Career In Mountaineering: Opportunities & Courses

By Shatavisha Chakravorty

Indian culture is one that treats nature with utmost respect. As Indians, we believe that it is from nature that we take birth. It is in light of these sentiments that we end up treating nature as our mother (and thus, comes the colloquial terminology of Mother Nature). Now when a child is born, the mother is the one who takes care of them and nurtures them. As the child grows, at some point, they are filled with a desire to get to know their mother better in an endeavour to serve her for all the sacrifices that she has made over the years.


The same feelings can be extended to a human being's take on Mother Nature as well. It is our thirst to know and explore more about nature that has fostered the promotion and development of adventure sports. There are a host of adventure sports available, with mountaineering being one of the most popular.

Career In Mountaineering

Until a couple of decades ago, mountaineering was considered to be an adventure sport, something that you would do for fun and pleasure. Making a full-time career out of the same was unfathomable. However, luckily for us, things are set for a change now. These days, there are a number of people out there making (or planning to make) a successful career out of the same. If you are one such person, read on to know more about a possible career in the world of mountaineering.

• Head Starting A Career In Mountaineering

This is one field where there is no need for a formal degree in order to make it big. History has been a testimony to the fact that even people who are school dropouts have made it big here. It is one area where physical fitness and the zeal and determination to work hard are considered to be more important than that of a formal school or college certificate.

Most mountaineering school application forms do not even have a section asking for your qualifications or marks.

• Skills Required

Most people feel that physical strength is all that it takes to become a professional mountaineer. However, this profession requires as much mental strength as that of physical. One must be dedicated to their work and be willing to put in a lot of practise. Other than all of this, some profession-specific technical skills will also be required.

This includes a thorough understanding of weather and climatic conditions, a detailed knowledge of terrains and general proficiency in the usage of climbing equipment. However, more important than all of it is the fact that you must have a deep love for the profession.

• Mountaineering Education

The first step to pursuing a career in mountaineering would be by enrolling for a basic mountaineering course. Although the official age limit for this course is much later, ideally you should start off with this course by the time you are 8 or 9 years old. Make sure that you obtain an A throughout at this level.

This will ensure that you are academically eligible for the advanced courses that you will have to take in order to become a professional mountaineer. Once you are done with the basic courses, you will have to undergo a number of high-altitude treks and expeditions.

This will make you brush up all that you have already learnt and prepare you for the advanced course. There are a number of government scholarships for talented students who are interested in pursuing a career in this field. A number of private firms also sponsor mountaineering teams for their adventurous expeditions.

• Institutes Offering The Course

The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering is one of the best places for you to begin your mountaineering journey. Other than that Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Indian Mountaineering Foundation, the Adventure Sports Centre in Pahalgam (Jammu and Kashmir) are equally good.

Government College, Uttarkashi, (Uttarakhand) and the Mountaineering Institute, Manali, (Himachal Pradesh) also offer the courses that have been discussed in the previous section. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports has a host of accomplished alumni to its credit.

As is obvious from the nature of the course, most of the top mountaineering institutes of the country are located in a hilly and mountainous area. The Mountaineering Organisation of New Delhi is the only mountaineering institute in the country that not just offers quality mountaineering education but is also located in a metropolitan city.

• Job Opportunities

Once you have the required qualification, there will be a number of career opportunities available to you in the world of mountaineering. There are a number of adventure firms that organise trekking and mountaineering expeditions. You can choose to be a trek guide or trek lead at such places. Most of these jobs are in the private sector.

The tourism departments of some of the states (particularly those in the Himalayan belt) hire trained mountaineers for a wide array of roles. Mountaineers also find easy employment with rescue teams. You may also choose to get into the world of teaching and seek employment in any of the mountaineering institutes as an instructor.

• Salary

Like with every other profession, the salary of a mountaineer depends on the organisation that they are employed with. In this field, jobs in the government sector are much better paid than those in the private sector. The average salary here is about Rs 15,000 per month.

Apart from this, most organisations provide mountaineers with additional perks and allowances like that of basic first aid, wilderness, life insurance, etc. Since one can scale mountains only up to a certain age in their life, there are a number of social security benefits offered to mountaineers as well in order to ensure their financial independence even at an old age.

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