The issues of Tatra mountains were not foreign to Karłowicz from the very beginning, that is, from the year 1889, when he visited Zakopane for the first time. In 1907 he settled permanently in the capital of Tatra mountains. He was an active member of the Tatra Society and belonged to the group of twenty one skiers who established ZON TT – Zakopiański Oddział Narciarzy Towarzystwa Tatrzańskiego (Zakopane Branch of Skiers of the Tatra Society) in February 1907 – it was the first ski club in Zakopane. However, Karłowicz fell in love first and foremost with mountain climbing. At first he travelled with a famous guide, Klimek Bachleda, and later on his own. He had many successes related to Tatra mountains on his account: 1st ascent on Wielka Kołowa Turnia (using the ridge from the side of Modra Turnia, 1907, alone), 1st ascent on Ciężka Turnia using the northeastern ridge from Dolinka Spadowa (1908), 1st winter ascent on Wołoszyn and Żółta Turnia from the Krzyżne pass and ascent on Ostry Szczyt using the southern wall, through Haberlein’s path (1908).

He also made (together with Roman Kordys and Mariusz Zaruski) the first passage on skis from Hala Gąsienicowa, through Liliowe, Zawory and Koprowa Przełęcz to Szczyrbskie Jezioro (it was a true “wyrypa”, which was the contemporary name for the most important passages on skis).


It was together with Zaruski that Karłowicz elaborated the plan to establish a society that would take care of mountain search and rescue. The death of the artist accelerated the works on creation of such organization, which was finally registered in 1909 under the name “Tatrzańskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe” (“Tatra Volunteer Search and Rescue”).

Outside of his direct activity regarding the Tatra mountains, Karłowicz was also writing a lot about the mountains and many of his reflections remain surprisingly valid even today. In one of his articles, “W jesiennym słońcu”, (“In the Autumn sun”) he wrote:

Without sleeping, I digested the impressions of the preceding day. What appeared very vividly in my mind was the hearings of the last General Meeting of the Tourism Section regarding the two directions that developed in tourism in Tatra mountains, and which could be summarized in short as “purely aesthetic” and “athletic-competitive”. And I thought that the truth – as it often happens – lies somewhere in the middle and only a sensible combination of these directions may result in a role model of a tourist. For me, such a role model of a tourist would be someone who, while going to the mountains with a clearly specified desire to seek mainly aesthetic impressions, would also have enough strong will, courage and experience so that any difficulties encountered would only be a variation within the trip. However, there are not many ideal things in the world. Therefore I am perfectly aware that in the Tatra mountains a comfortably aestheticizing philistine will meet many more times a thick-skulled sportsman, who will run like a blind man through the whole Tatra mountains chain in order to rub against a certain chimney that is considered difficult, and that the Tatra giants will look at both of these people with tranquility and forbearance of eternal beings.

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