Himalayan Trekking and mountaineering were never the way we see it happening today. Since the medieval era tribes and communities have been walking on foot up hill with loads on there back and cattle along. These tribes shifted from lower altitude to higher altitude with their families and cattle seasonally   with the aim to sustain their living ,which basically depended on cattle. these groups made temporary camps and settlements before shifting further up. Meadows covered with grass during pre monsoon to autumn attracts these tribes well known as Gujjars , Gadis and Bakarwaals. Even today in 21st  century the practice prevails..The way we see it today, trekking was introduced to the world by  colonel jimmy Robert ,  of british army during 1960’s during his stay in  Nepal. The demand of the supplies to the troops in the mountains of Nepal was met with the help of Sherpas. Sherpas along with the supplying troops had to walk on rigorous tracks with a planned schedule to drop the supplies. over the time hiking got adopted as a hobby worldwide. Numerous big brand emerged to provide clothing and accessories for trekking to enhance a good experience and meet the growing needs  of the trekkers.

Mountaineering on the other hand has always been part of human culture. Himalayan mountaineering is more than just scaling heights, it has religious sentiments and practices involved since centuries. Almost every peak has a religious sentiments ,faiths and stories associated with it be it       Mt. Manimahesh , Mt .Shivling  ,Mt.Nanda Devi, Mt.Saser kangri etc.


History’s first recorded mountaineer is Antoine de Ville, lord of Domjulien and Beaupré, who climbed Mont Aiguille in 1492.

Mountaineering gained attention when Mount Everest was scaled by

Tenzing Norgay ,Born Namgyal Wangdi in 1914, Tenzing Norgay was a Nepali Indian Sherpa mountaineer who reached the Everest summit just behind Sir Edmund Hillary.           

Today mountaineering has dedicated  and organized system of Govt organizations that look into the affairs related to Indian  mountaineering .These institutes also train civlian’s and defense personnel’s .Special schools like High altitude warfare schools , Siachen Battle Schools, have been set up with strategic ambitions and to train soldiers in high altitude warfare. The training is focused much on mountaineering aspects.




Siachen battle school.                                            High altitude warfare school.

There has been no clear cut line that differentiates trekking and mountaineering. Though both these activities vary in terms of training, preparedness, logistics, time, goals, fitness, scope, exposure to adversaries.

  • Trekking is a moderate activity that demands moderate fitness level with minimum training.
  • It involves short duration planning with lesser logistics most of which fits in a single bag .
  • Trekking in general is confined to altitudes reaching up to 3-4 thousand M.


  • Mountaineering, on the other hand, requires different stages of training like basic training, advanced training, specialised training focused on search and rescue operations.

  • The demand of physical strength is quite high maintenance of the same needs base and specific training.


  • A trained mountaineer is well versed with the rock climbing, ice, snow climbing, rescue tactics.

  • Mountaineering is M cube  – mind ,muscles ,money. Mental application and ability to adapt and meet to the needs in diverse and hostile situations is of paramount importance.

It involves long stretch expeditions . Mountaineers in any expedition could be divided in to number of small teams of HAP(high altitude potters),cooking , route openers , logistics , radio communications .Every expedition has a Leader , deputy leader, quarter master , equipment in charge .

  • Mountaineering expedition requires involvement of various Govt departments and officials like IMF ,  police , Liaison  officers, weather centre , department of tourism , forest department in special cases, All India radio ,district administration army.

Comparison between trekking and mountaineering on different aspects.

In today’s challenging times where we face global crisis of environment detritions ,global warming , natural hazards , terrorism , economics etc .trained mountaineers have shown the role with huge success.

During the Uttrakhand disaster it were the trained mountaineers who responded to the call of  required services to rescue strangled civilians along with the defense and paramilitary and police .

Identifying the need of having such trained individuals Government of  Uttarakhand established  SDRF (state disaster relief force) these men are trained in mountaineering and search and rescue operations in the mountains and else where. Several expeditions are being sent to various mountains across the nation to clean the mountains. Mountaineering is a holistic training package which involves leadership and management of paramount degree.

Shahid Khan

Founder & CEO                               

The Mountain Knights

(Shahid is a mountaineer of wide scale experience of having scaled numerous mountains successfully . Having done his part as a software developer  and in various MNC’s he now provides training to the young and old in self sufficiency outdoor courses focused on survival )