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This Man Climbed the Equivalent of Mount Everest at Home During Social Isolation

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As people around the world hunker down in their homes to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, people can choose their own adventures.

There are those who are content to sit on the couch and ride out the situation on a steady stream of Netflix and those who are determined to emerge from sheltering in place in better physical shape than ever. Rob Ferguson has chosen fitness. Ferguson climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest by hiking up and down (and up and down) the steps of his suburban London apartment building.

Ferguson, a writer, photographer, and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, had planned a trip to Nepal document the clean up of Mount Everest, but when the coronavirus hit, the mountain was closed. His adventure, like many others, was cancelled. Facing the prospect of being locked down, according to The Washington Post, Ferguson decided to climb Everest at home. Sort of.

Ferguson and fellow climbers Jenny Wordsworth and Lucy Aspden, who accompanied him on the long hike via social media, set out at 7:15 a.m. on April 9, swapping in a set of stairs for the mountain’s rocky peaks and outcroppings. The hikers walked up and down a small set of stairs, over and over again, documenting the ersatz trek on Zoom.

After hiking for 24 hours and 30 minutes, Ferguson had completed the equivalent of climbing and descending Everest. He told the Post that by the end of the simulated journey he had walked “up and down eight steps 6,506 times.” The perambulating adventure wasn’t just for show or even just for exercise. Instead, Ferguson used the effort to raise money for the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, an organization that supports doctors and their families.

Ferguson isn’t the only would-be Everest climber undertaking the adventure at home. Trail runner Rory Southworth led a team of about 30 climbers to the mountain’s peak via the internet, Brits Harry Richards and Charlie Harbord climbed the equivalent of Everest to raise money for frontline NHS staff, and John Griffin, hiked his stairs to raise money for a local food bank. Not a bad use of quarantine, although hopefully they will still find time to watch Netflix like the rest of us.

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