You are at the start of your career. You received awards and honours. You have every chance to become a national hero. You must feel a huge pressure to achieve and meet the expectations of others.
Indeed, it can be problematic in Poland. The general idea is that success means beating records or reaching the tops and that failing to do so means a shame and failure. A lot of people are burning themselves in the course of such thinking. I think that the key is to have a completely different perspective. You must focus to organise the expedition and to survive it. And if you achieve something on the way should be a secondary matter.
Do you manage to do that?
I was lucky to meet many wise people on my way, including people from the business sector who never gave me money like that, but taught me how to make things finance themselves. To create a structure that will allow me to achieve my goals. Thanks to this approach I have no pressure, I do what I feel until it is reasonable and safe. And I have great fun doing it. Finding joy in spending my time in the mountains is elementary to me. And finding it in realising new projects, exploring new terrains, getting to know new cultures.
Didn’t you feel aggrieved when you had been turned back just before reaching the peak during your first expedition to the Himalayas?
I accepted it somehow. In the beginning it was not easy but now I know that it was a right decision. At the national trips there is always a manager who makes decisions about the next moves of the climbers. At the end of the peak conquest at Manaslu it turned out that part of the crew is not able to continue the expedition and that we need to go back. People were tired. I felt up to climbing up but I was the youngest, the quickest, and the most fit. Besides, I was using my skis so it was easier for me too. I did not reach the peak but it was an amazing adventure anyway. When everyone were resting at the camp I would go skiing. I was riding in the powder as at that time there had been a fresh snowfall. It was my first time in the Himalayas. A dream came true. The childhood imagination teamed with the information we read and the images we come across create a magic of the highest mountains in our minds. And suddenly I am there and I can ski. From my perspective at that time it was a totally abstract life event, an extraordinary moment.
The interview continues in the print version of the USTA Magazine. Available in Empik, press salons and in our online shop.
text: Karolina Rogalska, photos: Robert Ceranowicz
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