Switzerland Tourism, the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC), the Swiss Mountain Guide Association (SBV), Saas-Fee/Saastal Tourism and the outdoor products brand Mammut have jointly launched a Peak Challenge and 100 pc Women Initiative to celebrate the International Women’s Day, giving women visibility in mountain and outdoor sports, creating role models and inspiring women to try something new.
The partners plan to set a unique record with the world’s largest all-female rope team, involving around 60 women from all across the world who will gather in June to tackle the 4,027-metre Allalinhorn in Valais canton of Switzerland.
The 100% Women initiative was launched on International Women’s Day last year. Despite the pandemic, women from more than 20 countries came to Switzerland for the Peak Challenge, says a press communiquer by Swiss Tourism. Between them, around 700 women climbed all 48 of Switzerland’s 4,000-metre peaks in all-female teams including the Everest twins- Tashi and Nungshi Malik from India. At the end of September, they conquered Mount Breithorn (4,164 m) & Allalinhorn (4,027 m) in the Swiss Alps. Overall, this was also the first time ever that female mountaineers and guides had undertaken a visible, concerted effort of this kind anywhere in the world.
Swiss Tourism says that this year, the display of collective female power on the mountain is set to grow even stronger. Switzerland Tourism (ST) is planning a record attempt in the Alps this June in conjunction with the Swiss Alpine Club, the Swiss Mountain Guide Association, Saas-Fee/Saastal Tourism and the outdoor products brand Mammut.
Around 60 women will together climb the Allalinhorn in Valais and symbolically form the world’s largest all-female rope team. Two partner organisations – the Swiss Alpine Club and the Swiss Mountain Guide Association – along with prestigious women’s mountaineering experts all agree that mobilising such a large all-female team is unprecedented. “To my knowledge, never before in the history of mountain sport have so many women teamed up to climb a peak together. It is all the more pleasing that this record is being set in Switzerland,” says historian Marie-France Hendrikx.
Greater diversity on the mountain
The Swiss mountains are accessible to all women, and 100% Women is seeking to highlight this via the largest, most diverse all-female rope team. Women from all cultures and of any age that have the basic level of fitness required for the ascent of about three hours can register online for one of 10 places. The other 40 or so places will be allocated to journalists and specially selected women from Switzerland and abroad. The aim is to make the group as diverse as possible.
Around 15 experienced female mountain guides will each take charge of the safety of four participants per rope during the ascent. The Allalinhorn was selected as a 4,000-metre peak that is suitable even for those with limited mountaineering experience. For some of the women, this could be the first 4,000-metre peak they ever climb.
The record attempt will take place between June 15-17 2022. Depending on the weather, the climb will take place on Thursday or Friday. Saas-Fee will serve as the base camp, thus establishing itself as a hub for women’s mountain sport. It is important to stress that this event is not just about the mountain climb itself, but also about the chance to share experiences. The accompanying programme includes various workshops, training opportunities, relaxation activities for body and mind, and a celebratory evening meal once the peak has been successfully summited.
Swiss Tourism says that there is a large potential of attracting women-only tourists and that female travel holds great potential for the Swiss tourism industry. “Switzerland has much to offer this target group, with its varied and unspoiled natural environment. The country also regularly features at the top of international rankings for safety, cleanliness and sustainability. These are all attributes that are particularly valued by women. Furthermore, the conditions for getting more women involved in mountain sports and outdoor activities in general are constantly improving. In developed countries, the number of well-educated, financially independent women with a desire for physical, back-to-nature adventure continues to rise. Within tourism, this trend has translated into higher demand for women-only travel,’’ says Swiss Tourism, adding that it has responded by compiling an online platform as part of the 100% Women initiative.
It provides inspiration for many different experiences specifically tailored to women’s needs. They include 11 multi-day mountaineering, hiking, and e-biking experiences led exclusively by female guides. Organised by the Mammut Alpine School and Out & About Switzerland Trekking and can be booked directly via their websites.