In his 2017 book What Doesn’t Kill Us, Scott Carney reprogrammed his body’s reaction to freezing conditions—a mission culminating in a 28-hour trek up Kilimanjaro’s peak in freezing temperatures while shirtless. That got Carney thinking: Could biohacking his body help him conquer other extreme situations? His fourth tome, The Wedge (out April 13), follows the Denver author as he applies those principles in other extreme locales, from the Amazon to Latvia. Before he headed out on all those adventures, however, Carney used these Mile High City spots as his laboratories.

Cool Runnings

It’s no Kilimanjaro, but Carney often ran the one-mile loop around Berkeley’s Rocky Mountain Lake Park in freezing temperatures while bare-chested. The exposure to cold helped him focus on controlling his body’s shiver response, something Carney learned while training with Dutch fitness guru Wim Hof for What Doesn’t Kill Us.

Heat Wave

After participating in Pirts, a pagan ritual that requires five hours in a sauna, Carney began regularly spending up to an hour in around 180-degree saunas at the Archipelago Clubs, an alternative health center in Jefferson Park. The practice helped him sharpen his body’s resilience to the extreme climates he experienced for The Wedge.

Float On

Carney entered sensory deprivation tubs at Samana Float Center in RiNo to understand the feelings that cause anxiety, so he could practice returning his nervous system to a more relaxed state. The experience served as a primer for Carney’s visit to the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which studies how float tanks can be used to treat depression and anxiety.

Playing Catch

On Regis University’s campus, Carney and friends tossed kettlebells back and forth for 30 minutes, switching between one-handed, two-handed, and behind-the-back passes. The threat of getting smacked forced him to practice remaining fully immersed in a strenuous activity for long periods of time.

Editor’s note: This article appeared in the April issue of 5280, which went to press before COVID-19 became the biggest story in recent memory. As such, some events and dates listed may now be out of date. For more on how 5280 is shifting coverage during this time, read Editorial Director Geoff Van Dyke’s editor’s note.

This article was originally published in 5280 April 2020.
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan is the former digital editor of and teaches journalism at Regis Jesuit High School.