Feb 182014

Wim Hof (right) led a group of climbers to the peak of Mount Kilimajaro in Tanzania - wearing just their shorts

A group of climbers have scaled Africa’s highest mountain – wearing just their shorts.

Dutch daredevil Wim Hof, known as the ‘iceman’, led a group of 26 people to the summit of the world’s highest free standing mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

In just 48 hours the group climbed all 5,895m (19, 340ft) without succumbing to hypothermia or altitude sickness – an achievement considered impossible by experts. Clearly, they were in peak condition.

Eleven of the team climbed the mountain dressed just in shorts and without tops – to arrive unhurt at the mountain’s peak, where the temperature is a brutal -20C.

Before the project started, the Dutch Mountaineering and Climbing Federation and expedition medics considered this impossible.

The success rate of reaching Uhuru Peak in a regular mountaineering expedition is 41 per cent.
Hardy: The scantily clad climbers during the long trek to the top
At the summit the amount of oxygen is less than 50 per cent of the amount of oxygen at sea level – usually for a climber going up, it takes five to seven days to acclimatise.

Altitude sickness can occur from 3000m upwards and usually starts with headaches, dizziness and confusion. In extreme cases cerebral edema – brain swelling – and even death may occur.

Whim believes a combination of training focus, breathing and training at low temperatures made it possible for the participants to gain control over altitude sickness.

The participants of this expedition, aged between 29 and 65 years, were without any real mountaineering experience and some suffered conditions such as rheumatism, asthma and chrones disease.

Wim Hof, who sat in an ice bath for one hour 13 minutes to break the world record, said: ‘Until now the world thought that only I was capable to conquer extreme cold and altitude.

‘These heroes have shown that everybody is able to do what I am doing.

Climbers at a pit stop on the way to the snowy summit

‘My method offers people the possibility to influence their mind and body, and in particular their nervous system.

‘In the course of time people forgot how much they are able to do with their own bodies, and they have become dependent of pills and powders.

‘I want to show the world that they do not always need those and can do much more themselves.

‘The general opinion about altitude sickness has always been that it could not be prevented, not even with medication. If people can control this disease on their own, what else could be possible?’

Mr. Hof claims that he can alter his body’s heat using just the power of his mind.

Wim Hof Training Video

Kilimanjaro Climb Video

Article reprinted from Daily Mail Online:


Jan 102008


Like anything else in life, some people set a goal and go full force.  Others not so much.  While some will participate in extensive training regimens to prepare for their climb, others will barely concern themselves with such matters.

Can someone who is unfit and doesn’t train succeed in reaching the top of Kilimanjaro? Kilimanjaro is a slow, steady walk.  Most of the days, with the exception of summit day, are short to medium in time and length, by trekking standards. The walking itself is not what is categorized as “strenuous.”  By these measures, it appears certainly possible that an unfit, untrained person could summit.

But the factor that prevents most people from reaching Uhuru peak is not the trekking, it’s the inability to acclimatize to altitude. Although altitude illness can strike even the fittest climbers, by being fit, you give your body the best chance to acclimatize.

Everything unfamiliar that you subject your body to (hiking, different food, water, altitude, camping, jet lag, etc.) is an additional stress that impairs the body. The goal is to minimize these factors. While some factors are out of your control, preparing your cardiovascular system, muscles, joints and mentality for climbing is totally within your control.

A nonchalant attitude about climbing Kilimanjaro can get you into trouble, or worse. You don’t go from sitting in a cubicle for decades to trekking at high altitude on a mountain that claims lives every year. It’s simply careless, irresponsible and disrespectful. And it’s also this type of attitude that can push people to keep climbing even though AMS tells them to stop.