The End Is The Beginning

WERSJA POLSKA

I was standing on an almost vertical section of the road looking for a place to drive a crampons. Below me was a few yards a similar but much easier terrain. Snow made comfortable steps there so without much problem we could climb higher and higher. But now dominated rock covered with a layer of ice on which crampons did not wanted to stay, and ice ax entered in some places up to half. But it was not climbing wall from which I can just jump off, but the mountains, where sometimes the only way is the way forward.

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I had to trust uncertain steps and continue climbing. Once again I thrust my ice ax into the frozen snow cover, wounding my hands razor-sharp layer of frozen snow. After a while, I was already at the top, leaving behind a heavy moment. To the top of Szpiglasowy Wierch (2172m) separated me and my two companions just a few minutes easy approach.

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Me, Tomek and Zofia on the top of Szpiglasowy Wierch


I met Zofia and Tomek a few hours earlier. Together we stayed in room number 5 in the Old Shelter in Morskie Oko. Both came from the north of our country, but nonetheless often went into the mountains. Zofia visited even one of the highest mountain ranges in the world, so Karakorum. With great interest I listened to her stories about the majestic walls of K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and Gasherbrums, which she admired while climbing on the 6,000m peak.
In this small person I found a great inspiration, because she contains in herself all the values that count for me in life. She is full of optimism, kindness, warmth, curiosity and passion. Despite her age (still young, but compared to my person she is much more mature woman) she did not choose armchair and complaining about politicians, but the road leading through the magnificent mountain ranges, which, though difficult to go, is definitely worth every effort. I would like to in the future become a person at least a little similar to her character.

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Another source of inspiration for me was Tomek, who, though seemingly a bit cold and distant, has in himself a lot of warmth and joy. He also has a fascinating path of life, which led by the physical and philosophical studies, ending with the military. Of course, it is also closely linked to the mountains, as well as the interior of the earth, because he is also a speleologist. In a word, he is a very comprehensive person, with an open mind. That is quite a rare species.

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On the summit blew cold and gusty wind, but in the face of such great beauty it was hard to pay attention to anything other than the ocean of mountains that was around us, reaching up to the horizon. I felt I was at home. It was hard to climb down, but part of me will stay there forever. The pieces of my soul will be stuck in any shoe imprint in this rock and ice temple.

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It was the perfect end to of the old year and at the same time a great entry into a new, hopefully better 2015 year.
According to tradition, the New Year began in the Old Shelter in the Morskie Oko, then, in a slightly more cheerful condition, move to New Shelter, and there continue almost without end. I was dancing nearly constantly, sometimes faster, sometimes slightly slower. Being tossing, rotating, tilting, but strangely happy. I do not like dancing during the events full of people, but New Year’s Eve at the Morskie Oko is an exception for me. It’s a completely different place and completely different people. This is the second family, a second home.

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New Shelter in Morskie Oko
Taking photos with Grzegorz during the night when temperature was -25*C. It was the first time I froze my toe.
Taking photos with Grzegorz during the night when temperature was -25*C. It was the first time I froze my toe. But it was worth it!

Countdown also according to tradition, took place outside on the surface of the lake. We were together when the old year gave way to the new, and this is probably the best omen. Starting something with such wonderful people, I have a belief that it will be something beautiful.

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We danced for a long time, until the very end, which came at 5.00 in the morning. Although last night I hardly slept, I agreed to go with Martyna, Agnieszka and Grzegorz to Dolinka za Mnichem to see Sunrise. And although it did not look like we expected because very thick fog came, it was worth to start the first day of the new year by this nice touch.

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Agnieszka, Martyna and Grzegorz
Agnieszka, Martyna and me
Agnieszka, Martyna and me || Photography: Grzegorz Sierpiński

Unfortunately, a lot of things during this trip turned out to be different than I thought. I wanted to climb on Mnich, but due to bad weather (strong wind, high temperatures) my course has been canceled. In addition, a colleague with whom I was supposed to climb twisted his knee the day before my arrival, swimming in the lake also did not take place due to bad weather. Almost everyone left the shelter and I had no prospects for the next days. A moment later, the level of avalanche danger rose to 3, the wind began to blow with great speed, and I returned home earlier.

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Mnich

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Tears came to my eyes, but I had to understand that mountains are unpredictable, that they teach us humility. Climbers often carried across the world to spend a few weeks in a tent, waiting for better weather. And even though it leads them to the border of madness, success tastes completely different then. If we had a guarantee that we will get what we desire without any obstacles, it would lose much value. We want to try, we want to fight and feel this uncertainty, which speeds up the heart rate, which gives the spice of life.

We should not worry about the things that we do not have any influence on. Although I have not gained the top of Mnich during this trip, I know that when I will finally be there, I will be even happier than if I could accomplish this without a hitch.
Moreover the lack of weather connected me with many wonderful people with whom I spent many hours on the fascinating conversations, deepening my knowledge about photography, books, and the world. Those were wonderful moments I will never forget.
I would like to thank everyone with whom I was able to share these wonderful days for a lot of warmth, kindness, inspiration and a smile. Each stay in the Old Shelter increasingly convinces me that the mountains are a place that combines truly unique and valuable people.

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Aleksandra

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