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Climbing in spring: the seven best regions for climbing

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Autorenbild Pesche.
Pesche
Sales Consultant, Transa store Europaallee Zurich
© Fotos

Climbing in spring is all about wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and enjoying the feeling of sun-warmed rocks. We’ll show you which routes in Switzerland are open even early in the season, how best to get there and what equipment you need in your backpack.

The days are getting longer, temperatures are rising and the smell of spring is in the air. It’s the perfect time for your first climbing trip to a warm rock face! Switzerland’s north-facing climbing regions are often blanketed in snow until early summer, or the routes are wet. Conversely, south-facing walls offer pleasant conditions, even in spring. We’ve put together a few tips to help you kick off the season.

Important: Always check in advance whether protection regulations are active for the area or route.

Schartenflue on the Gempen

The Gempen is now a well-known destination, and can be found listed in climbing guides under ‘Schartenflue’. It offers everything you could want, rolled into one: a short approach, routes for every difficulty level, a sun-drenched eastern part with a view of the sunset, plenty of trees at the perfect distance for a slackline, an observation tower and a restaurant. The easier routes are slightly worn down, as is the case with limestone, but the atmosphere up here is always fantastic.

Galerie above Weesen

Zurich’s nearest major climbing area is an easy, one-hour trip from the city by public transport. After this journey, there’s a 20-minute access route to follow. The rocks dry very quickly here if it’s been raining, so you can often go climbing above Weesen in winter and spring. It’s also a great spot to climb when the warm Föhn wind is blowing. The rocks are characterised by the limestone typical of this region, and, as this popular area attracts many visitors, some courses are somewhat worn down. Do note that the routes are rather challenging and not suited to beginners. The view from the Galerie’s gravel roof overlooking Walensee lake has a dash of Mediterranean flair.

Sunneplättli near Gersau

You can go climbing at Sunneplättli climbing park near Gersau almost year-round. The weather is dry and mild, often aided by the Föhn wind. In fact, as it’s so dry here, fires are strictly prohibited. The routes take you through the stunning Wasserlöchlifels rock face. In summer, temperatures can quickly become uncomfortably hot – so cooling off by jumping into Lake Lucerne is a tempting prospect. You can get to Gersau by public transport, then walk or cycle to the wall.

Bouldering in Cresciano

This area is particularly renowned for bouldering. In winter, you’ll often see Europe’s top boulderers practising their skills here. The boulder problems made from rough Ticino granite are scattered across a sunny elevated plateau in a magical forest of chestnut trees. Thanks to their sun-soaked positioning, the rocks dry off early and are usually free from snow from February onwards. If Ticino doesn’t get much precipitation, they’ll be clear as early as January.

View map of climbing regions.

Rotsteini near Meiringen

This beautifully situated climbing park is located above Meiringen. Although it does get busy, the routes are less worn-down than those made from Jura limestone. There are also plenty of routes at the easier end of the difficulty scale, making the park perfect for families and beginners. It is usually open to climbers from very early on in the year.

Eulengrat near Oberdorf

Here, you can climb a typical multi-rope route in Solothurn’s Jura. Lush vegetation flanks the course and you can use the mountain pines as belay points as you advance. The difficulty level is generally moderate, barring a few sections where you do need to use a pulley. Take care in case of loose stones on the runners. Parts of the route are worn down because it’s so popular, but all told, the Eulengrat ridge is a rewarding place to start the climbing season.

Ponte Brolla

You can go climbing on the south-facing rocks of Ponte Brolla at the entrance to the Maggia valley almost year-round. This location is well-known beyond Switzerland. The sunny sections are dominated by ledge climbing on the brown gneiss typical of Ticino. It can quickly get very warm here in the summer months, so I recommend stopping for lunch in nearby Maggia and planning your day in somewhat unconventional fashion: if you start a multi-rope climb in the late afternoon on a sunny day, you’ll be wrapped up quicker than someone tackling single-rope routes at the foot of the wall. The shadier parts are also home to sport climbing routes that are more challenging and athletic. All told, this is a very popular area, with some of its climbs also appropriate for beginners.

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