After preliminary training at HMI in Darjeeling, Basic, Advance and Methods of Instruction courses move to the field training area at Chowrikhang in West Sikkim. The Trek to base camp is very exciting and passes through most beautiful spots of Sikkim Himalaya. These are as follows:
75 Kms from Darjeeling in West Sikkim. Yuksom at an altitude of 1780 m, is the road head of the institute Base Camp. It is a historical place as Buddhism in Sikkim was first introduced here in 17th Century. Yuksom is a scenic spot and was the first capital of the Chhogyal Dynasty of Sikkim.
Bakhim is 12 kms from Yuksom. It is located at an altitude of 2700m amidst beautiful alpine flora and Sikkim’s famed orchids. Several Himalayan fauna are also found here. Among them are the rare varieties of birds and butterflies.
Dzongri is 14 km from Bakhim. The climb from Bakhim to Dzongri is very challenging but effort is worth the excellent view one gets of Kanchenjunga along with the colorful Rhododendron flowers adding a romantic touch to the magical world of Dzongri.
Chowrikhang is situated near the Rathong Glacier at an altitude of 4380m. HMI base camp is located here. One can see Frey, Kokthang, Kabru massif. Rathong and Bidhan Peaks around. The base camp is for training of basic course students. The advance and methods of instruction courses use it only for their preliminary training before going to the advance base camp on Rathong glacier. Many exciting high altitude trekking trails end at this Base Camp.
Situated at an altitude of 4600m, Rathong Glacier is an important glacier of West Sikkim. It is the source of the little Rangeet and Rangeet rivers. This glacier extends from Rathong La in the north almost to the top of Chowrikhang Valley in the South. It is fed by the Mt. Rathong (6678m) and ice falls of Kabru group of peaks. The Institute trainees practice ice crafting in Rathong Glacier. One can note the effects of global warming here with the glacier receding rapidly.