Wim “The Iceman” HOF – The “Death Zone” Climber

With the news littered with pseudo-writers complaining about why there should be an age limit on Everest, I realized Tim Ferris talked about a specific climber who reached that unrelenting zone at everest where your body literally begins to die.  Oh, he did it in shorts and shoes.

Just to elaborate on “Death Zone” (for those of you who haven’t watched the controversial movie Everest),  it’s the name used by mountain climbers for high altitude where there is not enough oxygen for humans to breathe. This is usually above 8,000 metres (26,247 feet). Most of the 200+ climbers who have died on Mount Everest have died in the death zone.


As you can see in the illustrated photo, Death Zone has taken the lives of hundreds of people after the 7900m mark, leaving a trail of bodies covered by snow behind.

Let’s get back on track with Wim who’s a very extra-terrestrial like being through the eyes of me.

In 2009, Wim completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland, once again only in shorts, despite temperatures close to −20°C (−4°F).

Wim has set multiple records for ice bath endurance, with his best time at nearly 2 hours.

In 2011, he ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. He can also run at altitude without suffering altitude sickness.”


He’s a Dutch, world record holder of many things, many of them on the brink of insanity, but also questions how far the human body can go in such savage climates.

He has a very interesting exercise narrated by Tim Ferris in his book that could prove useful for those endurance and workout junkies around the world.

Before I describe the exercise, I shall repeat my usual refrain: Don’t be stupid and hurt yourself, please. Use a very soft surface in case you face plant.
Do a set of push-ups and end a few repetitions short of failure. Record the number.
Rest at least 30 minutes.

Do ~40 repetitions of the following breathing exercise: Max inhale (raise chest) and “let go” exhale (drop chest sharply). The let-go exhale can be thought of as a short “hah.” If you’re doing this correctly, after 20 to 30 reps you might feel loose, mild lightheadedness, and a little bit of tingling. The tingling is often felt in the hands first.

On the last breathing cycle, breathe in completely, exhale completely, then do another set of push-ups. More often than not, people will experience a sharp increase in the max number of push-ups, even though their lungs are empty.”

Excerpt From: Timothy Ferriss & Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Tools of Titans.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/k6BHeb.l

I will warn you again, DON’T KILL YOURSELF DOING THIS EXERCISE!  I love reading the references of a lot of these Titans, and to see this particular individual push the body to limits that no other being has ever been through was fascinating to say the least.

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