I had the chance to discover Iran during my first trip in 2010 to the "Bisotoon Wall" climbing festival, a superb limestone mountain over 5 km wide and over 1200 meters high.
This summit is located in Karmansha, a city located west of Tehran 100km from the Iraqi border.
The organizers of this festival invited me to explore this mountain in order to find a possible wingsuit flight. Accompanied by exceptional Iranian climbers and guides, I was able to explore this mountain in all its corners for several days and find a magnificent wingsuit departure which was the first wingsuit flight in Iran.
My team of Iranians Hesam, Mohsen and Mehrdad had never seen a wingsuit, not even on social networks because at that time in Iran all access to outside life was blocked.
When I equipped myself at the top ready to fly away it was a pretty crazy moment. They were so scared of me jumping that they had tears in their eyes the moment I started flying. In a few seconds a very strong friendship was created between us.
What a flight! I open my parachute and on landing a group of Iranian women welcome me so warmly that it was I who started crying I was so touched. These women who fight for their freedom! So brave, so beautiful and so proud that another woman is the first to fly from the top of the Bisotoon in their country, as if it were a mark of hope… This moment will be forever etched in my heart.
Hesam, Mohsen and Mehrdad named this first flight from Iran, “Bisotoon Bird”.
In 2018 the Iranian Alpine Club invited me to come to Tehran and Kermansha to give conferences for women on my career, my story and the opening of the mythical summit of the Matterhorn in a wingsuitGéraldine inspired a lot of women to believe in their dreams “it is a great honor to be able to give a conference in one of the major mountain events in Iran. I shared my experience with people from all walks of life. Our cultures are very different but our values are so close”.
“It is not only my sporting achievements that make me grow, it is the inspiring encounters made during my adventures that shape my path and the person I am”.
“Iran is a bubbling country. We feel a real desire for change. The Iranians and especially the Iranian women, with whom I had more contact, have an extraordinary strength to succeed in living their dream. They show so much courage and determination to try to change things. They are a real example”.
Iran used to be rich and free thanks to the development of heavy industry, railways, art, spices and culture. The women were devoid of veils and the men dressed in the Western style.
Everything collapses following the Iranian revolution after the reign of the Shah.
Fascinated by Iran, for several years, by its thousand-year-old culture, its historical heritage, its varied landscapes and its inimitable refinement, Géraldine explains “this multi-faceted country unquestionably deserves our interest”. In addition, the many peaks over 4000m, such as Mount Damavand, Alam-Kuh and Savalan, amaze Géraldine "Iran is considered one of the most mountainous countries in the world, it is a real playground for a sportswoman like me who climbs, flies and rides”.
Drawing her inspiration from the people around her, Géraldine explains “I am very lucky to have met and shared privileged moments with many Iranian men and women, with strong and striking stories. Regardless of gender, creed and social status, the sharing is genuine and sincere. I can say, without a doubt, that Iran is a real human heartthrob.”
A few days later, in the city of Kermanshah, where "The Bird Woman" opened Iran's first wingsuit jump in 2010, Geraldine had the immense privilege of being named "Honorary Citizen, The Bisotun Bird ". “A traditional Iranian ceremony, celebrated in the heart of a magnificent historical monument classified by UNESCO, at the foot of the summit of Bisotoon, it is a moment that I will never forget. I was welcomed in Kermanshah like a princess”.
During my 2nd trip in 2018 and thanks to the evolution of the finesse of the wingsuits I was able to fly from the top of the Bisotoon for a flight of 1200 meters of altitude difference alongside my husband Simon and fly along this mountain with relief so aesthetic.
“The jump from the top of the Bisotoon is magnificent. We had an extraordinary welcome on arrival, men, women and children rushing towards us with stars in their eyes”.
“For me the wingsuit is a mountain sport that is shared. No matter where I jump in the world, I meet people who are passionate and curious to discover my universe”.
Géraldine draws her energy from the heart of nature “I very often say that in the mountains, I feel alive and free. Often when I am in nature, I stop for a few minutes to contemplate the birds, listen to the sound of the wind and breathe the fresh air. It's so invigorating! In Iran, I met an extraordinary woman, Zohré, 31, a professional climber, also passionate about wide open spaces and nature. One day, we went to the mountains to climb the "Eagle Route" route of the Bisotoon in order to repeat my historic flight that I opened in 2010, stripped of my veil, in sports clothes, with two braids on the side and a With a broad smile on his lips, Zohré told me “in the mountains, I'm free”. It was then that I really understood how the word “freedom” has a different perception for Iranian women”. Géraldine adds “in the mountains, you can't cheat, no matter where you are on the planet, we have the same values, passion and freedom. Cultural barriers no longer exist, we are in communion with ourselves and the nature that surrounds us. We can share true and authentic moments with the people who accompany us. The rest doesn't matter."
Today, back in Switzerland, Géraldine explains, “I feel enhanced by these exchanges with people who have blown me away with their generosity and their human values. Iran will always be on the list of the most beautiful places I have had the chance to cross”.