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As part of the Switzerland Tourism Initiative “100% Women”, which aims to make women more visible in mountain and outdoor sports, female mountaineers from Europe, the USA, but also from countries such as Iran, India, South Africa, Kazakhstan or Ecuador travelled to Switzerland. They formed the longest women’s rope team in the world on the Breithorn and set a new world record.
In the longest women’s rope team in the world, around 80 female climbers from all cultures and ages climbed the 4164 m high summit of the Breithorn (VS) last week. Those who had the necessary basic conditions for the ascent could apply online in advance for one of ten freely available places. The remaining places were awarded to female journalists and selected women with influence from Germany and abroad.
Switzerland was represented, among others, by the historian Marie-France Hendrikx, who was visibly enthusiastic after the ascent: “My participation in this women’s adventure was filled with positive energy and enthusiasm. For nothing in the world, I would have wanted to miss this unique event,” Hendrikx described her feelings after the ascent. “The history of mountaineering and mountaineering has thus been enriched by a chapter that has been shaped by women. Our hope is that the initiative will inspire many women today and in the future to write a new page in the history of this more open and inclusive discipline.”
The Iranian mountaineer Mina Ghorbani also found the mood in the women’s rope team extremely positive: “Even if we women are stigmatized, have to fight with gender stereotypes and borders, we still want to make our equal share in society. This struggle is greater in my native Iran than in other countries. Initiatives such as 100% Women make this possible for us, also thanks to connections with female mountaineers from Switzerland and from all over the world. They show us that we all have the same goals.”
And the Thai actress and “UN Women Goodwill Ambassador” Cindy Sirinya Bishop adds: “We want to show that women should be represented and visible in all areas, including mountain sports. This is an important part of the way to a truly diverse and equal society.”
Due to the better weather prospects and safety conditions (less wind, better snow and ice conditions), the ascent did not take place on Thursday, but on Friday, June 18, on the Breithorn. Thus, the women who arrived also had more time to inquire about Saas-Fee, which served as a base camp, and to prepare themselves – for example with a glacier training on the Längfluh. Due to the postponement , however, the Zurich R&B singer Naomi Lareine could not take part in the ascent, as she had already planned a concert for Friday.
Strong images of women that go around the world
To ensure that the impressive images of the world record also go around the world, the participants themselves ensure this through their presence in the traditional and in their own social media channels. TV teams from Canada, India, Brazil and the USA were on site. Taken together, the participants reach over 24 million people through their own social media channels alone. Among them, for example, the Korean actress Lee Si-young. She reaches 17 million fans with her TikTok channel. “With this initiative, we can not only connect women and make them more visible in mountain and outdoor sports in general, but also show Switzerland’s mountain destination at home and abroad in the best light,” said Letizia Elia, Member of the Management Board of Switzerland Tourism.
Header image: credit Schweiz Tourismus / Nicole Schafer