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Göran Kropp ist tot

Göran Kropp, der aussergewöhnliche Bergsteiger aus Sweden ist am 30 September 2002 in Amerika bei einem Kletterunfall gestorben.

Artikel aus the Globe and Mail aus Kanada (www.globeandmail.com)

'Most entertaining adventurer on Earth'

Mountaineer bicycled from Sweden to Nepal, climbed Everest, then biked back
By JAN WONG Saturday, October 12, 2002

Goran Kropp, a Swedish climber who famously bicycled from Stockholm to Kathmandu and back and ascended Mount Everest along the way, died on Sept. 30 in a mountaineering accident in Washington State. He was 35.
Mr. Kropp was on a climbing area near Frenchmen Coulee when his supports failed and he fell. The coroner for Kittitas County said Mr. Kropp, who was wearing a helmet, died of massive head injuries.
His companion, Renata Chlumska, a fellow climber, was notified by satellite phone in Nepal where she was leading a trek.
Mr. Kropp was renown among mountaineers for his meticulous preparation, environmental concerns and exuberant humour. During an interview for The Globe and Mail's Lunch With column last year, the climber acknowledged that he sometimes took elevators. Asked why, he replied, "Because they are there."
He made his living speaking. His presentations, more stand-up comedy than self-aggrandizement, included an appearance last year at the University of Toronto. National Geographic Adventure magazine called him "the most entertaining adventurer on Earth."
A strapping man of 6-foot-3 with thinning brown hair, friendly green eyes and a crooked front tooth, Mr. Kropp was fond of saying, "You only have one life to live. If you have two lives, it's a bonus."

He recounted his 1996 adventure in his book Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey. Of the 1,000 or so climbers who have made it to the top, only a few dozen have done so without Sherpas or bottled oxygen. Mr. Kropp considered porters an unjustifiable luxury while oxygen was akin to taking steroids to compete in the Olympics. "It changes the height of the mountain. They might as well climb Kilimanjaro," he once said disdainfully.
Mr. Kropp was so determined to preserve the purity of his Everest climb that he refused to take advantage of the path other climbers broke into the snow.
Certainly, he was the only one to bike there from Sweden. During the 11,000-kilometre route to Nepal, he took self-reliance to an extreme, dragging everything he needed, including food, in a trailer. To save weight, he determined he could make do with just one pair of underwear.
The journey to Nepal lasted four months and took him through Romania, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran. Along the way, he fixed 132 flat tires. The round trip took a year.
Mr. Kropp carried a satellite telephone as he climbed the world's highest peak. His dispatches, broadcast live on Swedish radio, inspired a generation of adventurers.
Asked during the lunch interview if he was considered a national hero, he replied with characteristic self-mocking, "I'm considered the national idiot."
He made three attempts in 23 days to summit Everest. The first time, he gave up 100 vertical metres from the top because he feared he might not make it back. "To turn around that close to the summit, that showed good judgment on young Goran's part," Rob Hall, an experienced guide from New Zealand, was quoted by Jon Krakauer in his bestseller, Into Thin Air.
By Mr. Kropp's third attempt, he was weakened from diarrhea. Breaking his own rules, he ate a tin of butter belonging to the film crew documenting his expedition -- and summoned the strength to make it to the top. Along the way, he passed by the frozen corpses of Mr. Hall and another experienced guide, Scott Fischer of Seattle. Scared to death, Mr. Kropp stayed four minutes on the summit, long enough to let out a victory whoop and snap a picture of his own ice-encrusted face.
His quixotic achievement had coincided with one of the deadliest years on Everest. A few days earlier, a storm had claimed 11 lives, including Mr. Hall and Mr. Fischer, a tragedy chronicled in Into Thin Air and the IMAX film Everest. Although a 1997 documentary, called I Made It,won the best-film category at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, Mr. Kropp's accomplishment remained a footnote.
In 1999, he returned to Everest, this time with Ms. Chlumska. A former model, she was the only girlfriend he ever had that didn't make him choose between her and the mountains, he once said. Her goal was to become the first Swedish woman to summit Everest, and she did that. Mr. Kropp and Ms. Chlumska also wanted to clean up some of the debris left by other climbers. Using auxiliary oxygen, they and four Sherpas hauled out 25 discarded canisters.
Lars Olaf Goran Kropp was born on Nov. 12, 1966, in Jonkoping, Sweden, the only child of Gerard Kropp, a human-rights lawyer, and Sigrun Hellmansson, a nurse. His father, who moved to Italy for the United Nations, once tucked baby Goran into a back carrier and took him up the Dolomites. When he was 6, his father coaxed him up Galdhoppigen, Norway's highest peak.
His parents later divorced. Goran (pronounced Your-Ann) spent his teens partying and rebelling, then joined the Swedish army. As a paratrooper, he turned again to mountaineering. To save money for expeditions, he gave up his apartment and lived in the forest. He trained by sleeping in a gravel ditch.
Mr. Kropp became the first Swede to climb K2, the world's second-highest peak, but technically more difficult than Everest. Then he hit the lecture circuit. With Ms. Chlumska, he later founded an adventure-travel company, Kropp & Aventyr, where they led treks to, yes, Mount Kilimanjaro, which is 5,700 metres, compared with Everest at 8,850.
Mr. Kropp charged corporations $7,000 a speech, but spoke for free at schools. He asked only that students raise money for his projects in Nepal, which included a clinic, a waterpower plant and a school for Sherpa children.
Safety was always a paramount concern. Mr. Kropp trained for nine years before attempting Everest. And he bought $15,000 worth of insurance a year, which included a rescue helicopter on demand. By pulling a knob on his $5,000 Breitling watch, he could summon the helicopter via satellite.
In 2000, he and another adventurer, Ola Skinnarmo, tried to become the first Swedes to ski to the North Pole. Mr. Kropp made the mistake of removing a glove and got frostbite on a finger. To save his hand, he ordered up the helicopter while Mr. Skinnarmo continued alone to the Pole.
During the trek, Mr. Kropp shot and killed a polar bear that was stalking them. "Either it was dinner, or I was," he later explained. Back in Sweden, Mr. Kropp was criticized for killing the bear.
Six months ago, he and Ms. Chlumska left Sweden, but he said it was because he wanted to live on the West Coast, which offered opportunities for both sailing and mountaineering. His plan for 2004 was to become the first person to sail solo to Antarctica, then ski 2,400 kilometres to the South Pole -- and back.
Twelve days ago, near Vantage, Wash., Mr. Kropp slipped on a short roadside climb. As he plunged, his rope ripped out five pieces of protective hardware -- all meant to arrest a fall. Erden Eruc, a Seattle climber who was belaying the rope, said it suddenly went slack and Mr. Kropp struck a rocky ledge 18 metres below, before continuing to the ground.
He leaves his parents, both of Sweden, and Ms. Chlumska, of Issaquah, Wash. A few days ago, she visited the accident site and found he had carved this onto a rock: "Always thumbs up. Kropp on Topp! Goran lives."

Goran Kropp, bicyclist, mountaineer, adventurer; born in Jonkoping, Sweden, on Nov. 12, 1966; died near Vantage, Wash., on Sept. 30, 2002.

Aus der schwedischen Zeitung Utsidan

Göran Kropp

Av Emil Hellström, Utsidan

A tragic death

Goran Kropp, my hero, has passed away in my presence on Monday September 30th, 2002 around 14:40. It was a sad day for humanity. We lost an exemplary human being who had impacted the lives of many of us.

That Monday was the first time that we were going to go climbing together. We had talked about this for about a year, and given his busy schedule, we had not been able to connect. I had been talking about climbing with my friend Marcus Hysert, and we were undecided about where to climb that day. I invited Goran Kropp and Richard Murphy as well, pending confirmation on Sunday evening as to the location. Given the iffy weather forecast, we chose to go to Frenchman Coulee near Vantage as it is usually dry there.

I drove with Richard and Marcus in Richard’s car to meet Goran at 10:00 at the lower parking lot by the bulletin board and the portapotties. When we arrived, the Coulee was deserted and Richard’s was the only car on the parking lot. We waited until about 10:20 and I asked Richard and Marcus to get started on their climbing, and that I would wait for Goran a few more minutes. We agreed that I would join them by the Sunshine Wall area.

Goran arrived around 10:40 driving like a madman down the winding pavement. He charged out of his car, apologizing profusely. I had no problems, just wanted to finally be with him to climb. As we were packing to get on the climber’s trail to the Sunshine Wall, he was telling me that he had to respond to the Outside Magazine that morning. The magazine wanted pictures from him for a feature article that was going to cover his upcoming expedition to trace the US borders in North America next year. He does not cease to surprise me, I thought. I asked if he needed a partner…

He kept talking to me about this next project. He was excited, he wanted to share, he wanted to tell me that he and Renata, his girlfriend, would start in the Northwest in Fall, follow the Pacific Coast in a folding double kayak. They would fold up the kayak at the Mexican border and carry all 32 pounds of it along the Mexican border. He was planning to cover the desert in winter. Then when they arrived at the Gulf of Mexico, they would get back in the kayak, around Florida up to Maine. I had to ask: ”so will you do the northern border too, you are not going to carry the kayak again, will you?” The answer was, yes he would carry it, and that he would actually need it on all the waterways and lakes that are on the northern border with Canada…

Goran and I had connected ever since I met him in Seattle during a slide show that he gave about his extraordinary trip from Sweden to Everest and back. He carried all the necessary gear and food for the climb on his bicycle to the base camp of Everest. He did summit Everest and helped in the tragic rescue efforts on the mountain as they unfolded that year. I had already read Goran’s book and I wanted to talk to the man, to find out what it took to pull off such a daunting challenge. He was most approachable, he listened to me, and he encouraged me to take on my own projects. He was a true hero all along.

We wound our way down to Sunshine Wall. When we found my friends, Marcus was leading Air Guitar (5.10a) in the King Pins area, and Richard was belaying. Goran and I decided that we could climb right next to my friends and keep the group together. After all, we all wanted to expand our circle of friends for future climbs.

We started with bolted arêtes to get comfortable with each other. Goran had said that he had been to the area only a few times before, so I was opting to belay him and to have him enjoy the climbs. We would pull the rope, and I would lead it also. Among others, we did lead Whipsaw (5.9), and top roped Pony Keg (5.10a), a crack climb right next to Whipsaw. Goran looked solid and strong in the crack as I was belaying him. When he came down, Goran said he felt challenged in that crack and we talked about how we should go on a Yosemite road trip to get him to become a crack climbing expert.

By this time, Air Guitar (5.10a) was the only climb left accessible from the ledge on which we were standing. Richard and Marcus were already climbing to our right around the corner, visible from our ledge. We considered moving next to them. Somehow, Goran accepted to lead Air Guitar. I did not object, as this crack climb is one of the better climbs in the area with clean rock that will take protection well except for the very top. Guidebook said that there is supposed to be a bolt at the top to supplement gear placements.

Goran started climbing, and I belayed him using a Petzl Reverso. He placed a small nut then what seemed like a #2 yellow TCU. The other gear that I could identify after we left the scene included a #3 red TCU, a #1 red Camalot, and a #3 blue Camalot. I am not certain if he placed any more gear.

Just before I looked down to my feet while belaying, I saw him near the top, with a piece of protection by his foot. He had to have been about 20 meters up on the climb. We were using a 60-meter rope and earlier in the day, had plenty of extra rope when we rappelled from the anchors of the climbs that we were doing. Then I heard a commotion above me. Goran was falling.

He was falling and I saw his first piece pull. His rope went slack. My instinct was to duck and I crouched low into the corner to take up the slack. I think I pulled some rope through the belay device, but I am not sure. I did throw my left arm into the lead line to press it closer to the ground as I did crouch. It wrapped my arm once, caught my left biceps and cinched it. I was not wearing a shirt. It appeared after the fact that the belay action was delivered by the one loop around my arm that resulted in a full circle rope burn with trauma and I did not feel much pull on my belay device.

I heard him impact just behind me on the 2-3 meter wide shelf, and then there was silence. It all happened very quickly. I looked up and there was only one piece left on the climb, the #2 TCU. All other gear had pulled in sequence as he came down. The rope went from me to the TCU, and then down to Goran who was now laying on his back on the climber’s trail below the King Pins.

I got off the belay. I could not see Richard who was belaying Marcus who was half way up another climb to climber’s right with respect to me. I yelled to Marcus to immediately lower and help me.

When I descended next to Goran, his helmet had shattered and was not on his head. He had cuts on his head. His skull felt solid where I could touch him. He had no pulse, no breathing. He was losing a lot of blood from his head. He had no pupil response and they were dilated. There was a great deal of blood on the talus and that blood trailed to where he was laying. I speculate that the only piece that remained on the climb pulled him back onto the trail from the talus. Given the amount of blood on the talus and the severity of the injuries, I have no doubt that he died on first impact with the shelf.

I had just received training as a Wilderness First Responder. I knew the drill. There was mechanism of injury for intra cranial bleeding, for spinal injury, for severe trauma on all organs. I had to restore breathing, I had to restore pulse, I had to stop the bleeding. After a while, I was applying CPR with my right arm only, as my left arm had become useless at this point. Positive pressure ventilation did not help.

Richard pulled me away from Goran and started to tend to me. I wanted to go back, plug his bleeding but it was the most helpless situation. I thought I was trained, ready to care for anyone and reality was in front of me. I was experiencing Acute Stress Reaction. My hands, my chest, my face, my temples were all tingly; my hair was standing on end. I was getting dizzy. My left hand was going numb at the same time. I deduced that was due the trauma to the left arm, but why was my right hand also mirroring the same symptoms? I was hyperventilating, and Richard kept talking to me. He took my pulse. He made me lay down behind a rock so he could attend to Goran, asking me to take slower breaths. I felt helpless and weak.

Marcus had run up to the parking lot, found other climbers and placed a call to 911. Soon a gentleman arrived who said he was trained in first aid. I told him that I was OK, that Richard and I had cleared me for spinal injury, that I had no impacts, no falls, and no mechanism of injury that I could tell for vital organs.

Soon after that, a team of Fire Rescue folks arrived on the scene. Then, Sgt Andrew Quen arrived by a military helicopter from 54 Med Co out of Ft Lewis, WA. The crew of that helicopter hovered over us repeatedly: they first lowered Sgt Quen by cable to assess the scene of the accident. Their decision was to hoist me up with Sgt Quen, to buckle me in, to lower Sgt Quen back down, then to lower the litter, to pick up the litter after Goran was secured, then to finally pick up Sgt Quen.
The crew of that helicopter was doing the most dangerous thing for a helicopter, hovering over us. I told Sgt Quen to not take any additional risks, that I could walk out on short rope. He convinced me that I should ride with them. After all was said and done, given my mental condition after the accident, I understand that he was right.

Monday was a sad day for humanity.

I lost a friend.

I lost my hero.


I am estimating that the accident happened around 14:40 at Frenchman Coulee, in the King Pins area of Sunshine Wall on Air Guitar. The cause of death was falling on rock due to multiple protection pieces that came out of the crack. There was severe trauma to head, spine and internal organs. Coroner’s report says: ”Severe Head Injuries, due to Blunt Force Trauma.”

I was unable to restore Goran’s breathing, nor his pulse and had to stop around 15:00. When Richard checked the time, it was 15:11 at which time Richard assisted me away from Goran and laid me down. One Camp wire-gate carabiner had sheared next to the stem and was found on the scene. I am not certain if any other pro was attached to that quickdraw. The Grant County Sheriff has kept that hardware as evidence. I have a nut, a #3 TCU, a #1 Camalot and a #3 Camalot that I have identified as the gear involved in the accident.