6th of February
That day I was faster than the Sun. When the last rays illuminate the other hemisphere of the earth, I was already on the way to the place from which we had to go. We, that is: Maciej, Albert, Kuba, and I of course (yes, climbing environment is definitely dominated by men). I met Albert two years ago, when with the help of Aleksandra Ballada (great instructor, which opened in front of me climbing world) I have put my first steps on the climbing wall. When Aleksandra went to another city, we climbed together in the “Tower” wall and often leaving together.
Albert is rather introverted, full of peace and the very cool mind. When he climbs, making it extremely easy, considering every next move. After descending from the rock with the same composure and fascination talks about various physical and mathematical laws. Speaking about the genius of the greatest physicists and mathematicians, rises heavenward gaze, as if he were in prayer. His consequence in achieving the aim, willingness to help and sacrifice for passion, is undoubtedly a good role model for both climbers and all other people.
In the “Tower” I met many wonderful people, among whom was also Maciej. Love to the high mountains and music of Sigur Rós meant that I quickly found a common language with him. He is a very fascinating man, full of desire to adventure, big ambitions and deep faith. I remember his remarkable stories of crazy travels across the United States, where you could listen for hours. Open to people, full of energy, kindness, always with outstretched hand towards the other man.
My third companion was Kuba, which I saw then for the second time in my life. Short period of time that we spent together made that I don’t know a lot about him. I do not know anything about his childhood, his greatest and worst memories, what he saw in life. But undoubtedly this time was enough to give me reason to conclude that this is a very positive person. It was his first trip to the rocks, because recently began to climb, but possessed an extraordinary motivation which enabled him to gain some beautiful routes. Filled with the desire to study with an open mind absorbed knowledge of the theories of climbing and successfully used it in practice. He definitely has a great aptitude for climbing. May just do not want to stop!
February may seem rather strange month to practice rock climbing, especially in Poland. Usually at the beginning of the year the whole country is covered with a thick layer of snow, and the air temperature drops considerably below -15 Celsius degrees. Usually, but not now. Now, when there is not a trace of snow and temperatures below zero turned into as much as 10 Celsius degrees . In the depths of my heart I feel great pity, because I am attracted more in mountaineering, and now in the Tatras conditions are pretty bad. However, climbers have an unusual ability to use ANY weather conditions, so instead of the Tatras were rocks of Jura, exactly area of Olsztyn.
Frosty wind came up to the car when I opened the door. A few meters from us there were rocks on which we spent that day. Not intimidating height, but you can find them intimidating difficulty.
The sun was rising lazily somewhere behind the hills. We had to wait long to feel the first rays, because the sky was overcast that day. Only three hours’ drive to be among beautiful landscapes, beautiful rocks and fresh air. The air in such places have the freedom. As if it was created with its microscopic pieces. The more you breathe it into your lungs, the more it hovers you above the ground. And you fly like a balloon filled with helium. Increasingly, above the heavens, toward infinity.
We walked up the hill on which was another rock. Stretching out from it an extraordinary view of the vast forests, hills, distant rocks, and the ruins of the famous castle in Olsztyn. One legend says that there is a ghost of Maciek Borkowic – governor of Poznań, policy opponent of King Kazimierz Wielki (Casimir the Great). When the exile he returned to the country, was captured in Kalisz and sentenced to death by starvation in the dungeons below the main tower of the castle. How was it really – it’s hard to say. But certainly over the last centuries, this place survived a lot. Certainly Maciej Borkowic dying in the sufferings did not think that in the twenty-first century there will be a group of climbers from Kalisz. For us also it is difficult to imagine that after us come another generation. Perhaps they destroy what for us is now so great treasure and will build another shopping mall there. Unfortunately destruction in the name of economic development is spreading more and more. It would not surprise me if cities, shops and factories will stand on places of rocks. And someone while shopping will not realize that on-site shelf of breakfast cereal was a limestone rock, and that there were people who spent hours on it fighting with difficulties, defeating themselves.
But until the rocks are in its place, we should use them. Therefore, as soon as possible we took out the equipment and preparing to climb. Even if the conditions were not winter, it must be remembered that it was still early February! Putting climbing shoes was close to inserting a leg in the freezer, and touching the rocks by hands meant that the blood in the body almost changed into ice. I started to climb up first, naively thinking that in this way I quickly warm up. Nothing could be further from the truth than this!
The first road on which we climbed were very easy. Good grips and steps were almost everywhere. However, due to the cold, I totally do not feel anything. My hands turned almost into the ice. I was in the middle of the route and I wanted to give up, shout “block” and go down. However, precisely in such moments, we can not afford to guiding us our weakness. We need to oppose and move on, ignoring the pain and difficulties. Such an attitude in the future could save our lives!
I gritted my teeth and went up. The roads were not lucky long, so pretty soon I was at the top. I thought that the worst was behind me, but again I was wrong. When the hands do not touch the cold rocks, began to thaw. Probably every one of you knows this uncomfortable feeling. But I did not think that it can be so painful. I stood at the top and refrain from screaming in pain. I was not able to tie a knot to rap down. A few minutes I was struggling with undo a knot. Fortunately, on this rock was possible to descend without a rope, as the area gradually fell. I took advantage of this option.
My motivation also froze. I know that climbing is not a pure pleasure. I’m used to the pain, freezing, blood, and withstand many other unpleasant things. However, it was the apogee. Albert had similar feelings.
However, we decided that we will continue to climb. It is a bit masochistic passion, but worth the sacrifice. We tried to do as little interruption to keep the body in constant motion. When we increased the difficulty, hands warmed up a little.
When Albert being assisted on a rope by Kuba and worked on one of the routes, I went with Maciej climb below. We went down the hill and went to the “Słoneczny Filar” on the valuation VI +. Valuation is not high, but the road was not at all trivial. Maciej after several attempts managed to do it. He showed a very high determination. Iwent through it by toproping and it seemed very easy, but when I ran it, completely forgot moves and in the end I could not do it. However, I am sure that soon (maybe this week) going back and try again!
During our climb, we were visited by Artur and Krzysztof, some of the greatest experts on the Jura and wonderful, open people. World climbing consists mainly of very positive people willing to share their experience. Perhaps this is due to the fact that when we do in life what we really love and use the time given to us on Earth, we are happy and share this happiness with others.
Albert did in a beautiful style that route he was working at. The reward was to watch the sun setting behind the mountains from the top. That was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sunsets in my life. It was clear as day slowly gives way to night. The moon rose up higher and higher, when the whole landscape shimmered in shades of orange. I climbed up on one of the highest points of the surrounding area and watched the spectacle. Once again, I looked at the ruins of the castle and wondered exactly which way went, my grandfather, when he followed the Eagles’ Nests Trail (the trail has a length of almost 164km and is located between Krakow and Częstochowa). In the old dailies of my grandfather, I found information that he once went along this trail, so he had to be in this place, because Olsztyn Castle is one of the objects on it. Maybe even touched the same rocks, stood in the same place …
We climbed two roads in the glow of the moon. Maciej tried to “Droga Piszczyka” VI.1 +, but unfortunately he has to wait a little longer. I made a beautiful and very easy “Słoneczna Rysa“on the valuation V. We rode under the stars with a sense of great used time. Sleep after such a day is the most beautiful.