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ULTIMATE HIGH: MY EVEREST ODYSSEY Goran Kropp 1999 1st US ed Hardcover DJ Fine Multiple Copies Available
By Kropp, Goran
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New York, Discovery Books, 1999, 1st US edition. 227 pp, 25 color photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

One of the most remarkable events on Everest in May 1996 was the solo ascent by Goran Kropp, a Swede who rode his bicycle 8,000 miles from Sweden. 
 
This is a particularly rare book in the UK because there is on page 96 and 97 a section that was deemed libelous and as part of the settlement the UK publishers were required to call in and destroy all the books still in circulation that they could. This was caused by confusing two climbers and attributing the behavior of one to an absolutely blameless character. It is believed Kropp got the names mixed up.
 
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 Gran 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, trailer and more than 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.

Kropp 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').

Climbers who see Everest and other high peaks reduced to trophies kept in a china cabinet' are also despised--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 less than a month -- Kropp spent a few weeks recuperating in Kathmandu and then hopped on his bike for the long and rugged ride home.

Kropp died in 2002 in a rock climbing accident in the USA.

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