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.