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Mountaineering and Ice Climbing in India
If you're fired by the spirit of adventure, let the sparks in your heart fly...... in India, a land blessed with lofty snow-clad peaks, crystal glaciers, rolling meadows, jagged rock faces, verdant valleys, meandering rivers, cascading waterfalls, dense forests, and hospitable people, blessed with a rich culture - a land perfect for mountaineering, trekking, and rock climbing.
Seasons: While the mountaineering season tends to be concentrated around the April-November period, a number of climbs are also attempted in winter (December-March) which, though much colder, allows for clearer climbing days.
Categories: Mountaineering routes are graded, according to the degree of difficulty and accessibility. Prior medical examination is essential. The permanent snowline, generally being in the region of 5,200 m, the degree of difficulty of mountaineering routes, can broadly be defined as :
Moderate: Requiring knowledge of basic mountaineering techniques, such as those imparted by the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling, and the Western Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering at Manali.
Advanced: For this category of peaks, it is necessary to be in top physical condition, and to possess advanced mountaineering skills, either through the advanced courses of mountaineering institutes, or through expedition experience. Within this category, further demarcation is possible, till the highest degrees of difficulty.
Locales: The main mountaineering locales, are in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttar Pradesh. In Garhwal, the areas, include the Tons-Banderpunch region, the Gangotri glacier system, the Nanda Devi sanctuary (presently closed), Arwa glacier area, Kamet and Abi Gamin. The roadheads for these at Taluka, Gangotri, Joshimath, and Malari, can be reached in two or three days from Delhi. In Kumaon, the areas include the Kalabaland glacier system, the Panch Chulhi, Rajrambha, and Chaudhara peaks, and the peaks of the Nandakot basin, on the eastern flank of the Nanda Devi sanctuary.
Equipment: Equipment can be hired, either from clubs, or purchased from one of the agencies selling it. Prior to setting out, all equipment must be tested, and team members must familiarize themselves with its use. Kerosene must be carried, so that the fragile mountain environment is not further degraded, by cutting any wood. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam has a full-fledged mountaineering and trekking division, based at Muni-ki-Reti, Rishikesh
Permits: For information about Peak booking fees, Inner Line restrictions, import of equipment, camera permits, insurance, medical attention, and evacuation procedures, contact the Indian Mountaineering Foundation based at Delhi. This is the national apex coordinating body for the sport in India
Important: All expeditions, whether Indian, foreign, or joint, are required to apply to the IMF, at least six months prior to departure, so that all the formalities are completed within the time frame. Leaders of returning expeditions, are required to submit reports, and adequate proof of the climbs, to the IMF. 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. Additionally, all expeditions by foreign nationals, are required to be accompanied by an Indian liaison officer at their cost.
• Zanskar, J & K
• Ladakh, J & K
• Gulmarg, J & K
• Deo Tibba, H.P.
• Hanuman Tibba, H.P.
• Pir Pangal Range, H.P.
• Dhauladhar Ranges, H.P.
• Manali, H.P.
• Darjeeling, West Bengal
• Sikkim Himalayas
Physical Requirements for Mountaineering in India
Persons with high/low blood pressure and are overweight are advised not to participate in high-altitude games and sports. Some of the institutes like the Directorate of Mountaineering & Allied Sports, Himachal Pradesh do not allow people of ages below 18 and above 48 years to participate in their basic and advanced level adventure programs.
Best Time for Mountaineering in India
The summer months are ideal for the mountains. Trekking in the lower Himalayas and climbing in the higher ranges are possible through May to mid-October. The month of July is avoidable in Himachal and Uttar Pradesh as there is heavy rain and landslides during this month.
Precautions for Mountaineering in India
Mountaineering is fun if all the precautions are taken care of and a hazard if not. Some of these are listed below.
1. Decide what you want to participate in, is it climbing a peak or high-altitude trekking only. Look for the level of difficulty involved in the program and whether your physical fitness is up to the level of competence required.
2. Consult the doctor to determine your physical condition and take proper medical precautions as per the doctor's advice.
3. Do not go for unrealistic programs. When chalking out your program, give sufficient time for altitude acclimatization. During the program never try to be too hurried. It can be dangerous. Give sufficient time at every stage of altitude increase.
4. All the medicines that one may require and other basic surgical equipments should accompany the group.
5. Divide all the responsibilities to the group members. Each member of the group should have proper training and experience of handling mountaineering equipments.
6. Sufficient ration should be there to take care of any eventuality.
7. Important addresses, phone numbers, and email ID should be there with the organizers, coordinators, and all the group members.
8. High-altitude sickness or high-altitude madness is a common phenomenon among the trekkers and mountaineers. If you are participating in these programs for the first time make yourself aware of the symptoms and methods to deal with them. It is necessary for the members of the expedition to known how to deal with snow blindness, frostbiting, and sunburning.
9. Proper mountaineering guidelines, high-altitude survival techniques, and first-aid techniques should be known to most of the members.
10. Sensitivity to environment and respect of the local culture are some of the social issues for which all the members of an expedition group should be counseled properly. Go away from the campsite for the morning chores. Do not attend to nature's call within a range of 300 feet from the water source. Dig a hole of 6¢¢ and cover it up after the job is done. If you are using toilet papers, remember to bury them in the ground. Do not leave anything back in the hills.
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