Wednesday, October 22

HMI, Darjeeling vs. NIM, Uttarkashi

This is one of those questions which comes to mind when going for a mountaineering course in India.
Having done my BMC from HMI and AMC from NIM, I got some idea about the training in these two institutes. Here is what I thought of HMI and NIM in terms of :

  • Organization
Both HMI and NIM are run by Ministry of Defence, GOI in collaboration with respective state governments. So, in terms and objective and philosophy and in training programs both are same. In my personal opinion, the past principals and the present principal (Col. Ajay Kothiyal) of NIM  seem more active and devoted to the institute. NIM played major role in rescue and rehabilitation work in the time 2013 Uttarakhand disaster. This was also widely covered in media.
  • Rock Climbing area
The biggest asset of NIM is that it has a vast rock climbing area in Tekhla. In this area, there are variety of rock features of varying degree of difficulty. Trainees have plenty of time to practice rock climbing techniques on these features. In HMI, there weren't much rock faces to climb. For rock climbing, it has Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rock in the outskirts of Darjeeling. They try to compensate this later in the course with the big boulders available around the base camp. So rest of the training in rock craft happens in Base camp area of HMI which is in Chaurikhang, Sikkim.

HMI's artificial wall seem definitely bigger than those in NIM and everything else is more or less same. Maybe because HMI installed these walls after NIM.
  • Glacier for training of ice climbing techniques
The Rathong glacier, training area of HMI has lot more ice walls to practice than the Dokrani glacier of NIM. Both the glaciers are receding very fast and trainees need to walk to the training area everyday which takes some time and energy. Dokrani glacier of NIM, has lot of moraine covering the ice walls and around the snout of the glacier where most of the training happens there isn't much blue ice. I saw plenty of smoking blue ice in Rathong glacier. It has big fields of blue ice around the training area. Although advance courses in NIM goes to a different training area upwards in the glacier for 2 days for their advance ice craft which has sufficient ice walls and relatively cleaner ice. Overall, in terms of ice walls available on which we get to train, HMI has lot better than NIM. Maybe in future, NIM may think of to change the base camp to get better area for ice craft. It would be more appropriate for NIM, to move the base camp to the place where they have their advance base camp.

  • Technical Equipments and Training
It was unanimously established among my course-mates of AMC who did their BMC from HMI that NIM provides more and advance technical equipments than HMI. In case of HMI advance techniques or use of advance equipments are mostly demonstrated by instructors but in NIM you'll get a chance to practice with/on them.
  • Trek to Base Camp
It is a fact that, to reach the base camp; the trek in HMI is tougher than that in NIM. In both institutes, it takes 3 days to reach base camp. The trek in HMI goes on relatively higher altitude than NIM and are longer on everyday. Situated on higher altitude than NIM, the base camp of HMI offers more splendid view of surrounding peaks.
  • Accomodation
The hostel of HMI and NIM are both well maintained and have all the required facilities. If you are pursuing basic course, you get to stay in barrack made of metal sheets and wood in HMI. It's all tent in NIM for both basic and advance courses outside the campus.
  • Location of Institute
In my opinion, roaming in and around Darjeeling has better experience than Uttarkashi. So, location wise, HMI wins and it also has bigger area with a zoo in it's campus.

HMI Contact Info:


Himalayan Mountaineering Institute
Jawahar Parvat
Darjeeling-734 101 (WB), India

TRAINING OFFICE: 0354 2254087/2254299
PRINCIPAL : 91 354 2254083
FAX No:91 354 2253760

NIM Contact Info

Nehru Institute Of Mountaineering
Uttarkashi - 249193,
Uttarakhand (India)

Tel: +911374 - 222123, 224663, 223580
Fax: +911374 - 222344

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