Words from Wik

Sharing my Experiences

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time on Everest

Recently I went to my God-Daughter’s 4th birthday, and leading up to it I was thinking to myself, “What kind of a gift could I give her?” I like to give gifts that are original and last a while. I recently learned that kids that age are very interested in discovering new things, have a grand imagination, and like adventures (Dora the Explorer anyone? As one gift she got Dora shoes…). So I thought I would tell her a story about her Godfather’s adventure going up a very big mountain, a mountain much taller than the tallest building she might see in the city, with big pieces of ice the size of her house to walk around, and many other unbelievable descriptions that to any child (and some adults, myself included at times) would sound like a fairytale.

On a somewhat related topic, for a while now I have had the idea of writing a book about my Everest adventures, but aiming it for a young-adult audience. With this thought of my Goddaughter, why not try and put together a book for her age also? A kid reader that her parents could read to her, with pictures or drawings of Everest that would inspire her imagination to go wild.

So, with that in mind, I am asking if anyone out there knows something about, or knows someone in, the kids publishing area in North America. While I have had this thought of writing for a young audience for a while now, not having acted on it means I need some help. Leave a comment, drop me a line at worldpeak.ca@gmail.com, or just let me know what you think of the idea! Thanks!

posted by Wiktor at 10:10  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jerzy Kukuczka – My Vertical World

I just finished reading the book “My Vertical World” by Polish alpinist Jerzy Kukuczka. For those of you not in the know, Jerzy was the second person in the world to climb all 14 8000m peaks. They are the 14 tallest mountains in the world, a sought after prize by mountaineers to this day.

Being Polish, I heard a lot about him from other Polish people. They mentioned how he had done most of his ascents either by new routes, or in the winter, and did it in much less time than Reinhold Messner. He also had much less funding and sponsorship, worse equipment, etc., and he still did it. Now, when I heard all this, I thought, “right, typical Polish thing of talking up our own ‘brothers’ and all they did, showing national pride and all that”. And I didn’t give it much thought.

Then on one of my Himalayan expeditions I was talking to an American who told me “but Kukuczka, now that guy was intense. You should read his book, the stuff he had to go through.” Hmmm, I started looking for his book.

And I just finished reading it. I must say, the book is incredible. The things this guy did. Even if you know very little about mountain climbing, you’ll appreciate it. If you understand what was going on in Poland at the time (Communism), it will amaze you even more. I often tell people after I’ve done my Everest presentation, “and I had all this adventure on one normal Everest expedition, where nothing really went wrong. Imagine what some of the people went through that had a lot more things happen than they wanted.” Well, this book is all that and more. 14 8000m peaks packed into one book.

I said before that Ueli Steck was my Hero. Well, I think Kukuczka has become my new Hero!

I have to add that I read the book in Polish, which is readily available in Polish book stores. There is an English translation, which was published by The Mountaineers in 1992. However, it seems the book is now out of print and VERY hard to come by. Amazon.com lists 2 used starting at $249! Now while the book was good, not sure it’s worth that price for most people (it might be for me). However, this gives you a reason to browse used book stores wherever you happen to be and maybe find the gem! If you do, consider sending me the copy when you’re done… 😉 But in seriousness, if you happen to know of a decent way to get a hold of a copy, or have an IN with the publisher, let me know!

Wishing everyone out there a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year!

posted by Wiktor at 23:18  

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