Wednesday 26 August 2009 Zakopane, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland

This time I woke up entirely by myself my body felt charged with energy although I hadn’t slept for a long time I felt that this was my inner alarm clock or the mountain telling me to go, the perfect time, but the clock was only 03:04 I woke up my friend and asked him if he wanted to go now, NO! he said, ok maybe I should try to sleep more, but it was impossible so I decided to go by myself if he didn’t want to go, I told him so and got up, he pulled himself together and we used our headlamps to take all of our stuff out of the room, for a while I had a dark thought that I should lit all the light in the room to get back to the other guys that played that trick the night before, but since the others roomies behaved with full respect I left it with just a thought. I went down in the mountain cottage and made a breakfast of apple cake and 24 hours old coffee it was actually great. Then I tried to get out from the building but I couldn’t all doors were locked, this is crazy, do we really have to wait until the staff gets up? But I found a door with a sign “STOP only for staff” so I tried that door and it was open, then I found an emergency exit, did I dare to try it or was it an alarm on it? Of course I had to try it, it worked well and now we were outside in the pitch dark morning. It was time to use our headlamps, it was a very adventurous feeling to walk in the dark and imagine all the bears that were in the vicinity looking at us from a distance/? it was little bit cool and humid but it were the perfect temperature for this climb.
When we were up at the second lake we could see without our headlamps, it started to get steeper and I started to regret that I had so much stuff in my backpack, just in case, so I left one of the water bottles on the trail, I had five liters of drinking water and juice with me, that’s a lot especially when the “scrambling” started, this mountain was steeper than anything I had climbed before without climbing gear, there were a lot of chain to hold on to and the combination of strong wind gusts and an ice cold chain, and my fear of height made this a damn real challenge. At one point I just sat on a small cliff trying to breathe and avoid looking down. I was thinking “this is more than I can handle”. But then we met the two other team members that were on their way down (they had slept on the mountain and had made an even earlier top climb). Their confidence and attitude helped me a lot and they also took my backpack down a bit. So now I only had my raincoat and one bottle Red Bull with me. It started to get really cloudy so sometimes you could watch down and enjoy the view or get scared by it. I guess both ways applied to me. I rested a few meters below the top while enjoying my Red Bull and realizing that I had basically made it, Incredible! Then I continued the few meters up to the top, up there was a friendly group of Slovak people. But then it came even more people from the Slovak side, they told us it was an easier climb from that side. Because the crowd was getting bigger I took a few shots and then started for the descent. I had feared it, because now I had to look down more, but I was so focused on holding on to the chains that I soon got in my Superman mode and was almost running down. After the chains I found my backpack and brought it on. While walking down I started to meet the other climbers heading for the top. I guess they were a mix of Russian, Polish, Slovak and German people, mostly. The most interesting thing was that my perspectives of heights were quite different. I started to really enjoy the view while walking/climbing down; of course I had to be careful so I didn’t slip on the stones. Down at the second lake I meet the other team members and had a short rest before we took the last descent to the first lake. It was now really warm so I had to get rid of my top clothes. We all agreed on leaving this cramped camp. So we started to walk down to the horse wagons. We wanted to explore this kind of relaxing transportation; we had to pay 30 zloty for each person. I guess this was the first rip off on this journey, we later found out that the Polish people only had to pay 10 zloty each, ehh. We all got a real back massage on this bumpy ride. We found our car, filled it up and drove to some kind of skiing resort without any snow were we found a great restaurant. The funny thing was that although they knew that we didn’t speak Polish they shouted the name of each dish when it was ready, ehh?
So I made the joke that it is mine but we didn’t have a clue whose food it was until we could watch it closely. Our vegetarian team member was a little bit disappointed because her food was topped with some bacon sauce on it. The atmosphere was the total opposite of the mountain cottage, here it was no wind, little people and very calm, I enjoyed my well earned beer in a moment of silence. For dessert we chose the local apple pie, it was delicious. For some reason one of our team members ordered four cups of espresso and two cups of tea to drink, ok that was fine with me. After this relaxing meal we started to drive to the Slovak border. Slovakia was a bit different it seemed to be a higher living standard and the roads were in perfect condition. We explored the possibility to climb “Gerlachovsky stit” as was the original plan, but I felt we had to little time to climb it in a convenient way and the price level were quite different. The Mountain mafia wanted to charge us 140 euro’s per person to rent a mandatory mountain guide, ehh, is it that dangerous or do they just want to squeeze the tourists on euro’s. After some driving around we found a hotel with a decent standard and a supposed wireless network that hardly worked but at least I got to read my mails, before I went to bed.
My body was exhausted both physically, mentally and emotionally of all the experiences and impressions.

Ragnar Asker
Last active at - from Varberg, Halland County, Sweden

Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria

318 Photos 7 Visited Places 9 Posts To the trip

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