Advance Mountaineering Course @ NIMAS – Dirang

After completing my BASIC MOUNTAINEERING COURSE in JIM&WS at Kashmir in 2016 was graded “A” which qualifies me to take up Advance Mountaineering Course. Researching most of the schools in INDIA, as usual all slots were taken up for the year. Mountaineering in India has been growing rapidly, more and more people are taking up these courses.

A friend of mine managed to secure a slot for the March2017 Advance program in NIMAS-National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.

NIMAS is located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. Situated on a hill which is at a height of somewhere between 7000 and 8000 feet, the institute overlooks the town of Dirang and the Sela Pass and boasts of wonderful scenery all around.

The Institute conducts Aqua adventure, Aero Adventure, Basic, Advance Mountaineering courses, Trekking, Rock climbing, Skiing, River-rafting, Kayaking, Canoeing, Parasailing and Paragliding. Short intensive courses for civil and military personal.Courses on character building training through self-discipline, team work, adventure, hardship, risks and workshops on familiarity with nature. Special courses are also conducted for adults including School Teachers to enable them to organize adventure activities in their School.

Adventure Course: Adventure course is organized separately for boys and girls as well as mixed in the age group of 14 to 18 years. The objective of this 14/15 days course is to develop the physical and mental capabilities of trainees and to inculcate in them the spirit of Adventure. It is designed to instill a sense of comradeship, self-discipline, selflessness, self-reliance and physical fitness. The course includes lessons in rock climbing, trekking in high Mountains (up to 12,000 feet), waterman-ship including kayaking, cross country race and live exercise on leadership and communication skill.

Basic Mountaineering Course: The objective of this 28 days’ course is to attract young men & women towards the sport of mountaineering and teach them its techniques. The course includes theoretical and practical training in rock climbing, snow and ice crafts up to an altitude of 18,000 feet. Basic knowledge on meteorology, geography, map reading, first aid, and ecology and environment preservation is also imparted. Average number of participants in each course is 60 students.

Advance Mountaineering Course: Trainees of Basic Course, who have achieved the desired standards and graded ‘A’ are eligible to undergo this 28 days’ advance course. The capacity of each advance course for men and women is 40 students. The objective of the course is to make the trainees fit to join mountaineering expeditions. Training is imparted on advanced techniques of mountain climbing including unaided climbing and snow & ice crafts at and beyond 19,000 feet. Emphasis is laid on alpine style climbing, usage and maintenance of mountaineering equipment needed for expedition and learning to plan and organize a mountaineering expedition. Trainees attempt to scale a peak of 19,000 feet during this course.



National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS)

  • Dirang, west kameng Arunachal Pradesh
  • Postal address-NIMAS, Pin 900190 c/o 99 APO
  • NRS- Dekhargaon (Tejpur Assam)
  • Nearest Airport: Guwahati (Assam)
  • For Course Reservations +91-8171329941
  • Fax+91-3780-242310

 Distance between Guwahati and Dirang

Guwahati – Tezpur – Bhalukpong – Bomdila – Dirang  = 380Km

From Guwahti Sumo stand you could ride a sumo all the way to Tezpur. From Tezpur you could transit to Bomdila, from there many transfers are available to Dirang.

Alternative there is a direct bus early morning from Guwahati. There is one bus operated by ASTC (Assam State Transport Corporation) that leaves for Bomdila from Guwahati. It departs Guwahati ISBT at 6 in the morning and arrives at Bomdila in the evening. It takes about 12 hours to cover the distance of around 340 KM between Guwahati and Bomdila.



Advance Mountaineering Course : 28 Days Duration

With an opening ceremony by the Director Col Sarfraz Singh and prayers at the school the course started with an introduction on the school history and the upcoming program for the next 28days. Both Basic Mountaineering batch and Advance Mountaineering batch were pretty much excited about the upcoming programs. The students were issued with all the mountaineering gears which was needed for the next 28days.

The next one week of the program started with a daily morning walk to get students acclimatizes to the high altitude. 1hour walk to the high altitude area helped students to get proper acclimatization. Followed by the morning breakfast we used to head towards the Rock area to practice Rock Climbing, Jumaring, Abseiling, Bouldering etc. Advance teams were also exposed with some intensive training on Jumaring, especially with the backpack load carrying all the way up. Different methods of jumaring were also taught:

  • Single Jumar with Rope Twist
  • Single Jumar with Italian Hitch
  • Double Jumar with Etriers (Ladder Aider)
  • Double Jumar with Chest Harnesss

Different types of rope coiling were taught:

  • Climbing Coiling
  • Rappeling Coiling
  • Butterfly Coiling
  • Casualty Coiling

After lunch activities like introduction to mountaineering equipments, training on glacier marching , how to rope up on snow, type of rope knots and hitches were being conducted. Students would practice on the rest of the time.

The next program was held at New Maling. We packed all our gears and equipments needed for the next adventure and started our journey to New Maling. The Sumo ride to New Maling takes you through SELA pass. The Sela Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass located on the border between the Tawang and West Kameng Districts of Arunachal Pradesh state in India. It is at an altitude of 13700 feet. Snow covering all over the place, the view is just too stunning. There’s also a lake located on the way down to SELA Pass.

We unloaded all the gear from the vehicle at the last bridge where the vehicle could get us. The transport road to New Maling was closed due to landslide. We made our way by trekking through the mountains. It was a great experience to trek the rocky mountains. The camps were already setup before arrival. We just rested for the day after our dinner.

Next few days we spent on Rock Climbing area with an intensive training. More focus was given in this area as its one of the basics of mountaineering. One day we went on a load ferry day to Half Link to Mago. This day we trekked to half link setup tents for Basic Course, unfortunately the weather was very windy and raining. We had difficultly at the camp area to setup tents in the cold weather. It was a great experience to learn. Next day the advance team had to pack and head to Mago. With 2 rest days at Mago, 1 day was used for another Load ferrying to Jitang.


Load Ferrying Day: with an average load of 28-32kg is to trek around 12-20km to setup next camp sites.

Finally from Mago we trekked to the next campsite which was Jitang. It was a long day of walk. We reached around noon at the site had our lunch and some of us had to load ferry again to the next camp site at Miratang. So we carried the load and walked our way to Miratang. Unfortunately we did not have enough time so stopover in the middle and drop off our things. ON way down back to Jitang we almost reached in the dark around 8.30pm. With a quick dinner and tiredness we knocked for the night rest. Early morning we had to push ourselves to the next camp site. This day seems very tiring with lack of food and rest, somehow we managed to reach the Basecamp.

We pitched our tents and rested for the day. Next 3 days we had to spend here, to acclimatize and prepare for the higher camp in the snow bound area.  At the base camp we prepared and collected woods which would be sufficient for the next 3days. Also we learnt on improvised shelter building. One day we spent acclimatizing to high altitude to trek up to the nearby mountain. That day the weather seemed to be very bad and started to snow the whole region. We prepared all our gears for the next day high camps to Gorichen glacier.


After the snow fall, the next morning weather seems to be pretty good. We started our trek up to the high camps. Traversing over the steep ridge and at some point the fresh snow was knee level. Passing through beautiful tarns and snow bridges we all managed to arrive at the camp site safely. While heavy winds making their way setting up tents at the high altitude was a bit challenging on the soft snow. We made human chains to beat the snow until the floor was hard enough then started to pitch the tents. Some were very much exhausted and just rested. It started to continue heavy snowing. We had to keep clearing off our tents roof in order to avoid it from dropping off.

 An awesome sunrise in the valley just amazed the beauty of the nature and there stood our mighty 30 meter ice wall waiting for us to start our training. Prior to the actual climb we did a few rounds of training on the nearby slope. 10-Point, 2-Point, 3-point and 4-Point climbing was revised and we practiced for few sessions. All the safety things to be taken during the climb had been briefed and then we started to practice our climbing on the Ice Wall.


Being in the hands of well experienced teachers learning to climb an ice wall was much more interesting. Our teacher climbed up and fixed rope we had to jumar up. It was much more easier to jumar on a ice wall than on a rock surface. The crampons supported with a good grip while climbing compare to a rock surface where we would loose more energy. Then we started to do a 4-point climbing. This was more fun and a bit tiring. Finally we managed to ascend the wall and by rappleing down we descended. Next we were thought to climb a wall with just 2-point. 2-point sounded bit more scary as the activity did not have a top rope belay. But when we started to use this method and climb found this is way much safer to climb an ice wall. It teaches you to me more active and alert all the time during the climb, one single mistake would bring you all the way down. Exams were also conducted were most did their best in ice wall climbing.  

Last day of the glacier training was a acclimatization hike up to the gorichen glacier. We had rope in the group and started to take a glacier marching. We would always stay active to take note of the hidden creaveses. The moment we started to walk in the glacier I felt as if we were walking in the Khumbu Glacier. The experience and the nature is just too awesome makes you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. After 3 hour walk we reached one of the highest point, as we did not have much time we decided to make a stop at that point and detour back as we had to move our camp back to the basecamp. Some of the rescue methods were thought to us during the training. Then we descended down from the glacier to the basecamp.


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As our snow training was over we had to head back to New Maling, we spent a night at Mago before descending down. Finally at New Maling base making test and Endurance Run test was conducted. For endurance one has to carry 20Kg load for guys and 15kg load for girls, we had to run a distance of 8km on high altitude. It was a bit exhausting to carry heavy load and run but was fun to see and experience most finished the race successfully. From New Maling we trek back to the bridge where the vehicle had to pick us up for our next stop to Tawang. At Tawang we visit Tawang Monastery. Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. We went for sightseeing around the location for the rest of the day.

Early we departed back to school at Dirang. We had last few more day left to complete the course. Classes on Expedition Planning & final written exam was conducted. On the last day all were awarded with the certificates during the graduation. Here ends our whole adventure program at NIMAS.

NIMAS is not for the soft hearted people. To successfully accomplish any Mountaineering training at NIMAS:

  • one should have a very strong determination and never give up mind set,
  • be ready to carry loads around 25-35kg,
  • Endure in harsh weather,
  • Survive on less food and facilities,
  • Prepare for an unplanned activities most of the times

“ mountain main aisa hi hota hai”