Mountaineering is an upcoming adventure sport. It is based on three pillars namely
Adventure, Discipline and Co-Operation. It is a very thrilling experience if care
is taken to ensure proper execution and teamwork. It gives immense pleasure and
tremendous self-satisfaction. A mountaineer is introduced to the pleasure derived
from reaching a mountaintop, views of exotic scenery, close study of a wide variety
of flora, fauna etc in the ecosystem, and many more aspects of Nature & hence
becomes one with them. It is truly a boon to us since we can develop a bond with
In the year 1857, the Alpine Club was established in London and this could be considered
as the start of mountaineering as a sport. Slowly newer places were discovered in
the quest to be the best. The world’s highest peak, Mount Everest (Nepal)
was scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and that sparked
off a race among the mountaineers to find newer avenues. The first ever, Indian
Expedition to Everest was completed under the leadership of Capt. M. S. Kohli in
1965 and first Indian Lady to scale it was Bacchindra Paul. Although many peaks
have been scaled quite a few times, but there are still many more peaks to be scaled
and routes to reach them are still untouched.
Mountaineering is the unblemished adventure, for the body and soul. It is an endeavor
to reach the vault of heaven, and explore the sprit of fantasy. India offers a vital
range of mountaineering opportunities on its challenging peaks - the climber enthusiast
can indulge in this romantic adventure in mountain ranges of Ladakh, the Nun-Kun
Massif, in Jammu and Kashmir, in hills of Manali in Himalayas and Uttranchal.
The Nature has graced Maharashtra with the Sahyadris. The Historical, Geographical,
Political and Social picture of people in Maharashtra would be incomplete without
considering the impact of the Sahyadris. The concept of “Hindavi Swarajya”
was born in its valleys. Chattrapati shivaji Maharaj used the natural strength of
the Sahyadris to defeat a strong enemy with the army, which stood manifold, outnumbered
his men by a great margin.
The Sahyadris act as a nursery for mountaineers before proceeding further. Surendra
Chavan, the first Maharashtrian to scale the Everest, was highly inspired by the
heroics of the mountaineers in the Sahyadris. Regular trekkers in the Sahyadris
know well about the book “Trek the Sahyadris,” penned by Harish Kapadia
(Awarded Patron's Medal of the world-renowned Royal Geographic Society in 2003).
While receiving The Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award for 2003 & 2004
at the hands of President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, for lifetime achievement; he said
that the honour is not mine alone, it is tributed to my experience in the Sahyadris.
Anyone can follow the sport irrespective of age, sex, capacity etc. The aim is to
stretch one’s limits & keep pushing even in the face of adversity. There
is no limit to the group but one should keep in mind the type and difficulty level
and then choose the number to suit the activity. Generally a group of 8-10 with
an experienced leader is advisable, also it is really very helpful if the spot and
route are known to at least a few of them. They use a special bag called Rucksack,
which is comfortable to carry heavy loads. Generally the duration, location and
number of members decide the equipments and food material to be carried but a few
items that should be available irrespective of the nature of the activity are:
- Water Bottle
- Trekking Shoes
- Ready to eat foodstuff
- Medicines for personal use
- Notebook & Pen
If the activity is more than a day long, the list lengthens, also keep in mind the
- Extra Clothing
- Brush & Paste
- Slippers etc
Drink lots of water, whenever possible & available in large quantity. If dehydrated
mix sugar & salt or Electral powder before drinking the water. Also keep a first
aid kit compiled under the guidance of a Doctor.
Make sure that you know the schedules and timetables in case of Train & Bus
Travel. If possible, make the reservations well in advance. Decide the route beforehand
since various routes might be possible. Take care not to be fooled by cattle path,
prefer a proper pathway. Proper planning is the basis of a successful trek. The
speed should not be too slow or too fast either, use smaller steps. In the beginning
the breathing becomes difficult uphill, but gradually with practice & experience,
the steps can be synchronised with the breathing. Before starting the trek, the
first man and last man should be decided and nobody should go anywhere without the
permission of the Group Leader. In spite of proper planning, do not overlook safety;
take care while walking to avoid any minor possibility of accidents.
Before you tackle the big mountains, you'll need to test your skills on molehills.
The first most essential skill the perquisite of mountaineering is your physical
fitness that will tell you the amount of fun you will be driving while climbing.
Before challenged climbing, workout routines should be frequent and rigorous. To
maintain your cardiovascular fitness, try walking with a loaded haversack, running,
biking, swimming, climbing of stairs and cross-country skiing. For upper-body strength,
try push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and indoor climbing.
Acquire the skills of mountaineering from an experienced mountaineer or certified
guiding service. If you are going for your first climbing go for basic mounting
techniques that includes signals, belaying, anchor systems, and climbing protection,
basic rope management, useful climbing knots, and most important, basic wilderness
Ambitious peak-beginner with better rock-climbing skills might try to start with
steeper, more technical and less snowy beginner mountains. Beginner-peak climbs
typically take one or two days, there are climbing schools offering multi-day mountaineering
courses with their climbs.
With a couple of technical beginner peaks under your belt, try going for much harder
expedition peaks, that needs longer walks and minimum of a week climbing.
At the top of the mountaineering pyramid are the Himalayan giants that exceed 8,000m
/26,246 feet in altitude, of these majestic mountains, only Everest are constantly
served by commercial outfitters, which accommodate unskilled climbers.
Along with Mountaineering, many allied activities can be carried out such as Astronomy,
Bird, Animal & insect Watching, study of plants and Geology, History etc. Moreover,
Beautiful photographs taken will prove to be a collection of lifetime…
Anchor or Protection: A fixed support on the mountain terrain that holds the weight
of a climber while falling or descending.
Belay: Various techniques
used by a rope climber to have a control while descending.
Carabiner: A metal snap-link
used for attaching the rope to an anchor.
Crampons: Metal boot attachments
with numerous spikes that render adhesive friction on slippery snow and ice.
Rappel: A controlled slide
down through anchored rope.
Sling: Nylon tubular webbing
with its ends either fastened or professionally sewn together making a loop used
to attach an anchor.