This week I’m sitting down with Marta Misztal, an accomplished mountain climber who’s committed to becoming the first woman, and man, to ascend both the Seven Summits and the Crown of Europe.
She’s well on her way to reach her goal having already reached 21 out of Europe’s 50 highest peaks and 5 out of the 7 summits.
Born and raised in Poland, Marta’s always had a love for climbing. As a young girl her father would take her out climbing in the Polish mountains so she remembers always being very adventurous but it wasn’t until years later when she embarked on the Inca trail in Peru that this hobby would transform into a full-fledged passion for our female mountaineer.
I sit down to talk to Marta about what drives her, future plans, the importance of ambition in pursuing your passion and what it means to be a female climber in a wildly male-dominated sport.
Denali camp 1 – second day out of 20 climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Camp 1 at 7,800 ft.
The more countries I saw, the more countries I wanted to see. Along the way, my style of travelling changed; I started having even bigger accomplishments on my agenda. And finally I set myself two goals: to climb the highest mountain on each continent, the challenge known as 7 Summits; and to reach the highest peak of each European country, which I call The Crown of Europe.
Denali summit – The highest mountain in North America, Denali, also known as McKinley, 6190m, located in Alaska. “It was the toughest mountain I have done so far, during the summit we climbed with a speed of 1 step very 5 breaths because of the lack of oxygen on this altitude.”
APRIL: Marta, what does climbing mean for you?
MARTA: It means pushing yourself to the limit, and proving that you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it. At the start of my mountain climbing journey I had very little confidence in myself, but as time progressed and I gained more experience, I’ve learned that everyone can do FAR MORE than what we think we can. We just need to set our minds to it.
APRIL: How did you discover the climbing passion that takes you to the climbing wall? Who or what encouraged you?
MARTA: I think my personality is really what encourages me the most. I’m quite competitive by nature, therefore, I’m always up for a challenge. And climbing is a great interest to have, as there are endless number of mountain related challenges that you can pursue.
APRIL: You said your personality is a driving force – tell me about yourself?
MARTA: I come from a small town in Poland called Pila. Growing up I was raised by a single mum; I had a good but humble upbringing, I always loved the outdoors and hanging out with my friends.
My childhood in Poland was a happy time in my life, but after my first trip to London as a teenager it all changed. I realized very quickly that living in Poland wasn’t for me anymore; I had big dreams and ambitions that I knew I couldn’t pursue in my hometown. I spent one more year living in Poland, learning English and saving ready to finally enter the ‘big world’… then I moved to London. Taking this chance opened up so many opportunities for me. I got a good degree, good job, I travelled the world and had some awesome adventures whilst doing so.