ARNO PUSKAS 1925–2001
Copyright (c) 2011 by Jozef Nyka
Szybko – za szybko – przerzedzaja sie nasze szeregi, a kazde odejscie to nie tylko strata kogos bardzo bliskiego, ale i powstanie nowej luki w kronikach naszego sportu. Szybko tez – za szybko – sylwetki naszych gorskich druhow zapadaja w niepamiec, przeslaniane kolejnymi nekrologami. W sierpniu zeszlego roku minelo 10 lat – kiedy one przelecialy? – od odejscia Andrzeja Zawady, a w grudniu – Witolda H. Paryskiego. W tym roku w czerwcu mija 10 lat od dnia, kiedy opuscil nas nasz stary i oddany przyjaciel zza Tatr, Arno Puskas, ktoremu polskie powojenne taternictwo ma tak wiele do zawdzieczenia. Czlonkostwo honorowe KW i PZA to bylo jedyne, co – poza zbiorowa sympatia – od nas otrzymal w zamian. Bog szczodrze wyposazyl go w talenty: byl wybitnym taternikiem, bywalym w swiecie alpinista, ratownikiem gorskim, ale takze niezrownanym gawedziarzem, plodnym publicysta, filmowcem i wielkim samorodnym talentem plastycznym. Wielostronnie uzdolnieni ludzie zdarzaja sie czesciej, Arno jednak we wszystkich dziedzinach zdazal do perfekcji i w zadnej z nich nie chcial sie realizowac w sposob amatorski. Co wazniejsze: nie bez powodzenia!
Pozegnalismy go na skromnych lamach „Glosu Seniora” 7/2001, a obszerniejsza wersja biogramu pozostala w komputerze z mysla o naszej Biblioteczce Historycznej. Odswiezamy ja z okazji tej pierwszej dekadowej rocznicy. Nie pozwolmy mu pograzyc sie w niepamieci, mlodszym zaprezentujmy go jako alpiniste, pisarza, artyste i – czlowieka, dzis jest dla nich bowiem juz tylko etykieta drog na tatrzanskich scianach. Wroc, Arno, choc na troche, miedzy Twoich wymierajacych juz gorskich przyjaciol – z Twoim serdecznym cieplem, Twoim dowcipem i z Twoim szczerym, ujmujacym usmiechem. Laczy nas tyle dobrych wspomnien...
ARNO PUSKAS 1925–2001||
Born on February 4, 1925 at Kosice in Eastern Slovakia, Arno Puskas combined a resolute mind with physical skills and innate personal charm, qualities which enabled him to achieve success in many different activities. His interest in rock climbing started when he was 20. He soon became a respected member of a small group of very elite climbers. From 1946 on he lived in the High Tatras, from 1946 till 1958 being a manager of mountain huts and from 1958 a professional member of the Tatra Rescue Service. In the late '40s and during the '50s Arno was the principal driving force of the Slovak Tatra activity. He has been at the forefront of Slovak climbing for nearly two decades. He was an avid and excellent skier. His mountaineering in the Tatras included 210 first ascents, among them 110 completed in winter. He established a number of beautiful new routes, some of them popular until the present days. Among the most famous are the Puskas Pillar of the Ganek, te SW rib of the Volia veza, the Puskas Fissure on the W face of the Lomniky stit... His best known winter achievements include the first winter ascents of Zabi Kon N face (1949), the “Birkenmajer” on the W face of Lomnicky siit, the “Stanislawski” on the N face of Kiezmarsky stit (1953). His climbing ethics were always of the highest standard.
Arno Puskas was also a renowned alpinist, climbing in many parts of the world. Summer 1948 Julian Alps, Yugoslavia (Jalovec 2643 m, Triglav 2863 m N face Bavarian route); summer 1954 Transsilvanian Alps (Bucegi), Roumania; summer 1956 French Alps (Tour Ronde 3792 m N face, Aiguille Verte 4121 m by Couloir Couturier, Mont Blanc du Tacul 4248 m by Couloir Gervasutti); summer 1958 Central Caucasus, USSR (Pik Shchurovski 4300 m, Elbrus 5633 m). Arno also travelled and climbed in Africa and Asia. In 1968 he ascended Damavend (5671 m) and Ararat (5156 m), in 1973 the Djebel Toubkal (4167 m). In 1969 and 1971 he took part in two Czechoslovak Nanga Parbat expeditions, on 11 July 1971 making first ascents – the apex of his climbing career – the foresummit 7910 m and the top 7530 m of this famous eightthousander. In 1974, 1976 and 1977 he participated in a score of fine first ascents in the Fanskiye Gory Mountains (Tajikistan, USSR), including the Chimtarga (5487 m), the highest in the range. Tatra climbing, however, remained his first love.
As well as being an outstanding mountaineer, Arno showed considerable artistic skill. He was a talented writer and gifted graphic artist. “For me mountaineering was not simply an athletic discipline. It soon developed into an intelectual tool as well.” He was a frequent contributor of articles and climbing chronicles to the mountaineering journals. His early Tatra adventures he recounted in his books “Horolezci v tatranskych stenach” (1952) and “Priatel'stva na lane” (1954). In 1953 he edited a supplement to the existing climbing guides „Nove vystupy vo Vysokych Tatrach 1945–1953”. Later appeared a tourist guide for German visitors “Die Hohe Tatra, Touristenfuhrer” (co-author, 1965, 1967, 1969). Arno's wast knowledge and exactitude made him an ideal climbing guidebook writer. During the years 1957–1989 Arno wrote and edited 10 volumes of his own Tatra climbing guide “Vysoke Tatry”. This work has had a profond effect on the development of the Tatra climbing sport. In the years 1972–1974 he was together with Ivan Urbanovic the author of the illustrated Nanga Parbat reports of the Czechoslovak expeditions 1969 and 1971. His book “Fanske vrchy, Svet pat'tisicoviek” (1981) and his journal accounts about this mountain range were a revelation for Soviet mountaineers as well. In graphics he attained a professional competence and developed some original techniques. His pictures and brilliant, bright-coloured collages were presented abroad where they received a lot of appreciation. He participated regularly in exhibitions, his drawings appeared in many magazines and books at home and in foreign countries as well. He made a secondary carreer as mountain film star and later film-maker.
Arno had many friends in Poland, in 1974 the Polish Klub Wysokogorski awarded him with the Honorary Membership. He had to his dying day a perfect memory of every climb he made, every climber he met and every encounter in the mountains. His death on 9 June 2001 is a great loss to his son Peter, to the mountain climbing fraternity as well as to the climbing history.