The 14 students took to the 2,473m summit of the Pierre Avoi peak in the Verbier region to be photographed hanging off a rock face for what the university termed the ‘highest class photo in Switzerland'.
To shoot the scene the students had to have the nerve and ability to hang on a climbing rope at 90 degrees off a mountain while the four cameramen – including two drone pilots – captured the scene.
The students were selected to take part after undergoing a test in which they abseiled down a building at the HES-SO, the university said in a press release.
However they didn't know until the very last moment exactly what the class photo would involve.
After an hour composing the photo, the students were rewarded with a powder ski down to Verbier.
The publicity stunt was carried out to promote the “dynamism” of the HES-SO and its location in the heart of the Valais, said the university, which has conducted similarly outlandish stunts before.
“To achieve summits in professional life it's necessary to study at a ‘très, très haute école' – and the Valais with its 41 peaks over 4,000m is the ideal place to attain these heights,” said the university.
HES-SO comprises four separate institutions offering courses in engineering, health, management and tourism and social work to some 2,300 students.
Watch this video to see how the photo was taken.