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.


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Reg Pillinger from Stratford-upon-Avon wrote on December 2, 2018:
I first met Ian in 1968 on my return to Kenya and as I started to climb with the group that formed around Ian my Nairobi house soon became Pin's week-end pad if he was not on The Mountain or exploring around Isiolo.. And so like many others I formed a lifelong friendship with one of the best climbers I climbed with, as well as on of the nicest men I shared many a post climbing beer with. I also felt that with him I climbed at my best, and it was not just the occasional tight rope.
I left Kenya after a couple of great years but we continued to climb together in UK and latterly in the geriatric climbers Valhalla, Spain. On one of these last trips with Pin, he one morning produced from his sac a long-handled shoe horn
to help him into his rockboots. Of course he then proceeded to climb with his usual skill.
Pin, many will miss you. And who now holds your old record for patching a punctured innertube and getting back on the road?