How do you combine the affection for mountains, nature, philosophy, painting and still be able to make a living out of it?
Subconsciously, I felt that it was possible that I could go this way, even though it was not a wide road, but rather a narrow path which sometimes completely disappeared into the thicket.

I was born in Warsaw, far away from the mountains. My father, Włodzimierz Gronowski was the director of the Polish “Rewia Konna” (an institution organizing live reproductions of historical events specializing in horse riding stunts and fencing). Looking at it now this was a historical paradox. A socialist regime funded a group of stuntmen, several dozen horses and their coaching staff who replayed the history of the Polish cavalry (that fought for a completely different cause) at the largest stadiums of Poland and Eastern Europe.


Fot: Tadeusz Kubiak

Jazda w damskim siodle

Fot: Tadeusz Kubiak

I associate my childhood with the smell of saddles, costumes from different eras, “uncles and aunts” training difficult riding stunts, as well as the view of the crowds sitting in the stands, staring at the galloping knights. I remember the 5-meter-long hussar lances that  were used during the attacks, which I could not even lift. I remember Piwonia, a demanding mare who was sensitive to my every mistake when I was riding her. And, Halina, my stepmother dressed in a long gown together with Piwonia jumping through obstacles.

Unfortunately, the martial law put an end to the “Rewia Konna.” Soon after, my father and Halina founded " Wiarus " – a horse riding center of excellence. The stables were built on the banks of the Vistula River, approximately 4 km from the Royal Castle in Warsaw and right next to where the Olympic Center is located today. This is where I took my first serious steps as a rider. Already during primary school, I assisted in the organization of historical reproductions and performances and then later during theater and film productions. During the making of “With Fire and Sword” (Ogniem i Mieczem) I stood in for Izabella Scorupco in most of the horse-riding scenes of the movie.

Dublerka Izabelli Scorupco

Fot: Mateusz Manikowski

Ogniem i mieczem, ucieczka Heleny
Iza Gronowska Gajda i Michał Żebrowski na planie filmowym
Ogniem i Mieczem, luzak Michała Żebrowskiego

Fot: Mateusz Manikowski

Piotr Adamczyk, Iza Gronowska Gajda,

But as it turned out, my passion were not horses but mountains. I discovered this by accident during my solo trip to the south of Poland, where from the Obidowa hill I saw the mesmerizing Tatra Mountains. I left Warsaw and began to live in the mountains – firstly in Hala Gasienicowa and then in Zakopane. I started to climb and wrote about my adventures in a local weekly newspaper - Tygodnik Podhalanski. Simultaneously, I completed a Guide course (Przewodnik Tatrzanski III klasy) and began my philosophy studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

During this time, I became further engaged in climbing of all sorts: mountain, rock climbing, in summer and winter, with belaying and free solo. Even though I was able to lead technically challenging routes (up to IX UIAA difficulty grade) I was never fascinated by the climbing number fixation. It was the feeling itself, the adrenaline, and the possibility of experiencing higher states of consciousness that attracted me to climbing.

Dolina Aosty
Po zimowej akcji górskiej.
wspinanie bez asekuracji, free solo

The Tatra Mountains began to be too small and I started travelling all over Europe moving from one place to another by hitchhiking. A tiny tent which pitched in the rocky regions of Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal became my new home. If I count all those travels, it was over one and half years that I lived like this. In 2003 I moved to the Aosta Valley, to Courmayeur near Mont Blanc and two years later I finished the UIMLA international guide course, which allowed me to conduct trekking in the mountains of Europe.

W drodze na Piz Boe, Dolomity
Matterhorn, treking wokół Monte Rosa

A few years later, (2012) I completed my initially started studies and graduated with a first honors Bachelor Degree in Philosophy from the Jagiellonian University. Philosophy shaped my view of the world and inspired my journalistic creativity. My articles, reports and interviews have been published in various Polish newspapers and magazines such as Twoj Styl, Taternik, Tatr & others. Since 2008 I cooperate with the Tatry magazine for which I write articles relating to mountains and climbing.

In 2016 I moved to Germany and re-started my life in the Bavarian Alps close to the famous fairy-tale castle of King Ludwig II – Neuschwanstein. Thanks to the support of my husband Janek I have developed my newly aspired passion which is painting.

Iza i Jan Gajda
Neuschwanstein, Niemcy