Switzerland is situated in the heart of the Alps and as such is a very mountainous country with many peaks over 4,000m. There are extensive mountaineering opportunities involving these peaks, with the most famous being the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch near Interlaken and the Matterhorn near Zermat in the south. As well as mountaineering there are many pure rock climbing areas within Switzerland across a variety of rock including granite, limestone and gneiss.
There are 3 distinct climbing areas in Switzerland as shown on the map opposite, which are:
The Jura Mountains are a small mountain range in northern Switzerland, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers. This region stretches from Lake Geneva and extends into France and Germany. The majority of the rock climbing is on limestone rock though there are some granite crags as well such as Falkenstein. There is a good mixture between single pitch sport routes through to long multi-pitch routes. Generally all the routes are well bolted though some of the multi-pitch routes do require Trad gear such as cams and nuts.
The climbing in the Jura Mountains is generally at a lower altitude than the main alpine regions of Switzerland making this area ideal to visit if the weather is bad in the mountains or during the autumn and spring seasons. With regards to guidebooks, the area is covered by Schweiz Plaisir Jura, which details the routes at grades up to F6c. While the Schweiz Extrem Jura guidebook details routes between F6a and F8a. Buy these Jura rock climbing guidebooks from our shop.
The Swiss Alps are divided by the Rhine River to form the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps. The Western Alps (sometimes known as the Bernese Oberland region) is the largest rock climbing area in Switzerland that includes Interlaken and the famous mountains of the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch. The limestone rock here provides many bolted single pitch and multi-pitch routes, many of which are 100’s of metres long. The multi-pitch routes tend to be traditional alpine style routes that generally require Trad gear such as cams and nuts, but there will also be some fixed gear as well. The largest bouldering area of this region is at Kandersteg that is a mixture of limestone and sandstone rock.
The ideal time to visit the Western Swiss Alps for rock climbing is during the summer due to the high altitude of the area. There are 3 comprehensive guidebooks for the areas: There are 2 x Schweiz Plaisir West guidebooks that detail routes at grades up to F6b. Schweiz Plaisir West Volume 1 details routes between Fribourg and Goschenen. It covers the climbing the south of Bern, around Interlaken, the Susten Pass, Grimsel Pass, and the Furka Pass. Schweiz Plaisir West Volume 2 detail routes between Martigny and Brig. The Schweiz ExtremWest guidebook details routes at grades from F6b and above across the whole of the Western Swiss Alps. Buy these guidebooks from our shop.
The area around Andermatt, Grimsel, Susten and Nufenen is often referred to as the heart of the Swiss Alps. This area offers many bolted single pitch and multi-pitch sport routes up to 400m long that are generally on granite rock along with some limestone and gneiss rock. The multi-pitch routes in this area are a mixture of fully bolted to traditional alpine style where cams and nuts will be required. There are also numerous granite bouldering areas with the largest being around the Grimselpass and Gotthardpass, both of which are covered the Swiss Bloc guidebook that can bought from our shop.
The ideal time to visit the Eastern Swiss Alps for rock climbing is during the summer due to the high altitude of the area. The comprehensive guidebook for the rock climbing in this area is called Schweiz Plaisir Ost that details routes at grades up to F6c. Buy Schweiz Plaisir Ost from our shop. A selective guidebook called Dreams of Switzerland describes 42 of the best multi-pitch climbing routes between F4c to F6b+ in this area.
Magic Wood is the world famous bouldering destination in Switzerland. The bouldering is located in an ancient conifer wood and a charming Alpine Setting, close to the village of Ausserferrera. All the bouldering at Magic Wood is on fine-grained, rough and excellent quality granite rock. A dedicated guidebook for the bouldering at Magic Wood is called “Magic Wood – Bloc” that is available to buy from our shop.
Other famous bouldering areas in Switzerland are Cresciano, and Chironico in the east of the country. All these areas are at a lower altitude than the main alpine regions of Switzerland making them ideal to visit in the autumn and spring.
The Swiss Bloc 1 guidebook covers the Magic Wood area plus the best of the bouldering in the Alps area, at places such as Kandersteg, Gotthardpass and Grimsel. Buy Swiss Bloc 1 guidebook from our shop.
Swiss Bloc (N) guidebook describes the bouldering in Switzerland including the Magic Wood area.
Buy this guidebook from our shop.