Renata Chlumska – 439 Days Around The USA By Kayak And Bike

Posted on the Ultralist:
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 09:59:44 -0700
From: Martha
Subject: Ultra-kayaking (Non-Ultrarunning Content)

For those interested in adventure and/or Everest articles: One woman’s amazing journey around America (text below):

For more info. on Goran Kropp, see link below (text copied below 1st story):

It took her 439 days to kayak and bike around U.S.


Renata Chlumska paddled into Moss Bay to a hero’s welcome Friday — friends draped in flags of her native Sweden, others waving miniflags, holding signs, clapping loudly, holding champagne bottles waiting to be popped.

After 439 days circumnavigating the continental United States — thought to be the first time this was accomplished — kayaking through ocean swells, biking through desert conditions, witnessing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Chlumska was overjoyed to have reached her journey’s end.

Her return to Seattle on Friday marked the end of a one-of-a-kind circumnavigation of the continental U.S. The 11,000-mile trip through 30 states by kayak and bicycle began July 4, 2005. Docking at Lake Union a little after 2 p.m., Chlumska was at once relieved and happy to have completed the 11,000-mile trek that took her through 30 states in fewer than the 480 days she had planned.

“I’m just overwhelmed,” Chlumska said. “I was shaking this morning. I’m still trembling. But it’s a great feeling. It’s worth it. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be the same thing.”

Chlumska, 32, left Lake Union on July 4, 2005. Her journey, which she updated regularly on her Web site, was split into four legs.

On the first leg, she kayaked down the Pacific coast to San Diego. That was followed by a biking expedition to Brownsville, Texas. Then she kayaked around the Gulf of Mexico and up the Atlantic coast to Eastport, Maine. From there, she biked and kayaked her way back to Seattle.

“There have been days I felt really tired,” Chlumska said. “But there haven’t been days I wanted to give up. I knew those moments of weakness, I would regret. You just have find a way to work yourself through it.”Chlumska said she also learned a lot about the United States.

She had been to the country before, but never for this long and this immersed. The people she met, the random strangers who were always willing to help, took her aback. She loved the scenery, especially the unexpected beauty of the Rio Grande. And she was shocked at the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, as she arrived in the Gulf Coast region nearly four months after the storm.

The trip was physically and mentally taxing. This is a woman who climbed Mount Everest, biked from Nepal to Sweden and rode a motorcycle from India to Sweden. But this trip, originally planned as a two-person expedition with her late fiance Goran Kropp, who died in a climbing accident in Eastern Washington in 2002, was difficult because of its solitude, as well a its scope.

Aside from her boyfriend biking the second leg with her and meeting up with her parents in the Great Lakes, the trip was undertaken almost entirely alone.

“It’s definitely a closure for me,” Chlumska said. “It’s like one chapter has been closed and I’m starting a new one.”

She said she does not know what’s next for her. She will be in Seattle through the end of the month, staying with friends and relaxing. Then it’s back to her hometown of Jonkoping, Sweden, where she’ll decide her future plans.

Her immediate goal, however, was much more tangible.

“I really want a shower.”

Retrace Renata Chlumska’s journey on the Web at
News Release
Seattle – October 1, 2002
News story

SEATTLE, Wash. (October 1, 2002) – Professional adventurer Goran Kropp died from a fall yesterday while climbing a popular route called Air Guitar near Frenchman Coulee in Vantage, Washington. The Grant County Coroner’s Office in Yakima listed head injuries as the cause of death. Kropp, who was belayed by Seattle climber Erden Eruc had reached the exit point of the climb when his gear ripped out from the crack and he fell 75 feet. Eruc said that Kropp died on impact. Kropp and Eruc were airlifted by a M.A.S.T. helicopter to Valley Memorial Hospital in Yakima.

The Grant County Coroner’s Office took jurisdiction of the body from the Yakima County Coroner’s Office and he was brought back to the Grant County Forensic Institute where an external examination was performed.

Kropp relocated earlier this year from Sweden to Seattle with his fiancee, Renata Chlumska. Chlumska was guiding a group of clients to Mt. Everest base camp at the time and was contacted via satellite phone by friend Kaj Bune in Seattle, a photographer and Helly Hansen sports marketing manager who recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with the couple. Chlumska is in route to Seattle. Bune also was in contact with Kropp’s father in Sweden this morning.

Kropp is recognized around the world for his epic 1996 adventure when he rode his bike 7,000 miles from Sweden to Nepal, climbed Everest without porters or supplemental oxygen, and biked home with all of his gear. He was a popular motivational speaker and was frequently covered by the international press. National Geographic Adventure magazine named him “The Most Entertaining Adventurer on Earth” in a May 2002 feature story and in its current issue, Outside magazine called him “a role model for the next 25 years.” of adventure. Kropp co-authored a book about his adventures with writer David Lagercrantz titled Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey, and his documentary film I Made It: Goran Kropp’s Incredible Journey to the Top of the World won the distinguished Best of Banff Award at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the grandfather of all outdoor film competitions, in 1998.

Kropp and Chlumska were planning a 10,000-mile kayaking and hiking circumnavigation of the United States starting next July from their home in Washington. Within the next four years he was planning his ultimate adventure to sail solo from Seattle to Antarctica, ski unsupported to the South Pole and back, and sail home.

Goran is survived by his father Gerard, Sweden; mother, Sigrun, Sweden; and, Chlumska, Issaquah, Washington.

Goran Kropp Bio

There are famous mountaineers. There are world-renowned polar explorers. There are legendary cyclists, skiers and sailors. And then there was Goran Kropp, the Swedish adventurer who climbed the world’s tallest peaks, biked across continents and traveled to and across the world’s most forbidding landscapes unassisted – without porters, supply drops, supplemental oxygen or any outside help whatsoever.
Goran is most recognized for his 1996 journey, when he cycled from his home in Sweden across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, summited Mt. Everest without oxygen, then cycled home with all of his supplies. Last year, Outside magazine crowned the “Crazy Swede” as one of the world’s top 50 outdoor adventurers in recognition of his Everest expedition and dozens of equally challenging “purist” journeys. He tackled each expedition in harmony with nature, which means by unsupported missions that left no trace of his passing. In 1999, he climbed Everest for a second time with Chlumska and contributed to a clean-up effort on the mountain by hauling out 25 spent oxygen canisters that littered the South Col.

In 2001 Goran attempted to ski unsupported to the North Pole but had to abandon the trip halfway through due to frostbite suffered after a polar bear attack. He intended to tackle that trip again in the near future. Goran’s next big mission, planned for 2004, was to sail single-handedly from Sweden through the treacherous waters of the Southern Hemisphere to Antarctica, ski 2,400km solo to the South Pole – and make the return trip.

His daring exploits began as a young army officer in a Swedish infantry regiment, when he trained for alpine expeditions by sleeping in a gravel pit. His tough, self-imposed program included setting his alarm clock at random – if he woke at 3 a.m., he would walk 30km with full combat gear. If he woke at 6 a.m., he’d walk 60 kilometers.

“I wanted to get used to living with the unexpected,” he said.

While Goran’s accomplishments were elite, he was an extremely approachable person with a great sense of humor and down-to-earth attitude. Goran and Renata traveled the world lecturing on adventure, personal challenge and mental training. He spoke on a level that inspired all audiences to pursue a fun, exhilarating life whether the adventures were small or Everest-sized. His words are captured in his self-authored book Ultimate High: My Everest Odyssey published by Discovery Books.

Goran dedicated his free time to benefitting underprivileged regions visited during his travels. Over the past few years he built a school, a hospital and a power plant for a small Nepalese village in the Himalayas and established a charitable organization in Sweden to collect funds and supplies for these projects. The home of multiday running news and events.


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