It was during one of the treks that I came to know about “a mountaineering course”. One of the guides had done some courses from NIM. I then researched about the same and felt a strong urge to go for it. I had read blogs and knew that this can get extremely tough. Nevertheless, that strong desire propelled me to continue. So, I applied in Mar’15 only to get a seat next year in the May batch. It was scheduled to start from 27th May’16 and continue till 23rd June'16. The course fee was Rs.5700 at that time for Indian Nationals. For foreigners, it was much higher.
So, the training began which included equal focus on stamina and strength (both upper and lower body strength). It’s always suggested to practice walking carrying 15kg load because this is what a trainee does the most throughout the training. Finally, the D-day arrived when I had to leave for the course. My parents were initially sceptical but finally agreed to it as always :P. So, I landed in the quaint town of Uttarkashi on 26th May’16. The first thing that one notices after entering the campus is the quote “ Success lies in courage” written almost everywhere. It sends a sharp chill through your bones! It is indeed correct as one realises it everyday while going through the course!
So, first day is sort of chilled out as you just chit chat with others. There were 108 girls in total. The whole course was divided in three parts viz., rock craft which happens in Tekhla, ice and snow craft which happens in higher camps at an altitude of roughly 11200 ft and 13200 ft respectively. Initially the entire group is divided into ropes of 6 or 7 girls with one of them selected as rope leader. Each person has to serve as rope leader for 4 days and then transfer the baton to the next girl and this continues till the end. The basic purpose of this practice is to develop leadership skills. On 27th, we had light training routine which included 4km run (2km ascend and 2km descend) with little warm up exercises. This continued till the rock craft training started. We were issued technical equipments from the institute itself and had to undergo a medical check-up again. We were trained to do climbing first on artificial walls. NIM boasts of state-of-the-art climbing walls! Rock craft started from 30th May’16. So, the general routine looks like following during rock craft which includes getting technical climbing training on rock viz., rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing, knots practice, chimney climbing, belaying etc. :
1. Morning tea at 5 am
2. Breakfast call at 7am
3. Departure for Tekhla training camp from NIM campus at 7:30 am carrying 15 kg rucksack and it turns to 18kg if you are carrying rope. Every group(i.e rope) is provided with two ropes of ~3-4 kgs each and two of the rope mates out of 6-7 has to carry it in turns. This trek is mainly on roads and the last stretch is on hill. Entire duration is 2.5 hrs.
4. Once we reach Tekhla by 9:45-10 am, we get our breakfast :)
5. Training then starts by 10:30 am and continues till 1pm
6. Bus departs by 1:30 pm from Tekhla training area to NIM campus.
7. Reach campus by 2:30 pm. The happiest time is now :D, yes!! The lunch time :’) U feel like pampering yourself with food to the core at this point!Sigh!!
8. Tea at 4pm
9. Classes at 5 or 6pm for one hour duration. This is basically on the technical stuff you are going to practice the next day.
10. 7:30 pm is the dinner time.
11. 8-9 pm is the movie time. These are on mountaineering. We watched Vertical here :D
12. 10 pm lights are off and one has to sleep else be ready to be scolded! :P