Michał Kwiatkowski

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. He has climbed more than 100 routes graded 8a to 8c, including many 8a onsights. 

Michał 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 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 outdoor climbing that captured his imagination. Out on the crags he climbed as many routes as possible, quickly building up skills and experience and soon he was spending a lot of time at the crags and on climbing trips. 

Michał on Vejiga-vibratoria (8a) in Chulilla. © Martin-Spilka
Michał on Vejiga-vibratoria (8a) in Chulilla. © Martin-Spilka

Initially Michał focused on the Polish crags and in his second year of climbing he sent Wahadełko (7b+) at Doline Bedkowska near Kraków. 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 (7c+) at Rodellar—a promising start, and one that hinted at future triumphs. 

During 2010 Michał climbed numerous grade seven routes and pushed his redpoint grade to 8a 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 7cs climbed onsight, nine 7c+s, six 8as and two 8a+s (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 8as (including an onsight of Talibania at El Chorro), three 8a+ routes and, to top it off, Inopia (8b) at La Muela. But best of all was a successful redpoint of the spectacular Salas (8b+) 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 (8a) and Morgan Adam est une Andalouse, a monster 75m link-up pitch that gets 8b in the guidebook, but that Michał, among other, doesn’t consider to warrant the grade. 

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

I try almost every style of climbing and type of rock,” says Michał. “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 7c at Geyik Bayiri/Anatolia. 

Geyik Bayiri is a great place for sport,” says Michał, “very nice limestone, people and surroundings—try it!”

In 2017 Michal climbed his first 8c, Florida, at Rodellar.

That ascent was very important to me,” says Michał. “8c was a dream for me for a long time. I did it in my favourite crag, Rodellar, in Spain (my second Home) so I am even more happy for that!” 

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.” 

Michał and his motorhome.
Michał and his motorhome. © Ania-Taperek

Michał is a passionate #vanlifer and spends more than six months a year living in his motorhome and climbing in the best areas of Europe, including Spain, Greece and France. He devotes the rest of the year to training people and working on his own form. 

Climbing is always first in my life,” says Michał. “From the beginning climbing has always dictated the rhythm and place of my residence. Since I have a house on wheels, life and traveling have become much easier! I'm always where my motivating goals are, where the routes are more difficult, more demanding. Climbing is my life.”