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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Basic Mountaineering Course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling - Part 3

Manu Khandelwal

Training at HMI Campus Darjeeling








After coming back to HMI from Zoo, I met my roommates. There were total 8 trainees in my room including me, Manas (Maharashtra), Kaushal (Gujrat), Prakash (West Bengal), Sonu (West Bengal), Aashiq (West Bengal), Somu (West Bengal) and Paul (Hong Kong). We had an introduction and here also engineers were in majority 😜 At 5 pm, we all went to the main hall and assembled there. There were other trainees also waiting for the instructors.

fall in area, hmi
Fall in area, HMI
Then our instructors came and welcomed us with the greetings. We were total 70 at that time and other 10 trainees came 1 day late. So we were total 80 in the batch including trainees from almost all the states of India, 2 from USA, 2 from Australia, 1 from Norway and 1 from Hong Kong. There were trainees who were 12th class students, college students, NCC Cadets, Private jobs, travel jobs (like me), Army personnel, officers from Army, Airforce and Indian Forest Services.

Our Chief Instructor Mr. Lakpa Norbu Sherpa Sir came and introduced himself and all other instructors. He warned all of us to be in discipline. There were total 10 instructors including Soumendu Sir, Pawel Sharma Sir, Sonam Sir, Zubin Sir, Lekhraj Sir, Abhinay Sir, Pankaj Sir, Nandan Sir, Nima Mam and Rozie Mam. From next day, our training was to be started, so we all slept just after having dinner.

Boys Hostel, HMI
Boys Hostel, HMI

View of Kanchenjunga from HMI Campus
View of Kanchenjunga from HMI Campus

hostel mess, hmi
Hostel Mess

while having dinner at hmi
while having dinner at HMI


Schedule at HMI Campus, Darjeeling.

  • 0500 hrs                                     – Tea
  • 0555 hrs                                     – Fall in
  • 0600 – 0700 hrs                         – Physical Training/Yoga
  • 0700 – 0800 hrs                         – Breakfast
  • 0800 – 1230 hrs                         – Activity/Classes
  • 1230 – 1330 hrs                         – Lunch
  • 1400 – 1730 hrs                         – Activity/Classes
  • 1730 – 1800 hrs                         – Tea Break
  • 1800 – 1900 hrs                         – Training Film
  • 1900 – 2000 hrs                         – Dinner
  • 2130 hrs                                     – Lights off


Before going further, let me tell you some terms that we used during training in HMI.

Fall In – 
It means wherever you are and whatever you are doing, if this word is announcing then just leave everything and assemble into your ropes at the respective place, i.e., open ground or fall in area.

during fall in
During Fall In
Ropes – 
It is nothing, just another word for groups. All the activities we had to perform in our respective ropes. We were divided into 10 ropes each having 8 trainees and each rope has been assigned a rope instructor. I got rope 7. There were total 8 in my rope including me, Paul, Akhil, Renu, Anoushka, Prakash, Krushna and Rahul. 

Mess Tin – 
It is a kind of lunch box in which we used to carry our packed lunch during trekking. At basecamp, we used to eat all the meals in the mess tin.

mess tin
Mess Tin
PT – 
PT means Physical Training. Every morning, we used to start with a 5 minutes warm up then running for 5 km on an inclined road followed by hardcore exercises and yoga. PT was to increase our stamina and strength of muscles and Yoga was to enhance our breathing power so that it would help us in high altitude.

Daily we used to wake up at 0430 hrs and after freshening up, we got to fall in at 0555 hrs. On the first day, I was little nervous and very much excited. Nervous because of my zero preparation and excited because I had never been into such training.

After fall in, we used to start with warm up. In warm, we did simple exercise, jumping and a little stretching. Then we moved out of the campus for running. We were made to run 5 km daily on an inclined road. After running, without any rest we used to do exercises such as pushups, squats, planks, crunches, etc. and then come back to HMI campus by run. Apart from this, we also did running by carrying our partner on our shoulders. This was our daily morning schedule till the day we were in Darjeeling. We also did yoga on alternate days.

We had a medical test to check our physical fitness and I was declared fit. In HMI campus, we did several activities, had lectures on various topics and also we were shown documentary movies.

Our whole training was divided into three parts, Rock Craft, Snow Craft and Ice Craft training. Rock Craft training was to be conducted at Darjeeling itself and the rest two was to be done at HMI Base Camp (14,600 feet) at Chaurikhang in West Sikkim. According to HMI schedule, our rock craft training was scheduled from 4 April to 11 April and then we had to move Sikkim for our further training.

Manu Khandelwal / Author

I call myself a traveller more than a travel blogger. Started this blog in 2013. Apart from this I am an Electrical Engineer. Love trekking and doing bike road trips. Like using technology but not addicted to it. A true foodie and love eating burgers.

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