My Everest Odyssey
"On October 16, 1995, [Göran Kropp] had left Stockholm on a custom-built bicycle loaded with 240 pounds of gear, intending to travel round-trip from sea level in Sweden to the top of Everest entirely under his own power, without Sherpa support or bottled oxygen. It was an exceedingly ambitious goal, but Kropp had the credentials to pull it off."
-Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
Readers of Jon Krakauer's bestselling Into Thin Air will recall Göran Kropp, the remarkable Swedish solo climber who loves to do what others label impossible. His goal was to reach and climb Mount Everest using his own physical means and without any outside assistance. In doing so, he would earn a place in the record books with the most self-contained combined approach and climb of Mount Everest ever accomplished.
Kropp's Everest quest began 7,000 miles away, in Stockholm, where, at age twenty-nine, he set out by bicycle for Kathmandu, towing behind him nearly everything he'd need to live for a year. In this riveting first-person narrative, Kropp puts his own unique spin on the concept of adventure as he recounts his four-month trek across Europe and Asia, during which he was robbed, assaulted with a baseball bat, almost shot in Turkey, and nearly stoned in Iran. When he left the staging ground in Kathmandu in April 1996, he became the first ever to carry his equipment--all 143 pounds--up 17,100 feet to Everest Base Camp.
Kropp's first attempt at scaling Everest unassisted ended in frustration when he was forced to turn back only 350 feet, one hour, from the summit, his strength drained, his morale crushed. Despite this setback, and in the face of rapidly deteriorating weather that would result in the deadliest season in Everest's history, Kropp steeled himself for a second attempt. Just days after the legendary storm that claimed the lives of eight climbers, he tried again and made it to the top of the world--without Sherpa aid, without bottled oxygen. Within a few days, he loaded up his bike for the equally harrowing 7,000-mile trek back to Stockholm.
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Why just climb Everest when you can climb it without supplemental oxygen? Why just climb it without oxygen when you can climb it alone? And why fly to Nepal to climb Everest when you can bicycle all the way there? Apparently, questions such as these occurred to Göran Kropp, a Swede with a taste for adventure and a desire for the Ultimate High. In October 1995, Kropp set out from Sweden with a bicycle, a trailer, and over 200 pounds of equipment. Over the next four months, he cycled some 7,000 miles across Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. By the time he arrived in Kathmandu, Kropp had been shot at, pelted with rocks, and offered the madam's daughter--free of charge--in a Hungarian brothel.
After carrying his own equipment up to Everest Base Camp, Kropp found himself surrounded by other climbers, all waiting for a break in the weather so they could attempt the summit. Many books have been written about that disastrous season on Everest, notably Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air and Anatoli Boukreev's The Climb. Kroop adds little of substance to the story, engaging mainly in camp gossip about who was sleeping with whom and "outing" climbers who lied about reaching summits. Even Kropp's account of his own climb is somewhat suspenseless--though some readers will be relieved that he doesn't go into too much detail about his physical breakdown. More tiresome is Kropp's clear disdain for climbers who use supplemental oxygen. ("Mount Everest is not 29,028 feet tall if the mountain is scaled by a climber wearing an oxygen mask.") He also despises climbers who "see Everest and other high peaks reduced to trophies kept in a china cabinet"--though his "Ultimate Mountain List" (he's already climbed 16 of the 22) seems a bit like a trophy room itself.
After he finally reached the summit--on his third attempt in under a month--Kropp spent a few weeks recuperating in Kathmandu and then hopped on his bike for the long and rugged ride home. Not satisfied, Kropp is already planning and training for his next adventure, to take place in 2004: sailing from Sweden to Antarctica, skiing to the South Pole, and returning--all solo. That he is only just learning to sail doesn't dissuade him--"I like to jump headfirst into new projects." Ultimate High is proof that he's determined--and crazy--enough to complete them. --Sunny DelaneyFrom the Back Cover :
This is an intriguing man and an intriguing adventure ... a real Sisyphus kind of expedition, cycling all the way from Sweden with all the food and equipment he would need, then carrying it--143 pounds weight-to the Everest base camp, and climbing solo, even making a new route through the icefall. Well worth reading.
Chris Bonington, mountaineer and author of Quest for Adventure
"Find a friend who weighs a hundred and fifty pounds. Ask this person to climb on your back. Then see how far you can stagger before you collapse. Now, imagine that a remarkable adventurer hauled that same weight by bicycle and backpack to Everest base camp from his native Sweden and then climbed to the summit without supplemental oxygen. Göran Kropp's ascent of Everest will go down in history as perhaps the most bizarre, astounding, but at the same time authentic, climb of all time."
--Matt Dickinson, author of The Other Side of Everest
"Kropp is a one-of-a-kind adventurer, a modern-day Viking. His insider's look at the 1996 Everest tragedy, in which eight people lost their lives during his own remarkable ascent of that mountain, is candidly revealing and utterly honest. A riveting read that recounts one of mountaineering's greatest adventures, Ultimate High is a lasting contribution to mountaineering literature."
--Ed Webster, publications director, the American Alpine Club
"Ultimate High is an exciting expedition not only into the extreme, hostile, and often deadly environment of Everest, but also a fascinating insight into the creative, resourceful, and dramatically persistent mind of a single mountaineer, Göran Kropp."
--Peter Athans, six-time Everest summiteer
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Description du livre Discovery Books, 1999. Hardcover. État : New. book. N° de réf. du libraire 156331830X
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Description du livre Discovery Books, 1999. Hardcover. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire P11156331830X
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