How Wawrzyniec Żuławski died in the alps while trying to rescue two Yugoslav climbers

Wawrzyniec Żuławski also known popularly as Wawa was born on February 14, 1916 in Zakopane, a resort town in southern Poland, at the base of the Tatras Mountains. It’s a popular destination for winter sports and summertime mountain climbing and hiking in the family of Jerzy , a playwright, translator and writer, and Kazimiera née Hanicka , a translator and Romance scholar. His father was a translator, while his mother was a Romance scholar. In the year 1932, Żuławski embarked on his initial ascent, joined by his cousin, Jacek Żuławski, as well as his brothers, Marek and Juliusz. Together with Marek, he completed the first climb of the north-western face of Żabi Mnich, which was considered practically impenetrable at the time. This was the first step on the path to Taternika’s renown, and it was accomplished two years later. As a result of this, he was brought to the attention of the most accomplished mountaineers of that era, and he quickly found himself among them. Subsequently, he climbed with Jan Staszl, Zbigniew Korosadowicz, brothers Stefan and Tadeusz Bernadzikiewicz, and a multitude of other individuals, so acquiring a wealth of expertise and a multitude of new climbing routes that were often rather challenging. The routes that are considered to be the most intriguing are the ones that go to Mięguszowiecki Szczyt through the north-eastern pillar and Mały Młynarz through the northern wall passageway. It is important to highlight the following winter first ascents: Cubryna, which is located along the northeastern wall; Lodowy Szczyt, which is located in the Czarna Jaworowa Valley; and a great number of additional examples.

Immediately following the commencement of World War II, he engaged in climbing on a very limited basis. He made the first ascents along new routes after the war was over. These included Żabi Szczyt Wyżni, which was located on the left side of the northern wall; Mięguszowiecki Szczyt Pokrzyw, which was located through the middle pillar of the north-eastern wall; Spadowa Kopa, which was located on the western pillar; Lodowy Szczyt, which was located in the middle of the eastern wall; and a great number of other routes that were equally challenging. Alongside his mountaineering endeavours, Żuławski engaged in the practice of mountaineering, and he achieved remarkable success right from the start. It was the High Mountain Club that led him on six different excursions to the Alps, and he participated in all of them. During the most recent one, he did not come back.

In the year 1947, Professor Tadeusz Orłowski was a member of the very first club excursion to the Alps that took place after the war. He wrote an article for the Bulletin of the PTT Warsaw branch in which he detailed his experiences while travelling with the Mount Blanc group. Together with Wawrzyniec Żuławski, also known as Wawa, he successfully ascended the east face of the Aiguille du Grépon on August 1st, as well as the Mont Blanc du Tacul Boccalat‑ ti pillar on August 16th. In the above‑mentioned bulletin, he wrote: The excursion was remarkably successful, it’ll undoubtedly motivate the Polish mountaineers to look boldly into the future and strive for the most difficult Alpine paths and the highest mountains in the world. In the summer of 1956, ten years after the initial trip, Orłowski embarked on another journey to the Alps. Together with Wawrzyniec Żuławski, he established a fresh path along the 700-meter-high east face of Aiguille du Moine on August 13th. Additionally, on August 16th, he ascended the west face of Dent du Requin. After working as a ski instructor at a camp run by the Alpine Club in 1948, he joined the Warsaw Club in 1949. In 1948, he was a member of the Alpine Club. He was in charge of the training department and served on the board of directors of the Alpine Club. He also delivered a number of lectures at that location. While this was going on, his research responsibilities and business visits overseas made it difficult for him to interact with the mountains. When he returned from his numerous expeditions, he rekindled his mountaineering connections. Furthermore, following the tragic death of Żuławski in the Alps on August 18, 1957, he even assumed the role of chairman of the Club for a brief period, which lasted until December 20, 1957. Orłowski considers Wawa to be one of his closest and most trusted buddies. According to the article titled “The late Jerzy Wawrzyniec Żuławski,” which was published in a special edition of the Taternik, Tadeusz Orłowski expressed his farewell to him.

Death in the Alps

In addition to his active participation in music universities, Żuławski was actively involved in a multitude of organizations. Both the ZAIKS Association of Authors and the Polish Composers’ Union had him on their Management Boards. He also served as the president of the ZAIKS Association. The contribution that Żuławski has made to the growth of climbing and mountaineering in Poland is something that should be highlighted. From 1935 to 1938, he was a member of the authority of the High Mountain Club at the Warsaw Branch of the Polish Tatra Society (PTT). In 1938, he became a member of the KWPTT Expedition Committee. Approximately six months prior to the beginning of World War II, he was chosen to serve as the head of the Warsaw Branch of the PTT High Mountain Club at his election. This role was held by him once again during the years 1949 and 1951. Between the years 1954 and 1956, he served as the head of the Main Committee of Physical Culture as well as the Mountaineering Section of the Main Board of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society. His efforts were largely responsible for the High Mountain Club being resurrected in the year 1956. Before his passing, Żuławski served as the leader of its management. Additionally, he served on the main board of the PTTK organization. Even though he was never a member of the Tatra Volunteer Rescue Service, he was widely regarded as one of the most devoted mountain rescuers. His class is demonstrated by the fact that he led various challenging rescue trips although he was still just a young boy. Amidst a trip that took place in the Alps in the year 1957, he actively participated in the hunt for two Yugoslav alpinists who had gone missing, together with Stanisław Groński, who had accompanied them. As a result of this action, he was buried alive in an avalanche of ice and would remain in the Alps for the rest of his life.

His musical compositions

Some of the musical compositions that Żuławski has created also incorporate Tatra themes, and there are even remnants of his mountain experiences and exploits. Among these are the following: Piano Quintet (1943, published in 1966), Wierchowe Notes for choir and solo violin (1955), We shall travel to the mountains, to the mountains, my friend for voice and piano (1954, to lines by Leopold Lewin), and Piano Quintet (1943). Among his pieces that are not associated with mountains, the Spanish Suite in the old style for symphonic orchestra (1953–1957) is the one that is played the most frequently.In his capacity as a music critic, he would also write about musical compositions composed by other composers that were thematically connected to mountain music and the Tatra Mountains.


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