CLIMBING KILIMANJARO

On Sunday 30th January 2005, a group of approximately 30 private equity professionals will set out from Tinga Tinga, a bush camp in Tanzania, to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

The brainchild of European placement agents Ian Simpson of Helix Associates and Doug Miller (IPEL), the purpose of the eight-day expedition apart from the personal achievement of climbing and standing atop Africa's highest point at 5,895 metres, is for each trekker to raise a minimum of €5000 in support of various charities.

A third of the money raised will go to support venture philanthropy through the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). Established by Miller together with Luciano Balbo, Stephen Dawson, Michiel de Haan and Serge Raicher, the EVPA was formally incorporated in January 2004 and is currently awaiting registration as a UK Charity. A membership organisation, EVPA is aimed at organisations and individuals who are practising venture philanthropy as a way of investing in charities and providing hands-on support to help them grow and become more efficient. (To learn more please visit www.evpa.eu.com.)

Another third of the funds raised will go to Friends of Tanzania, a UK-registered charity working on a number of projects in the region. With the remaining money, trekkers will be able to support a charity of their choice.

The group will go with Gane & Marshall, a UK travel company that claims a success rate of over 96 percent in terms of getting trekkers to the top. No rock climbing is involved and the group will have the services of highly experienced local guides and porters equipped with radios and satellite phones to ensure the safety of the party.

So far 20 intrepid souls, men and women, are committed to make the climb, and the group are looking for more hardy individuals to join the expedition. For more information, please contact Ian Simpson at ians@helix-associates.co.uk or Doug Miller at info@evpa.eu.com. For those unable to come along, sponsorship will be most welcome.

SCHLOSS RETURNS FROM LOFTY HEIGHTS
Back in 2001, sceptics said Larry Schloss had a proverbial mountain to climb when seeking to raise the world's largest ever buyout fund at DLJ Merchant Banking Partners. When he and his team succeeded to round up €5.3 billion, the doubters could only stand and applaud.

Three years on, Schloss has once again demonstrated he has a head for heights. Only this time, the mountains are real.

Schloss, who left his job as head of global private equity at CSFB in March in order “to explore new opportunities” (PEI reported at the time), has just returned to New York from a one-month trip to Nepal. While there, he scaled the peaks of Kala Pattar (5,600 metres) and Gokyo Ri (5,300 metres) and visited Everest base camp (5,250 metres). Schloss tells PEI that the experience has, among other things, given him “a better appreciation for life's basics” such as outdoor plumbing and showers.

Those assuming that now that he's back in civilisation, he will be putting his feet up for a while may be in for a surprise. Having trimmed two inches off his waistline, a more streamlined Schloss will be looking forward to future challenges with renewed vigour. Those who know him speculate whether the next trip in Larry's sights could see him return to the fundraising trail with an independent fund – not as exotic a destination as the Himalayas perhaps, but a challenge nevertheless.