Enter the world of extreme adventure...
In May, 35 year old Belgian explorer and adventurer Louis-Philippe Loncke will embark on a four-week 1,200 km summit-to-sea expedition across Poland’s highest mountain and along its longest river to end at the Baltic Sea. His means of transport will be hiking boots, kayak and a pack raft.
In his day job Loncke is an engineer and management consultant, but thrives as a versatile explorer and adventurer who likes to step out of the management world and challenge himself by undertaking ‘world-first’ expeditions in diverse terrains.
Loncke’s Poland expedition will start by traversing the Tatras Mountains to reach Mount Barania Gora (1,220 m), the mountain source of the river Vistula. This 1,000 km long river covers more than half of Poland and as the country’s natural backbone winds through the famous cities of Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk.
‘A marathon per day for four weeks’
On his back he will be carrying mountaineering gear such as crampons, ice-axe, trekking poles along with Kayak gear, safety equipment and a lot of electronics, cameras, solar panels etc. His diet for the four-week marathon will be muesli cereal in the morning with purified water from streams. Dried sausages, cereal bars, chocolate, spaghetti and dehydrated food will be his main course.
“The Vistula is one of the last wild rivers in Europe,” Loncke explains. “This natural and unspoilt waterway offers breath-taking views, magical places, beautiful mountain streams, river bends, valleys and ravines. The mountains and rivers I will tackle will not allow for mistakes and there are evidently many risks.
“The journey will be like doing more than a marathon per day for four weeks in the wilderness, and I will be carrying all my own equipment and supplies.”
Loncke’s 1200 km trip will involve 150 km on foot traversing mountains, 50 km in a pack raft, and 1,000 km of kayaking. This should all take 28 days at a speed of 42 km/day during which he expects to lose 11 kg in body mass.
At the age of 27, Louis-Philippe had no idea about the world of extreme adventure until a late passion for scuba-diving brought him to travel for one year in Oceania in the south west Pacific.
Tempted by the idea of a solo desert crossing without assistance he surprised the Australian media in 2008 by becoming the first person to walk completely unsupported across the Simpson Desert, the most arid place in the country. Other expeditions include traversing the wild mountains of Tasmania (2007), and crossing of Fraser Island (Australia) the world’s largest sandbar.
In 2009 he helped organize the highest chocolate tasting event in the world with a cultural walking journey from Kathmandu to Everest Base camp and raise funds for the first mobile hospital in Nepal.
The inspiration for the summit-to-sea adventure in Poland came from his experience last year when, after a one-hour kayak lesson, he toured Belgium’s 600 km of waterways by kayak and got smitten by the bug. Another kayaker suggested the challenge of the Vistula and the plan started to crystallize. For Louis-Philippe, it will be his longest journey in terms of distance and a new level of kayaking.
Louis-Philippe Loncke has become one of the most respected adventurers of his generation. His ability to prepare expeditions in a short time while continuing his day job has amazed veteran explorers. His passion for adventure goes beyond his own achievements. He travels all over Europe meeting other explorers to share experiences, build connections and discuss new projects.
Accompanying him on the expedition will be British photographer and filmmaker Natalie Hill who will document the trip together with Polish adventurer and journalist Tomasz Grzywaczewski.