By Amit Patel – Mountaineer & Long Distance Runner | 4th Dec 2016 | ExploRunner
After completing BMC (Basic Mountaineering Course), most difficult questions were floating in my mind. Should I go for Advance Mountaineering Course (AMC)? How can I manage one month long leave again? What about my priorities to my career and family? And last & most important question, how to train for AMC? I took more than 4 months to take a decision, and then I said to myself – I AM going for AMC. Yeah! I am going for AMC. It’s a reunion tour for most of us and amazing thing is that I get another chance to meet most energetic people across the world. One thing in all of us is common -We all love nature and specially- Mountains.
I did Basic Mountaineering Course) from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi Oct 2015. So we decided to try another institute- Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling-First mountaineering institute of India. After successful first summit of Mt. Everest on 1953, our then Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru decided to open institute where many more Tenzing Norgay could be produced. The aim of institute is to encourage mountaineering as an organised sport in India. I applied finally for AMC on March 2016 and HMI confirmed my seat for Oct 2016 advance course.
Now next big challenge was Training for Advance Mountaineering course. I started running for short distance like 4-5KM. Also tried cross functional training-Swimming & Yoga. At end of July, I decided to train with running expert- Mr. Munir. He improved my running style and running distance also. During Aug to Mid Oct, I ran more than 100 miles that was tremendous improvement in my running. I ran down on different terrains like flat road, mountain road, fly overs and walked several KM with loaded rucksack to train for AMC.
Finally the day arrived 17 Oct 2016, I started my journey to Darjeeling, I was super excited but little bit nervous also. Would I complete my AMC on one the toughest terrain of the world?
The course started on 19th Oct by morning running on hilly terrain. It was a chilling morning-Ideal weather for running. The running track was challenging, first 3KM was uphill then 2KM plains followed by 2.5 KM down hill. Uphill terrain is always a challenge for runner but small stride and steady pace helped me to complete first phase of running. When transitioning myself to second phase of running, I saw Kanchenjunga Peak, the highest peak of India which inspired to continue my running. The glimpse of peak charged me to continue my running.
Running with army officers, sportsmen, Everester always have a great feeling. I am blessed that I was course mate of those amazing people who represent India in various fields. I completed remaining distance with easy pace. After completion of running phase, every trainee had to carry their running buddy on their shoulders as load for half a kilometer, then stretching. What a tremendous start to the course!! Definitely, it would be more adventurous and tough soon. That time I remembered a quote- If you have the right company then longest journey will seems like minutes.
One week passed very quickly. Actually I was enjoying morning running. Morning chilled air touching your sweaty face, sunny rays brightened the Kanchenjunga peak, green tea gardens and mountain peaks inspired all of us to train hard and be ready for trekking on Himalayan terrain.
After one week, we all moved to Sikkim- the most beautiful state. Our trek started from Yuksum-old capital of Sikkim(Height 1850 Meter) to Bakhkhim – House of Bamboo (Height 2728 Meter). The terrain was quite tough and with load of 22-23 Kg, it became tougher but we had trained for this environment. Never give up attitude and slow steady steps will definitely help you reach your destination. 12KM distance was covered in about 7 hours. Bakhkhim was our first night halt. We stayed at Bakhkhim one day for acclimatization of our body for such altitude. Next day we moved to Dzongiri-the meeting place of man and mountain goats (Height 4006 Meter), the most toughest terrain of our course and longest as well.
28 Oct 2016 will always be remembered for winning the summit through our hard work, team spirit, attitude to never give up. Everyone in the course reached Dzongiri successfully.
Next day we trekked 15KM to Chowri Khang-base camp of course. Chowri Khang is known as meeting and eating place of yaks (height 4006 Meter). We reached 4006 meter height in just 4 days. It was only possible by hard training in past one year. We successfully completed second phase of the course on Diwali. Definitely, celebration time. Diwali pooja was performed. Sweets were distributed by instructors. Course director gave permission to celebrate Diwali on our own. We all danced continuously for one and half hours. This time, I again missed Diwali celebration in my home town :(.
Next Phase of the course – move to Advance Base Camp (ABC). We did load ferry to establish our camp near Dugdh Pokhari( Milky Lake). We shifted all necessary items like food, frozen meat, cylinders, Cooking utensils, tent and our technical gears. This time, one this was easy-distance. We had to move & cover only 8Km in one stretch.
After two week into the course, main training began-Technical training on glacier. We walked 6-8 KM from ABC to our glacier training area and learned advance technique of mountaineering. Long distance running helped a lot during my technical training on high altitude.It helped me preserve my energy for a longer duration. Breathing problem is most common problem in mountains due to low oxygen. During my Basic Mountaineering course, I faced tough time due to breathing problem but long distance running helped me a lot during my training period. We completed 5 days technical training but last and most toughest task of the course- Height Gain. We had to gain height upto 18000 feet. It was camp 2 of Mt. Kabru. We reached camp 2 with the help of technical equipment and rope. We finally reached camp 2 by 9:30 AM. We celebrated. It was victory of all mountaineers in the course and their dedication & love for the mountains.
Nest day we shifted to base camp. On 10th Nov 2016, we started trekking downhill towards Bakhkhim Directly-Yeah! No stoppage at Dzongiri. We walked almost 27 KM with load-longest trek of our course. It was tougher than ascending on hill. Knees was hurting very badly but excitement of reaching institute pain disappeared. Next early morning 5 o’clock, we started move to Yuksum. After 5 hour, we were again back to civilization.
I did it successfully-Now I am a professional mountaineer…:). The feelings of victory cannot explain in words. My tanned face was glowing, smiling to see the smiled faces of my course-mates. Everyone was celebrating their success. Every time, I faced a common question- Why you want to go to mountains? Every one tells you during the course that you will definitely reach on the top, that positive team spirit push you to walk one more step towards goal.