The Tribune - Spectrum

, November 24, 2002


Rock climbing is a fascinating year-round activity
Tarun K. Roy

With the latest climbing gear even women can climb rocks without fear
With the latest climbing gear even women can climb rocks without fear

ROCK climbing is a fascinating adventure sport today and gained the popularity in the UK, Europe and later in India. Rock and mountains always pose a challenge to the human sense of adventure and rock climbing is mastering the techniques of climbing on exposed rocks of any height and gradient. It is an independent mountain sport activity as well an important part of mountaineering. In mountaineering history, the first record of climbing says, Antoine de Ville led a team of climbers to Mt. Aiguille (6,228 f) in the Alps in 1492. Thereafter a few more climbing records are found between the 16th and 18th centuries. But more or less, rock climbing activity began in the beginning of the 9th century in the Alps and then spread to other European countries and was later started in India by the Britishers.

One can gain confidence, personal satisfaction, immense pleasure and develop tremendous physical and mental stamina, endurance and will power through this sport. There is no age bar or special qualification for rock climbing but it requires basic physical fitness, knowledge of techniques or guidance of trained/experienced climber/instructor and good equipment for safety.

Today, advanced climbing techniques and better climbing gears have been introduced. Rock climbing gained popularity as one of the weekend outdoor activities in the country after the first successful expedition to Mt Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, after which many government and private training institutes as well numerous adventure clubs/youth organisations (NYKS / BS&G / NCC / YSD, etc) sprung up all over the country to promote outdoor activities. Nowadays, rock climbing is popular in the educational institutions too for character building of the youngsters.

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), the mountaineering headquarters of India based in New Delhi, took birth in 1958 with the aim to co-ordinate mountaineering and trekking activities, organise and support expeditions and supervise the functioning of the mountaineering institutions in the country. The IMF has played a major role in promoting mountaineering and climbing activities in the country. Recently, different state tourism departments and corporations also initiated a plan to promote adventure tourism including this activity.

India has vast potential in rock climbing and other adventure sports being the house to the mighty Himalayas, Aravali mountains, Eastern Ghat, Western Ghat, Vindhya Hills, Chhota Nagpur hills, etc. Initially rock climbing activity started as a pleasure outdoor activity but later it became a part of adventure tourism which is now a big thrust for the adventure-loving tourists. It has been given special importance by the defence and paramilitary forces to boost familiarity with the vast mountainous borderline areas of the country. Different training institutes have been set up in the country specially for the defence and paramilitary forces. The following are the best institutes in the country where regular training courses/activities are conducted for open to all:-

  • The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling (W.B.)

  • The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi (Uttaranchal)

  • The Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, Batote (J&K)

  • The Dte. of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali (H.P.) and its branches all over Himachal Pradesh

  • Regional Mountaineering Centre, Dharamsala

  • High Altitude Trekking & Skiing Centre, Narkanda

  • Mountaineering & Rescue Centre, Bharmour

  • Mountaineering & Rescue Centre, Jispa

  • Gujarat Mountaineering Institute, Mount Abu (Rajasthan) and its branch in Gujarat

  • Rock Climbing Institute, Junagarh

  • The General Thymayya National Institute of Adventure Sports, Bangalore.

Tips for rock climbing

  • Climber must have physical & mental fitness for climbing.

  • Climber should not be overconfident or show-off while climbing.

  • Climber should have fair knowledge of climbing techniques and equipment or should be guided by qualified/experienced climber/instructor.

  • Climber should have good pair of rubber-soled fitting size sport/PA shoes.

  • Climber should carry proper equipment, a climbing rope, harness, carabiners, slings etc.

  • Climber should wear comfortable fitting size climbing dress/trousers/according to climatic condition in consultation with the instructor/climbing guide.

  • Climber should not go alone for climbing and always prefer a small group/team for climbing under an experienced leader/guide/instructor.

  • Climber should carry energetic foods and sufficient water/drinks to avoid exhaustion.

  • Climber should carry first aid medicines in case of any emergency.

  • Climber should respect the mountain, keep the environment clean and carry back all the non-biodegradable garbage.

  • Climber should carry camera for photography which can be a memorable experience.

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