Bolesław Chwa¶ciński
w stulecie urodzin
[Bolesław Chwa¶ciński]
Bolesław Chwa¶ciński

Copyright © 2009 by JÓZEF NYKA

Zmarł po długiej i ciężkiej chorobie 27 grudnia 1992 roku, żył lat 83, a były to lata wypełnione prac± i wielokierunkowymi działaniami, w¶ród których alpinizm ze sw± kulturaln± otoczk± zawsze pozostawał na jednym z pierwszych planów. Urodzony w r. 1909, należał do tego osobliwego rzutu pokoleniowego, któremu było dane wycisn±ć tak znacz±ce piętno na całym taternictwie i alpinizmie polskim. Jego rówie¶nikami byli koledzy z gimnazjalnej ławy, Justyn Wojsznis (1909), Wiesław Stanisławski (1909) i Kazimierz Kupczyk (1909), ale także zakopianie Witold H. Paryski (1909) i Jan Sawicki (1909). O parę lat więcej mieli Stanisław Motyka (1906) czy Wiktor Ostrowski (1905). Z generacji tej nikt już niestety nie żyje, choć niemal wszyscy zadbali o literackie ¶wiadectwa swojego czasu – czasu ciekawego, bo urozmaiconego czterema ustrojami, dwiema wojnami i jednym stanem wojennym.

GBH0000    28 (2009)

GBH0000  BOLESŁAW CHWA¦CIŃSKI 1909–1992 28 (2009)
With the death of Bolesław Chwa¶ciński the Polish mountaineering lost one of the last great masters of the famous 1930’s. He died in Warsaw on December 27, 1992 at the age of 83. Born on September 6, 1909, by profession he was civil engineer, specialized in road-making and railway-building. He graduated from the Politechnika Warszawska in 1935. His interest in outdoor life began in boyhood. He hiked in the Tatra Mountains and since 1927 climbed extensively. In 1929 he became a member of two different Polish mountaineering clubs. His climbs include such extraordinary achievements as the solo ascent of the legendary south face of Zamarła Turnia or the first ascent of Malý Keľmarský ątít north face via the central chimney. Among his best known ascents are also two new routes on Rumanový ątít – by the left buttress (1929) and by the centre of the NE face (1932). He had good seasons in the Alps (1932 the first ascent of the SW ridge of Aiguille du Moine) and in the Caucasus (1935 first ascent of the virgin Nogkau or Nookau-Sauz-Kaya, 4035 m). In 1934 he was invited to join the Polish expedition to the remote High Atlas (Morocco). He climbed there several virgin faces and ridges, among them the prominent gully of the south face of Toubkal.
As a climber Bolesław Chwa¶ciński was noted for never using artificial aids. He himself would surely wish to be remembered for his distinguished military career during the World War II. At the start of the war he was in Afghanistan, where he planed and constructed roads. In 1941 he went to England and served with distinction in the Polish Bomber Wing 301 of the RAF completing more than 30 bombing flights over Germany, most of them to the extremely dangerous Ruhr Gebiet. The military service brought him a number of the highest war distinctions, both British and Polish. His adventurous war reminiscences he has described in an article in the “Przegl±d Techniczny” 18/1982.
After the war he returned to Poland. In 1965 he received his doctorate at the Politechnika Warszawska where he was teacher and lecturer from 1953 to 1976. Throughout the 1950’s he hiked and travelled in Asia Minor, exploring lesser known areas and climbing new routes and even unclimbed peaks, such as the rocky P.1560 m near Akab Golf. In 1957 he visited once again Caucasus and ascended the lower peak of Elbrus (5621 m). But he is particularly noted for his famous Hindu Kush expedition. In 1960 Bolesław Chwa¶ciński organised and led the first European expedition to the unknown Wakhan Hindu Kush. It explored the Qazi Deh Valley and made the second ascent of Noshaq (7492 m), only few days after a Japanese pair. A number of unclimbed and unnamed peaks were conquered, among them Asp-e Safed (6450 m). His expedition initiated the great tide of Hindu Kush exploration during 1962–1979 and the splendid Polish ofensive in High Asian Mountains. His last major ascent was Mount Ararat (5156 m) in 1968 at the age of 59 years. His climbing companions included almost every great Polish climbers of the times.
As well as being an outstanding teacher and mountaineer, Bolesław Chwa¶ciński was a gifted writer and internationally respected history researcher, both in road-building and in mountaineering on which he published many articles. His first book appeared in 1935 (“Among the Mountains of Morocco”). His fundamental monograph of the Tatra mountaineering “From the History of the Tatra Climbing” (1979 and 1988) was followed by the book “Towards Unconquered Summits” (1987) which brought new views about the exploration and conquests of such peaks as Mont Blanc, Elbrus, Pik Pobedy, K2, Nanga Parbat and others. He also was a frequent contributor of articles to “The Alpine Journal” as well as to other foreign publications. He was made an honorary member of the Klub Wysokogórski and other clubs and associations. The death of Bolesław Chwa¶ciński was a great loss to the Polish climbing community and to all his friends. Truly a living legend, he was one of the vanishing class of great mountaineers in the best meaning of that word.
Józef Nyka