Defeated by Everest, climber vows to return
KATHMANDU (AFP) — A Dutchman who failed in his attempt to conquer Mount Everest wearing just shorts vowed yesterday to have another half-naked crack at the world’s highest peak next year.
Wim Hof, known as “Iceman” for his ability to withstand seemingly impossible levels of cold, managed to reach 7,400 metres (24,278 feet) in shorts on Everest earlier this month — a new world record.
But he told AFP he still wanted to complete what he described as mountaineering’s last great challenge.
“Hillary did it with clothes and oxygen, that was the beginning,” he said of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay’s historic first successful climb of the 8,848-metre (29,198-foot) peak in 1953.
“After, [Reinhold] Messner did it without oxygen, and now somebody is doing it in shorts. A bigger challenge you can’t get,” he said in an interview.
“Next year I will try Everest again, and then with a paraglider with two French people we will fly down,” said Hof, who is 48.
The Dutchman was beaten back by a recurring foot injury he sustained while running barefoot inside the Arctic Circle last year.
“I went up with no problems whatsoever, but then this pain, this constriction of the veins inside my left foot began, and I knew I had to turn around,” he said.
But he said his other extremities fared well in the freezing temperatures on the approach to Everest’s summit.
“The natural protection of the penis is that it contracts itself. It just goes in, like a fishing rod,” Hof said.
Hof insists that he has no special powers — just 25 years of training in meditation and yoga.
Wim Hof, better known as Iceman for his ability to withstand seemingly impossible levels of cold, exercises at a hotel in Kathmandu yesterday.