1,000km Across Poland in Winter

Photo: @lukaszsupergan

Last year, Poland’s Łukasz Supergan completed an east-to-west winter crossing of Iceland. This pandemic year, he has decided to stay closer to home, and on January 4 he started trekking 1,080km across Poland.

The route. Photo: @lukaszsupergan

Supergan is currently hiking through the Carpathian Mountains along a series of trails, indicated by different colors in the center of the map above until he nears Ukraine.

Overall, Supergan will climb 31,500m over Poland’s ranges. It is not the first time he has attempted such a crossing. Four years ago, he tried the same route in summer but stopped after the Carpathians.

Photo: @lukaszsupergan

He expects the crossing to take 50 to 60 days and so far is on track. He carries his gear in a 55-litre, 15kg backpack, replenishing his supplies frequently to keep his load light. He sleeps under tarps, in sheds, and in huts wherever he can. One night, he will even stay in his own home, which sits near his route. Before leaving, he shipped boxes of food and supplies to various checkpoints along the way.

On January 4, he started in the Izerskie Mountains and hiked along the main ridge toward the Karkonosze range. Much of the trail was covered in deep powder snow. For the first few days, Supergan did not push himself too much.

Photo: @lukaszsupergan

After a week, Supergan tackled the main ridge of the Karkonosze, cutting through deep powder in the middle of a storm toward the Sowie Mountains. The biggest challenge of this first week was the constant low temperatures and high humidity, which “steals your heat very fast”.

As with much of the trail, the Sowie Mountains and Sudetes were generally untouched, and Supergan had to spend hours each day trail-breaking through snow and climbing over fallen trees along the route.

His longest day so far involved 14 hours of strenuous uphill hiking through deep snow on the climb to Grodiziec.

Photo: @lukaszsupergan

On January 28, he reached the Carpathian Mountains and the halfway point of his trip. Here, the wind changed direction many times, battering his shelter as he camped on the exposed ridges. Despite the beautiful surroundings, he admits that he has begun to feel fatigued.

As of February 4, he is 700km into his walk and has reached the highest point of the trip, on 1,725m Mala Babia Mountain. On part of the climb, he sunk waist-deep into wet snow, but by the main summit, progress was much easier. He is now descending into Podhole and heading toward the Krowiarki Pass.

You can follow his progress here.

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About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK.

She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans and aims to dive and open-water swim in as many seas as possible.

Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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