North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has “climbed” a 2,744m mountain, state media claimed – apparently while wearing smart black leather shoes.
The third-generation dictator scaled Mount Paektu “going through thick snow”, it was said.
Mr Kim reportedly ordered that a monument to the peak and nearby education compound should be “spruced up”, and that a new hotel and several rest stops should be built.
Mount Paektu has a sacred role in Korean folklore and has been used to lend gravitas to the Kim family’s propaganda across the generations.
According to the Rodong Sinmun, the official state newspaper, Mr Kim “said that he had often climbed Mount Paektu but this is the first time to have in mid-winter such nice weather, rare to be seen even in spring”.
It continued: “His eyes reflected the strong beams of the gifted great person seeing in the majestic spirit of Mount Paektu the appearance of a powerful socialist nation which dynamically advances full of vigour without vacillation at any raving dirty wind on the planet.”
North Korea’s state media also claimed two years ago that Mr Kim had climbed the mountain.
But images released on Saturday by the state-run KCNA news agency showed Mr Kim walking in formal attire and shiny, black leather brogues. He did not appear to be carrying any specialised equipment.
Mr Kim is not the only leader to use photographs to demonstrate his physical prowess.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – in robust shape for a man of 65 – has been pictured shirtless while on horseback, swimming and fishing.
His strongman persona has also been burnished with photographs of him kayaking, practising judo and playing ice hockey.
The images from Mount Paektu stand in contrast to those released of Theresa May’s own walking holiday in July, when the Prime Minister was shown alongside her husband Philip using walking poles and wearing practical clothes in the Swiss Alps.