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Map of the bouldering areas at Val di Mello, Valmasino and Cimaganda, in northern Italy

Map of the bouldering areas at Val di Mello, Valmasino and Cimaganda, in northern Italy
No Crag Total No of problems Altitude Best Time of year to visit
1 Prestone 77 1000m 10 to 5
2 Cimaganda 214 900m 3 to 11
3 Val Bodengo 86 1200m 4 to 10
4 San Cassiano 91 300m 10 to 4
5 Val di Mello 366 1150m 3 to 11
6 Valmasino 645 900m 10 to 4
7 Selvapiana 90 450m 10 to 3
8 Spriana 58 700m 10 to 4
9 Masso D'Arquino 15 500m 10 to 4

Bouldering at Val di Mello and Valmasino

Val di Mello and Valmasino are located in a high alpine valley, where thousands of boulders litter the valley floor.  These boulders are situated in lush alpine meadows and shaded woodlands and provide a good range of problems across all grades on beautiful granite rock.  Val di Mello has quickly become a top European bouldering venue complete with its own annual festival, Mello Blocco, which is held every spring. 

Generally the landings are very good, and the heights of the boulders are suitable for everyone, from perfectly amenable to definitely highball.  It is possible to boulder in these extensive areas throughout the year, though for Valmasino the best time is from October through to April, and for Val di Mello the best time is March through to November.  Being in a mountainous area, rain can occur at any time, though the boulders do dry quickly afterwards.

Val di Mello is often described as “Little Yosemite” due to its towering granite walls.  These walls provide many single pitch sports routes and multi-pitch trad routes that are equally famous and popular as the bouldering.  These routes are covered in Solo Granite and Schweiz Plaiser Sud and Val di Mello guidebooks.

Bouldering at Cimaganda and Prestone

Situated in Valchiavenna close to the border with Switzerland are the bouldering areas of Cimaganda and Prestone.  These bouldering areas are situated in alpine meadows, and are very accessible from the road.  Again there is a good range of problems from easy to Font 8a on gneiss rock.  The boulders along the riverbed are smooth and frictionless, whilst those in the meadows are course and have excellent friction.

At an altitude of around 1000m, the best time of year to visit is from late spring to early autumn, with the boulders drying quickly after any rain.

The information opposite has been extracted from the Mello Boulder guidebook, which is available to buy from our shop.  The numbers of problems shown above are described in this guidebook, though the actual number of problems available to climb is considerably more.

The I Bloc bouldering guidebook covers the bouldering in Northern ItalyThe Alpen en bloc 1 bouldering guidebook covers Val di MelloBouldering guidebooks and topos for Val di Mello, Valmasino and Cimaganda

There are currently 3 guidebooks available for these excellent bouldering areas.  Mello Boulder is the most comprehensive guidebook for Valmasino, Val di Mello and Cimaganda, though it still cannot be described as definitive.  I Bloc also covers these areas including many others in northern Italy such as to the north of Trento, and around Torino.  Alpen en Bloc 1 also covers Val di Mello along with other areas in the central Alps.

All of these guidebooks can be bought from our shop.