a high point or a peak. 

Mountaineering course  trainee in river crossing activity.
Photo Credit – Himanshu Singla

Trainees spend the first few days of the course on campus and gain theoretical knowledge of mountaineering and its various aspects. This follows an expedition to a glacier or mountains for the remaining part of the course. 

Advance Mountaineering Course

Once you complete the Basic Mountaineering course with an A grade, you become eligible for Advance Mountaineering Course. This eligibility criteria is followed by the majority of the institutes.  

Trainee of NIMAS Mountaineering Course in front of mighty Meerathang Glacier.

Advance Mountaineering Course or AMC offers more practical oriented and imparts advanced techniques of climbing. As it is an advanced course, there is an emphasis on expedition planning and execution, lessons on managing emergencies, peak climbing, team building, and leadership dynamics. The primary focus is to help students acquire skills and confidence to initiate and execute multi-day expeditions. 

Mountaineering Institutes in India 

India currently has five renowned Mountaineering Institutes, offering Mountaineering Courses. These institutes are nationalized and recognised by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. 

These institutes are supported by the Ministry of Defence and headed by a Principal who is a handpicked officer by the Ministry of Defence. 

Here is a glimpse of courses offered by the Mountaineering Institutes in India

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute(HMI)

HMI is a premiere mountaineering institute located in Darjeeling, West Bengal. As the oldest mountaineering institute, it is one of the most coveted institutes to pursue a mountaineering course. 

HMI was established in 1954, right after Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary summited Everest in 1953. 

HMI currently offers a variety of mountaineering and adventure courses. Here is a glimpse of the courses offered by the Institute. 

Mountaineering Courses offered by HMI

Name of the Course Duration Course FeeAge
Basic Mountaineering Course28 Days INR 22,547 for Indians
USD 1,172 for Foreigners
17 to 45 yrs
Advance Mountaineering Course 28 Days INR 22,547/- for Indians
USD 1,172 for Foreigners
17 to 45 yrs
Search and Rescue Course 23 Days INR 22,547/-  for Indians
USD 1,172 for Foreigners
17 to 45 yrs
Method of Instructions 23 Days INR 22,547/-  for Indians
USD 1,172 for Foreigners
17 to 45 yrs
HMI Course Fees for Mountaineering Courses

The institutes also offer adventure courses for school girls and boys. These courses last around 15 days and cost Rs 12,079/- for Indians and US  $ 585 for Foreigners. Besides, HMI provides special courses on actual costs and expeditions. You can check the details of all the courses offered by HMI here

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

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) is a prominent mountaineering institute in India. Located in Himachal Pradesh, the institute offers an array of courses besides mountaineering.  

Snow Skiing and Water Sports are other popular courses offered by ABVIMAS. You can check out all the courses available in 2024- 25 at ABVIMAS here. 

Mountaineering Courses offered by ABVIMAS

Name of the Course Duration Course FeeAge
Basic Mountaineering Course26 Days INR 20,592  for Indians
INR 84,084 for Foreigners
16 to 45 yrs
Advance Mountaineering Course 28 Days INR 22,176 for Indians
INR 90,552 for Foreigners
16 to 45 yrs
Method of Instructions 28 Days INR 22,17 for Indians
INR 90,552 for Foreigners
16 to 45 yrs
Special BMC26 Days INR 24,336 for Indians
 INR 99,372 for Foreigners
16 to 45 yrs
Special AMC28 Days INR 26,208 for Indians
INR 1,07,016 for Foreigners
16 to 45 yrs
ABVIMAS Course Fees for Mountaineering Courses

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM)

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering is located in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. A renowned institution, NIM is a prestigious mountaineering institute in India. 

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering offers mountaineering and adventure courses. Additionally, NIM runs ​Sport Climbing Courses, and Mountain and Terrain Biking courses. Adventurous courses are initiated frequently for adventure seekers by NIM. 

 You can check out a complete list of courses offered at NIM here. 

Mountaineering Courses offered by NIM

Name of the Course Duration Course FeeAge
Basic Mountaineering Course28 Days INR 2,2550 for Indians16 to 40 yrs
Advance Mountaineering Course 28 Days INR 2,2550 for Indians18 to 42 yrs
Search and Rescue Course 21 Days INR 2,2550 for Indians19 to 45 yrs
Method of Instructions 21 Days INR 2,2550 for Indians19 to 45 yrs

NIM Course Fees for Mountaineering Courses

Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering (JIM) Pahalgam

Located in the picturesque town of Pahalgam in Kashmir, JIM was established in 1983. The institute offers mountaineering, skiing and adventure courses.  

Check out the course list and seat availability for 2024-25 here

Mountaineering Courses offered by JIM

Name of the Course 


Course Fee

Basic Mountaineering Course24 Days INR 13,860 for J&K residents  
INR 20,500 for other states 
18 to 42 yrs
Advance Mountaineering Course 24 Days INR 13,860 for J&K residents  
INR 20,500 for other states 
18 to 42 yrs
Method of Instructions 15 Days INR 13,860 for J&K residents  
INR 20,500 for other states 
18 to 42 yrs
JIM Course Fees for Mountaineering Courses

National Institute of Mountaineering and Adventure Sports (NIMAS)

NIMAS is the newest addition to the list of prestigious mountaineering institutes and is recognized by the IMF.  The institute was established in 2013, with a mission to promote mountaineering and adventure sports activities.

AMC trainees of NIMAS prepare to navigate the mighty Meerathang Glacier.
Photo Credit – Himanshu Singla

NIMAS currently offers all the prominent mountaineering courses such as – BMC, AMC, Methods of Instructions and Search and Rescue. Additionally,  NIMAS runs Mountain Terrain Biking, Scuba Diving, White Water Rafting, Paramotor, and Paragliding courses. 

Mountaineering Courses offered by NIMAS

Name of the Course 


Course Fee

Basic Mountaineering Course28 Days INR 2,463017 to 40 yrs 
Advance Mountaineering Course 32 Days INR 2,728017 to 40yrs
Method of Instructions 21 Days INR 21970 17 to 40 yrs 
Search and Rescue 21 Days INR 21970 17 to 40 yrs 
NIMAS Course Fees for Mountaineering Courses

How do you apply for mountaineering courses in India? 

Once you have decided to pursue a course in Mountaineering, the next step is to select an institute of your choice. 

Admission is given on a first come first serve basis depending on the availability of seats in respective institutes. Most of these institutes have a waiting period of 6 months to 2 years. HMI as of May 2024 has a waiting period of almost a year, NIM has a waiting period of more than a year. 

Some institutes allow online applications. You need to download the application form after checking for seat availability to enrol in HMI and JIM. NIM and ABVIMAS currently accept online applications. 

Here is a step-wise guide to apply for Mountaineering Courses in India 

  • Go to the website of your desired institute 
  • Select the Course you are interested in (BMC, AMC). Read the eligibility criteria before filling out the application form. The institutes mention the batch date with the available seats in a code. For eg – Serial No 290 (Mixed)
  • Click on Admissions/Apply Online and choose the code/course date. Select the code carefully, sometimes the courses are exclusive for women/men only. 
  • Download the application form/ Fill out the online application form. Fill in all the required details with extra care. Upload all the required documents. The mandatory documents include a passport-size photo, date of birth proof, an Adhaar card, and an indemnity bond. 
  • Once you have completed the form offline, post the application form, medical certificates, and all the mandatory documents to the respective institutes. 
  • The fees can be paid through Demand Draft / NEFT / online payment / or as mentioned on the application form. For offline applications, you must courier the payment document, the application, and the medical form. 
  • You will get the confirmation of your enrollment in the course through an email or post. You can also enquire on a helpline number available on the website if you don’t receive any intimation within the stipulated time. 

Mountaineering Course Fees and Eligibility 

The first and primary criterion is to be eligible physically and mentally. Every institute has standard criteria for admitting a student. For eg. HMI in Darjeeling, conducts fitness tests for course participants to assess their mental & physical fitness for training at high altitude areas/ mountains. 

The institute asks for three months of dedicated preparation before reporting for the course as it is essential to pass the test which includes 15 km trekking up and downhill with a 15-18 kg load within a given time and other tests.

ABVIMAS seeks minimum matriculation or above (except for Service/Armed Forces personnel) for Basic & Advance Mountaineering Courses. For foreign nationals knowledge of English is essential. 

Minimum 10+2  is mandatory for advanced courses on Methods of Instruction Courses in Paragliding, Mountaineering, Skiing & Water Sports.

Additionally, trainees must submit a medical certificate duly certified by an MBBS Doctor. You can download the medical certificate from the website of your selected institute.

Course Fees of Mountaineering Courses in India 

Although the course fees remain exclusive to each institute, you will find minimal differences. 

The course fees cover boarding, lodging, training, medical facilities, transportation, equipment and training expenses during the course. For basic mountaineering courses, the fees will be between Rs 20000 to 23000 depending on the institutes. )


Trainees must insure themselves during the course as per the guidelines of Govt of India. Some institute insures Indian trainees by paying an additional amount. You can check with your respective institute about the insurance policy.

Here is a comparative list of Course Fees across the Mountaineering Institutes in India (as of May 2024)

InstituteCourseCourse Fee
HMIBasic Mountaineering CourseINR 20,592  for Indians
INR 84,084 for Foreigners
HMIAdvance Mountaineering CourseINR 22,176 for Indians
INR 90,552 for Foreigners
NIMBasic Mountaineering CourseINR 2,2550 for Indians
NIMAdvance Mountaineering CourseINR 2,2550  for Indians
ABVIMASBasic Mountaineering CourseINR 20,592  for Indians
INR 84,084 for Foreigners
ABVIMASAdvance Mountaineering CourseINR 22,176 for Indians.
INR 90,552 for Foreigners
Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Basic Mountaineering CourseINR 13,860 for J&K residents
  INR 20,500 for other states 
Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Advance Mountaineering CourseINR 13,860 for J&K residents
  INR 20,500 for other states 
NIMASBasic Mountaineering CourseINR 2,4630
NIMASAdvance Mountaineering CourseINR 2,7280

How should you prepare physically before joining the course?

Intense physical preparation is essential for taking mountaineering courses. Your everyday routine includes extreme physical activities and traversing the high-altitude areas in the mountain. The training will be intense and rigorous. You will navigate a challenging mountain terrain with a 20 kg backpack for long hours. Such demanding physical training requires you to invest time and effort in preparing physically and mentally for the course. 

Prioritize your physical training and focus on endurance and strength training. Besides, go for hikes and treks of moderate intensity before the course. Start working on physical fitness six months before the course starts. Getting acquainted with various rock climbing techniques will be useful during the course. 

Advance Mountaineering Course trainee traverse an ice wall as a part of Ice Craft training.

Besides, indulge in yoga to calm your body and soul as you need mental fitness to sail through the course. 

Here is a quick physical conditioning you can practice before joining the mountaineering course.

This fitness regime is formulated by NIM and is available on the site. 

Here is a link to the comprehensive Pre-course Work Out Plan by HMI

The following is recommended for physical conditioning before joining the course

  • Work on your endurance and run 5 km 2-3 times a week
  • Work on building strength in your lower and upper body. Strengthen your back, shoulder and knees for those long-hour hikes and heavy rucksacks. 
  • Include cycling, swimming or climbing in your routine. Once a week. 
  • Practice breathing exercises like Yoga. 

Once you get used to the routine, intensify your workout routine as your course date approaches. 

  • Increase the distance of your run from 5 to 10 km
  • Add a backpack of a minimum of 15 kg while running to test your endurance and strength. 
  • The trainee should ideally be capable of doing 20 push-ups and 05 pull-ups.
  • Jogging or cardio exercise for 30 minutes every day to build up your stamina.
  • Indulge in nutritious meals and recovery 

Career Prospects after completing the course 

A course in Mountaineering opens many career prospects. The course equips you with technical skills and experiences that can translate into various professions. 

Mountain Guide

An obvious opportunity after a course in mountaineering is to become a mountain guide. As a mountain guide, you can lead expeditions, teach climbing techniques and work as an instructor in the mountaineering institutes. To qualify as an instructor you must complete an advanced course in Method of Instructions and Search and Rescue. There are opportunities in both government and private sectors for these roles. 

Trek Leaders/Outdoor Leaders

The boom of the adventure travel industry has resulted in demand for certified trek leaders. India is home to the mighty Himalayas and people from across the globe visit to experience different Himalayan treks. You can opt to join a company or lead customized batches. There are innumerable options to enhance your technical skills by learning other adventure sports. Many organizations customize adventure trips creating a demand for outdoor leaders. 


With the rise of the adventure tourism industry, there is a huge demand for service providers who curate customised adventure programmes. You can start your agency and curate meaningful experiences. Many trek leaders acquire experiences in the field and go on to start their ventures. 

Outdoor Education and Leadership Programs

There are also growing opportunities to work as an outdoor education expert. Educational institutions organize outdoor programs focused on leadership and wilderness skills. As a mountaineering graduate, you can work as an outdoor facilitator for outdoor learning programmes. You can also work in Outdoor Education Organizations outside India as Instructors. 

Mountain Filmmaking and Photography 

If you have photography and filmmaking skills, you can work on diverse projects for adventure tourism companies. As a photographer, you can capture awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures of mountaineering, making it a captivating subject for documentaries, films, and photography projects.

Mountaineering Course opens exciting opportunities beyond scaling peaks. After acquiring experience as a trek leader, outdoor educator or mountain guide, you have the opportunity to explore diverse career prospects. So if you are passionate about the outdoors, your mountaineering course is not limited to mere adventures but carving your niche into meaningful professional pursuits.

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