Offbeat Video

By Jack William


This daring group of students can easily claim the world’s coolest – and perhaps highest – class photo, as they scaled a mountain before rappelling down the side of a cliff for their big snap.

Fourteen students from the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland scaled the Swiss Alps for the gravity-defying shot, which saw the final image feature the students at a 90-degree angle to the cliff face.

HES-SO VALAIS-WALLIS / CATERS

The entire event, which took place near the 2,400-meter-high summit of Pierre Avoi, near Geneva, on February 9, was captured in stunning clarity by a helicopter and drone footage.

The idea for the project came about last year, when the university was looking for ways to communicate to prospective students how a unique environment awaits them in a place (Valias) that is surrounded by 41 mountains that are over 4,000 meters tall.

Having advertised for participants, 35 students applied to be in the final image, which required mountain guides to undertake dizziness checks on students.

This training program also involved abseiling down the facade of the university’s building in Sierra.

HES-SO VALAIS-WALLIS / CATERS

Xavier Bianco, marketing and communication manager at the university, said: “The operation was meticulously organised by professional mountain guides from Valais, under whose supervision the students soon found themselves suspended along the mountain face at 90 degrees to the summit.

“We needed to equip them with special harnesses that allowed them to spend almost an hour at the end of a rope.”

Since releasing the final image, the school has received a wave of positive publicity, Xavier said.

HES-SO VALAIS-WALLIS / CATERS

Each year, the 2,300-student school looks for innovative ways to attract new students, and it plans to work on a similarly dynamic projects next year.

Xavier added: “The great thing is that our students really enjoyed it, and as they are our best ambassadors, it is a big plus for the school.

“Such a project is really fun to organise, and it is great that the directors of our school agree on such projects and the new way to communicate.

HES-SO VALAIS-WALLIS / CATERS

“There has also been a great response – students and colleagues really liked it, as well as the members of the public.

“They have shared the photo and video with friends.”