Kismet's History

Kismet Rock Foundation emerged out of a desire of the founder, Mike Jewell, to offer the same climbing instruction to economically, culturally, and socially disadvantaged children as he had given to many children with considerable resources.

 As a result, Mike asked a childhood friend, Stanley West, to find four children in Camden, New Jersey and to bring them to New Hampshire for a week of technical climbing instruction. During the summer of 1999, this initial project was accomplished with little money and with much effort on the part of a few kind and generous people. The project received media attention, including a segment on the television show New Hampshire Crossroads. Afterward, Mike was approached by members of the North Conway community with the idea of creating a nonprofit organization. Thus, Kismet was born in the year 2000. Since, we have come to understand that the power of our programs rests on three equally important aspects:
  1. The children who we accept and the detailed process by which we find them;
  2. The intensive climbing curriculum and our methods of instruction;
  3. The family-like atmosphere in which our students are embraced while they are with us.
 Together, these three aspects consistently transform and save the lives of our students. Kismet has been nourished by the efforts of hundreds of people from all over the United States. It is the literal embodiment of community. Kismet continues to expand carefully on a solid foundation built with unrelenting dedication, patience, and humility.
 We all have much for which to be thankful.
Mike Jewell and 2008 Kismet Graduates

Mike Jewell


Mike is a full-time technical climbing guide and owner/director of Michael Jewell Climbing Guides LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Maine (BS in Wildlife Management) and attended Naropa University, a Buddhist university for the study of the arts. Michael is also a professional pianist performing classic, jazz, rock, and fusion. He has worked in clubs and restaurants in New Hampshire, Arizona, and California. He has climbed/guided throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Michael is a certified Wilderness First Responder and member of the Mt. Washington Valley Mountain Rescue Service.