July 1, 2005

Swedish kayaker to paddle around the U.S.

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Swedish adventurer is preparing topaddle from Seattle on July 4 in an attempt to become the firstperson to circumnavigate the entire continental United Statesby kayak and bike.

Renata Chlumska, 31, a kayaker, scuba diver and mountaineerwho has climbed Mount Everest, said she hopes that the 480-daytrip will inspire others, especially women and young girls.

"As a young girl at the Mount Everest base camp, I gotinspired by the women I saw climbing," Chlumska said, "Girlscan do anything today ... if they learn failure is a part oflearning."

Chlumska had originally planned to do the kayak-bikeadventure with her fiance, fellow adventurer Goran Kropp, whowas killed in a 2002 climbing accident near Seattle.

Kropp became famous for a 1996 journey in which he rode hisbicycle with all his equipment 6,900 miles from Sweden toNepal, climbed Mt. Everest without porters or supplementaloxygen, then bicycled back home to Sweden.

The total distance Chlumska is expected to cover is 11,200miles, with the first leg taking her south from Seattle to SanDiego. Mapped satellite positions of her location and journalentries will be posted on her Web site athttp://www.renatachlumska.com.