1080 km and 31,500 m of ascent. In winter. This plan briefly describes an extraordinary journey made in winter 2021. It was a crossing the entire Polish Mountains (Sudetes and Carpathians), along Poland’s southern border.
When countries around the world remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, I came with a plan for a special adventure entirely in my country. To hike along the southern border of Poland. Walking along several long distance trails I connected the route from Izery Mountains to Bieszczady, crossing most of Polish mountain ranges. It took 49 days and was probably the first such crossing completed in winter.
The journey consisted of several long trails. The first one was the Main Sudety Trail. Than about 150 km towards Carpathians, from where I followed the Main Beskidy Trail and local trails to Babia Mountais. Behind it, I turned south to reach the red Chochołów-Pieniny Trail. After that I jumped on the blue trail Tarnów-Wielki Rogacz, from which I reached the Lower Beskid. There, I followed the blue “Border Trail” all the way to the Bukowska Pass, on the border with Ukraine. The whole route, although completed in Poland, was my longest winter distance.
A dozen people accompanied me on the trail and I also got a lot of help from friendly shelters’ staff and friends living nearby. Thanks to them the whole trip was much easier logistically. Having extensive experience from the winter traverse of Iceland, winter crossing of Slovakia and summer expeditions I walked 1098 km light, with a 55 l backpack. The conditions on the way varied greatly – from thaw to severe frost and heavy snow, which required snowshoes. The whole trip, apart from being an interesting adventure, gave great overview of Polish mountains from a new perspective.