adventurer, lecturer, and entertainer Gφran Kropp died
in a climbing accident near Vantage, WA, USA on
September 30th, 2002, aged 35.
was born in 1966 and grew up, amongst other places, in
Sundbyberg near Stockholm. From an early age he took
an interest in the outdoors, and in mountains in
particular, an interest that took on a more definite
shape during his military training as a paratrooper.
His climbing career began with rock climbing and
ascents of European mountains, after which he climbed
Pik Lenin (7134 m) in the Pamirs in 1988. In 1989 he
solo climbed five summits between 5300 and 6300 m in
the Andes, and the following year he and Rafael Jensen
constituted the summit team on the Swedish expedition
that made the fourth ascent of Muztagh Tower (7273 m)
in the Karakoram. In 1991 he made an ascent of Pik
Pobeda (7439 m) in the Tien-Shan mountains in eastern
Kazachstan, and in 1992 he climbed Cho Oyu (8201 m).
As the first Scandinavian he summitted K2 (8611 m) in
1993. After these successes, he decided to end his
military career and founded the company Kropp &
Δventyr (Kropp & Adventure). One of the companys
activities was to give climbing courses, but the main
source of income was lectures and slide shows. In the
wake of the K2 ascent, he had become so well known in
Sweden that the costs of marketing were negligable.
1994 he climbed Broad Peak (8034 m) solo, in the
record time of 18 hours. After this, the preparations
for his Everest bicycle expedition started, and a year
later, in October 1995, he left Stockholm. The
following spring he arrived at Everest Base Camp,
after months of pedalling and weeks of staggering
under a 65 kg load, still under his own steam. His
third attempt placed him on the summit of Mt Everest
(8848 m), without supplemental oxygen. This feat
earned him world fame. Following this, he climbed
Shishapangma (8013 m) and Everest once again, both
these times accompanied by his girl friend Renata
Chlumska. This put him in the position of being the
only Swede to have climbed five of the worlds
fourteen 8000 meter summits, and the only Swede to
have climbed Everest twice. His next adventure was an
attempt to ski to the North Pole with fellow
countryman Ola Skinnarmo. During this trip, his thumb
was frostbitten, prompting him to wisely abort the
between his trips, Gφran gave a great number of talks
and slide shows, but also a large number of courses in
leadership, climbing, parapente, and other sports.
was, thanks to his positive attitude and his radiant
warmth, an immensely popular lecturer. His never
ending enthusiasm was highly contagious.
Unfortunately, Gφran sometimes was met with a lack of
understanding. During his bicycle trip to Everest,
this manifested itself in people throwing stones at
him. Even on his home turf he was questioned after
having shot a polar bear in self defense during the
North Pole expedition. He sued for slander, but lost
the following trial, which saddened him. He was also
sad that some of his ascents were being questioned by
a few Swedish climbers.
certainly had the potential to become something of a
national hero whereever he lived, but in the spring of
2002, he and Renata moved to the USA, a country where
their chances to continue to make a living off of
their adventures were greater than in Sweden. A seven
page article in the National Geoghraphic Adventure
Magazine in May 2002 described Gφran, and namned him
"the most entertaining adventurer on Earth".
Renata, he was planning an expedition that would last
a year and a half, circumnavigating the lower 48
states of the USA. Following this, his plans included
sailing to the Antarctica and skiing to the South
Pole. None of these plans will now come to fruition,
as his life ended on a beautiful autumn day, on a
cliff in his new home country.
mentioned, Gφran was a charismatic and entertaining
lecturer, but this was not just superficial or a
faηade. He was a genuine and warm person equipped with
a large portion of humour. He could joke about his
mistakes, and laugh with others as they laughed about
them. Gφran was also a humble person. No one was too
small or too insignificant for him to take time to
listen to. He understood that everyone has different
Everests in their lives.
Gφran, freedom was the guiding star and he showed that
with enthusiasm, coupled with meticulous preparation,
will make almost anything possible. His death is a
great loss, not only to his family and friends, but to
Holmgren, Falun, Sweden, M.D., alpinist.
Representative of the Swedish Mountaineering Council
in the UIAA Medical Commission.
Calleberg, Bromma, Sweden, biologist, psykology
student, climber. Author of the first two
instructional books on rock climbing in Swedish.
Editorial Comment: It should be noted that Goran
ascents of Everest and K2 are confirmed in our book.
We found any
questions by other climbers totally unfounded.
His page is here...
Q&A is here...