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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Arthur Snell from Gloucester, UK wrote on December 5, 2018:
I first became aware of Ian Howell through my father, Roderick Snell. Before Ian moved to Kenya he worked at the BBC in London and would make climbing forays to the sea cliffs of South West England and the mountain crags of Wales. Lacking regular climbing partners, Ian persuaded my dad to join him and so began for my family a love affair with mountains, thanks to Ian.

Years later as a teenager I developed my own passion for climbing and heard stories of Ian's exploits from my father. Together they climbed new routes in Swanage, Pembroke and I think in Snowdonia.

Later I met Ian in Bradford-on-Avon and attended a talk he gave at the Alpine Club in the UK. Like so many others here I was struck by his jolly, unassuming, humble nature, masking an extraordinary array of climbing achievements.

I and my family send our gratitude to Ian for giving us a love of climbing and our sincere condolences to Ann and Sarah.