“Challenge the vertical” – is an autobiographical book by Jerzy Kukuczka, previously under the title “My vertical world”. The reedited publication returns after many years on the English language market. The book, with a refreshed layout, supplemented with unique photos from Jerzy Kukuczka’s archive and extended to include new contents.
It’s full of passion, commitment and dedication to mountains. It presents his way to climb all fourteen eight-thousenders, his emotional attitude to mountains and his climbing partners and a brief outline of Poland of that time and the situation the Polish Himalayan mountaineering developed in. But above all, it introduces readers into the psychological portrait of the best Polish climber of XX century and is a great opportunity to “get to know” Jerzy Kukuczka, his mountain stories, reflections, desires.
“Finally, there comes the most fantastic moment during every climbing. The moment when I am just a few steps away from the summit, when I know that nothing will stand in my way, when I know that I won… I won not only with the mountain or the weather but above all I won with myself, my weakness and my fear, when I can thank the mountain for being this time kind to me. I would not give these moments to anybody for all the world and if I need to overcome some difficulties on my way to the summit and get close to some vague border between the calculated risk and recklessness, that’s all right, I agree. I agree to the struggle with all dangers that are awaiting me. I agree to the winds which all weeks long tousle the tents and make me almost crazy. I agree to the routes set at the limits of endurance. I agree to the fight. The reward that I get for all these hardships is immeasurable. It’s the joy of life.”
Jerzy Kukuczka, an excerpt from the book “Challenge the vertical”.