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World's First Skill and Endurance Challenge in High Altitude

Atmanirbhar Giryarohan (Self-Sustained Mountain Climbing)

January to September 2024 - Uttarakhand Himalayas


Photo credit: Panorama of the Greater Himalayas by Pranjal Sah


Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge is a first-of-its-kind, international series on ‘Atmanirbhar Giryarohan (Self-sustained Mountain Climbing)’.

Selected participants from around the world will train and compete as teams, self-contained, over a unique course, showcasing their mindset and skills, set in the high altitude mountains of Uttarakhand Himalayas, India.

The challenge is an evolutionary merger of the best of learning and experiences from military-style high-altitude operations and the Himalayan Adventure Sports field. It is a blend of specialised self-sustained mountain climbing skills, survival training, expedition planning, psychological endurance and physical toughness.

Participants will be trained to operate beyond the assumed limits of their bodies, to discover the limitless realms of their minds, consciousness and spirit.

ūüé¨ The entire Soul of Steel event is being filmed and presented as a series to inspire a global audience¬†

Credits – C.L.A.W Global, ADGPI and Veer by Discovery


14 January 2023, Dehradun

Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Defence Minister of India, Shri Rajnath Singh.¬†


Broad Training Aspects

  • Physical training and endurance
  • Mountaineering Skills
  • General knowledge about mountaineering history, the Himalayas, methods and ethics
  • Camping, tent pitching and cooking
  • Rockcraft
  • Icecraft
  • Snowcraft
  • Rescue and evacuation – self and team
  • Map reading and navigation – with and without devices
  • Health, medical care and first aid
  • Helipad preparation and signals
  • Communication
  • Self-defence
  • Survival
  • Guest lectures
  • Training films

The final teams for the Soul of Steel Himalayan Challenge will be selected post a final screening test incorporating the skills learned the basic and advance courses.

People with rucksacks climbing up the side of a mountain

Basic Mountain Climbing, Endurance, Survival and Rescue Course

Participants will be trained and certified in the basics of rockcraft, self-defence, map reading and navigation, jungle and mountain survival skills, emergency first response. The participants will build up strength, endurance and skill for the next stages.

Group of participants standing together for a photograph with mountain peaks in the background

Advance Mountain Climbing, Endurance, Survival and Rescue Course

Participants will be introduced to high altitude and glaciated terrain, planning and management of mountain gear, rockcraft, snow and icecraft, glacier marching, Himalayan search and rescue, leadership and team skills.

A person rapelling down a rocky mountain

Onboarding: International Teams

Participants will acclimatise and familiarise themselves with the high altitude, glaciated terrain of the Uttarakhand Himalayas. While training as a team, they will brush up their rockcraft, snow and icecraft skills, emergency first response, glacier marching and Himalayan rescue skills. 

People in special gear in a high altitude area covered in ice and snow

Soul of Steel Himalayan Challenge

The competing Indian and International teams will prepare and present their expedition plan and execute it over a period of 7 days, wherein they will be completely self-contained for survival and success, Himalayan style.

We breathe Adventure, we live to explore!

8 Teams (globally) to compete, survive and thrive in the harshest terrain to explore and discover human potential

Photo credit: Panorama of the Greater Himalayas by Pranjal Sah

Instructors: a joint training team of Indian Army and C.L.A.W Global

For the first time, the youth of India have the opportunity to get trained by the Indian Army and Special Forces veterans in mountaineering, high altitude survival, emergency medical response and essential life skills.

There will also be special Guest Lectures and masterclass sessions by veterans and experts. 

Lt Col Yogesh Dhumal, Director Training

Experienced mountaineer having led multiple Army mountaineering expeditions. Served in Siachen Sector at the altitude of 5,685 m for three months, as OC Army Mountaineering Institute (AMI), Siachen Base Camp and as Vice Principal (OC Training) at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi from 2019 to 2022.

Col Kaushal Kashyap SC, Deputy Director Training and OIC Skills

Col Kaushal Kashyap, SC, a seasoned Special Forces officer with over 20 years of experience, commanded the 52nd Special Action Group of NSG, specializing in Counter Hijack operations. With a decade in Counter Insurgency Operations, he is a Ghatak Course and Counter Insurgency instructor at Commando School and CIJWS in the Indian Army.

Vikash Dhaka, 
Advisor Training and Senior Instructor Training

Dhaka is a Military Mountaineer and Unarmed Combat specialist. He has served as an instructor at the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) and has spent almost a decade in training the Indian Army and the Special Forces in Military Mountaineering, Endurance and Unarmed Combat skills.

Kushal Singh Rana, 
Senior Instructor Training

Ganesh Katara, 
Assistant Instructor

Nivedita Kaur, 
Assistant Instructor and In-house Psychologist


To participate in Soul of Steel, a potential candidate must fulfil certain prerequisites in terms of their physical, psychological and emotional being. 

The age limit is only on the lower side i.e. of minimum 18 years age on the day of reporting.

The medical fitness of the participants will be extremely crucial and will be meticulously tested throughout the programme. The attitude, aptitude, skills and physical performance of the participants will be the key factors in selection of the final candidates.

Prior skills required

No prior skills required for individual participants.

  • Basic endurance and strength is a must.
  • Should be medically fit for strenuous activities in mountains, especially high altitude areas.

Individual Participants

The prospective national participants will be screened through a hybrid 2-stage screening process which combines modern mountain climbing aptitude and Special Forces probation style classification techniques. The initial phase will be virtual, and online. The applicants shortlisted will be called in for the second phase, in-person, on ground selection. 

Individual participation is open to international applicants as well. 

Post the screening process, a final set of 24 participants will be selected to start training. Each stage of training will further filter down the trainees to a final team of 6. This team will compete alongside the selected international teams for the Soul of Steel – Himalayan title.

International Team Participation

The international teams will  comprise pre-selected expert mountaineers, climbers and endurance athletes from their respective countries. The teams will join Soul of Steel during Stage-3 (onboarding) and acclimatise, orient and train, in preparation for the main Soul of Steel РHimalayan Challenge in June 2023.


Three Phase Training in Greater Himalayas, Uttarakhand, India

Smashing physical and mental barriers to discover the boundless realms of mind, body, consciousness and spirit

Selection Phase

Part I: Online submission of video

In Part I, you are required to upload a three-minute video as under:

First Minute: Self-introduction to cover the following in a specified sequence:

Ensure that the camera is set in a manner that your face, shoulders and chest are fully visible during the entire first minute.

  • Unique ID Number
  • Name
  • Age
  • Place of residence (city/town only)
  • Occupation and any relevant personal details you wish to add
  • Past qualifications, experiences and achievements, if any, in the field of adventure and mountaineering
  • State your reasons for interest and motivation to participate in an extreme adventure challenge as Soul of Steel

Second Minute: Maximum chin-ups followed by sit-ups (please refer to demo video).

Third Minute: Maximum 5-meter shuttles (please refer to demo video).

Before recording your video, please view the demonstration of the process  Р 

All three activities as mentioned above should be completed within specific timelines. Videos with only one or two activities out of the three will be rejected. You are advised to undergo time-based rehearsals before shooting the final video.

The video for a complete duration of three minutes should be shot in one go without any breaks. It should not be edited and should be forwarded in its original form.

Upload the video on Google Drive / Dropbox / iCloud or any similar cloud storage and the share link with us. 

Forms and details will be sent to applicants by email. 

Part II: Physical screening at Nainital

3 DAYS (only for those selected in Part I)

The result of selection of the Part I tests will be intimated to selected candidates. Candidates selected in Part I online process will report at Nainital by 26 March for Part II screening, which shall include tests in two verticals as under: –¬†

  1.  Physical Capability: Physical capability tests will include physical strength and endurance of participants. It shall comprise upper, lower body, core  strength and long distance marches and runs.
  2. Psychological Aptitude: Psychological aptitude shall be gauged of aspiring candidates through a set of tests to evaluate the mindset and suitability for the training and ultimate challenge.

International Film Series

The entire Soul of Steel event is being filmed and presented as a series to inspire a global audience 

Training Phase and Certification

Candidates selected in the in-person selection stage shall undergo a training capsule to prepare them to be able to undertake self-sustained, mountaineering expeditions  in a small team, through treacherous high altitude terrain. Training will include essential skills in rock, icecraft, snowcraft, trekking, camping, administration of first aid, rescue, survival and navigation. All necessary clothing and equipment will be provided to individual participants for training. 

The programme is planned in two phases from 26 March to 18 June.


At the end of the training the participants will be issued with a certificate which will be equivalent to ‘Advance Mountaineering’ and ‘Search and Rescue’ certifications of existing mountaineering institutes like Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) and National Institute of Mountaineering and Adventure Sports (NIMAS).¬†

Scholarship Details for Training Phase

Deserving candidates who are not in a position to pay the fees for the training shall be sponsored through scholarships on a case-to-case basis. 

‚ÄėThe toughest will qualify, the best will compete, all will evolve… the Soul of Steel

International Team Participation

Limited international teams are expected to participate (only one team from a country). A team shall comprise of six participating members and may additionally include two reserves including an English interpreter or support staff (not mandatory). The participation will be confirmed based on first come first serve basis on completion of registration by each National Mountaineering Association.

Teams will need to bring their own clothing and footwear suitable for extreme high altitude activities. The rest of the equipment will be provided to them. Detailed joining instructions will be emailed to the teams.

Teams shall be expected to report at Nainital Trekking and Mountaineering Club (NTMC), Nainital, Uttarakhand, India on 20 May 2023.

Team Participation Schedule

20 MayArrival, report and documentation at Nainital, Uttarakhand
23 May to 08 JunThree stages of acclimatization & training
08 to 10 JunPreparation for the challenge
11 Jun to 17 JunConduct of challenge
18 Jun Closing ceremony
19 Jun Drop off at Dehradun

*Timelines above are subject to weather conditions and other unforeseen contingencies

 Individual Participation

Individual participants will have to attend the entire training curriculum from 26 March to 5 June 2023 (refer section above). The curriculum caters for training individuals who have not had any prior climbing experience.

The individual participants, if selected, shall form part of teams formed at the end of training at C.L.A.W and will not represent respective country’s team in the challenge. 


  • Entry fee for applications and first stage of online screening: INR 2,000/- plus GST for Indian applicants and USD 75 for International applicants.
  • The final 24 selected trainees shall submit a training fee of INR 1,11,111/- plus GST for Indian participants and USD 2500 for International participants. This shall be an all inclusive cost covering training fee, mountain gear, accommodation, messing, insurance etc for the full duration from 1st April 2023 till the completion of the Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge in June 2023.
  • International Teams will pay USD 2500 per team member to participate.
  • Fees are non-refundable

Full / Partial scholarships shall be considered for deserving candidates on a case-to-case basis, entirely at the discretion of the Soul of Steel Organising Team.

Offline payment modalities

Candidates who are unable to make payments online may contact us for details on how to make a bank transfer or offline payment. 


The Himalayan Biome will be home for launching the Soul of Steel national and international mountaineering expeditions. 

The Himalayan Biome in addition to our Aqua Biome located in Auroville, Pondicherry, will have employable skill training courses in multi-adventure sports on land, in air and water. It will facilitate joint training, skilling and rehabilitation courses for both able-bodied and people with disabilities alike. Elite athletes aspiring for the Olympics and Paralympics will train and further hone their abilities here. 

Besides the above, the Himalayan Biome will provide a base for spreading ecological consciousness and stage local cultural, art and entrepreneurship endeavours in support of the local villages in the remote mountain areas of Uttarakhand. 



Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge is a yearly event, sign up for our newsletter to be informed about the next Soul of Steel event.


We are looking for people of all identities with the heart and spirit to come together to see this phenomenon unfolding. Read more about volunteering or get in touch with us to know more.


C.L.A.W Global is a team of Special Forces veterans with multiple specialisations in mountaineering, skydiving, SCUBA diving, unarmed combat, multi-terrain survival tech, and emergency medical response. 


Partnership is open for organisations that would like to support the C.L.A.W Global projects, and share the vision and would like to bring about a change for good. 


For all media and press enquiries, please contact us.  

You can also be updated with the latest photos and updates by signing up for the Media and Press updates. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Basic Mountain Climbing, Endurance, Survival and Rescue Course – Nainital

Advance Mountain Climbing, Endurance, Survival and Rescue Course – Ghamsali

Fees are non-refundable

Selected candidates shall receive partial/full scholarships at the discretion of the Soul of Steel Organising team. Email [email protected] to know more

A detailed mail with instructions and links will be shared post successful completion of the registration.

Email [email protected] for queries.

According to your ability – provided your form is correct. Do chin-ups for 30 seconds and sit-ups for 30 seconds.

Check your mail for the link to resume your application. If the issue is still persistent, email us at [email protected] along with your unique ID, name, and phone number.¬†

Email us at [email protected] along with your unique ID, name, and phone number.

Please contact us by email at [email protected] so that we can evaluate

No, the individual participant application is not based on a first come first serve basis. All the applications are being carefully reviewed.

Yes, provided they inform the team in advance. Email [email protected]¬†

Indian Army and Team C.L.A.W

Yes, it’s a recurring event.¬†

Imagined and Designed as ‚ÄėMASS‚Äô ‚Äď Mother of Adventure Sports & Survival

Ultimate test of mountaineering & survival skills, psychological endurance and physical toughness


  1. Participants will make themselves  available from 26 March to 19 June 2023 for Soul of Steel
  2. Eligibility: The competition is open to participants who are 18 years or older and medically fit to take part in high-altitude activities and extreme sports. Participants from around the world are invited to participate.
  3. Training: The selected participants will attend a 2-month training curriculum conducted by the Indian Army and C.L.A.W Global. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the training. Participation in Indian Contingent Training & Selection Campaign does not automatically guarantee participation in Soul of Steel. C.L.A.W Global reserves the sole discretion to choose the participants (both from India and world-wide) for Soul of Steel.
  4. Fees: The cost per participant is INR 1,11,111/- plus GST, with a registration fee of INR 2,000/- plus GST for Indian Participants and USD 75 for International Participants. Deserving candidates who cannot pay the fees for Stage 2 of the training may be sponsored through scholarships on a case-to-case basis.
  5. Physical Fitness: Participants declare that they are medically fit to train and participate in the high-altitude and extreme physical endurance event of Soul of Steel. Individual participants will need to undergo a screening process to make sure that they are physically fit to participate in the competition. Participants should consult with their doctor to ensure that they are medically fit for high-altitude activities. 
  6. Insurance: Participants are required to have travel, personal accident insurance and medical insurance coverage for the duration of the competition. C.L.A.W Global and the Indian Army will not be responsible for any accidents or medical emergencies that occur during the competition.
  7. Conduct: Participants are expected to behave in a responsible and respectful manner towards other participants, instructors, and the environment. Participants who violate the rules of conduct may be disqualified from the competition.
  8. Equipment: All necessary equipment shall be provided to individual participants. Teams are required to bring their own clothing and footwear which should be suitable for extreme high altitude activities. Additional equipment as per personal/ team preferences may be carried and used in the challenge post consultation with the organisers.
  9. Participants are also required to arrange for traveling to Nainital, Uttarakhand, India under their own arrangement. 
  10. Waiver: By participating in the Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge, participants agree to release C.L.A.W Global and the Indian Army from any liability for personal injury, death, or property damage that may occur during the competition.
  11. Disclaimer: C.L.A.W Global and the Indian Army reserve the right to change the rules and regulations, dates, and venues of the competition without prior notice. The organizers will not be responsible for any changes in the program due to unforeseen circumstances, including weather conditions, natural disasters, and other factors beyond our control.
  12. Data Protection: Participants’ personal data may be collected and used by C.L.A.W Global and the Indian Army for the purpose of organizing and promoting the Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge. Participants have the right to request access to and correction of their personal data.¬†
  13. Participants shall be required to comply with additional requirements (including acceptance of detailed terms and conditions, mandatory forms & undertakings etc.) in case their application is shortlisted.
  14. Applying does not automatically guarantee that the applicant will be selected for: (i) participation in the Indian Contingent Training & Selection Campaign; and/or (ii) participation in Soul of Steel. C.L.A.W Global has sole discretion to select the final participants for both the events.
  15. Confirmations on your participation may please be forwarded through return mail on [email protected]
  16. By participating in the Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge, participants agree to comply with the terms and conditions outlined above.


The Refund/Cancellation policy for the Soul of Steel event states that there will be no refunds provided. This means that in case of a participant’s cancellation or no-show, they will not be eligible to receive a refund of their registration fee. The policy is final and binding, and participants are advised to consider this before registering for the event.

Force majeure: In the case of an event being canceled due to reasons beyond the control of the organizers (such as natural disasters, government regulations, or pandemics), a full refund of the training fee, excluding processing fees and GST, will be provided. The refund process will be initiated within 30 days and will be credited to the same account/mode of payment used during the registration process. Registration fees will not be refunded. 

It is important to note that this policy is subject to change, and the organizers reserve the right to modify it as deemed necessary. Participants are advised to regularly check the event website for any updates.

Reach us to meet yourself

Register for Soul of Steel – Himalayan Challenge 2023