What motivated me to take the Basic Mountaineering Course?

There are similarities between our lives and hills, mountains, and everything in nature because we are part of nature as well.

You should go on a trek at least once in your life if you want to understand life better.

The first time I went on a trek as a solo traveler, I was without electricity and network access for two days. For the first time, I learned hundreds of new things about life without Google and books.

I realized what my family meant to me. I learned the importance of nature, adjustment, fitness, discipline, routine, teamwork, collaboration, and the importance of the journey rather than the destination.

The journey, the process, is everything, there’s nothing after you achieve the goal, sure you feel the accomplishment, but then you crave that feeling again, and maybe that’s why I’ll never stop traveling, I will never stop living until my last breath.

During the trek, as I walked along the edge of the mountains and saw the downside, the adrenaline rush—ah, yes—it is still so alive and vibrant even now.

The moment I reached the peak, I realized that I had done something great, I had achieved something. I realized I had conquered my fear, learned new things, and discovered my new passion; trekking and mountaineering.

On 15 July 2023, I applied for the Basic Mountaineering Course at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali. Until now, I have never been happier about spending my hard-earned money.

31 August – Guwahati to New Delhi 

I took a flight from Guwahati Airport to New Delhi Airport. The condition of Himachal Pradesh was really bad after two months of floods and landslides, so my direct bus from Delhi to Manali was canceled and I had to book another bus to Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. 

1 September to 10 September – Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali.

I reached Mandi at 5 AM.

From Mandi I shared a taxi with a Russian Couple and a guy from Kerala and went to Bhuntar, from Bhuntar I took the bus to Kullu then another Bus to Manali, and then another taxi to the institute.

I reached the institute around 1 PM. After completing all the formalities, I got a bed at Beas Hostel room D4, and met some of my batchmates.

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Inu Etc in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali.

It was a really great campus and the lunch was good as well.

After lunch, I collected all the necessary clothing and equipment from the storeroom.

From the 2nd to the 10th of September, our day started at 5:30 AM with an extreme workout session involving running and exercises. Later in the morning, we had practical lessons on Rock Climbing in the rock climbing field, followed by a Mountaineering theory lecture in the afternoon. Our day concluded with an obstacle race and exercises to relax our muscles.

Inu Etc in the Rock Climbing Field, ABVIMAS.

Inu Etc in the Rock Climbing Field, ABVIMAS.

We used to visit different local temples almost every day during our morning walks.

We learned all the important things about mountaineering in our daily theory lectures during the first 10 days that we were in the institute, and made ourselves prepared by increasing our stamina, and knowledge.

14 Peaks - Nothing is Impossible

On September 6, we watched the Netflix documentary film ‘14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible‘ in our institute auditorium. I think every aspiring mountaineer should watch this movie as it was so inspiring and entertaining at the same time. The movie is based on Nepali mountaineer Nirmal Purja’s (known as Nims or Nimsdai) ascent of all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in a period of six months and six days.

On September 9, we learned about river crossing in the Beas River, near Mall Road in Manali.

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Manali to Solang Valley – Inu Etc

11 September – Manali to Solang Valley

To reach Solang Valley, we walked 14 kilometers carrying a 25 kg (approximately) rucksack. Our institute’s skiing center was in Solang Valley, where we stayed and acclimatized before trekking to our base camp in the mountains.

Patalsu Trek - Basic Mountaineering course - Inu Etc

Patalsu Trek — Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo by Inu Etc

12 September – Patalsu Trek

From Solang Valley, we went on a trek to ‘Patalsu Trek’ as a part of our acclimatization process. The trek was challenging even though we didn’t have rucksacks.

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Batch 365, Patalsu Trek Group Photo.

We saw the beautiful Solang Valley and Patalsu during the trek. We learned about the flora and fauna found in the area, and we also learned about the mountains around Patalsu Peak.

Solang Valley to Bakarthach, ABVIMAS Base Camp

Solang Valley to Bakarthach, ABVIMAS Base Camp. Photo by Inu Etc

13 September – Solang Valley to Bakarthach, ABVIMAS Base Camp

Once again, we began our journey in the morning with that 25 kg rucksack. Finally, we were going to learn ice and snow crafts and go on a height-gain trek as well.

After hiking for so long, we finally reached the base camp in the afternoon, and after lunch, we felt so relaxed.

In the evening, we learned about Bakarthach and about the mountains around it. The views from our base camp were spectacular, we were able to see a lot of beautiful peaks, such as the 7 Sister Peaks, Friendship Peak, and the Hanuman Tibba Peak. Our instructor told us about the peaks and their altitudes, as well as some discipline rules we must follow while we are in the mountains.

After dinner, we went to our tent. There were five of us in one tent, and all of them were my roommates in the institute as well. During the course, we had a lot of fun.

We used to trek for two hours to reach the practice field with our climbing gear in our rucksacks to practice ice and snow crafts for the next six days.

We were without electricity, internet, and network for 10 days. On those days, we didn’t take baths either. Well, how can you bathe in the ice-cold water of glaciers? Even washing our utensils was challenging; my palms and fingers became reddish immediately.

We were completely away from our friends, families, and work. Isolated from the rest of the world, we only focused on learning ice and snow crafts. It was like meditation therapy and a digital detox for me.

Inu Etc Traveling in the Mountains - Trekking (2)

Inu Etc in the Ice Climbing Field, ABVIMAS, Bakarthach.

22 September – Height Gain.

With only dry fruits in our backpacks, we started our trek to Shiti Dhar Camp One, 15700 feet. Except for three, everyone in our batch completed the height gain. Though it was the most difficult trek for me, I still made it at my own pace.

Inu Etc in Shiti Dhar Camp One

Inu Etc in Shiti Dhar Camp One, 15700 feet

23 September – Bakarthach to Solang Valley

Our snow and ice craft and height gain went well, and we descended to Solang Valley.

The survival night was another important part of the course. An expedition in the mountains may require us to survive without food and shelter, so it was important to learn how to survive a night in the mountains.

In the evening, our instructors told us to bring our sleeping bags, torch lights, ropes, and warm clothes. We were divided into six teams, each of which received a tent outer, and our instructors told us to stay in the pine forest all night without having dinner

We were a group of 12 people, and I would like to highlight the diversity in our group.

I was the only person from Assam. One of the guys was Tarun, a National Cadet Corps member from Delhi, another was Amar, an aspiring mountaineer from Gujarat, and the third was Rahis, a trekking guide from Himachal Pradesh.

I remembered their names because they were my roommates.

Our group also included two individuals from Karnataka, two from Kerala, three from Chhattisgarh (gold medalists in national sports), and a senior member, Avinash Raipally, the Joint Director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Hyderabad.

We all went to the pine forest, we found the perfect spot to set up the tent and made it with our rope and tent outer.

The night went well for us in the forest, and we managed to survive until the morning. 

24 September – Solang Valley to Manali

We finally hiked to our institute in Manali after a successful survival night in Solang Valley. It was wonderful to sleep in bed after spending so many days inside sleeping bags in the mountains. We were finally able to bathe in warm water. LOL

25 September – Written Exam

During our written exam at the institute, all the questions were based on our theory classes and what we had learned so far. After the exam, everyone was free. It was the first time in our course that we had some free time. Some went to the market, while I sat on the badminton court and already started to miss the institute.

26 September – Ceremony Day

The day was memorable for us all, but it was even more special to me.

Well, a few days ago, Akhil sir asked me to make a short film about my Basic Mountaineering Course experience, using all the footage I took during the course, which will be shown on the big screen at the ceremony.

The tight schedule of the institute made it extremely difficult to select the best footage from three-hour-long videos. But within two days, I edited the film and showed it to Akhil sir, and he approved it right away.

Finally, on the day of the ceremony, almost 200 people watched my documentary film on the big screen of the auditorium hall. This was a dream come true moment for me, I had always dreamed of watching my work on the big screen. It was a joy to see people praising my work with a round of applause.

We then received badges from the institute director and the joint director. Then we enjoyed a cultural program where our batchmates from different cultures and states performed their dances.

After the ceremony, some of our instructors shared their feedback and praised my short film. They also asked if I could send them the movie so that they could watch it on their phones. I was overwhelmed by their response and grateful for it. 

Final Thoughts: Basic Mountaineering Course in ABVIMAS, Manali – My Thrilling Experience – Discovering Mountaineering and Myself

That’s it, that was my experience and journey during the Basic Mountaineering Course at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.

I was fortunate to experience hostel life again after 7 years and met awesome people from all over India and the best instructors at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.

In the span of 26 days, I transformed into a mountaineer, embraced a soldier’s discipline, developed a profound love for nature, prioritized fitness, and honed my self-discipline.

As I really want to do the Advance Mountaineering Course, I’m eagerly waiting for my certificate.

Update: I have received an A grade, and I am now planning to apply for the Advance Mountaineering Course in 2024.

It was a pleasure to be a part of batch 365 of the Basic Mountaineering Course at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Until September 29, I stayed at the Jungle by Sturmfrei Hostel in Manali. During my previous visit to Manali as a digital nomad, I stayed at the same hostel.

My bus journey from Manali to Delhi began on September 29, and I reached Delhi on September 30. I saw Shah Rukh Khan‘s Jawan Movie in Delhi and stayed in a hotel that night, as I had my flight to Guwahati the next day.

Thanks for reading this article. 💚

If you have any questions or doubts about the Basic Mountaineering Course,  mountaineering course fees, and anything related to mountaineering, trekking, and travel, please feel free to send me a direct message on Instagram @InuEtc

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If you have any questions or if you wanna work with me, feel free to contact me. I’m always available to help young hustlers like you @InuEtc on Instagram.

Keep traveling!