SEATTLE, Wash. (October 1, 2002) - Professional adventurer Goran Kropp
died from a fall yesterday while climbing a popular route called Air Guitar
near Frenchman Coulee in Vantage, Washington.
The Grant County Coroner's
Office in Yakima listed head injuries as the cause of death. Kropp,
who was belayed by Seattle climber Erden Eruc had reached the exit point of
the climb when his gear ripped out from the crack and he fell 75 feet. Eruc
said that Kropp died on impact. Kropp and Eruc were airlifted by a M.A.S.T.
helicopter to Valley Memorial Hospital in Yakima.
The Grant County Coroner's
Office took jurisdiction of the body from the Yakima County Coroner's Office
and he was brought back to the Grant County Forensic Institute where an
external examination was performed.
Kropp relocated earlier this year from Sweden to Seattle with his
fiancee, Renata Chlumska. Chlumska was guiding a group of clients to Mt.
Everest base camp at the time and was contacted via satellite phone by
friend Kaj Bune in Seattle, a photographer and Helly Hansen sports marketing
manager who recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with the couple. Chlumska is in
route to Seattle. Bune also was in contact with Kropp's father in Sweden
Kropp is recognized around the world for his epic 1996 adventure when
he rode his bike 7,000 miles from Sweden to Nepal, climbed Everest without
porters or supplemental oxygen, and biked home with all of his gear. He was
a popular motivational speaker and was frequently covered by the
international press. National Geographic Adventure magazine named him "The
Most Entertaining Adventurer on Earth" in a May 2002 feature story and in
its current issue, Outside magazine called him "a role model for the next 25
years." of adventure. Kropp co-authored a book about his adventures with
writer David Lagercrantz titled Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey, and his
documentary film I Made It: Goran Kropp's Incredible Journey to the Top of
the World won the distinguished Best of Banff Award at the Banff Mountain
Film Festival, the grandfather of all outdoor film competitions, in 1998.
Kropp and Chlumska were planning a 10,000-mile kayaking and hiking
circumnavigation of the United States starting next July from their home in
Washington. Within the next four years he was planning his
ultimate adventure to sail solo from Seattle to Antarctica, ski unsupported
to the South Pole and back, and sail home.
Goran is survived by his father Gerard, Sweden; mother, Sigrun, Sweden; and, Chlumska, Issaquah, Washington.
There are famous mountaineers. There are world-renowned polar explorers.
There are legendary cyclists, skiers and sailors. And then there was
Goran Kropp, the Swedish adventurer who climbed the world's tallest peaks,
biked across continents and traveled to and across the world's most
forbidding landscapes unassisted - without porters, supply drops,
supplemental oxygen or any outside help whatsoever.
Goran is most recognized for his 1996 journey, when he cycled from his
home in Sweden across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, summited Mt. Everest
without oxygen, then cycled home with all of his supplies. Last year,
Outside magazine crowned the "Crazy Swede" as one of the world's top 50
outdoor adventurers in recognition of his Everest expedition and
dozens of equally challenging "purist" journeys. He tackled each expedition
in harmony with nature, which means by unsupported missions that left no
trace of his passing. In 1999, he climbed Everest for a second time with Chlumska and contributed to a clean-up effort on the mountain
by hauling out 25 spent oxygen canisters that littered the South Col.
In 2001 Goran attempted to ski unsupported to the North Pole but had to
abandon the trip halfway through due to frostbite suffered after a polar bear
attack. He intended to tackle that trip again in the near future. Goran's
next big mission, planned for 2004, was to sail single-handedly from Sweden
through the treacherous waters of the Southern Hemisphere to Antarctica, ski
2,400km solo to the South Pole - and make the return trip.
His daring exploits began as a young army officer in a Swedish infantry
regiment, when he trained for alpine expeditions by sleeping in a gravel
pit. His tough, self-imposed program included setting his alarm clock at
random - if he woke at 3 a.m., he would walk 30km with full combat gear. If
he woke at 6 a.m., he'd walk 60 kilometers.
"I wanted to get used to living
with the unexpected," he said.
While Goran's accomplishments were elite, he was an extremely approachable
person with a great sense of humor and down-to-earth attitude. Goran and
Renata traveled the world lecturing on adventure, personal challenge and
mental training. He spoke on a level that inspired all audiences to pursue
a fun, exhilarating life whether the adventures were small or Everest-sized.
His words are captured in his self-authored book Ultimate High: My Everest
Odyssey published by Discovery Books.
Goran dedicated his free time to benefitting underprivileged regions visited
during his travels. Over the past few years he built a school, a hospital
and a power plant for a small Nepalese village in the Himalayas and
established a charitable organization in Sweden to collect funds and
supplies for these projects.