Goran Kropp was a born adventurer. As a kid he curiously watched his father climb steep limestone cliffs of the Italian Dolomites. He used to watch carefully through his binoculars.
He was only 6 years old when he climbed the highest peak of Norway, Galdhoppigen, with his father. He developed a passion for adventure.
He dreamt up unusual tests of endurance to train for the mountains. He would set the alarm clock randomly, rise at 3:00 am and march 30km in full kit.
In Kathmandu, he married a Nepali woman to qualify for a cheaper Everest permit. He took up paragliding and then bought a share in a racing car.
Preparation for his expedition was the toughest task and the most important. He spent 9 years preparing for his Everest expedition. He went to climb other mountains such as Mount K2. It is the second highest mountain in the world.
On October 16, 1995, he climbed on his bicycle in his native Sweden, with his gear packed in a basket and a trailer, and pedalled off about 13,000 km to Nepal. While cycling through Iran, he was routinely stoned. He thought about giving up many times, but he did not. He was living his dream and he did not let any obstacle prevent him from achieving his dreams.
When he arrived at the base camp in April 1996 with all his gear, he was named the ‘Crazy Swede’ by the top American mountaineers who were chatting there and sipping lattes.
He climbed Everest without bottled oxygen, yak or Sherpa. He relied only on his own strength to carry his tent and supplies up the mountain.
He did not take any life threatening risks and took three attempts to finally reach the summit. It is astonishing effort for a man breathing only the thin air of altitude.
In 1999 he also published a book ‘Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey’, about his trip without any oxygen. His death was nothing short of a tragedy. He died from a 75 feet fall onto a rock shelf while rock climbing near his home in Seattle.
His journey has inspired many mountaineers and adventure seekers. He did not give up. He prepared relentlessly for 9 years to fulfill his dream. He is truly an inspiration.