Trek Leading In The Himalayas As A Career

How good or bad is trek leading as a career?

Being a trek leader is wonderful. Getting an opportunity to be on treks in some of the most wonderful mountains in India can be deeply involving. Trek Leaders at Indiahikes love this  aspect about their work.

Trek leaders also like leading teams. It gives them a high. They like the fact that they are responsible for a group of people in difficult settings.

Another big takeaway is that they get to meet diverse people almost every week of their lives. Most of our trekkers are from new age modern work backgrounds. This makes for very interesting connections.

What is a trek leader’s work?

The success of a trek largely falls on the trek leader. He is the chief responsible person; the captain of the ship. He ensures the trek is run well. This is easier said than done.   

Trek leading requires learning of safety protocols, evacuation techniques, medicine knowledge. It also requires you to gather knowledge about mountains, geology, history, flora, fauna and the night sky.

To run the trek smoothly trek leaders work alongside Indiahikes operations staff — our mountain staff who are locals of the region. Unlike most other organisations, our mountain staff are full time employees of Indiahikes. They are carefully chosen and trained by Indiahikes. Most of our mountain staff have worked with Indiahikes for many years. Which means they are extremely efficient. They are usually good at anything the trek leader can be. Earning the respect of our mountain staff is the first task of the trek leader. They do it by becoming as good as them — which requires a lot of hard work, dedication and gathering of skills.

safety on indiahikes treks, trekking career, career in trekking india, adventurous career options, adventure sports jobs india
A Trek Leader watches over trekkers as they trek through a boulder section on the Hampta Pass trek. PC – Milind Tambe

How long can anyone be a trek leader?

Trek leading is hard work. It is a 24 hour job in extreme conditions. While trekking is the reason you want to become a trek leader, doing this everyday can lead to a burn out. Which is why it is important to mix the role of a trek leader by taking up responsibilities in other areas of the organisation. Operations, Trek Coordination, Content, Training or IT are some of the core areas that you can move into.

There are plenty of problems related to trekking that Indiahikes is trying to solve. Recognising a problem and then opting to solve it is also a way to take a trek leaders career forward.

Who makes a good trek leader?

While trek leading is very meaningful, it is not an escape from life’s everyday responsibilities. Trek leading is like any other profession. The romanticism and glamour associated with it is only from the outside. At the end of the day TLs want to grow themselves and the organisation they are working for. It is not a license to wander in the mountains to look for inner peace and solitude. Trek leaders are professionals just like in any other industry.

To be a good trek leader you need good trek experience. Doing one or two treks does not really count as experience. What matters most is the kind of treks that you have done. For example, if you have done a Pin Bhaba Pass trek on your own, without the support of a guide, then we would consider that as a good trek experience.

Secondly, you need to have good knowledge of the Indian Himalayas. Merely doing treks without understanding mountain ranges, geology, flora and fauna is of little use. Good reading habits about mountaineering and trekking is essential. A good trek leader also loves to pour over maps. They get a kick out of discovering places, routes and trails. 

The below video will give you a fair idea of what a Trek Leader’s Career is like.


 

What are other benefits of being a trek leader?

Indrajit-Trek-Leader-Indiahikes-Satyajit-Burman

For one, trek leading is an intensive leadership program. These leadership skills are applicable in any other industry. Outside leadership, key management skills picked up are operations, finance, marketing, HR, strategy and organisational behaviour. You learn them hands on and you learn quickly. You also learn very efficiently. We see dramatic changes in our trek leaders within months of working.

Unlike other professions, trek leaders are faced with difficult situations every day. Taking tough decisions all the time makes them efficient managers over time. Very soon it shows in their personality.

It is not surprising to find people from the corporate world taking a sabbatical from their work to become a trek leader with Indiahikes. For the same reason interns from IITs or IIMs try to do a stint with Indiahikes.The outdoor training and learning is of immense value in a future corporate career.  

How much do trek leaders earn?

With Indiahikes trek leaders can earn decently well. However, a lot depends on the kind of responsibilities they take on. Though trek leaders start on a stipend of around Rs 25,000 per month (as long as they are PTLs). Within 6-8 months, when they become trek leaders their earning go up to around  4.0 lakhs. It is difficult to predict trek leader’s salary after a year, though it is considerably higher. Trek leaders who have spent around 2 years at Indiahikes earn around Rs 6.0 lakhs.

It is important to keep in mind that most expenses of a trek leader are borne by Indiahikes, including stay and food. This helps trek leaders save considerable amount of money. Perhaps the rate of saving would be a better indicator of a trek leader’s salary than the money earned.

How safe is trek leading?

Most parents of trek leaders have a constant worry about their safety. They wonder if their son or daughter is in a profession that is safe?

Any career in the mountains does come with some risks. Yet, with Indiahikes high safety standards, safety equipment, training, pre-existing knowledge of the trek, a lot of the risk is mitigated. So far we have not had any of our trek leaders suffer any major accidents.

However, there is always some amount of risk with any adventure sport, including trekking. This must be kept in mind before you think of applying.

woman trek leader indiahikes, adventurous career options for women, trekking jobs in india,
Anuja Gupta, a woman trek leader, leads her trekkers at Hampta Pass.

Can women be trek leaders?

We get increasing number of applicants from women who would like to be trek leaders. While we encourage women to try trek leading — it is not easy on them physically.

Most of our staff are men. Unlike regular office jobs, trek leading requires you to stay in close physical proximity with the opposite sex, sometimes sharing quarters and tents. This can make some women uncomfortable.

Leaving these apprehensions aside, women make excellent trek leaders. They bring with them greater empathy, a natural ability to team work and a healthy team spirit. We haven’t seen any difference in performance between women and men trek leaders.

In a nutshell

Trek leading is a great opportunity to learn leadership skills. It is also an opportunity to work in an environment that is adventurous and meaningful. On the other hand it requires great commitment, discipline and ability to work hard. Many want to get into trek leadership because they find regular work boring and monotonous. For such people even trek leadership may turn out similar.

Trek leadership requires preparation just like any other work. Gathering trek experience and mountain knowledge takes time. Many assume they can learn these while working at Indiahikes. Unfortunately, Indiahikes cannot give you these experiences if you have not come prepared on your own.

A career in an outdoor organisation like Indiahikes is great. The perks of being in the mountains are extremely high. Yet, it requires strong commitment to learning and preparation to be successful in this career.

For anyone who wishes to work as a trek leader with Indiahikes, this page has the details.

Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indiahikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India. He has written extensively for Discover India magazine and is a TedX speaker. Read Arjun's other articles. Read the full text of Arjun's TedX talk. Watch Arjun speak about our trekking trails. Learn from Arjun about what it's like to work at Indiahikes.

45 thoughts on “Trek Leading In The Himalayas As A Career

  1. sir i want to join india hike .i am 21 year old ,and my qualification i have done basic mountaineering course from jwahar insitute of mountaineering with A GREAD

      1. Hello Ma’am I am 22 years old and I have recently completed my MBA in 2016 from Mangalayatan University Aligarh and for last 8 months I have been working with Ceasefire industries Ltd. Although I am getting a handsome salary but here I am getting paid for something I have to do but I would like to get paid for something I love to do, I want to live my passion professionally I want to work with “indiahikes” kindly please tell me what should I do.

  2. Hellow, I’m 18 years old and i have recently completed my school and now all i want is to travel, which i love the most . Wandering on mountains , can you please suggest what should i do ?

    1. Hi Sanjeevani
      We all want to travel. But you need to think about why you want to do it. What drives you to travel. Being in such a career looks glamourous but is a lot of hardwork. We can help if you are specifically looking at trek leading as a career.

  3. Hello IH, I am 26 years old, recently completed BMC from NIMAS, Arunachal. Previously I have done adventure course from NIM, Uttarkashi, rock climbing course at Sushunia hill, West Bengal and did some treks in himalaya. Last 8 years I am working for Eureka Forbes LTD as a customer service executive and it’s time to switch myself in adventure field. I would like to be a member of Indiahikes team. Is there any vacancy in the position of assistant trek leader or trek leader?

      1. Hey
        Thanx swathi for the reply.
        Can u tell me in detail?
        Like first round will be on skype.
        What about the other two?

  4. Life is not Wat you see it’s something to feel by heart I m excited Of my first trekking with Indiahikes, regarding carree yes I m interested but I have to do more trekking with you guys Then I can apply To join you..
    Thank you so much beacuse of Indiahikes we can feel it by heart wat nature say…

  5. Hello Ma’am
    My name is Puneet kumar, I am 22 years old. I want to apply for the position of Assistant Trek leader.
    I have done 2 treks till now one is triund and the second one is humpta pass. Looking forward to hear from you.
    Thank uou

    1. Hi Puneet,
      If you would like to apply, please write to arjun@indiahikes.com with a cc to sandhya@indiahikes.com
      The subject of your email should be: Working with Indiahikes – (name of position).
      Include the following in your email application –
      -Your recently updated resume (Even if you don’t have a background in trekking, your past work experience matters to us.)
      -Write a paragraph about why you wish to work at Indiahikes.
      -Write another paragraph on why you would make a suitable candidate for Indiahikes.
      -If you have any trek experience, mention it in the email.

      1. hello mam my name is sarthak and i am from kolkata. i did 3 treks till now. one is kedarkantha another one is sandakfu-phalut and hilley-varsey trek in sikkim. i want to apply for assistant trek leader. so may i know that is there any minimum educational qualification or anything like that?

        1. Hi Sarthak,
          We do not have a minimum requirement as such but we prefer that you are at least a graduate.

  6. Hello Team,

    My name is Sushmita, I am 28 years old. I want to apply for the position of Assistant Trek leader or Trek leader.
    I have done few treks till now like Roopkund, Brighu Lake,nag Tibba, Stok Kangr.. Looking forward to hear from you.
    Thank uou

    1. Hi Sushmita,
      If you would like to apply, please write to arjun@indiahikes.com with a cc to sandhya@indiahikes.com
      The subject of your email should be: Working with Indiahikes – (name of position).
      Include the following in your email application –
      -Your recently updated resume (Even if you don’t have a background in trekking, your past work experience matters to us.)
      -Write a paragraph about why you wish to work at Indiahikes.
      -Write another paragraph on why you would make a suitable candidate for Indiahikes.
      -If you have any trek experience, mention it in the email.

  7. hello people, iam intrested in position of Assistant Trek leader or Trek leader. i have no experience but, iam passionate about trekking. iam a bca graduate from hyderabad.

    1. Hi Naveen,
      We do look for at least a couple of year’s of work experience for this position. However, if you would still like to apply, please write to arjun@indiahikes.com with a cc to sandhya@indiahikes.com
      The subject of your email should be: Working with Indiahikes – (name of position).
      Include the following in your email application –
      -Your recently updated resume (Even if you don’t have a background in trekking, your past work experience matters to us.)
      -Write a paragraph about why you wish to work at Indiahikes.
      -Write another paragraph on why you would make a suitable candidate for Indiahikes.
      -If you have any trek experience, mention it in the email.

  8. Hello India Hikes
    My name is Kaustubh Lad, I am 26 years old and I have recently completed my Basic Mountaineering Course from ABVIMAS in Nov 2017. Trekking in Maharashtra from 2004 and also did few treks in Himalaya.
    Is there any vacancy in the position of assistant trek leader or trek leader?

  9. Hello Indiahikes
    My name is Dhruv and i am 24 years old. I am interested in the position of Assistant Trek Leader. I have 8 months of experience in an IT firm. I have little experience in trekking so far but would like to gain more and would really like to work with Indiahikes.

  10. Hello indianhike
    I am shashank, and i hv done B.E(mech), i hv 1yr industrial experience. But i love travelling, till now i prefer solo travelling. I cover punjab, madhya pradesh, bangalore, Visakhapatnam, coimbatore, chennai, Andaman &nicobar island. I have done munda pahar treak at chidiya tapu in andaman island.
    Now i want to make career in travelling company like yours.
    Please, tell me am i eligible for treck leader jobs.

    1. Hi Shashank,
      To apply for a Trek Leader role at Indiahikes, I would recommend that you do at least a couple of high altitude treks in the Himalayas first.

  11. Hello India Hikes,

    I am currently 26 years old and am working as an software engineer for 3 years now. I recently completed my first trek to Sandakphu, in full monsoon with a trek guide in a group of 6 carrying my own baggage. I was very interested in trekking for a long time and after my first encounter with this trek, I fell in love with mountain hikes. I would love to undertake something associated with trek as a profession. I am based in Kolkata currently. Could you suggest for what position I can apply in Indiahikes and also please et me know if we can undertake this profession as a part time job. Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Sanchita,
      You could apply to be a Trek Coordinator at Indiahikes. This is a full time role based in Bangalore.

  12. Hello IH,
    I am 22 years old. I have recently completed my Engineering degree. I have prior trek experience with India Hikes too. Recently I have completed my Valley of Flowers trek. I have always loved mountains. Can I apply for any positions in Indiahikes?

    1. Hi Shashank, you could head over to our careers page and see if any of the roles would suit you. The procedure to apply is written right there.

  13. Hi Team,

    I am Prashant and I have completed Humpta pass, Triund, Kheerganga, Manhimahesh, Rupin pass, treks,
    I work as Process trainer for BPO industry and also freelance tour leader.

    I am interested in working with indiahikes as Assistant trek leader.

    Please guide me how can I apply for that.

    Thanks and Regards

    Prashant Singh Rathore

  14. Hello India Hikes,
    I have 4.5 years of experience in IT industry. I am also a dance teacher. Recently I did Kedartal trek with Indiahikes which was my first high altitude trek. Other than that I have done Triund trek a year back. I want to apply for trek leader position. Could you please let me know if I can take it as a part time or as a freelancer or it’s a full time job.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Rucha Inamdar

  15. Hi Greetings !!
    This is Saumya, completed B.Tech in IT & currently pursuing MBA in Operations from IIITM Gwalior. This is the start of my career & I have plenty of options to go with Software & IT companies. But, as I am deadly passionate to build my career in an adventurous field, I found India Hikes the best opportunity for me. Honesty speaking I haven’t done any trekking yet till the age of 22 but one thing I am dead sure about that I can sustain here for a longer period of time as I am a sportswomen who is extremely willing to measure her limits. Trek career is not only a source of earning for me but something more than that. This is the place where I found my passion, my efforts to learn, inner strength to tackle challenges, experiment with life. I know I am a fresher but I just need one opportunity to start my journey with India Hikes. For being a trek leader in India Hikes, I am ready to learn whatever required. Kindly guide me and consider my application for the position.
    Even if I am a women, I have the power to break all the norms & set up an example for India Hikes within few years.
    Kindly let me know, where to drop my resume. I’ll be highly obliged.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Saumya, it’s wonderful to see your interest in the outdoor world. But you need some good trek experience before becoming a trek leader. Our trek leaders are all seasoned trekkers with mountaineering certifications, and they come with solid work experience too. So you can work on these aspects and then apply to us.

      1. Definitely. I’ll be back with some good experience in trekking & mounteering. If possible, kindly guide me what all necessities are there to make a career in this particular field including what all sort of courses & experiences are required.
        Thank you.

  16. Hi
    I’m 21 year old just Completed my basic Mountaineering course at jim&ws in September 2018 and also worked with Great Rocksport Pvt. Ltd. As an freelancer for their adventure capsule program wanted to apply for assistant trek leader.

  17. Hello India Hikes,
    I have 4.5 years of experience in IT industry. I am also a dance teacher. Recently I did Kedartal trek with Indiahikes which was my first high altitude trek. Other than that I have done Triund trek a year back. I want to apply for trek leader position. Could you please let me know if I can take it as a part time or as a freelancer or it’s a full time job.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Rucha Inamdar

  18. hello IndiaHikes ,
    This is Bhupendra ,i’m 25 year old working in a travel and tourism based company in new delhi .I have done so many high altitude trek in himalayas like roopkund ,hampta pass ,kuari paas ,and many more by my own not with any porter or guide or anything but till now i doing them for my passion and i’m a regular mountain traveler since last five years and now i want to make my passion into my proffession so i want to apply for assistant trek leader in indiahikes and want to join indiahikes as assistant trek leader
    But still i not done my bmc course yet but next year i will complete my bmc course.i have done my graduation and advance diploma in travel and tourism and have a good knowledge of himalayas and multi day trekking in high altitude.
    please suggest me the possible procedure for how to join a reputated organisation like india hikes.
    Thank you and Regards.
    bhupendra maderna

    1. Hi Bhupendra, I think you can go ahead and apply to work with us. You’ll find the procedure on our careers page. Since you have done many Himalayan treks by yourself, we can overlook the BMC requirement, which you can complete next year.

  19. Hello india hikes team,
    This is bhupendra i’m a 25 year old working in a travel and tourism based company in new delhi.imI have done so many high altitude treks in himalayas since last 4 years like roopkund,Hampta paas ,kuari paas ,kheerganga nd many more by my own not with any porters or guides. Till now i am doing that all for my passion now i want to make my my passion into my profession.So I want to apply for assistance trek leader in india hikes.
    I have completed my graduation in b.com nad advance diploma in travel and tourism and having a good experience of trekking himalayas.
    Can u please tell me the possible procedure to join a reputated organisation like indiahikes
    Thanks nd Regards
    Bhupendra Maderna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *