On April 13, a meeting dedicated to passion was held in the auditorium. Paweł Kubalski talked about his lifelong fascination with the mountains. It all started in the Tatras, when as a teenager he went exploring caves with a friend. Although the interior of the mountains did not make a great impression on him, he was bitten by the wandering bug for life. Soon, Mr. Paweł walked all the tourist trails in the Polish Tatras, and during his studies at the then SGPiS (now SGH) in Warsaw, he tried winter climbing as a member of the Academic Mountaineering Club: first in the Tatras, then in the Caucasus, in the Alps and finally in South America, where he gained Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. On the border of Argentina and Chile, where the first Polish expedition arrived in 1934 and the Argentines named the glacier located there the Polish Glacier to commemorate it, Paweł and his colleagues returned in the 1980s. Another trip took place in the Indian Himalayas to Satopant, where the Bhagirathi flows from the Gangotri Glacier – the main source river of the Ganges, a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. The members of the expedition spent Easter at a campsite in New Delhi, celebrating the day of Resurrection with Easter eggs with the inscriptions “Solidarity”, “Long live Lech”, “Nobel 1983”, which turned out to be quite prophetic with time!
In the late 1980s, under the leadership of the charismatic mountaineer Andrzej Zawada, Paweł participated in a Polish-British-Canadian winter expedition to K2, which reached 7300 meters of the mountain and was interrupted due to weather conditions (by the way: the first winter ascent of K2 took place in 2021 r.). A few years later, Paweł Kubalski and two mountaineers reached the top of Mount Batura I (7795 m above sea level) – the northwesternmost part of the Karakoram Mountains in Pakistan. The descent took place in dramatic circumstances due to the bad weather. Despite many injuries caused during the struggle with weather conditions (three unplanned camps without equipment at an altitude above 7000 m), the summiteers came back safe and sound from the expedition.
Climbing passion became a way for an interesting and successful life, during which Paweł met wonderful people, visited many exotic places in times of relative closure of Poland and its inhabitants within the borders of the Communist bloc countries. The most important message turned out to be the belief in freedom and the will to fight: with oneself, with the elements, with adversities and the conviction that one must never give up!
(text: Beata Ciacek; photo: Beata Ciacek)