The excellent quality of the rock, the wide selection of slopes of various difficulty and the intact and rare beauty of its natural environment make the Ticino area a bouldering "mecca". Enthusiasts and fans of this sport flock to Cresciano, Chironico, the Gotthard pass, the Vallemaggia and Verzasca Valley by the thousands, not only from Switzerland, but also from neighbouring Italy and the whole of Europe. Many are climbers of international repute who have visited these sites and opened some of the most difficult and most famous routes in the world.
In recent years, bouldering has established itself as a mainstream sport. It is practiced in complete freedom without any ropes by climbing boulders of different sizes and of different heights (varying between 2 and 5-6 meters), with a single protection in the event of a fall: one’s companions (spotters) and a crash pad placed at the base of the ascent. Since it is practiced low to the ground, the result is a greater sense of security for boulder climbers who can thus overcome technical difficulties that would otherwise be unattainable at greater heights.
The Ticino area offers many places for bouldering and the major ones (Cresciano, Chironico and Gotthard) are well described in the respective guidebooks published by the Ticino Boulder team (www.ticinoboulder.ch), in which approaches, routes and difficulties are explained in detail. They are sold at local tourist offices, campsites and at some nearby-lying restaurants.
Cresciano and its surroundings
Thanks to the publication of the "Cresciano Boulder" guide in 2002 (followed by an enlarged re-edition in 2014), which revealed the secrets of the area – together with those of Osogna and Claro – Cresciano has become one of the most important and attractive sites for bouldering enthusiasts from all over the world. There are approximately 1,500 routes of varying difficulty levels.
Info: Cresciano Hostel - Tel. +41 91 880 69 69 - www.ostello-cresciano.com
Due, above all, to the number of boulders and the quality of the rock, one of the most popular places for bouldering enthusiasts is located near Chironico. The area is easily accessible and the natural environment in which the boulders are set is so spectacular that is not rare to meet climbers from all over the world. The success of this area is mainly due to the variety of styles and the difficulty of the routes. In fact you can often find extremely solid notches even on huge overhanging shields of rock, which determine the presence of some beautiful yet physically challenging lines.
The Gottarhard Pass offers a unique experience: rock climbing at over 2000 meters above sea level in a landscape reminiscent of northern lands thus earning it its reputation as the best site for bouldering in the Alps, along with the Susten Pass and Magic Wood (Grisons). Here, a large area opens up for bouldering in a beautiful alpine environment featuring countless solid granite boulders offering climbers a wide range of lines of varying difficulty levels and heights, for a total of 24 sectors and over 800 routes.
A fantastic rock-climbing destination is located in Avegno at the entrance to Vallemaggia, featuring a considerable number of boulders scattered across beautiful chestnut woods. There are six bouldering areas, boasting more than 100 routes. Although many of them are ideal for beginners, there is also no lack of more difficult lines.
The Val Bavona is a fascinating maze of boulders and rocks that fell a long time ago from the area’s steep walls due to glacial retreat. New and large bouldering sectors are being created and some of the best climbers in the world have already visited the area. Although at the moment there is no specific guide to the area, its vast selection of rock-faces and its unique environment guarantee an unforgettable experience.
Info: Rockshop a Ponte Brolla - Tel. 091 780 75 65 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.rock-shop.ch
Brione Verzasca is another bouldering spot in Ticino whose beauty has earned it worldwide fame. Scattered along the river or in the woods of this beautiful valley, often reach enormous dimensions and feature some of the best rock in the entire Ticino area. At present there are more than six sectors covering several hundred routes. A guide to the area is currently being written.
In this valley located just beyond the confines of the Ticino area, where untamed nature has relentlessly attempted to re-conquer the area, visitors will find some spectacular settings for bouldering. When venturing into this captivating landscape, set between the bottom of the valley and its higher altitudes, seven sectors featuring more than 350 and 1000 climbing lines await your discovery.