On January 15, 55-year-old Wim Hof from Sittard in the Netherlands and his group of 18 amateur trekkers clocked up a Guinness World Record by ascending all 19,341 feet of Mount Kilimanjaro in a record group time of 31 hours and 25 minutes.
Hof, a father of five, trumpeted that the challenge was to demonstrate that people lacking mountaineering experience could tackle the mountain in less than 36 hours using Hof’s own breathing technique.
The goal was achieved three hours earlier than anticipated with no signs of altitude sickness – something Hof claimed was deemed impossible. He told how the group felt “euphoric.”
The next step is to have Kili climbed by 30 experienced mountaineers whose blood will be extracted beforehand. Two days after, they will make the ascent while employing Hof’s method of breathing and then their blood will be taken again.
This could prove that Hof’s method accelerates red cell generation, which, if true, could provide a natural way to address diseases more effectively.
Hof declared that scientific research had already shown his technique to have great potential.
Hof has acquired the nickname of “Iceman.” He ran a full marathon above the Arctic circle clad only in shorts and another in the deserts of Namibia without drinking water. He once hung by one finger from a height of 2km (6,562 feet). He spent an hour, 52 minutes and 42 seconds bathing in ice.
Most challenging for him was climbing Everest in just shorts, although swimming beneath ice for half the length of a football field and then not immediately finding the hole from which to re-emerge was “quite a frightening experience.”
Most people experience hypothermia when their bodies’ core temperature is less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. During Hof’s extended ice bath, which took place in Hong Kong, he testified that he directed warmth to a particular area of his lower back when it felt too cold and began to hurt.
Hof can deal with low temperatures because of a process he describes as turning up his “inner thermostat,” which “requires a lot of focus.” By meditating, he commands his body to stay warm.
He disdains gyms, instead working out wherever it is he finds himself. He acknowledges no teacher other than nature. He is honoured to be known as Iceman. Tibetan monks are known to share Hof’s ability.
To read more about Wim’s incredible achievements and the mental techniques he uses to conquer the perceived constraints of the body, we highly recommend his entertaining book, aptly titled: Becoming the Iceman.