What Is The Himalayan Mountain Challenge Programme?

The thing about the mountains is that resources are scarce and basic amenities are absent. Strategizing and competing in such an environment brings out the highest degree of individual learning and transformation.

The Himalayan Mountain Challenge is a 6 day programme that focuses on developing management skills in real time scenarios through experiential learning. It is a very effective skill building programme for anyone who works in a team environment.

The Himalayan Mountain Challenge Program is a tested and highly recommended program that can be included in the PGP curriculum or as an additional program. It has already been adopted by India’s leading management institutes: IIM Bangalore, Indore and Lucknow.

Our Objective

The Himalayan Mountain Challenge aims to impart real life management skills from the outdoors. It is an innovative method which integrates experiential learning with trekking in the mountains.

The objective of this programme is to help build important soft skills which are paramount in all life scenarios. The exercises are designed to bring qualities of team work, resource management, cooperation, consultation, creativity and decision-making under stressful situations of the outdoors.

What Will You Gain Out Of This Programme?

The Himalayan Mountain Challenge leaves a lasting impact. The lessons learnt during this short period stay with the students throughout their lifetime. A good number of students even return as volunteers in the following years!

  • Students learn that teamwork in such settings require a high order of cooperative skills. They also discover that most personal limitations are largely imagined.
  • For some, it is a humbling experience.  For all, it is a great boost in self-confidence. These lessons have direct implications in real life.
  • The students learn that to achieve a common goal, they need to function as a team and not think individually.
  • They discover how to improve on their skills so that they can contribute to the joint effort. In doing so, they also learn how to allow their teammate take over on matters they might not be good at.
  • Students learn how to strategise, manage resources and make critical decisions.
  • They also exercise their creativity as they come up with solutions to the real life problem of waste management in the mountains.

All of this learning and more is possible from just a week of trekking in the majestic Himalayas.

Our Methodology

Students are divided into teams and given limited resources to complete the challenge at hand. The teams compete against each other in a real life setting through a series of activities and games that focus on teamwork, cooperation and overall individual capacity building.

To step up the challenge, we have created Mountain Money. Each team is distributed a limited amount of mountain money before the trek begins. Teams need to strategise and carry out the activities in such a way that they maximise their money. Teams with a positive attitude and skills in cooperation, creativity, time management and effective communication usually emerge as winners.

Program Locations

The Himalayan Mountain Challenge Programme is conducted in one of the following locations in Uttarakhand:

  1. Bedni Bugyal  :The twin meadows of Ali and Bedni lie on the famed Roopkund trek route. The Bedni Bugyal trek has everything going for it. Deep virgin forests, gurgling brooks, breathtaking campsites, miles of undulating meadows and Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti towering over them
  2. Kedarkantha :A quiet, quick trek in the Easternmost fringes of Uttarakhand. Kedarkantha trek  is known for its pretty campsites, pristine forests and a thrilling summit climb
  3. Dayara Bugyal :The Dayara meadows stretch out far and wide and all around the meadows are the many towering snow peaks. Dayara Bugyal is considered to be one of the pretties high altitude meadows in India. The trek also climbs to the summit of Dayara top.

How We Do It

This Programme is conducted with a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 120 participants per location. The activities can be modified in accordance with the specific objectives and learning goals of the Institution.

Useful Tips

  • You do not require prior trekking experience but we strongly advocate physical preparation.
  • It is helpful if the groups to get together and engage in team building before they arrive at the base camp. This will boost their performance and make them get the most out of the Programme. 
  • Group workout sessions are a great activity to get to know your team members.

Before Arrival At Base Camp

The experiential learning process begins even before the students depart for the mountains. Before students leave their college campus for the Programme, they are divided into groups of 8-10 persons. The groups are a mix of students of various talents, gender and culture. One member from each group is also appointed its leader.

The students are handed out the Programme outline. This outline contains all the details of the programme: guidelines to the treks and activities, what to expect out of the Programme and the trek itinerary.

They are also given the Case Study problem. This is a real life problem faced by the Himalayan people. The students must present a sustainable solution to this problem at the end of the Programme.

Post Arrival At Base Camp

The trek takes students to an elevation of about 12,500 feet, usually to a summit. The setting of the trek is in some of our most scenic mountains of the Himalayas. Climbing the summit over four days along with the tasks in hand is where the transformation happens.

At the base camp, the students meet their programme managers. For a team of 50 students there are 10-12 backend management staff, 2 staff in leadership role (Trek Leaders) conducting the Mountain Challenge and 2 Indiahikes volunteers who help conduct the program.

After a detailed briefing from the Trek Leaders, the students are given instructions for their next mission and any clarifications are answered. Hereon forward, the teams must strategise and reach the goal on their own. This applies not only to trek activities, but to the whole trek as well. The students must plan their trek by themselves.

Short Programme Itinerary:

Day 1: Pick up at Dehradun at 6.30 am and drive to the respective base camps. 8-10 hour road journey. Mountain road journeys are slow and breaks are advisable. Reach camp by 6.30 pm. Room/Tent allocation followed by a briefing about the trek. Instructions about the mountain challenge activity will be handed over as printed sheets for students to strategise.

Day 2:  An hour of mountain challenge briefing followed by the start of the trek to the next base. Trek duration is between 4-5 hours. Trekkers expected to reach camp by 1.00 pm. Post lunch, the students are given time to plan their upcoming activities and trek. Activities wind up by 6 pm.

Day 3: Initiate execution of the trekking plan beginning at 6AM. Trekkers are expected to reach the next base by 1:30PM. After lunch, they begin to preparations to cook an elaborate dinner. The day ends by 6 PM.

Day 4: This day is the climb to the summit. The trek begins at 4.30 AM.  The students must trek to the summit, return to base, wind up the campsite and then move down to the first base. With this, all trek activities come to an end and the students can relax for the rest of the day.

Day 5:  Return to basecamp by 2PM. The students present their solutions to the Case Study problem given to them beforehand.  This concludes the Mountain Challenge.

Day 6:  Depart from base camp by 7AM. Reach Dehradun by 6PM.  End of program.

Why Should You Choose Us?

Indiahikes is India’s largest trekking organisation. We receive more than 20,000 trekkers every year and provide useful information to an even greater number. We know the profound changes that people experience when they trek.These changes, that affect trekkers’ outlook and perspectives, have been the motivating force that has channeled our efforts into creating the Himalayan Mountain Challenge Program. Trekking in itself is itself an immense undertaking of material and human resource management. We realised that trekking can great potential as an experiential learning platform for anyone who works, or is going to work, in a collaborative, team environment. We have been engaged in experiential learning programs not on for collages but for schools as well for the last eight years.

This is the 8th year we are running it for IIM Indore. Following Indore, IIM Bangalore and Lucknow have also adopted this programme since the last 2 and 3 years respectively. Final year PGP students and faculty at IIMs rate this program very highly and have been instrumental in fine-tuning it.

Contact: Write to izzat@indiahikes.com for details.