Zanskar Alpine Skills | 6000m+


Fun while climbing in a spectacular setting. Suitable for first time climbers and Himalayan veterans.

Zanskar is an ancient kingdom in western Ladakh, with most people visiting the region to interact with the fascinating locals, and experience a subsistence pastoral lifestyle that has persisted for the past ~1200 years.  We will do the same, and do some great climbing and trekking as well. We will arrive in Leh, acclimatize on the surrounding hills for a few nights, drive to Zanskar, and trek into a base camp.  Once we are in base camp, we will set to rock climbing, ice climbing, and then finally climbing a wild 6000 meter peak.  This is a great first Himalayan experience, and also a new one for the Himalayan veteran that wants to pick up some new climbing skills in a spectacular location. All in two weeks. Join us.



Cost Effective.  Full Service.  This trek and climb expedition will be fully stocked with a variety of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with snacks. Each member will have their own roomy 2 person Mountain Hardwear tent (4 person tent for couples).  Meals are oatmeal, eggs, muesli, fruit, and tea/ espresso coffee for breakfast. Lunches are fresh fruit, salads, fresh bread (made each morning), cheeses, pasta/rice, cookies, and juice. Dinners are usually 3 to 4 dishes, with pasta or rice. Occasionally, we will have pizza and other western treats. The dining tent is set up with each member having their own camp chair, books pertinent to the trek/climb, maps, solar charging for electronics, and snacks as you would like them when we arrive to camps.  Luke Smithwick will be guiding this trip, instructing in climbing skills, and guiding on the peaks.

First Ascents?  For many of the peaks and certainly rock faces in Zanskar there are no records of prior ascents.  We also oftentimes find no evidence of other humans visiting the summits of peaks before.  Instead of looking at these peaks as our being the first to put boot prints on the summit, we like to simply enjoy the solitude of the region.  With the popularized trekking routes being fairly busy from day to day in Ladakh, we usually don’t see another soul in the Zanskar region, save for a local boy out searching for his grazing yaks.

Trust.  Climbing at 4000+ meters is no place to be short on resources.  We make the proper advance preparations to ensure that our team will be properly cared for, from airport to summit to airport.


Maitreya Buddha, two stories in height, in one of the monasteries we will visit while acclimatizing in the Indus valley.

>Zanskar region 6000m ascent
>Spectacular camps in remote grassy meadows next to snow melt streams
>Team mentality
>Instruction in mountaineering for those interested in learning or honing their skills in glacier travel, crampon technique, ice axe use, and the “nuts and bolts” of Himalayan mountaineering.
>Instruction in multi-pitch alpine rock climbing
>Instruction in ice climbing
>Suitable for beginners

Skills Covered:
-tying in with a figure eight follow through
-securing to the anchor with a locking carabiner and clove hitch
-restacking the rope for the leader for the next pitch
-cleaning cams and nuts from placements
-managing loose rock
-flaking out the rope for the leader
-anchoring the belayer
-communications for climbing – on belay, climbing, off belay, slack, tension, watch me, rock, ice, clipping
-alpine anchors
-three point equalized anchors
-rope types and applications – double ropes, single ropes, static/dynamic, alpine, crag, sport, traditional
-types of protection – cams, nuts/stoppers, wired hexcentrics, pitons, ball nuts, ice screws, natural, protection, slings, runners
-types of belays – terrain, anchors
-personal protective equipment – helmet, harness, shoes (approach, rock), gloves, hardware
-belaying the leader
-belaying a follower
-top rope setting
-climbing movement –
-hands –  crimp, sloper, side pull, pinch, gaston, undercling, finger lock, hand jam, fist jam
feet – edging, smearing, jamming
-glacier morphology – moulin, ablation zone, accumulation zone, ice fall, serac, dry glacier, wet glacier, tidewater, cirque, hanging, valley, moraine, erratic, terminal moraine, nose, snout, plastic flow properties
-ice climbing – swinging and placing an ice tool, foot work, parts of the crampon / ice tool and their use, ice anchors, ice screw placement, abalakov v thread
-belaying an ice leader/follower

Trip Cost
trip deposit US$1000

Mahey Retreat (
p: +91 9622967123 , 9419888705



Luke Smithwick

Luke Smithwick


Our service includes
3 nights hotel in Leh (single supplement)
All other accommodation while present on scheduled trip itinerary
Ground transportation by private vehicle
‘Himalaya Alpine’ Expedition style peak scrambling trip: Delicious meals, french press coffee and herbal teas, all horse porterage on approach/retreat, local guides and staff, Mountain Hardwear expedition tents, equipped dining tent, experienced western guide (Luke Smithwick).
Solar charging for electronics
Himalaya Alpine Guides duffel bag

Our service excludes
Trip/medical/rescue insurance
International flights
India Visa
Meals while not on trek (Leh)
Personal climbing equipment
Items of a personal nature (laundry, bar bills, gratuities, etc.)

day 0 – arrive Delhi
1- arrive Leh 3500m – Sunday
2 – Leh monastery visits and acclimatization 3500m
3 – drive Kargil 2800m
4 – drive Agsho 3900m
5 – trek Sonam Gyapho 4100m
6 – trek Agsho Base Camp 4110m
7-11 – Climbing days
12 – Trek Agsho
13 – drive Kargil
14 – drive Leh
15 – depart Leh – Sunday


Beginner rock climbing near Leh on an acclimatization day.


An acclimatization day near Leh. Great views and clean air.


Alpine scrambling above Leh town on an acclimatization day.



Moderate rock climbing in Zanskar.


Ice climbing in warm temperatures (!)

Contact Luke for Booking

Jullay and Namaste.