Mountaineering: Rapple your way to success

Mountaineering: Rapple your way to success

India Blooms News Service | 12 May 2017

Mountaineering is definitely not the first thought that comes to your mind when YOU actually sit for planning your future.

When others are planning to shape their career with B.Tech, MBBS and MBA and sitting for major entrance exams, Mountaineering seems a little off the edge Christopher McCandless dream. However, often we have seen the beautiful snow-capped peaks and daunting mountains in the movies or documentaries telecasted on various channels. We also felt a sense of thrill and challenge when we saw mountaineers trying to climb peaks that were almost 5000 meters above the sea level or battle extreme weather to trek across difficult terrains. But how many of us can envisage our office located atop 5,364 meters which could be wiped off any time by a storm or avalanche. This is exactly the height of South Base Camp of Mount Everest.

However, if you are seriously passionate about trekking, rock climbing and similar adventures then such obstacles and challenges would be easily superseded by the simple joy of standing on top of a snow-capped peak or looking at beautiful mountain valleys from a closer view. Still for many of us Mountaineering remains more of a hobby or passion rather than a serious professional choice. Let’s examine the prospects and opportunities for Mountaineers in India.

What Professional Mountaineers Do?

Although Mountaineering is quite popular as a sport, it is still hard to define the job roles of a professional mountaineer. Frankly speaking, it is not a conventional profession and it is quite challenging to start a career in mountaineering. Even experienced professionals such as Will Gadd, Chris Sharma, Alex Honnold depend on sponsorships to make a living. In lieu of the sponsorship, these professionals are required to undertake projects at clients’ requirement, submit report, share feedback on gears and other mountaineering equipment, make appearances at shows or events.

Like any other professionals, professional mountaineers also have to maintain their profiles on the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram to gain popularity and fan following. Some mountaineers also work for film projects or create documentaries for tv channels. However, these mountaineers are only handful. A vast majority of “professional mountaineers” actually make their living as guides. The sponsorships they acquire from various groups or corporate houses as guide is mostly spent on the travel, gear, food, and logistical costs for their trips

The most wonderful experience of being a professional mountaineer is living your dream as reality. You can go on the most daunting adventures and visit the most incredible places on this planet. This is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea and only individuals with deep passion and commitment can venture out to make their careers in mountaineering.

In India, some of the common career routes for Mountaineers are:

  1. Porters
  2. Trek Guides
  3. Climbing Guides
  4. Climbing Agency Owners
  5. Government Sponsored Owners
  6. Sponsored Athletes

The most common among them are Trek Guides, Porters, Climbing Guides, Climbing Agency Owners. The income for these professionals vary based on the expertise and experience. Trek Guides with basic mountaineering skills, knowledge of local landscape & terrain and good communication skills can earn up to INR 2000-2500 per day while Climbing Guides can earn somewhere between INR 3000-5000 per day. However, the main problem with any of these options is that they are seasonal in nature.

A lot of budding mountaineers prefer to join adventure tour companies where they function as tour operators initially and escort foreign teams to base camps. They are primarily responsible for managing travel, food, accommodation and other logistics required during trekking expeditions. However, this is also seasonal in nature and many join then just to have ample free time at their disposal for their own climbing expeditions.

There has been some innovation in the trekking and mountaineering industry like Project Rockface and GIPFEL which focus on technical gear manufacturing. But the domain is still largely unexplored and there is lot of scope for innovators.

How to become a Trained Mountaineer?

There is no doubt that passion and determination are the main elements for a successful career in Mountaineering. However, to become a professional mountaineer one requires professional training and guidance. In India, several institutes provide Mountaineering courses that aim to impart mountaineering ethics and technical knowledge to the aspiring mountaineers.

The mountaineering course is essentially divided into basic and advanced level and one can go onto become a professional instructor after completing both the levels. Some top-notch mountaineering institutes in India are mentioned below:

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) is one of the most reputed mountaineering institute in Asia. The institute is located at Uttarkashi, in the Gangotri Region of Western Garhwal which is one of the best places in India to learn and enjoy climbing and training. The institute moved to its present location in 1974. The courses offered at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) include Adventure course, Basic Mountaineering Course, Advanced Mountaineering Course, Search and Rescue Course, Methods of Instruction Course, etc.

Nehru Institute of Mountaineering Uttarkashi – 249193 Uttarakhand
Tel: +911374-222123, 224663, 223580

Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering

The Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering is located Gulmarg, Kashmir. The institute was established by Department of Tourism, Government of India to popularize adventure sports and promote tourism in the year 1969. It offers courses in Water skiing, Parasailing, Mountaineering, Hot Air Ballooning, Adventure courses and plans to start courses in Paragliding and White Water Rafting as well.

IISM, House No 183, Kursoo, Raj Bagh, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir 190008
Tel: 9419604990, 9419034449, 9419076335

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was established way back on November 4, 1954 in Darjeeling, West Bengal which is also the hometown of renowned mountaineer, Tenzing Norgay. The institute has successfully trained more than 45000 aspiring mountaineers including 2500 international students. The institute is also recognized by UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation).

Some well-known courses offered at HMI, Darjeeling include Basic Mountaineering Course, Advance Mountaineering Course, Methods of Instruction Course and Special Courses like sports climbing, rock climbing, etc

Jawahar Parbat, Darjeeling-734 101 (West Bengal), India
Tel: 0354 2254087, 91 354 2254083

Should We go for Mountaineering as a Profession?

There is no doubt that as a mountaineer one can enjoy the outdoors and embrace many unique experiences. However, how seriously can one consider mountaineering as a viable career option? One interesting aspect about Mountaineering as a profession is that it is still not explored by many. Sadly, the awareness about the same is still lacking among the corporates and the general public.

Mountaineering as a passion is cherished by many individuals though not many would like to take it forward as a profession. The adventure tour companies are quickly flourishing in India and the lack of trained mountaineers in the country provides a great opportunity for aspiring mountaineers.

Emigration is another option for young mountaineers after they have completed both the basic and advanced levels. To become a technical mountain guide, one can fly off to United States, New Zealand or United Kingdom to gain further qualification. The opportunities to gain recognition and a sizeable income would also invariably rise post emigration. 

To qualify as an international mountain guide, candidates must meet the IFMGA guidelines which is the representative of mountain guide associations from different countries. However, the climbing standards vary from one country to another. So, the final word on mountaineering as a profession? Well, professional mountaineering is far from being a rosy picture of making a living out there in Wild. But, there is nothing like chasing after your dreams if it is worth it and with little innovation in approach you can literally go places.

Source: Collegedunia

Mountaineering: Rapple your way to success

India Blooms News Service
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