Aidan Hyman celebrated his 20th birthday in unprecedented fashion. The queer extreme athlete climbed the second-highest mountain on earth; and when he reached the elevation of the base camp, stuck down a rainbow flag to represent the LGBTQ community.
The University of California student started his odyssey in mid-June, when he joined a mountaineering expedition in Pakistan with the goal of reaching the base camp of K2. With its elevation raising to 8,251 feet, it only trails Mount Everest in terms of stature.
It wasn’t an easy trek. After landing in Pakistan, Aidan and his team drove eight hours through the desert toward the Karakorum Mountains before beginning a 100-mile hike just to reach K2. The mountain itself is one of the most deadly on earth, but Aidan was determined.