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THE BIG READ: Adrenaline junkie Wim Hof reveals how he turned the health benefits of ice into a lucrative business

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Wim Hof spends 61 minutes a day in an ice bath. He believes that this helps him ward off illness and depression.  (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Wim Hof spends 61 minutes a day in an ice bath. He believes that this helps him ward off illness and depression. (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

What's the closest he’s ever come to death? It’s a tricky question for a full-time “extremophile” like Wim Hof – so many choices! We’ve been here chatting in his kitchen in the wet north of the Netherlands all morning, and I’ve already counted 12 showstopping occasions that I wouldn’t have survived. 

There’s the time he stood in a plexiglass box filled with ice for 112 minutes, and the time his cornea froze over while he was swimming under a sheet of ice in a lake near the Arctic Circle and he lost consciousness just as he was hauled out by his ankle by a rescue diver (all of which have contributed to his nickname, the Iceman). 

He’s dangled by one finger from a rope suspended between two hot air balloons at 1,6km above ground (“With no shirt on”) and been lost in a whiteout running on Everest – “I was past the ‘death zone’, in nothing but my shorts.”  

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