Mark Kryskow, one of my best friends from the University of Colorado, is someone I’ve written about before here on CS, describing him as an “animal, more fit and strong and crazy than anyone I have ever met, or probably ever will meet.” It was impossible to keep up with Mark in college. Waking up at 3am to ride your bike to Estes Park and back (37 miles each way in the mountains) was not part of my agenda. Mark lives up in New Hampshire now, so I get to see him pretty regularly, either in North Conway for an ice climbing adventure, in Portsmouth (while visiting my folks) for a beer and a burrito, or in Alton at his house on Lake Winnepsaukee, alongside his equally crazy immediate and extended family.
Mark is one of the humblest guys I’ve ever met, so of course he didn’t tell me that he was featured in an article in Outside this month, in a profile of the Army program he works for, studying the effects of altitude and extreme conditions on the human body. When I called him last night to talk about it, he quickly changed the subject, probably because they refer to him as one of the “hardest of the hard” and pull a quote that details a test that involved a tube up his ass. The article isn’t specifically about Mark, but I couldn’t be happier to see him gracing the pages of Outside. Makes it even better that he and his wife don’t give a shit.
One of the hardest of the hard men is Sergeant Kryskow, a recreation rock and ice climber who has participated in “eight or nine studies,” including one designed to test a helmet prototype that cooled the wearer’s head with streams of air coming from the lining. Researchers wanted to know if cooling the head cooled the body as well. To test this, Kryskow and others walked for hours on a treadmill in 120-degree heat, fitted with anal and esophageal temperature probes.
“It was kind of miserable,” Kryskow tells me, suddenly transported back to that test. “You’re tired, you’re dehydrated, you’ve got a probe in your ass and another down your throat. But I like the challenge.”
And in honor of Mark giving up his “horn” for a climbing helmet…