Michał Kwiatkowski

photo Michał pulling a mono pocket on Niemyte-dusze VI.4+, Podzamcze © Kwiatkowski collection

Michał is a great natural climber who, despite a relatively late start, has made rapid progress through the grades. He has a huge appetite for climbing and loves to operate at his limit, which is currently F8b+ redpoint and F8a onsight.

He was born in 1986 in a small picturesque village in the central part of Poland - “where there are no hills, even boulders, and no-one has even heard about climbing at all!” - and discovered climbing in 2007, aged 21, while studying in Warsaw.

Michał joined a climbing club and quickly fell in love with this most addictive of activities. Although he used the climbing gyms for training, it was real climbing that captured his imagination. Out on the crags he climbed as many routes as possible, quickly building up skills and experience.

Climbing took over Michał’s life and soon he was spending a lot of time at the crags and on climbing trips. Initially he focused on the Polish crags; although in his first year he redpointed Corto Maltese F7a at Vinkuran in Croatia. The following year he climbed Wahadełko F7b+ at Doline Bedkowska near Kraków in Poland.

In 2009 he visited Spain and was immediately smitten: I visited a lot of crags but my favourites were: Rodellar, Villanueva del Rosario, Archidona, La Muela and Oliana.“ The highlight of his first Spanish season was a redpoint of Les Vielles Glories F7c+ at Rodellar - a promising start, and one which hinted at future triumphs.

During 2010 Michał climbed numerous grade seven routes and pushed his redpoint grade again to F8a with an ascent of Coliseum, at Rodellar. In 2011 he completed an even greater volume of routes, particularly in Spain. The ever expanding tick list included four F7cs climbed onsight, nine F7c+s, six F8as and two F8a+s redpointed (Las Dos Golondrinas de la Piscineta at Rodellar and Humphrey at Bielsa).

This steady build up of fitness and experience gave Michał a strong platform for the next big step up, which saw him push his standard to an entirely new level. In 2012, once again mostly operating in Spain, he climbed seven F8as, including an onsight of Talibania at El Chorro, three F8a+s and Inopia F8b at La Muela. But best of all was a successful redpoint of the beautiful and spectacular Salas F8b+ at Archidona.

In 2013 Michał continued to tick classic grade eights, and further consolidated his onsighting skills. In the Sikati Cave on Kalymnos he onsighted both Super Lolita F8a and Morgan Adam est une Andalouse – the latter being a monster 75m link up pitch which took 1.5 hour to climb. This gets F8b in guidebook but he only took F8a for it.

“I try almost every style of climbing and type of rock. I boulder, I do sport climbing and trad. I really enjoy onsight climbing; it’s such a great feeling while climbing. Mostly I am climbing redpoint because I really like to be close to my limit. I am still trying to progress and, year by year, climb harder and better.”

Early in 2014 Michał caught the new routing bug when he completed the first ascent of Miauu, a three star F7c at Geyik Bayiri/Anatolia. Geyik Bayiri is a great place for sport, I think I will back there every winter.”

Michał is interested in both music and photography, but climbing is always there in the background, even when he is working: I am a climbing instructor so if I am not climbing I am teaching and training people or I am travelling with them to my favourite crags. At the same time I like city life so if I am home in Warsaw I really enjoy being here, so I can work and train.”

“Climbing is always first in my life. I can say I am living at the rocks or close to a climbing gym. From the beginning climbing has always dictated the rhythm and place of my residence. I'm always where my motivating goals are, where the routes are more difficult, more demanding. Climbing is always first in my life.”