Szymon is one of the top Polish climbers and a self-confessed climbing addict. He has redpointed 8c and onsighted 8a+. He also loves competition climbing and has been a keen competitor in the Polish Cup in recent years.
He was born in Warsaw in 1993 and started climbing in 2000 when he was only seven years old. The nearest crag to the city is 250km away so Szymon’s induction into climbing took place indoors rather than on real rock.
Early on he took climbing lessons with Gosia Kusztelak and Przemek Klimek. “They were a great team to inspire kids to climb with fun and determination,” says Szymon.
When he did make it to the crag Szymon faced a baptism of fire:
“I think my first route graded 6a+ was Badermeinhof at Rzedkowice in the Polish Jura," says Szymon. "This route has some moves on jugs on a little overhang, which was easy for me (I was quite strong for my age, but really, I didn’t know what to do with my feet). Above there was hard slab (for me anyway, I suppose it’s normally a piece of cake), and as everyone can guess, it was scarily bolted (of course it wasn’t, but in a kid’s imagination it was impressive). So I stood there for a really long time, something like 30 minutes in one place, before I finally I did it.”
For a while after this traumatic experience Szymon remained focused on bouldering and short routes, slowly building up his skills and confidence. However, in 2006, at the age of 13, he made an important psychological breakthrough when he climbed his first 6c+. This proved to be the start of an accelerating improvement curve which would see him surge upwards through the grades. The following year he managed 7a+, and then in 2008 he rose to 7c. In 2009 he climbed his first 8a and in 2010 his first 8b.
Szymon was performing well in competitions too. He was Polish junior lead champion in 2009, 2011 and 2012. In 2011 he was bouldering champion. In 2011 and 2012 he started competing in the Polish Cup for lead climbing. In 2011 he gained 4th place overall, while in 2012 he managed 5th place overall.