Iceman Will Hof Climbs Everest in Shorts
Anyone who can climb 24,000ft up Mount Everest in shorts, sit in an ice bath for hours, and run a marathon in 50-degree heat without food or water, then live to tell the tale has to be both superhuman and a little bit crazy.
Dutch daredevil Wim Hof has achieved these astonishing feats and many more, leaving little doubt that he is indeed unique, and by his own admission, crazy.
Hof, who holds more than 20 Guinness World Records for extreme sporting challenges first caught the attention of scientists when he proved he was able to stay submerged in ice for almost two hours without his core body temperature changing.
Since then, the 56 year old has tackled Everest wearing just shorts and shoes, completed a marathon in the Namibian Desert without even a sip of water, and proven – under a laboratory setting – he’s able to control his immune system to fight off diseases.
Hof has been working with a group of university researchers to help the world discover new avenues for medicine, and attempt to show that anyone can do the extraordinary things he does by using ‘The Wim Hof Method’ – a breathing technique and mental focus that reportedly controls the autonomous systems of the body.
To test Wim’s theory, international news outlet VICE asked hosts Matt Shea and Daisy-May Hudson to learn his method and climb a freezing mountain in their short for the documentary, Iceman.
“For me, God is cold,” Wim tells them.
“I think of the cold as a noble force. It’s just helping me, training me. It’s bringing me back to nature the way it was meant to be. And this way, I not only endure the cold, I love the cold.”
When VICE’s Hudson first met Wim, she was sceptical. “But his charisma and absolute belief in his method quickly whirls you on the journey,” she told news.com.au.
“After the first round of breathing, I was quite blown away. It felt like my whole body was surging and I had this second layer around me.
“The second time I did it, I was holding my breath for four to five minutes.
As Shea, Hudson and Hof climb the freezing Mount Snezna in Poland, Matt describes how the breathing technique works.
“I’m breathing in more oxygen than I need and breathing out without fully letting go, doing that five times and on the final breath squeezing my neck, chest and head and that creates either real or illusionary heat and then you let go. And that’s how we get to the top of the mountain,” he explains to the camera, while wearing just shorts and hiking boots.
In the documentary, Hof’s son Enahm says his father’s decision to push his body to the extreme came after his wife committed suicide in 1995. Hof has since remarried.
“Everything started there,” Enahm explains.
“That was the beginning of my dad exploring the answers to all of life’s problems.”
Hof says sadness motivates him. “What happens when your wife, who you love so dearly suicides? You don’t understand. You have no power anymore.”
“You know people think I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy, but not because of my breathing techniques, not because of my cold water swimming, not because of my being fearless in extreme challenges.”
Hof wants to use his body as a laboratory and hopes his techniques will lead to a cure for mental illness and trauma.
“Love is my mission,” he says.