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Opinion

Front end

Banking's real climbers, CSFB's football field, Rich man, poor man, Australian elephant, The Euro-Euro

Edited by Steven Irvine

Banking's real climbers

Not content to climb simply within their own organizations, a growing number of bankers are to be found digging their crampons into the ice of some of the world's most perilous mountains.

Standard Chartered's chief executive Malcolm Williamson managed to squeeze a week off work in 1994 to climb Africa's highest summit, 5,900-metre (19,400-foot) Kilimanjaro.

"I had to go into a fax-free zone for a week," says 56-year-old Williamson. "This would not have made me too popular with my chairman had there been a bid for the bank in my absence."

He says he found it a liberating experience: "There were few opportunities to worry about the bank on Kilimanjaro. I came back physically exhausted but mentally recharged. You need to have a real break, even if it's only a week."

Mark Warham, 34-year-old corporate finance director at Schroders, has been climbing for the past 14 years. He recently returned from an ascent of 4,900-metre Mount Vinson, Antarctica's highest peak, where temperatures were as low as minus 30oF - without taking account of the wind-chill factor.

Warham's summit record is Nepal's 7,200-metre Pumori, although he climbed higher on Everest before having to retreat with pulmonary oedema.

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