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In Memory of RMI Guide Luke Wilhelm

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you that our fellow RMI Guide, colleague, and friend Luke Wilhelm died on Sunday, March 6th. Luke was climbing with a friend and fellow RMI Guide in the North Cascades when he fell. His climbing partner was able to safely descend. A search and rescue flight was able to locate and recover Luke the following day.   

Luke began his guiding career with RMI in 2018 and quickly impressed all those he met with his passion, skill, love of life, and contagious enthusiasm. He will be missed.  Our hearts and thoughts are with Luke’s family and with all of you. 

Luke – Your smile lights up every room you enter. You have impacted all of us at RMI. May your smile, compassion, and zest for life continue on in each of us.

RMI Guide Luke Wilhelm

Comments (18)

Luke was one of our guides in August 2018 on Rainier, he was awesome, just such an amazing energy and positive outlook.  I got really bad cramps in my calves at Ingram flats and knowing the toughest part was still ahead a decided to turn around with another climber that was having troubles with the altitude, Luke guided us back down and then a few hours , when the sun was out took us up to Muir peak to see some great views.  I was very impressed with Luke and our lead guide Brian, I just climbed Mount Shasta this week, via Avalanche gulch and thought of the lessons I learned on Rainier with Brian and Luke , Rest steps, breathing techniques, packing up gear, all those things that help make you more efficient as a climber.  I am so very saddened to hear of his passing, he will be deeply missed, and though I only knew in for a few days, he is that special kind of person that leaves and ever lasting impression on people. God Bless Luke and his family,  Moose.

Posted by: Matt Mellenthin on

Luke was one of my guides in 7/18, we got 1000 ft from the summit before having to turn back. He was so positive!!  He and I hiked down the entire way from Camp Muir, just the two of us with the group behind…. He and I chatted about life and Philosophy. He could have been my child and we kept in touch for a couple of years. I just flew to WA from CO for a business trip and found his email while deleting things. Then thought of him and others on my drive to Yakima. I emailed him and it bounced back, no recent activity on social media…. And my heart sunk & I googled and just got the news. I’m so saddened, but know he lived life to the fullest and was doing what he loved!!!! Keep on keepin’ on Luke….. hope to run into you again someday!!!!

Posted by: Julie Frisbey on

Hello friends/family of Luke. I knew Luke for a very short but impactful time. He was the senior goalkeeper at hiram college with me stepping in as his backup as a freshman. The advice not just in soccer but for life in general that he gave me remains a major influence to my life to this day. My craving to summit the next peak is thanks to you buddy. I’ll be thinking of you at the top of the Tetons. RIP Luke

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Posted by: Tel U on

My deepest condolences.

Posted by: Bryan Fay on

I was fortunate enough to spend a few summers in New Hampshire with Luke.  His positive attitude was infectious. He was a leader even as a kid and someone everyone could look up to. He had an “all or nothing” approach to life that certainly left it’s impression on me and I know it did on others.

I know he’s keeping things 100% up there. He is missed.


Posted by: Chris on

I had the privilege to climb with Luke on Mt. Rainier in September of 2018. On the bus trip up to Paradise, Luke sat in front of me and my climbing partner. Luke turned around and started chatting it up with both of us. I remember Lukes enthusiasm and kindred spirit, “I’m so psyched to climb with you guys” he said as he grabbed 10 mins of shut eye before we arrived at the parking lot. Luke was 1 of many guides I had met over the 3 day climb with RMI. His energy and stoke for the mountains is something I will never forget. Thank you man. See you on the top floor. #Wu-Tang is for the children.

Posted by: Chris Parent on

My heart goes out to Luke’s family and friends. Luke was my guide on Mt Rainier in 2019. I was just telling this story about him the other day: When we reached the first rest stop, a climber on my rope team was contemplating turning around. Luke chatted with him a bit and encouraged him to go one more leg. Once we got to the top of Disappointment Cleaver Luke took the climber back down to Camp Muir. He put me on another guide’s rope, but a few hours later her comes Luke back up the mountain! He did Disappointment Cleaver all over again—and at double time— just to catch back up to us and make sure we had enough guides.

After the climb, the climber that Luke had encouraged was so full of gratitude. Because by going one more leg he got to do the hardest part of the climb, and it was starting to get light out when they headed back to Camp Muir. So he had an amazing experience, just him and Luke taking their time going down, and seeing the glacier and the crevasses all lit up in the gorgeous reds and oranges of early sunrise.

Posted by: Darla Freeze on

I used to play soccer in college with Luke. He was our goalie and one of my roommates for a couple of years. Easily one of my very best friends! Super amazing guy! you will be deeply missed Luke, but you will be forever loved. The Hiram college soccer team is sending you love and good vibes. Wherever you are Luke, I know that you got a big smile on your face and thats all that matters. I will never forget all of the amazing times we had. Rest in paradise my friend.

Posted by: Daniel Mujica-Zepeda on

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite personal memories of Luke with friends and family at his upcoming funeral, but as one of his close climbing partners and mentors, I definitely wanted to share my condolences with the climbing community and his employers.  Luke’s love for climbing blossomed when he became a climbing counselor at his beloved summer camp Deerwood in the summers of 2014/2015.  After he transferred to Western State, it was truly amazing to watch his passion take off for all things mountain related (rock, ice, skiing, alpine), and eventually become his profession.  I cherished his visits to the Telluride region, and always looked forward to roping up with him.  Luke had texted me just weeks before his return to the states about wanting to link up and do “something big” this summer once he was back in my neck of the woods.  We were slated to do the scenic cruise in the black, and I plan on carrying out that wish of his at some point if any of his climbing buddies are ever out this way and want to honor him.  It is heartwarming to read tributes from those in the climbing community that were fortunate to cross paths with Luke, and I hope they keep coming.  If you were lucky enough to rope up with Luke, you knew how special it was.  Rest In peace Luke, we will all miss you dearly.


Posted by: Ross on

What a shocking sadness.  Luke and I formed a friendship on Denali in 2019 and we kept in touch and made plans to get together to climb in the Whites. I am deeply saddened to contemplate his loss.

Posted by: Daniel W Allegretti on

Matias, Chase, Pete, Avery, Mike, and the rest of the RMI group - I’m very sorry about your friend.  You each bring some very unique skills and personalities to your trips and im sure you all know by now that these trips are unique and indelible experiences for us with memories that last a lifetime.  I will remember Luke for his optimism and sense of humor, always joking around and making people happy while working his ass off and loving every minute of it.  Thank you Luke for the entertainment and being part of one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Posted by: Jason Powell on

I had the pleasure of climbing with Luke at Rainier in 2021. We were instant friends and he was loved by everyone on our crew. He and I were going to be on Denali at the same time this May and I will miss seeing him and experiencing his infectious enthusiasm so much. He will truly be missed by many. RIP brother Luke.

Posted by: Vic Perini on

I had the honor of climbing the Emmons route on Rainier this past summer with Luke. You could tell that he loved life and climbing. He was always encouraging and kept us in positive spirits. Luke and I kept in touch and we were hoping to climb Aconcagua together in 2023 or 2024. My heart goes out to his family and his RMI family. I know he will be truly missed.

Posted by: William Eldridge on

My family and I have known Luke and his family since he was a little boy growing up in Baltimore. He was one of my son’s dear friends and a fellow camper at summer camp in New Hampshire. Luke was an extraordinary kind and gentle young man and a gifted athlete. When I saw him last, I knew he had discovered his passion in the mountains out west. His death is as heartbreaking as it is unfathomable. My family and I will miss his infectious zest for life and his charismatic smile. Our hearts go out to his wonderful parents and brothers.

Posted by: Jon Harris on

I am a former climber who knows Luke’s father.  The Wilhelm family does light up every room they enter and they have an optimism that creates the joy that is so needed in our world.  We in the Vermont healthcare community are so sad that this bright light named Luke has been dimmed.  Thankfully Luke brightened many lives before this tragic accident.  I know personally how proud his father was of him having discussed his climbing and as importantly his guiding successes with me.
Let’s please make the world better by being inspired to create joy the way Luke and his family has for us and others.
Huge hugs to all especially his family,

Posted by: Mel Boynton on

My sister Katy and I had the privilege of being on Luke’s rope last year on a climb of Sahale peak.  I’m very sorry to hear of RMI’s & Luke’s family loss.

Posted by: John Murray on

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