Goran Kropp is best known for an expedition that is completely unfathomable to the rest of us – riding a bike from Sweden to Everest, climbing to the summit and then cycling back home.
Kropp was an advocate of fast and light soloing and one of the most skilled climbers of his day.
At the age of six, Kropp’s father took him up Galdhøpiggen in Norway, the highest peak in Scandinavia, kickstarting his passion for mountaineering.
After finishing school, he served in the Swedish Parachute Rangers where he trained rigorously and met one of his future climbing partners – Mats Dahlin.
A few years later in 1988, Kropp traveled to climb his first major mountain, Lenin Peak (7,134 metres), completing the ascent in a record time of 10 days with his team.
After various other peaks, he decided to take on one of the world’s toughest climbs.
In 1993, Kropp returned to Karakoram, this time to climb K2. During his summit bid, a violent storm arose and stranded the team at high altitude, forcing him to abandon his climb and save those he could.
A week later, Kropp climbed on and reached the peak solo, without bottled oxygen. Media interest instigated by the climb proved to be extensive, allowing Kropp to set up his company, Kropp & Adventure AB.
Then one day in October of 1995, Goran Kropp left his hometown of Jonkoping on a bicycle loaded up with over 100 kilograms of gear.
His destination, Everest, lay a whopping 10,000 kilometres away. Seven months later he arrived and prepared to summit the highest peak on earth.
A snowstorm foiled his first attempt, sending him back to Base Camp, where he was a witness to an immense tragedy when eight people died climbing in under 36 hours.
Unsettled but also unstoppable, he successfully climbed to the top of the world alone on May 23, 1996 with no support from Sherpas or bottled air.
If that wasn’t enough, in 1999 he returned with his girlfriend Renata Chlumska and summitted (without oxygen) for a second time.
Refusing to call it a day after his Everest expeditions, he attempted to ski to the North Pole but suffered from severe frostbite, as well as a polar bear attack, marking an early end for his adventure.
After this, Kropp went back to the drawing board to plan his next (and equally outrageous) adventure. He wanted to sail from Sweden to McMurdo Sound in Antarctica, ski a round-trip to the South Pole, then sail back home.
It would have been a record-breaking feat (particularly given that he had never sailed a day in his life) but unfortunately he never got to attempt it.
In September 2002 on a fairly routine climb in Washington State he fell to his death after his protection zippered out of the rock.
At just 35 years of age it was a huge loss but there is no doubt that he achieved more in his short time on earth than others achieve in their extended lifetime.
Known for being eminently humble and giving, Kropp was an inspiration to friends, family and those he met in the field.
In the years preceding his death he was also involved in various charity projects, including the foundation of Goran Kropp Bishwa Darshan Primary School in Nepal.
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