Luke Smithwick

luke smithwick

 

Background

Luke Smithwick is the owner and founder of Himalaya Alpine Guides. He works for the majority of the year in Tibet, India, and Nepal guiding skiing and climbing expeditions for Himalaya Alpine Guides. Since the age of 18, his chief profession has been guiding. His expedition experience includes Everest from Tibet (North, Northeast ridge), Shishapangma (Northwest buttress, ski descent), Denali (west buttress, ski traverse), Himlung, and too many Himalayan 6000 meter peaks to mention (and many with ski descents). He prides himself on providing high quality trips at international guiding standards with an emphasis on each members personal goals.

 

During 2014-2017 winter season, Luke was the snow safety director for a ski resort in Kashmir, and the backcountry avalanche forecaster (gulmarg-avalanche-advisory.com) for the region as well. Now, he is best when working in the Himalayan backcountry and is equally comfortable leading on skis or in climbing boots.  Luke has logged more than 1000 days backcountry skiing, has first ski descents in 7 different countries, and has skied from 8000 meters.

 

2018 will see him on six Himalayan ski expeditions in Tibet, Nepal, India, and Patagonia. He is currently working on a project to ski all the volcanoes in Patagonia.

Read more about Luke here:

Unknown Himalaya: Interview with Luke Smithwick on Explorers Web

Luke Smithwick, Alpinism and Mountaineering in the remote Himalaya – Interview

Ascent Backcountry – Ski Touring the Himalayas

Professional and Personal Experience

    • 8848m Everest – North Ridge
    • Sixty four (64) unnamed Himalayan 6000 meter summits
    • 7135m Mount Nun – west ridge
    • 6190m Denali – Ski Traverse
    • 6190m Denali – West Buttress Ski Expedition
    • 8013m Shishapangma – northwest buttress ski expedition
    • 7126m Himlung – west face route x2
    • 6512m Bhagirathi 2 – northwest ridge
    • 6439m Z-1 – west face
    • 6330m Saldim Ri – southwest ridge x2
    • 6666m Lungser Kangri – west ridge x2
    • 6259m Mentok Kangri 1-6 traverse
    • 6350m Mount Nirekha – west ridge
    • 7126m Mount Satopanth – northwest ridge
    • 6129m Kyajo Ri – Southwest ridge
    • Big Wall – Lost Brother Wall – New route “Call of the Yeti” – Yosemite National Park
    • 6529m Mount Hagshu – East Face
    • Peak 6410m – “Indifference of the Lammergeier” – North Face
    • 7043m Lhakpa Ri Ski Expedition
    • Peak 6080m Ski Expedition – First Descent
    • Fifty One Himalayan Expeditions since 2010

Credentials

    • BA Cultural Anthropology
    • BS Environmental Biology
    • WMA Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
    • AIARE Level 3 Avalanche certification
    • WMS Wilderness First Responder
    • Rescue III Swiftwater Rescue Technician
    • 20 Years Guiding Experience
    • Professional member – American Avalanche Association
    • Professional member – American Mountain Guides Association

Specific Interests in the Himalaya

Luke Smithwick

Luke Smithwick

    • Himalayan Pastoralism and it development along the Changtang plateau
    • Skiing
    • The Ancient Salt Trade routes
    • Tibetan language and its dialects
    • Tibetan Antelope in the southern plains of Rupshu
    • Wolves of the Changtang plateau
    • Snow Leopard of Hemis National Park
    • Exploratory climbing and skiing in remote Ladakh, Garhwal, and Arunachal Pradesh, and Nepal.

What guests say about Luke:

Thanks for guiding me through that world and for giving me the opportunity to have my own experiences.. You have the passion and the skill to excel in those mountains and you did a fine job from difficult start to dramatic finish.. Remember me to your crew and thank them once again. They are great outdoorsmen, as are you.    -R. Cross

 

The leader (Luke) did not “spoon feed” clients to get to the summit > there was a level of independence for each client to make it happen.  The trip was definitely an adventure – and for me this is what I wanted out of my holiday.  It was great that we never stuck to a pre-prescribed itinerary (adding peaks and destinations).  This was the greatest part of the trip.  Luke’s passion for being in the mountains, combined with the dynamic trip plans, and professionalism in critical times made the trip AWESOME. Thanks Luke. -A. Buckingham

 

You go to peaks that are off the beaten track, that is your differentiate. Don’t change it. Great job, thanks.  -G. Lombardo

 

A very good leader, a very good crew.  -F. Lawrence

 

Luke’s company is different that a lot of the bigger commercial guides – 1) smaller teams, 2) goes to less climbed, less busy Himalayan peaks, 3) has a dedicated solid team of sherpas/support, 4) more flexible/adaptable, less rigid, based on mountain conditions, client dynamics and skills.   It is a more personalized experience, you will not be getting the typical “group think” behavior from a larger guiding company that often leads to frustration and slow decision making.  I would relay my own positive experiences, namely: your appreciation and respect for a client’s independence while climbing (obviously where appropriate) and that there was less hand-holding and babysitting — which is sometimes the trademark of larger companies.  You were similarly respectful of the Sherpas’ talents and leadership, giving them some leeway in the fixing and climbing decisions. -T. Hedberg

 

Great service all around. -S. Raza
The team is very professional and the mountaineering aspect of the trip is both challenging yet appropriately safe. -P. Nilsson

 

Maybe I am a purist but I like the formula of expeditions without heaters, showers and all this additional, unnecessary stuff.
Your biggest strength is experience and willingness to adapt according to situations like during this expedition. You also have  fantastic staff.  -A. Pilarczyk

 

I like your style of climbing and good consideration of abilities and needs of people on the trip.  Rest of staff is good in that regard as well.  Overall, pace of trip is good, and flexibility.     -J. Clayton

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