Just climbing the highest peak on earth not tough enough for you? Why not just add a 12,000km bike ride to get there as just a little warm-up? And why not cycle back as well?
That’s exactly what Swedish mountaineer Göran Kropp decided to do in 1995 and which is wittingly covered in his book Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey
In October of that year Kropp set out from Sweden on a specially-designed bicycle with 108 kg (240 lb) of gear and food.. Over the next four months he cycled some 12000km across Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. He finally arrived at Everest Base Camp in April 1996.
Following a meeting of all of the Everest expeditions currently on the mountain, it was agreed that Kropp would attempt to summit first. On May 3, Kropp blazed a trail through thigh-deep snow and reached a point 100m from the summit. However, Kropp decided to turn around because it was too late in the day and if he continued, he would be descending at dark. While Kropp recovered from the ordeal at base camp, the 1996 Everest Disaster unfolded. Numerous books have been written about that deadliest Everest season ever with Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster and Anatoli Boukreev’s The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest arguably being the most notorious ones.
Kropp helped with the rescuing works and medicine supply up the mountain during that deadly day taking the lives of eight climbers.
Three weeks later, on May 23, Kropp again tackled the mountain, this time successfully summitting without extra oxygen support.
After having returned safely from the top at base camp Kropp spent a few weeks recuperating in Kathmandu, together with his girlfriend Renata Chlumska, and then hopped on his bike for the long and rugged ride home. Chlumska joined him on the bike ride home and they made it back to their beloved Sweden several months after.
In 2005 Renata Chlumska wrote adventuring history herself by making the first self-supported trip by kayak and bicycle around the periphery of the United States’ lower 48 States, covering a distance of more than 11,600 miles [Full Story here].
A kickass trip indeed.