Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: Ascending towards the Peak of Excellence
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute | The Knowledge Review

HMI/ The institute aims to train enterprising members of the community, who in turn develop mountaineering activities in the Himalayas as a sport and as a scientific and entrepreneurial pursuit in field of adventure.

The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) was established on 4th November, 1954 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru & Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Prime Minister & Chief Minister of West Bengal respectively, to commemorate the first successful ascent of Mount Everest by Late Shri Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary. In its existence of over six decadesthe institute has trained more than 45,000 students including 2500 from abroad. A certificate from HMI is a prized possession for all trainees.

The Ardent Leader

Major Narendra Dhar Jayal, was selected as the first Principal of the Institute, who wasan officer of Bengal Sappers and a legendry figure in Indian mountaineering. Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986), fresh from his Everest conquest was appointed as Director of Field Training with a band of robust Sherpa Instructors. Nawang Gombu (1936-2011), first man to climb Everest twice (1956 & 1965) succeeded Tenzing as Director of Field Training after Tenzing was appointed Advisor.  In the past the Institute was headed by officers from the Indian Armed Forces, who were also the legendry mountaineers in their own right.

Major Jayal was succeeded Brig Gyan Singh after posting out from HMI established the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi. Col Narender Kumar, the most decorated officer is better known form his mountaineering reconnaissance expedition he undertook in Teram Kangri, Siachen Glacier and Saltoro Rance for the Indian Army in 1978.  Had he not taken this expedition, all of Siachen Glacier would be Pakistan’s.  Kumar crossed seven mountain ranges – Pir Panjal Range, Himalayan, Zanskar, Ladakh, Saltori, Karakoram and Agil to give Indian Siachen. For this feat he is known as the ‘Saviour of Siachen’.

Col AS Cheema was the leader of first successful Indian Everest Expedition 1965 that put a record number of nine climbers atop Everest in one expedition. Brig DK Khullar leader of 1984 Everest Expedition, was the person responsible for putting Ms. Bachendri Pal, the first Indian women climber atop Everest. Colonel Neeraj Rana, the fifteenth Principal of the Institute, planned and led the first successful Indian expedition to Mt. Makalu, the fifth highest and technically one of the most difficult peak in the world.

The legacy continues with current incumbent Gp Capt Jaikishan, a recipient of Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award. He created history by undertaking skydive jump over Everest Base Camp and established a World Record by landing at the highest landing zone of the world. He has two World Records and Six National Records in the field of adventure sports.

The officer has achieved great feats for the Institute by introducing Frey Peak Expedition in Advance Course which is one of the challenging mountains. Apart from scheduled courses, he has forayed into the field of adventure sports. The Institute is set to organize first ever Tenzing Norgay MTB Challenge 2019, hitherto unknown in this part of the country. The Institute has also started ‘GO GREEN – CLEAN MOUNTAIN CAMPAIGN’; under this campaign, the Institute with its staff and trainees is cleaning its field training areas outside the Institute campus and some of the tourist places in Darjeeling as well as in Kanchenjunga National Park in West Sikkim. This initiative has been hailed by local and national dailies.

Bestowing with Utmost Facilities

HMI provides state of the art facilities to its trainees and boasts of a well-furnished hostel facility for the trainees. It has modern training facilities like the indoor and outdoor climbing walls, and a well-stocked library. One of the fascinating features of the Institute is it has the oldest mountaineering museum of the country, which was established in 1957. It serves as a centre of educational research on mountaineering activities both for trainees and research scholars. It has a rich collection of manuscripts, autographs, books, and mountaineering equipment belonging to famous mountaineers.

The main objective of the Institute was to encourage and promote mountaineering.  Over the years, it has crossed many milestones and has organized fourteen mountaineering expeditions which include two Everest expeditions. The institute conducts 16 scheduled courses every year. One adventure course is reserved for visually handicapped persons. One course on methods of instruction (MOI) is conducted for the potential instructors, who want to pursue mountaineering as a career. In addition, many special courses are run for students and adults on specific demand. All the courses are highly subsidized with the institute charging very nominal fee which includes the cost of training, equipment, boarding and lodging.

Words of Wisdom for Sportsmanship

Mountaineering is the only sport where one competes with the self and not with any other person. In other words, it teaches the individual to be mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy and maintain high degree of discipline be it in personal behavior, personal habits, eating, sleeping, and socializing. At the institute, the Ecology and Environment form main part of training curriculum and efforts are made to maintain Clean and Green Mountain.   The Method of Instructions Course run by the Institute is specifically designed to train an individual to become a mountaineering instructor and the above mentioned qualities holding the HMI certificate are certain to be hired by potential employers.

About the Career Opportunities and Exposures

As the popularity of adventure sports has grown manifold in recent times many reputed schools, institutions, business houses, hotels, and resorts hire trained people to run customized adventure activities for their organization. Besides, there are always in demand for the armed/ para military forces. A database of able and willing passed out trainees is maintained and their details are posted in the website to enable potential employers to find the right kind of person for their establishment. This way many of the trainees have been hired by various agencies.

Accomplished Alumnus

HMI boasts of a lineage of many illustrious luminaries. To name a few are Shri Kushang Sherpa – The most accomplished mountaineer of the country who has climbed the Everest five times. He is among few in the world who has climbed the Everest from all the routes.  Ms. Kunga Bhutia – First women Everest climber from West Bengal. Gp. Capt. Jaikishan – He has eight mountaineering expeditions under his belt viz. Everest, Lhotse and Mt. Cho Oyu. He has also climbed Mt. Denali and Mt Acancagua, the highest peaks in American Continent.

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