Ian Howell on Mt Kenya; by Terry Burke (June 20th 1987)

Ian Howell on Mt Kenya; by Terry Burke (June 20th 1987)

It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that Ian Howell has passed away surrounded by family on November 26, 2018 in Bath, UK at the well-earned age of 82.

Ian pioneered many climbing routes in Kenya, including at Lukenya, Hell’s Gate, and Mt. Kenya. Astonishingly, he single-handedly built the bivouac hut on the summit of Nelion, in the process completing 13 solo ascents of Nelion in a few week period of 1970.

Longtime climbing partner Iain Allan writes: “He was a climbing force, such as we’ve never witnessed here before… I was privileged to share so many of these climbs with him.” Ian’s impact on Kenyan climbing was enormous and will continue to be felt for generations to come.

We are deeply indebted to Ian for his contributions to climbing in the country, and saddened by the loss to his family, his friends, and the MCK Community.

Please feel free to share stories or testimonies about Ian Howell below. We will keep this page on the MCK website.


Please write your entry below

Fields marked with * are required.
Your E-mail address won't be published.

We reserve the right to delete inappropriate entries.
Will Frost from Black Torrington, / Barcelona wrote on December 2, 2018:
Polly and I were very sad to hear of Ian's passing this week. I am very proud to have known him, climbed with him, and to have been his friend. He is probably the most inspiring climber I have had the privilege to know. I have many memories of him at Lukenya, Frog, at the club in Wilson airport and treating him to dinner at our house in Nairobi. For some reason I have many very clear memories of my times with him. I was only in Kenya for a few years but was able to do many of his routes on the crags and on Mt Kenya, he had a great eye for a line. In my last six months it was Ian that inspired me to go exploring and try and put up some new routes, none to match his but satisfying none-the-less. He taught me to climb hard whenever I could and save the easy routes till I was older and less able. I was pleased to be able to help maintain his mountain top hut and still have the rucksack stained with glue that spilt while climbing up with insulation to repair his hut. We exchanged Christmas cards when we returned to the UK and he always put me to shame with news of all the adventures he was still having while I was looking after my kids and not getting out as much as I should. He will stay in my memory for a long time. I am sorry I can not attend his funeral.