Mount Kenya – The Diamond Couloir Nov 1983

Mount Kenya 1983

I just found this postcard sent from my mate Mark Sinclair ( Cheeky) . It was posted in November 1983 after an ascent of the Diamond Couloir on Mount Kenya. He climbed it with Malcolm Taylor who was a New Zealand fast jet pilot. They had just returned from out winter trip to Canada climbing many of the classic routes and were both climbing well.

The card says

“Well youngster what a story I’ve got to tell you. I lost about a stone living on boiled rice for 9 days. After that I told Malay I was heading back to civilisation for a steak. Anyway we did the Diamond Couloir, quite hard touching Scottish 5 at 17000 ft.“

Epico- Cheeky

The Diamond Couloir’s first ascent was claimed by Phil Snyder and Thumbi Mathenge in 1973, avoiding the steeper high section by a ramp on the left. The difficult upper section, named the ‘Headwall’, was pioneered in 1975 by Yvon Chouinard and Michael Covington, who helped to establish the Diamond Couloir as one of the world’s greatest ice climbs.

For many years, the Couloir attracted climbers from all over the world. However, over the last 15 years the line has hardly seen any ascents and the climbing community had largely written this gem off as a victim of global warming and shifting weather patterns. The top section remains intact, but the lower half is the problem due to its melting ice and dangerous rubble shoot.

Sadly Mark was killed along with his pal Neil on Lochnagar after a fall on Parallel B Gully in March 1995.

I still miss them both.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Friends, Mountaineering, People, Scottish winter climbing., Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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