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Luke Smithwick

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"In this modern age, very little remains that is real. Night has been banished, so have the cold, the wind and the stars. They have all been neutralized: the rhythm of life itself is obscured. Everything goes so fast and makes so much noise, and men hurry by without heeding the grass by the roadside, its colour, its smell and the way it shimmers when the wind caresses it. What a strange encounter then is that between man and the high places of his planet! Up there he is surrounded by the silence of forgetfulness. If there is a slope of snow steep as a glass window, he climbs it, leaving behind him a strange trail. If there is a rock perfect as an obelisk, he defies gravity and proves that he can get up anywhere."
- Gaston Rebuffat

Luke first trekked with us in 2001 and between 2010-12 lead trips with Project Himalaya, mainly guiding mountaineering expeditions.

Luke says

"Life experience and preservation of the places we love is far more important than mere profit"

I see the Himalaya as the most intriguing and interesting place on the planet, and from the high mountains to the deep culture and history, the Himalaya really do have it all. There is no place I’d rather be than in the mountainous country of Nepal, India, and Pakistan. I look forward to enjoying your trip with you. My specialties are treks with a climb, exploratory trips, and high peaks.


Luke Smithwick was born and raised in North Carolina, and now lives year round in India and Nepal. He's spent his life skiing, climbing, trekking, and running rivers; beginning guiding in Colorado at the age of 18. Now, he is happiest when in the Himalayan back-country and is equally comfortable in trekking shoes, climbing boots or with skis on.


BA Cultural Anthropology

BS Environmental Biology

Pursuing AMGA Guide certification

BSA Eagle Scout

AIARE Level II Avalanche certification

WMA Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (since 2005)

WMS Wilderness First Responder (since 1998)

Rescue III Swiftwater Rescue Technician

Colorado Outward Bound School graduate (1994)

12 Years Guiding Experience

Luke Smithwick

Luke Smithwick

Trekkers say

The trek was a wonderful, spectacular, life changing experience. The beauty of the mountains, the warmth of the people, the bond formed with eight other climbers (none from the US) and the Sherpas was a Zen like experience. We climbed Island Peak, its was spectacular but bad weather stopped our second ascent. Luke is a good person and skilled leader, I will recommend him to all, so thank you for your recommendation.

Stephen Kahofer - Island Peak and Mera Peak Expedition, 2011


Thanks in a pretty big way for the trek - I think about it all the time. IŽm sure weŽll be meeting again in the future - until then - make sure you keep going.

Guido Ziljma - Island Peak and Mera Peak Expedition, 2011


I wanted to write and thank you both for an amazing trip. From the beginning you’ve both been super helpful and informative, and to then see the trip run in a highly professional manner, we can’t thank you both enough. I’m certain that none of us on the trip truly understand the effort and organization that goes into a trip we’ve just experienced. Given the weather earlier in the trip, you both did an incredible job to keep the original itinerary in place, efforts we really appreciate.

Luke – it was awesome to meet you and thanks so much for all the lessons on mountaineering & safety. It was also great to hear about some of your life experiences, adventures that most of us can only dream of! You certainly made the trip for us all, and I hope we can plan another adventure soon.

Andy Calder, Aussie Island Peak Private 2010


I am somewhat prejudiced because Luke is an Alaska mountaineering guide and I have background climbing in Alaska so I hit it off with him immediately. I like his sense of humor and easy way with people. The things that I respected about Luke were his efforts to learn Ladakhi/Tibetan culture. He tried to learn a few words each day and sat in the cook tent practicing local language with the guys. He showed a sincere interest in learning about birds of Ladakh by referring to a guide book daily. He also showed good judgement after we heard about the flood/mudslide in Leh. He and Lobsang spent a whole day hiking down valley to figure out whether it was appropriate to back track or move ahead.

... I would definitely travel with Luke on another Project-Himalaya trek or climb.

Fred M, Stok Kangri and Markha, 2010 and 2007 Caravan; a Mountain Passage


As for the trek, overall we were more than happy with everything. Even with the weather we were able to complete the trek and summit Stok. As I am sure you are well aware, the crew was unbelievable and Brody and I are now ruined for life when it comes to trekking elsewhere! We both really appreciate Luke dropping his life and coming out to fill what we have heard to be some rather large shoes. Brody and I both felt that Luke did a good job (we have never been on an organised trek so we don't have much of a comparison). He had what seemed to be a good rapport with the crew and overall good relationships with the trek group. There were some growing pains with the trek group but I imagine that is normal when you have 9 different personalities and four different cultures all converging together. The summit trip was fantastic. Luke was indespensible and definitely demonstrated his mountaineering skills and experience with the pace and ability to provide a safe route in unfamiliar and abnormal conditions.

... We would both recommend him and Project Himalaya and if we are ever out and about in Project Himalayan territory we would sign up again!

Brody and Kim Wilcox, Stok Kangri and Markha, 2010

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