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On the ninth day the weather improved a little and all three of us made a short acclimatization trip towards the ridge. I felt great today, completely acclimatized. If only the weather in the next days would be good and the strong winds at the top of the mountain would weaken! Then we will have a chance to scale the very top.

During the acclimatization tour I was captivated by the wonderful views around. Far down below I could see the  colorful tents of our camp on endless white ice and towering pillars of white clouds behind them. It was an amazing sight!

Going downstairs, I again made myself comfortable in a warm tent, lying naked on a sleeping bag and creating the Caribbean vibes in the tent. If all the days were this warm, I wouldn’t mind spending a month up here!

Our rainbow flag flew proudly in the center of the camp all these days. Many expressed gratitude for the flag and LGBTIQ representation. Rainbow flags have proven to be a convenient way to start conversations with other climbers. It was cool to get so much positive reaction from others. We joked that maybe there were so many queer people on this mountain that our rainbow flags were in vain flying over our tents. However, the real work of LGBTIQ visibility will begin after we raise rainbow flags to the top of the mountain and tell people about it. It is the stories and conversations about this expedition, especially in such homophobic and transphobic countries as Kyrgyzstan, that make difference and are one of the goals of this action.

That’s why I took the Kyrgyz flag with me, because I believe that my mission is to show the diversity of LGBTIQ Kyrgyz people, their courage and resilience despite all the difficulties that they have to face in Kyrgyzstan, my home country.

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