Entity Type:
Banks, Michael Edward Borg (1922-2013)
Banks, Michael Edward Borg (1922-2013)
Banks started off his climbing career when, as a commando, he trained on Cornish sea cliffs. Eventually rising to the rank of mountaineering instructor, he helped pioneer such breakthrough routes as Green Cormorant Face, as well as spreading his wings and making the second British guideless ascent of Route Major on Mont Blanc. The Greater Ranges beckoned however and through the 50s and 60s Banks indulged in a frenzy of expeditions to far-flung places as diverse as Greenland, Pakistan and Arctic Canada. He achieved mountaineering immortality when he made the first ascent of Rakaposhi with Tom Patey in 1958. Banks stood as a liberal candidate in Devonport at the 1974 General Election, losing out to the Labour candidate and future co-founder of the ill-fated SDP, Dr David Owen. It was a good job probably, as there was still too much adventure left in Banks to confine him to the fusty ranks of the House of Commons. He cheerfully admitted to never having grown up and was seen on TV seconding the climber Ben Bransby up a steep Avon Gorge rock climb and doing a daring balancing feat while leading Bosigran’s Commando Ridge with one leg in the air. He became the oldest person to climb Orkney’s Old Man of Hoy. Mike Banks died in 2013.
Standout climbs: Green Cormorant Face, Bosigran, Cornwall; 1st ascent Rakaposhi, Karakorum;

Further reading: Commando Climber, Mike Banks. Dent, 1955; Rakaposhi, Mike Banks. Secker & Warburg, 1959;
Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
Access Points:
Banks, Michael Edward Borg (1922-2013)
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