L y c r a m a n    the mountain man

Hiking above Alesvagge in Lappland, Sweden

Starting as a hillwalker, I made my first summit ascent in 1981, when on holiday in Switzerland. The summit was Faulhorn, at an altitude of 2681 metres not so much of a chellenge, yet still the highest point I had reached at that time. However, much more impressive was the view I had to the snowy giants in the Bernese Alps, and that moment was the point of no return. I immediately knew, that I had to get back, up those majestic mountains some day.

The Eiger in Berner Oberland
I soon changed my usual schedule, and instead of spending my summer holidays hillwalking in Sweden, the Swiss Alps and especially the Zermatt valley now became my favorite holiday place. Spending more than a month each summer among the highest mountains in the Alps I succeeded in climbing a long row of these famous mountains. Life in the mountains was often quite primitive, staying for weeks in the valley campsite or bivouacing at the foot of some mountain. Money was short, and only occasionally we slept the night at a mountain hut. But living this way gave a much closer intimacy with nature.
Bivouacing below Aiguille d'Argentière

Slowly sinking into the muddy river bank of Bernina River

Long time before this, I had moved to the center of Copenhagen, but although this city already in these days was quite open-minded and liberal towards the gay society, I didn't know anything about this, spending my weekends going climbing in Sweden and saving the money for my alpine vacations. And as these parts of Switzerland are quite conservative, an open gay life here practically doesn't exist. However, I didn't bother. I had my fantasies and was used to living them out on my own.

It was inevitably, that these two passions one day had to clash. 1988 I had my first trekking trip to Nepal, which was followed two years later by a planned expedition. Unfortunately this expedition failed and never left Denmark, but as I didn't want to accept the defeat, I went to Nepal on my own, making the first Danish ascent of the 6461 meter high Mera Central summit. It took some years before I ventured on an expedition again, but 1997 it was time for the big one, the 8463 meter high Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world. But a year before the departure, the two passions crashed.
At the summit of Mera Central

Climbing the North ridge of Zinalrothorn

I had by now, at the age of 33, finally realized that there was some kind of gay scene in Copenhagen, and one New Year's Eve I had the night that changed it all. As the months passed on I found it gradually more difficult to concentrate on the huge task of climbing such a big mountain, with all these temptations lying in wait in the Copenhagen nightlife, and for a while I was about to give up my participation in the expedition. But finally I pulled myself together and left on the 10-week expedition trip. It was quite an adventure, but none of us reached the summit due to bad weather and the loss of a team member.

So where to go from here? I have had so many splendid adventures with love as well as with mountaineering, and finally decided that I wouldn't give up any part of it. I am still exploring the gay scene in Copenhagen, and Berlin from time to time, but when summer comes, I'll be on my way to lofty peaks and the primitive yet intense life in the mountains. I still have the hope of combining these two passions, but as there evidently are very few gay men amoung mountain climbers I have accepted the fact that these two passions probably can't coexist, although it is still part of my fantasy.
Overlooking the Mattertal valley, Switzerland

Enjoying the time at the summit of Wannihorn, Switzerland

I have now enjoyed the gay life for almost nine years, but still haven't settled with Mr. Right. It is said to be difficult living with a mountaineer if you don't share the same interest, and this may be true as many of my climbing mates sooner or later have given up the mountains in favour of the girlfriend or the sweet life in the suburbs. I may some day be forced to do this myself, but until then, I still remain the mountain man.