Kyle in Lake Assal, Djbouti

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Remembering a Legend

The seed for Low2High: Africa was planted in 2006 after I read 'Ultimate High' by Göran Kropp, a Swedish mountaineer who in 1996 rode his bicycle from Sweden to Nepal, towing all his gear on a trailer, and then climbed to the summit of Mount Everest without oxygen. It is one of the most incredible adventures anyone in the world has ever done, and it has inspired many expeditions since. 

I was living in Sacramento at the time and took a trip to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley with some friends. As I stood in Badwater Basin in southern California, looking up at the 'Sea Level' marker in the rock above me, I was thinking about Kropp and decided to one day have my own expedition from the lowest to highest points of North America, connecting Badwater Basin and Denali by bicycle.

I had to push the idea to the back of my head as I continued my service with AmeriCorps. Two years later, I was off to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps and the idea resurfaced. What about lowest to highest, in Africa? It was then that I started seriously planning my expedition.

I tried to follow Kropp's philosophy of self-sufficiency as much as possible. I really wanted to honor his memory with my expedition. In March, 2011, I stood on the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro feeling that I'd done just that.

It was ten years ago, today, that Göran Kropp died in a climbing accident in Washington State. His memory lives on, and he continues to inspire. People will keep pushing the limits in his honor. R.I.P. brother. 

Göran Kropp wikipedia