Alpine Field Bootcamp

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Schedule

Spring 2024 (Apr-May)

  • Batch 1: Apr 14-20 – full
  • Batch 2: Apr 21-27 – full
  • Batch 3: Apr 28-May 4 – full
  • Batch 4: May 5-11 – full
  • Batch 5: May 12-18 – 3 slots free

Autumn 2024 (Sep-Oct)

Objective

The Alpine Hiking Bootcamp was started in 2022 as a one week practical course to teach people on alpine style exploration of the Himalayas and grow the independent hiking community in India. The course consolidates my extensive field experience on exploration of more than 300 passes across the Indian Western Himalayas in recent years and teaches students to independently plan and navigate Himalayan traverses. The bootcamp is organized twice annually in Manali in Spring and Autumn. More background over here.

Agenda

Students will master the art of alpine style hiking in the Himalayas through 16 hands-on modules covering all key aspects of planning and executing an alpine style journey in the mountains. The bootcamp is practical oriented including class room theory, hands-on assignments on phone and field assignments in the trails around the basecamp.

Inspiration

After completing the Alpine Hiking Bootcamp in April 2023, Sant completed a solo 21 day alpine style traverse covering 320 kms across 13 high altitude mountain passes in Kullu, Shimla, Uttarkashi and Tehri Gharwal districts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with a total elevation gain of 32,565 meters. He explored new routes using Survey of India maps, went ultra light, supplied food on the way and dynamically adapted his route as per weather and snow conditions. Read his experience over here.

Program

Location: Manali

A one week immersive learning in the mountains on independent hiking – understanding Himalayan geography, high altitude terrains, understanding topography & contours, planning a Himalayan traverse as per the seasons and weather, fast-hiking and minimalist lightweight gears, learning various techniques to navigate the wilderness, Himalayan communities, night stay & shelter, managing wildlife encounters, food planning & hydration, topographic maps, blogs & books, Himalayan regions & hiking routes, digitally mapping new trails, etc.

Participants will check into a beautiful basecamp in the mountains where above topics will be taught through theory, practical assignments on mobile and hands-on field assignments in the surrounding forests and meadows. They will plan and execute multiple day and overnight hikes to master the art of independent hiking.

Each batch runs for 7 days: Sunday till Saturday. 5 weekdays (take leave) + 2 weekends covers travel & participation. Previous Sat / Following Sun can be used for to / from travel. People usually travel through Delhi (train/flight) and take overnight bus to Manali. Fixing dates and confirmations happens 3 months prior after which participants can make travel arrangements.

Registrations

Interested participants for upcoming editions register here. Confirmation / payment will happen 3 months prior to the start date. Do not re-register if you already signed up earlier but did not attend. You will be informed on future editions.

Cost =  25K INR. This includes 7-day packed course condensing years of valuable field experience, comfortable stay and delicious food in a beautiful, remote basecamp in the mountains and personalized guidance on your future alpine hikes. This amount equals cost of 1 commercial hike and gives free lifetime independent hiking.

Profile

Ultra-runner, explorer, alpinist and minimalist. Born in Belgium, settled in India since 1998. Quit the corporate world in 2017 and since then into full-time exploration of the Indian Himalayas. Founder of the Chennai Trekking Club, a 40 thousand member volunteer based non-profit outdoor community. Explored the South Indian jungles for over a decade. An accomplished ultra-runner having ran self-supported ultras over thousands of kms across the Indian Himalayas

In recent years I have explored (mostly solo) over 10 thousand kms across the Western Himalayas (Uttarakhand, Ladakh, J&K, Himachal) alpine style, self planned and navigated. I have been teaching independent hiking to the outdoor community for the past 10 years. I strongly believe in independent hiking as a more sustainable way of exploring the mountains. In the same spirit I GIS mapped the Indian Himalayas in detail to support the International outdoor community.

My motto “Die with memories, not dreams”.

Testimonials

Guiding Alpine Explorers

Based on my extensive exploration experience of 350 mountain passes in the Western Indian Himalayas I guide independent hikers in planning and executing their Himalayan traverses as per the seasons, identifying a realistic schedule, advising on gears, acclimatization, night halts and food supply. We discuss elaborately in advance to plan the route, strategy and challenges and stay in touch during the actual traverse rerouting as per actual weather (snow) conditions.

Benefits of Alpine Hiking

  • Economical – one bootcamp equals the cost of one single commercial trek and gives you a lifetime free hiking
  • Sustainability – independent hiking (solo or small group) leaves a smaller footprint on the environment vs. large organized groups
  • Hospitality – experience unseen humanity in unexplored regions vs. frequented touristic places
  • Gratification – of planning and executing your own independent hikes is immense
  • Freedom – make your own way, chose your own destination, pace and schedule
  • Knowledge/Learnings – gain insight in route planning, navigation, terrain study, weather & season planning
  • Peacefulness – experience inner peace while exploring the lesser known paths far away from the crowded commercial locations
  • Accomplishment – sense of accomplishment is far greater than an organized trek where everything is pre-arranged
  • Decision making – your decision making and planning skills are tested every day
  • Prioritize – between want to have (comfort) vs. need to have (essentials)

Hiking Styles

Alpine Style HikingOrganized Group Hiking
Cost effectiveExpensive
Environmentally sustainableEnvironmentally deteriorative
Plan own route and understand terrainGuide shows you the way
Differentiate between needs vs. wantsPorters carry luggage, comfort
Hospitality in untouched placesCrowded commercial campsites
Sense of accomplishmentEverything taken care of
Discover yourself – push your limits
Total freedomFixed schedule, group, pace
Pre-trek preparation & fitness
PeacefulnessCrowded touristic places

7 thoughts on “Alpine Field Bootcamp”

  1. Hi, I would be interested to attend the Alpine Field Bootcamp. I’m a mountaineer by passion and have always been doing guided climbs. My recent has been the Everest (summited on May 15th 2022).
    Please send me the details around price, etc and the link to register.

    1. Hi Sunil, nothing beats the immense learning and satisfaction of planning and executing your own Himalayan traverse. All details on ultrajourneys.org/abc

  2. Hi Peter, I would like to register for the batch of May 2023. What is the procedure for applying.
    Thank you!
    gs

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