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Obituary of Goran Kropp

Gφran Kropp

The adventurer, lecturer, and entertainer Gφran Kropp died in a climbing accident near Vantage, WA, USA on September 30th, 2002, aged 35.

Gφran 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 company’s 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.

In 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 world’s 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 attempt.

In 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.

He 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.

Gφran 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".

With 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.

As 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.

To 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 all mankind.

Johan Holmgren, Falun, Sweden, M.D., alpinist. Representative of the Swedish Mountaineering Council in the UIAA Medical Commission.

Per 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. EverestNews.com

His page is here...

His Q&A is here...

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