UKC

Cresciano, Swiss Granite Bouldering

© stuart littlefair

Frank Boettiger on a Font 7c+ in area 3 of Cresciano, Switzerland.  © Jack Geldard
Frank Boettiger on a Font 7c+ in area 3 of Cresciano, Switzerland.
Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC, Jan 2011
© Jack Geldard

Sadly, there is no amount of overbite which guarantees success  © stuart littlefair
Sadly, there is no amount of overbite which guarantees success
midgets of the world unite
© stuart littlefair
The Swiss bouldering venue of Cresciano is world famous.

It's famous for hard boulder problems like Dream Time from Fred Nicole or The story of two worlds from Dave Graham.

It's famous for its beautiful setting, with cool, grey granite jumbled amongst warm, gold chestnut trees. It's famous for offering some of the best alpine bouldering, ranging from nice and easy to outrageously hard. It's famous for beautiful moves, powerful crimpfests and some inspiring tall lines.

Part of its fame might also lie in its beautiful surrounding landscape - the nearby Maggia Valley with its gorgeous river and a huge amount of multipitch climbing.

Cresciano is nearly famous for being famous.

But, Cresciano is not huge. It's rather small and select. With approximately 600 problems, it offers everybody plenty to play on - but it's not a large venue like the Peak District or Fontainebleau.

On the positive side, it is really difficult to get lost in the long-stretched area on the hilltop. The 16 sectors are neatly strung together on a ridge between the villages of Cresciano and Osogna. The crag is located in Ticino, the canton in the very south of Switzerland. This Italian speaking area is home to the beautiful city of Locarno and includes the famous lakes Maggiore and Lugano.

The light grey granite of Cresciano is rough, sometimes sharp, and therefore hardcore boulderers swear that in the summertime it is too hot for bouldering.

But even if the designated prime time for bouldering is in winter, if you are on the look out for some moderate-grade fun, the boulders of Cresciano are certainly worth a visit in summer too. However to get the balance just right, and get the most out of a visit, spring and autumn certainly are your best bet.

The climbing is varied: from slabs to steep roofs, from technical face climbs to inviting traverses and enticing aretes. There is something for everyone and you won't get bored.

VIDEO: Bouldering in Cresciano

PHOTO GALLERY: Cresciano Bouldering

photo
A visiting German climber on the super-short Font 7b arete in Area 3, Cresciano, Switzerland
Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC, Jan 2011
© Jack Geldard

A classic Cresciano arete problem - Arcadia - at one of the first areas you come to - (7c)  © Sarah Burmester
A classic Cresciano arete problem - Arcadia - at one of the first areas you come to - (7c)
© Sarah Burmester
The contorted crack goes at 7b from a standing start.  © Sarah Burmester
The contorted crack goes at 7b from a standing start.
© Sarah Burmester

Adam Ondra proving he's a world class boulderer by flashing Confessions (Font 8B/+) in Switzerland  © Vojtech Vrzba / www.climb4fun.cz
Adam Ondra proving he's a world class boulderer by flashing Confessions (Font 8B/+) in Switzerland
© Vojtech Vrzba / www.climb4fun.cz

photo
The climbing area lies on a flat plateau above the tiny hamlet shown on the photo, a kilometre above the village of Cresciano
© Sarah Burmester

photo
Walking in to Cresciano with alpine scenery in the background
© Sarah Burmester


Logistics

When to Go
As Cresciano is located on the south side of the Alps, a rather warm and mild climate dominates. It does rain occasionally, but the weather in general is very good. It does get very hot in summer. Best times are probably between February and May, as well as between September and November - some might still prefer winter in order to go for the hard, friction-dependent sends.

How to Get There
If you want to approach Europe flying, you might go to Lugano. By combining buses and trams, you can go to Cresciano. Or, with a bit more driving involved, you might choose to go to Zurich (or Milano in Italy) and then travel south (from Milano, north) to the Ticino with a rental car. Once there, the area is manageable by bike or foot. Still, a car is helpful, if you choose to stay further away than the campsite in Claro or if you think of doing other things but bouldering, too. Cresciano lies close to the motorway 2. If you drive there, the Gotthard Road Tunnel is what you are heading for - and only half an hour after the passage, you will find Bellinzona, from where you head towards Cresciano in a couple of minutes drive. The village of Cresciano is fairly small.

Accommodation Advertise here

No Premier Listings found in this area

Local guest houses or camp sites are available.

Food
It's a bit limited locally, but Agriturismo "La Finca" in Cresciano offers organic foodstuffs and has a nice restaurant. The menus resemble Italian ones.

Gear and Supplies
There is a small shop in Claro, and a supermarket in Bellinzona.

Outdoor Shops Advertise here

No Premier Listings found in this area

Other Actitvities
Many rivers and a beautiful alpine scenery are tempting you to hike, ride a bike, go rafting, multipitch climbing or just hang out in a café and drink lovely espresso. Bike and boat hire as well as other leisure activities are offered in many places.

Guidebook
"Cresciano Boulder" by Antonello Ambrosio, Claudio Cameroni, Roberto Grizzi, Renzo Lodi & Nicola Vonarburg. Last edition from 2002.

Instructor/Guides Advertise here

No Premier Listings found in this area

Additional info
You need an annual vignette (sticker for your car) to drive on Switzerland's motorways (costs about 40 CHF or 30 Euro). It is sold near the Swiss borders in services. Also be aware of rigid speed limits on Swiss roads. As much as 5 kilometers per hour too fast can cost you a small fortune.

UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Sarah Burmester



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5 Jan, 2011
it's not in the Maggia valley!!! the valley where Cresciano lies goes from bellinzona up to the gotthard pass and it's called Val Leventina. Val Maggia is more to the west (stretches to the north from Locarno) :p
7 Jan, 2011
Is it possible to get some recomended problems in the 7s here, Seems as though there is a lot to go at but i've only ever heard of dreamtime. there must be some "famous" "classic" "must-dos" ?
26 Jan, 2011
Look up: XP, Grotte de Soupirs, la pioche, vol au vent, stinky pete, harry spotter, il partner, la nave va. The one left of le boule looks excellent too.
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