I'm finishing off a winter season in Switzerland, and decided to go on a bit of a road trip before heading back to the UK. Am travelling with a friend who is pretty much new to climbing outside so looking for recommendations for some good "intro" crags and bouldering areas. The rough plan is to head from Gstaad across to Montreaux, then through Valais and over the Airollo pass and down into Ticino. Obviously Magic Wood is high on my list but keen to check out some of the other areas too if it's not too cold, Versazca especially sounds nice this time of year. Could anyone recommend a guidebook to cover multiple areas? Swiss Bloc 1 or Alpen en Bloc 1?
After we will be heading back through Lucerne and Interlaken, when hopefully Kandersteg will have warmed up a bit.
Would love to hear any and all suggestions for "must go" places, especially for easier bouldering and accessible single pitch sport. Also any non-climbing recommendations also welcome. We have a bunch of hikes planned but there's just so much to choose from!!
I'm not sure what your timeframe is but I'm told that Magic Wood is currently beneath a couple of metres of snow, and the only things doable are very hard. Several friends are in Ticino right now though and loving it.
For sport climbing in Vaud/Valais, check out the Carnets d'Escalades app, which has topos for free. If you prefer a physical guidebook, Plaisir West band 2 should suit you, which has lower grade routes. I'm not sure there are any "must visit" crags in the area (until it warms up and you can do stuff in the high mountains) but there are plenty of very pleasant valley crags. I live in Lausanne so beyond Valais I have no idea really.
Ponte Brolla has a bunch of single pitch sport. Also option for longer routes in Ticino.
Another vote for Ticino for accessible sport climbing. We were there this time of year two years ago, and the weather was great. The climate is almost mediterranean with palm trees in some gardens. We climbed at El Cat, Russo and Ponte Brolla, but there's much more to go at.
If you'd like a bit more beta, you can visit my partner's blog at https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/category/switzerland/
Hope you have a great time, wherever you end up. Really envying you right now!
I found Arcegno, not to far from Ponte Brolla, a lovely place for beginners. https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/arcegno-19650#overview
Ponte brolla , Bellenzona
Instead of a book, the BiMano app is useful for bouldering areas across Switzerland. It has free and paid for content and areas that wont be found in any guide books.
One thing, I dont know what time of year you are planning on heading down to Ticino but the Nufenen Pass wont be open until at least mid June. You can always catch the train/car train through though.
Awesome thanks for all the replies!
We are just starting our trip now. It's been so nice and warm the last couple of weeks, and then woke up to 15cm of fresh snow on Wednesday and it's all feeling a bit more wintery again! So I think this side of the Airolo pass I'll be getting in some late season ski tours and then we will get the car train to Andermatt and head through the tunnel. Ticino definitely seems like the place to be right now!
Currently neither of us has any work commitments until end of May though so keen to find some other good spots for the return journey through the "lakes" if anyone has any suggestions that direction once it warms up a bit!