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Climbing Mount Everest… in Liège!
Belgian explorer Louis-Philippe Loncke has set himself the surreal challenge of scaling the height of Mount Everest by repeatedly climbing Liège’s Montagne de Bueren, the second highest staircase in Belgium.
The adventurer’s lofty feat started at dawn on Saturday morning and he hopes to achieve the exploit by the end of the day on Monday.
At 374 steps and an elevation of 67m, the 43-year-old will need to climb the Liège staircase 135 times to overtake Everest’s height of 8,848m. He plans cycles of five ascents and descents in 55 minutes, followed by ten minutes of rest.
Loncke is carrying a 15kg backpack during the three days to simulate the effect of altitude on his body, and he will also sleep overnight in a tent.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a motivating factor for the home-grown venture. "I wanted to do a challenge in Belgium, be close to the people, show some endurance and make a difficult and long effort. I hope we'll all continue to make the effort to respect the safety measures, which is necessary,” he said.
“If I can succeed in this challenge, we can all continue to put on the mask when we have to. That is the minimum of respect for the people who are suffering from Covid-19 and the medical staff who have been doing their best for months,” added Loncke.
Accompanying him during the three days is photographer Ivan Dunsmore who is documenting the adventure for a 10-minute film. Loncke has also been receiving encouragement from locals. "People feel inspired and say they will come back to Bueren to do sport and improve their health, it's very touching,” he said.
This is the latest in a long line of outdoor exploits for the adventurer from Mouscron, including organising the highest chocolate tasting in the world on Everest 10 years ago.
After scaling Liège’s emblematic tourist spot (pictured, above), Loncke plans to trek across the whole of the Pyrenees at the end of the July.