Krzysztof Wielicki came to Chata Inka

Janusz M. Szlechta

The well-known traveler Edward Bochnak and his wife Dorota invited lovers of mountains and travel to their “Inka Cottage” on Cooper Avenue in Queens, New York City. The meeting took place on Sunday, May 14 in the evening, and its special guest was Krzysztof Wielicki.

This world-famous climber flew to the United States because he was invited to the Open Doors Day of European embies in Washington. He had the opportunity to meet high school students. He came to New York for a while to meet mountain and travel lovers.

Group photo of meeting participants. Krzysztof Wielicki is sitting on a chair

Krzysztof Wielicki is one of the greatest Himalayan climbers in the world, the legendary conqueror of the Crown of the Himalayas and the Karakoram. On February 17, 1980, as a member of the national expedition to Mount Everest led by Andrzej Zawada, together with Leszek Cichy, they made the first winter ascent of the eight-thousander. He reached the top of the eight-thousander Broad Peak alone in one day (it happened for the first time). He organized the Polish Winter Expedition Netia K2 2002–2003 on K2, which, however, did not reach the summit. At the turn of 2006/2007, he made another winter attempt to climb the eight-thousander, this time Nanga Parbat, but due to extremely difficult weather conditions he had to withdraw with his team. These stories about his climbing to the top, about overcoming his own weaknesses, about loneliness, but also about reasons to smile, were listened to by everyone with attention. A well-made documentary was the best possible summary of this story.

Krzysztof Wielicki also talked about his latest book “Solo. My solitary climbs. It is a record of his lonely ascents to the highest mountains in the world (including Broad Peak, Lhotse and Nanga Parbat) enriched with the author’s subtle reflections on the human condition, mountains, partnership and loneliness. This book was available for purchase with the author’s dedication.

Inka’s hut

The place where the meeting took place is also unique. The small wooden building was built in 1895. Ed Bochnak called it “The Inca Hut” because he made his first seven trips to Peru and fell in love with the culture and history of the Inca tribe. He did everything in this hut himself, even the floor. He arranged an Inca cross from the tiles on the floor. He forged two fireflies into which he put the butterflies he had caught. Each wall is a different region of the world, artifacts from various expeditions he made over the course of 20 years. There are also interesting photos from his travels.

Krzysztof Wielicki (left) and meeting host Ed Bochnak

– Every few months I try to invite an interesting person to Chata Inka. A friend with whom I went on several expeditions called me and asked if I would like to host an extraordinary guest – Krzysztof Wielicki. And he came to us on Sunday – he said

“Nowy Dziennik” Ed Bochnak. – I am impressed by him because he is a very open person. Even though I have been to many countries myself, climbed mountains, I admire him for what he has done in his life. I feel honored that he wanted to come to us.

The meeting with Krzysztof Wielicki was the 12th that Edward managed to organize in his Chata Inki. First, he organized a marathon of mountain movies. Then there were meetings: with the mountaineer and mountaineer Dariusz Załuski, the traveler Andrzej Śmiały from Rzeszów, twice with Ryszard Pawłowski – a great mountaineer who climbed 11 eight-thousanders. Then I managed to organize a mountain film festival, a meeting with the traveler and writer Wiesław Cypryś and with Sylwia Perkowska, who lives in Cusco, Peru and runs her travel agency there. There were also: Piotr Nawrot, Jan Gać, Jerzy Adamuszek, Wiesław Zdaniewski and Andrzej Piętowski, one of the discoverers of the Colca Canyon in Peru. I personally gave a lecture about the expedition in the footsteps of Tony Halik, who in 1976, together with Elżbieta Dzikowska, discovered the lost last capital of the Incas – Wielka Vilcabamba. On the 40th anniversary of their expedition, crossing the Andes and jungles for two weeks, I reached Vilcabamba.

These people have a beautiful idea in common

– Edek invited me here, and I do not refuse such invitations – Krzysztof Wielicki told “Nowy Dziennik”. – I knew that I would be in New York, so it was obvious that I would apply to Inka’s Cottage, because there would be many friends here who also go to the mountains and like to travel. They spread the word “Art of Suffering”, or “Art of Suffering”, because when you go to the mountains or go on an expedition, you have to suffer a bit. These people have one idea in common – mountains and trips! It is a beautiful idea. That’s why I’m here. I wanted to share my experiences, inspire others to go to the mountains. By the way, I showed a video from my life. Mountain does not meet mountain, but man meets man. So we should meet, exchange ideas, inspire each other. In today’s times of digitization and the Internet, it is very important to meet another person, look each other in the eye, talk. This is humanizing life – we have to take care of it. Everything I do is in this direction. The meeting was great. There is an atmosphere in this place. I am impressed with this Inka Hut, I didn’t know that there are so many great exhibits, souvenirs from around the world here. All this is made up of the memory of people who were or are, but they will go away and … something will remain after them, stressed Krzysztof Wielicki.

Zbyszek Łukasik, whose pion is photography, gave Krzysztof Wielicki three beautiful, large photos showing the panorama of Manhattan. He printed them out Sunday morning, before leaving for the meeting. Delighted with this gesture, Miron Chlebosz gave Zbyszek a book by Krzysztof Wielicki entitled “The Crown of the Himalayas 14×8000”, dedicated to him. It is a book that Wielicki published in 1997, after conquering the Crown of the Himalayas. He was then invited by Jurek Majcherczyk’s Polish Traveler Club to the Traveler’s Ball.

– It was during the Traveler’s Ball that I bought this book and received a beautiful dedication from Krzysztof Wielicki – said Miron Chlebosz. – After 23 years, I gave this book to Zbyszek as a token of gratitude for his wonderful gesture. And Krzysztof Wielicki added his dedication to Zbyszek – he added.

After the meeting there was time for a meal and conversation


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