On July 16, 2023, one week prior to the colorful Pride marches in Berlin, I traveled to Bavaria to visit the majestic Alps in celebration of inclusivity in the outdoors. Pink Summits had organized a wonderful program for the day in partnership with Osprey. With a group of individuals from the LGBTQI+ community and allies of different ages from across Germany and beyond, we came together to commemorate this special occasion and embark on a hike through humidity and mist in the picturesque region of Chiemgau. The group ascended 1200 meters of forest, alpine meadows and grappled up rocks to summit the Kampenwand, the highest cross in the Bavarian Alps.
Having spent the past few months in the rhythm of urban life, the trip offered me much solace and a chance to connect with nature as much as with new friends. Hiking up the mountain with the group was exhilarating, and after climbing in rock gyms in Berlin, I especially enjoyed grappling up the rocks near the summit. It was great to meet the Pink Summits team in person, and I was also able to connect with two other people from Kyrgyzstan, who gave me tips on places to visit after I join the Pink Summits trip there in the fall as a scholarship recipient.
With full bellies and having sweat through our clothing multiple times on the ascent and descent, we rode the bus back to Munich feeling fulfilled. Our hike was a testament to the belief that nature should be a space where identities are celebrated rather than stigmatized. Although nature is sometimes viewed as a ‘great equalizer,’ prejudice and discrimination still persist as barriers to queer access to the outdoors. It was empowering to unfurl our rainbow flags as a group at Kampenwand, and contribute our part in creating a safer space in the outdoors.
Text by Emilie
Pictures by berg.mogli