Rules & Regulations for Foreign Expeditionists

Application procedure

A foreign expedition team desirous of climbing a peak or peaks in India, shall apply to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) on the prescribed application form given at Part II of this Brochure along with complete documents and full amount of prescribed handling charges, including environment levy, minimum 90 days (three months) prior to their arrival in India, for obtaining clearance, from the Govt of India.

Before submission of the application for booking peaks in the Indian Himalaya, all applicants must ascertain from the IMF about the availability of the peak during the period they wish to climb. As soon as a proposal is received from the expedition team, the IMF books the peak(s) provisionally, subject to the availability of the peak's on "first come-first served basis" and inform the party accordingly as also allot the Registration Number to the expedition which must be quoted in all future correspondence for ease of identification. The expedition team must indicate two or three alternative peaks also in their request while sending the proposal. Permission from the Govt of India to climb is essential and the Indian Mountaineering Foundation will take steps to obtain this permission on receipt of application form with full particulars and documents. On receipt of intimation of provisional booking from the IMF, the team should send the full amount of handling charges through bank draft/bank transfers or credit card (together with the completed application form) at the earliest to the IMF.

IMF accepts applications for provisional booking of peaks up to three years in advance from Tour Operators listed with IMF along with 25% advance of the prescribed handling charges. In case of cancellation, 25% of the handling charges will be retained by the IMF. In case the expedition is postponed up to one year, 10% of these charges would be retained by the IMF. One per cent additional charges per month would be levied for each month beyond one year. Besides, if the peak is booked two years in advance from the date of actual climb, 25% additional advance would be levied after one year. Delay in receipt of application, incomplete applications, changes in planned peak/schedule/route as also addition/substitution of members would cause a further delay of four weeks in obtaining permission from the Govt of India.

Since the peaks are booked up to three years in advance on "first come-first served" basis, it is feasible to book peaks well in advance. Fifteen days are generally permissible from Base Camp to peak and return to Base Camp. This period may be increased/decreased by the IMF depending upon the degree of difficulty of a particular peak.

The IMF reserves the right to cancel the allotment of peak/peaks at any time without assigning any reason. In such cases, the handling charges shall be refunded in full. The IMF also reserves the right to allot a particular peak to more than one expedition in the same season. Besides, the route/face allowed may be same or different for each expedition.

In case an expedition desires to attempt additional peak/peaks in the open area for which permission has not been obtained, requests for such attempts can be made in writing to the Liaison Officer accompanying the expedition who may allow such an attempt in exceptional circumstances, provided that, the peak/ peaks is/are not being attempted by other expeditions. The handling charges payable for such peak/peaks shall be 50% of the normal fee per peak. This amount will have to be paid to the IMF before the expedition team returns to their country.

Route to be followed by Expeditions

Expedition will follow the route approved by the IMF and NO deviation is permissible except in an emergency and that too with prior written approval of the Liaison Officer(LO).

Abandoning the Expedition: Once the leader decides to abandon the expedition, the entire team will return to Delhi immediately along with the LO and report to the Director-IMF.

Splitting of the Expedition Team: Splitting of expedition team into two or more sub-groups is NOT allowed for any purpose other than to climb the summit in the form of ropes/sub-groups beyond the base camp.

Arms/Ammunition/Explosives are not to be carried: Expedition parties will not carry arms/ammunition/explosives during the expedition.

Walkie talkie Sets

Expeditions are advised to use hand-held walkie-talkie sets for inter-communication within the expedition ahead of the Base Camp. Walkie-talkie sets may be brought by expedition teams or obtained on hire from the IMF stores at nominal rates. Booking has to be done with IMF well in advance to avoid last minute disappointment.

Briefing and Debriefing

The leader of the expedition, representative of Tour Operator, if any, and LO shall report to the Director, IMF on arrival of team in India. The leader will furnish photocopies of team's passports with `X' mountaineering visas endorsed on them, details of custom's clearance, import of equipment, high altitude rations and trance-receiving equipment into India, insurance policies and other necessary details to the Director-IMF in the presence of the LO.

On return from the expedition, the leader of the expedition, along with the LO and representative of the Tour Operator, if any will report to the Director-IMF or his authorised representative for de-briefing and for submitting the report.

A form for submission of the report will be issued to the leader and the LO of the expedition before departure for the peak.

It is emphasised that the foreign expedition teams must do their best about completion of all procedural requirements in order to proceed for the peak after its arrival in India.

Liaison Officer

Every foreign expedition will be required to be accompanied by an Indian LO appointed by the IMF irrespective of whether the peak lies in the "restricted" area or in the "open" area. The LO, who will be a mountaineer, is to be treated as a member of the expedition and provided with the following equipment/clothing, imported into India by the leader of the expedition, and should be of the same standard as provided to other members of the expedition:

  1. A pair of climbing boots along with covers
  2. A pair of crampons
  3. An ice-axe
  4. A windproof suit
  5. A down jacket
  6. A sleeping bag
  7. A carry mat
  8. A rucksack
  9. Two pairs of socks
  10. Climbing harness
  11. Woollens - Vests, leggings, pullover, trousers and shirt.
  12. Caps woollen
  13. Gloves
  14. Goggles
  15. A two men tent
  16. Safety helmet
  17. Any other essential item that is used by the members should also be provided to the LO to enable him to reach the summit.

An expedition, if so desired by the leader, may exercise the option to pay US$ 500 to IMF in lieu of equipment for the LO and IMF will then arrange to provide requisite gear to the LO. The amount can be paid to the IMF along with the handling charges for the peak.

In case assistance is needed from Army/Police/Para Military Force, LO will inform DM/DC/SDO/SDM concerned and would also be responsible for arranging helicopter/ground search and rescue work.

In case of death of any member/porter, LO will obtain death certificate from DC before leaving the mountains.

The LO's equipment will be packed separately by the expedition team as it has to be handed over to him in New Delhi at the time of briefing at the IMF.

The cost of the LO's transport, one cook - cum - porter (from the road head), board and lodging arrangements from Delhi to the mountains and back will be borne by the expedition team.

The LO shall extend maximum possible assistance to the expedition team in custom clearance, making purchases, hiring of porters, animals, booking of accommodation on the way to the mountains, hiring of transport from Delhi to the road head and back, maintaining liaison with the local civil, military and para-military authorities and with the IMF in case of illness or accident. He shall, however, not handle any cash nor undertake any financial transactions on behalf of the leader/expedition. The LO is also expected to climb to the upper camps and even to the summit according to his or her experience and competence. The LO may be expected to carry a load not more than 10 to 15 kgs on the approach and return march.

The pay and allowances of every LO is paid by their employers in India for the duration of the expedition and cost of reaching New Delhi and going back to his or her place of residence is not the liability of the expedition team.

A LO has to accompany each foreign expedition irrespective whether the peak lies in the restricted area or open area. If the exact date of arrival of a team at New Delhi and mode of travel are not intimated at least two weeks before the date of arrival in India, the team may have to wait in New Delhi for the LO, who usually comes from an outstation.

On termination of the expedition, the LO will submit a report on the form to be obtained from the IMF and also give a certificate to IMF giving details of items to be re-exported by the expedition team as also report the damage done to the environment by the expedition team/porters.

Import/ Export of Mountaineering Equipment

Equipment, non-consumable and consumable, imported by a party into India, shall be subject to the following conditions:

  1. Equipment and non-consumable and consumable stores will be allowed temporarily free entry without customs duty subject to an undertaking being furnished by the leader of the expedition to the effect that the equipment and non-consumable stores will be re-exported out of India and that no part of it will be sold or otherwise disposed of in India, failing which customs duty will have to be paid by the expedition team.
  2. The above condition shall not apply when equipment, consumable and non-consumable stores are made available to the IMF on payment.

On arrival in India, the expedition leader shall submit to the IMF, in triplicate, a list of equipment with cost price of all the items. The IMF shall hand over one copy to the expedition leader along with a covering letter address to the customs authority at the point of entry, who shall clear the equipment, when it arrives, without charging custom duty.

Handling Charges

As soon as a request for booking of a peak is received by the IMF from an expedition, the IMF will earmark the peak/peaks provisionally, subject to the availability, and inform the leader of the expedition and forward necessary documents and forms for required action by the leader of the expedition team. Thereafter, the leader should send the handling charges together with the application form, at the following rates:

Below 6500m

US$ 500 for a party of two members. For additional members upto seven, US$ 200 each. Thereafter, for each additional member US$ 250 upto a maximum limit of twelve members.

6501 to 7000m

US$ 700 for a party of two members. For additional members upto seven US$ 300 each. Thereafter for each additional member US$ 350 upto a maximum limit of twelve members.

7001 and above

US$ 1,000 for a party of two members. For additional members upto seven US$ 400 each. Thereafter for each additional member US$ 450 upto a maximum of twelve members.

For trekking peaks

(Stok Kangri, Ladakhi, Freindship, Hanuman)

US$ 100 for a party of two members. For additional members upto seven US$ 50 each. Thereafter for each additional member US$ 100 upto a maximum of twelve members

Note: For East Karakoram only joint expeditions with Indian counterparts are permitted as per Government of India directives.



Liaison Officer Equipment Hire charges US$ 500 in addition to the handling charges.


Expeditions seeking to climb peaks located in Uttarakhand State & Sikkim State may please refer to the below:

  1. Special Guidelines issued by the Uttarakhand Govt
  2. Special Guidelines issued by the Sikkim Govt

Members in a Team

All expeditions, including joint expeditions, will have a maximum of sixteen climbing members. Expeditions will not be allowed to carry trekking parties or film crews etc. as additional members; this being necessary in order to protect the Himalayan environment. Minimum acceptable number in an expedition is two, as of now.

Payment Procedure

  1. In case the payment is made through a Bank Draft, the Bank Draft should be payable to Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi drawn on any bank having branch in New Delhi (India).
    1. All payments are to be made in US $ by Demand Draft or through Bank Transfers. Payments through cheques or cash are NOT accepted.
    2. In case the payment is remitted through Bank Transfers, it should be done to IMF's Account No. 52410029005favouring Standard Chartered Bank, Malcha Marg, New Delhi ( India ) and copy of the Bank Transfer instructions sent to IMF clearly indicating name of peak/expedition, leader and his country. 

      Swift No. SCBLINBBDEL
      Standard Chartered Bank
      Malcha Marg
      New Delhi – 110021
      Beneficiary: Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Account No. 52410029005

Joint Expeditions

In accordance with the objectives of the IMF, joint mountaineering expeditions are encouraged to promote goodwill and better understanding amongst mountaineers, internationally.

Any group of foreigners, their clubs/associations or their sponsors/organisers can apply to the IMF for a joint expedition to peaks in the Indian Himalaya. However, if they wish to join any specific Indian club/association for that particular expedition, they may ask that club to apply separately to the IMF to form part of that expedition.

The overall leader of the expedition will be the Indian team leader while the foreign team leader will be the deputy leader.

Charges for joint expeditions will be the same as for the other expeditions. Handling charges will be paid by the foreign component whereas the Indian component is exempted from such payment.

A joint expedition shall also be accompanied by a LO appointed by the IMF.

Expeditions to Eastern Karakoram

For expeditions to the Karakoram region, the Govt of India has divided the region into three areas. Ten joint expeditions or purely Indian expeditions may be permitted each year, after acceptance of the application and clearance by the Govt of India. Details are as follows:

(a) Area `A'
Six expeditions per year
-Saser Kangri - I
-Saser Kangri - II
-Saser Kangri - III
(b) Area `B
Three expeditions per year - Unnamed peak (6010 M)
-Mamostong Kangri, Rimo Group of peaks
(c) Area `C
One expedition per year
-Apsaras I, II, III
-Teram Kangri I,II,III
-Singhi Kangri, Sia Kangri
-Ghaint I and II
-Indira Col


A maximum of eight foreigners and eight Indians on each expedition to the East Karakoram region will be permitted. Minimum strength of such an expedition will be two each.

The LO for joint expeditions to the Eastern Karakoram will be an Indian Army Officer.

Search & Rescue

In case of accident or death of an expedition member, the leader shall notify the LO who shall report this to the nearest police station and get in touch with the District Commissioner/Magistrate or the nearest Civil/Army/Police authorities for assistance.

If any assistance is needed from the military or para - military forces, the LO shall arrange the same.

If a helicopter is needed to search /rescue/evacuate an injured/ ill person, arrangements can be made for evacuation to the nearest hospital. Charges for helicopter rescue sorties, including the abortive ones due to bad weather, are to be paid at the prescribed govt rates for each helicopter sortie, depending upon the flight time, etc. The charges are to be borne by the expedition team.

Insurance of Team Members, Headmen & Porters

Members of the expedition must have insurance cover for accident risks and ground/ helicopter search and rescue. A copy of the insurance policy is required to be handed over to the IMF at the time of briefing of the expedition in New Delhi. This insurance policy should have a clause that in the event of an accident, all charges connected with ground/helicopter search and rescue would be covered. 

All expeditions/tour operators concerned would insure mountain guides, porters, HAP and cooks etc. supporting them, against accident for the entire duration of the expedition as follows :

  • For mountain guide/ headman: US $ 3000
  • High altitude cook/ porter: US $ 2000
  • Base camp worker/ porter: US $ 1500

Daily Wages of Porters and loads to be carried

Expeditions will engage porters and HAP through the district administration or the government approved Tour Operators. Loads to be carried by porters upto about 10 kms per day (may be more or less depending on height/degree of difficulty) and other conditions would be as follows:

  1. Load to be carried:
    • Upto 5000 M - 25 Kgs
    • Between 5001 to 6000 M - 20 Kgs
    • Between 6001 to 7000 M - 15 Kgs
    • Above 7000 M - 12 Kgs
  2. Full wages will be paid to porters if expedition decides to have a rest day.
  3. 50% of total wages will be paid to porters in advance and 50% on completion of task.
  4. High altitude ration/clothing for porters will be the liability of the expedition team in direct negotiation with concerned tour operator/agency.

Penalty and Caution

An expedition leader or its member or any foreigner, if found responsible for climbing or attempting to climb a peak without permit from IMF or violating the environment protection rules, shall be liable to be debarred from undertaking any mountaineering expedition in India for a period ranging from 5 to 10 years or a fine ranging from two to four times the amount of handling charges for the permit or both. In addition, they may be dealt with under the relevant laws.

Miscellaneous Charges

Expedition teams will provide all possible help and opportunity to LO/HAP to scale the peak concerned if they reach the last camp with the expedition.

With a view to obviating language difficulty, an expedition from non-English speaking country shall include a suitable interpreter in the team.

A detailed report on the prescribed form, to be obtained from Director-IMF, is to be submitted to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (with photographs and route map) after the expedition is over. It should specifically mention how many porters were recruited, from what source and what payment was made to the porter per day, per head and whether any difficulty was experienced in recruiting them or with any person in India. Besides, if the expedition team publishes a book on the expedition or makes a film, one copy each of the same shall be submitted to the IMF.

Leader and LO will ensure that in no case the international border or line of actual control with the neighboring countries is violated.

The expedition team will uphold the dignity & sanctity of the religious / social customs and traditions of the people of the local area where the expedition is being undertaken.

On arrival in India, expedition leader will visit his country's Embassy/High Commission in Delhi and inform them about the details of expedition i.e. names of leader and members, itinerary, route and help that may be needed in case of an emergency.

Expeditions are required to stay for one working day (other than Saturday, Sunday and holiday) each at Delhi, while coming to India and leaving India., for briefing/debriefing of the leader and for completing other formalities at the IMF Headquarters. During the briefing, the leader will furnish following details to the Director-IMF:

  • Nominal roll of leader and members along with photocopies of pages having `X' mountaineering visa endorsed by Indian Embassy/Mission.
  • Photocopies of insurance documents.
  • List of items handed over to the LO duly signed by the leader and the LO.
  • List of all items of equipment imported into India.
  • Route prescribed and the itinerary approved by the IMF will NOT be altered by the expedition team.

Note: IMF does not deal with issue of permits for trekking in India by foreigners.