Section Poland’s New Year’s IPA #MeetingAtTheSummit

13 Feb 2022

summit1According to a New Year superstition, the way we spend the New Year will determine the whole year. Following this motto, and only slightly adjusting the situation to the intended purpose, for the first long weekend of 2022, we went to the south of Małopolska Province, where the highland cultural region of Podhale is located at the foot of the Tatra mountains.

In this special part of Poland, considered the winter capital of our country, live wonderful and hospitable people, who are characterised by commitment and determination in achieving their passions and goals. Such a group are members and friends of the IPA from the Karpacki, nowotarski and zakopiański regions.

Thanks to the hospitality of Danuta and Marian Czyszczoń from Kościelisko, we had the pleasure once again to stay in their IPA House. In turn, the commitment of our colleague Mateusz from the IPA Karpacki Region led us to the Bielańska Cave in Wysokie Tatry in Slovakia - the longest accessible cave in the Tatra mountains. Afterwards, we experienced the highest level of relaxation at the Szaflary thermal springs.

This time we could also count on a reliable group of mountain hiking enthusiasts. In the early morning of 8th January, when the day was slowly waking up after a frosty night, we met a strong expedition in the parking lot of one of the supermarkets in Międzybrodzie Bialskie, in Żywiec County, Silesia Province: Marian, Danuta, Piotr, Dorota, Mateusz, Marcin, Natalia, Leszek, Sławek, Marcin, Tomek, Marta and Michał, to attack Czupel (933 m above sea level) - the highest peak of Beskid Mały, included in the Crown of Polish Mountains. We set off from Międzybrodzie Bialskie along the red trail, which led steadily upwards until we reached the Czupel Pass, from where we reached the top of Czupel more gently, but still uphill. After a short regeneration break, feasting our bodies with snacks and our eyes with the view of the Silesian Beskid panorama, we continued along the blue trail to the PTTK mountain hostel on Magurka.

On the way back to Międzybrodzie Bialskie, at the fork of the blue and black trails, we could admire the Smocza Jama cave. The way back to the parking lot, on a partially icy trail, was more exciting than the ascent, but all the participants of the trip managed to get down safely. At the end of a fruitful day a few daredevils took a dip in the Żywieckie Lake.

The next day, at dawn, we set off in a slightly smaller group, consisting of Marian, Danuta, Mateusz, Krzysztof, Łukasz, Marta and Michał, to Szczyrk, from where we hiked the blue trail in a bold attack on Skrzyczne (1257 m), which, as the highest peak of the Silesian Beskid, is among the peaks of the Crown of Polish Mountains.113 summit2

The boldness of this trail is due to the fact that at less than 4 km it leads upwards for 726 m of elevation gain, which in winter conditions with ice and snow is really demanding.

After reaching the top and the obligatory photo session, we went to the PTTK Skrzyczne mountain hostel, where we admired the panorama of Beskid Żywiecki and the Tatra mountains from the observation deck, and, tired from the climb and struggling with the wind, especially at the final stage of the ascent, we had a snack inside.

After coming down, to soothe our tired muscles, we took a refreshing dip in the Żylica River that flows through Szczyrk.

An invigorating swim in the river concluded the first weekend spent together with our IPA Highlander friends this year, which resulted in two IPA #MeetingsAtTheSummit. We take this as a good omen and look forward to more meetings in the spirit of friendship and the values of the International Police Association.

The project IPA #MeetingAtTheSummit is dedicated to hiking enthusiasts, and it aims at reaching 28 peaks of the Crown of Polish Mountains.

We would like to invite IPA members from all sections to visit Poland, and through participation in our mountain trips, help restore normality and cherish the values of our Association.

Text: Michał Sługocki, Secretary IPA Region Wrocław

Photos: Marcin Kubień & Krzysztof Grapa, IPA Poland