While Switzerland is holding its breath for its national team playing in the world cup in Brazil, two Swiss women from Lausanne have made the country proud by establishing two new records – at the top of mountains.
A few weeks ago we reported on Sophie Lavaud getting ready to climb the North face of the Everest. And she has made it. Exactly as planned. She reached the summit on 25 May together with the alpinist and filmmaker François Damilano. Sophie is the first Suisse-romande woman to summit the North side of the world’s highest mountain. “The hardest part was the wind. At this time of the year it was supposed to have already passed, but it was still there, blowing strong and cold. This made it hard for us having a weather window of only 10 hours when you usually need at least five days. It was at its worst during the night of our push for the summit “. The wind forced them to limit their enjoyment at the top to just a few minutes since they had to rush back down, walking for 23 hours non-stop. “Even if you are tired, you have to be very careful. Any mistake can be fatal. It is the nature of the sport, and that’s what I love about it. You have to adapt” says Sophie who is now enjoying a rest. Sophie’s endeavour was not only to achieve a record, but to fund-raise for Nohrla, an organization that assists the populations of mountainous regions such as the Himalayas. She sold each metre ascended through a crowd founding website.
And Sophie is not the only Swiss high achiever. Géraldine Fasnach, the world-renowned snowboarder and base jumper, also from Lausanne, set a world record a few days ago by climbing to the top of the 4,478-metre Matterhorn (Cervin) and jumping down the mountain together with her friend Julien Meyer. For the first stage, they took eight hours to climb from the Hoernli way-station. Then, equipped with the newest and most technically advanced wingsuits, they jumped from the east face of the iconic mountain, flying around the peak and landing on the north face.”Preparation was crucial. I flew my plane a few times around the peak to better understand which was the best place to jump. The Matternhorn is enormous, so we decided to go on Google earth and analyze every detail” said Géraldine. “It really felt like flying, it was a unique experience. I will definitely do that again”.
While the two record-setting girls are taking a break now after their exceptional achievements, they already have new ventures in mind. Doubtless it won’t be long before Switzerland again hears from its super women.