Pole to Pole

Born in Gdańsk on March 24, 1964, Marek Kamiński ranks as Poland’s greatest living explorer, and in 1995 became the first person in the world to reach both Poles unaided in the same year. It was a childhood accident that originally inspired him to travel the world; having nearly lost his arm the blank days spent recuperating in hospital saw him make a personal pledge to live a life of adventure. And so he did. His expeditions have seen him become the first Pole to make the 600km trek through Greenland, circle the Baltic (approximately 2,000km) in a rubber dinghy in a time of five days and scale Mount Vinson – the highest peak in Antarctica. His most high profile moment, however, came in 2004 when he set off to conquer both Poles once more, this time with 15 year old Jaś Mela from Malbork.

Mela managed the feat in spite of losing an arm and a leg after being electrocuted a couple of years before. Battling temperatures of –30 degrees Celsius, and winds of 200km per hour, the pair just managed to hit their target, arriving at the South Pole on December 31. In the process Mela became the youngest and first disabled person to conquer both Poles in one year, and the expedition raised funds to provide artificial limbs for around 65 Polish children and adults. Awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta for his travels, Kamiński is also the co-author of three books and the founder of the Marek Kamiński Foundation ( - an organization set up to promote exploring the Poles and planet in general, as well as increasing environmental awareness in young people. The foundation also runs an educational project ( aimed at helping those less fortunate.


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