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Switzerland Rock Climbing 


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Location: 46.5286, 8.1299 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 74,551
Administrators: Dan Flynn, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bill Flaherty on Sep 28, 2008  with updates from Jacek Czyz
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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View from Zermat after hiking down.

Description 

Quite possibly the best country in the world for a climber to visit. Take your pick: granite, limestone, or gneiss - all of it splitter, and most of it bolted. Walls tend to be big, and if you're coming from North America, the vertical relief will take some getting used to. The hut system is great, providing quick access to climbs and hearty fare at a reasonable price.

If you're a fan of granite, check out Salbit (www.salbit.ch). There are many routes in the 500-700 foot range - along with a few marathon routes over 2,000 feet. You supplement the almost-adequate bolts with cams. Rock quality is superb. The hutkeeper, Hans Berger, whips up killer food and has one heck of an alpine resume.

For limestone, Melchsee-Frutt is a gorgeous mountain getaway that serves as a popular ski area in winter. In summer, you can enjoy the most pristine limestone walls I've ever seen. Varying in height, with many sections nearly 1,000 feet tall, they are supremely well-bolted.

For gneiss, there is a mongo slab just below the famous granite area of Grimsel Pass. Get your slab-climbing mojo on, as the bolts are very sparse, and some are rather old.

Of course you can get scared and cold at the same time climbing famous alpine walls like the Eiger North Face, but someone else will need to log on to explain why that's fun.

Beyond the climbing, Switzerland offers a unique opportunity to sample Italian, French, and German language, cuisine, and culture in its various regions. Well worth a visit!

Goals of these pages 

There is so much rock in Switzerland. Too much for one website to describe comprehensively! The goal of these pages is to document many of the most worthwhile climbing areas (sport, trad; alpine and single pitch, and a bit of bouldering) and with useful details for some of the best routes. Hopefully this will be useful for visitors in getting oriented.

That said, if you want to add routes for your ticklist, please go ahead!

A note on geographic organization:

Here the areas are listed alphabetically, but other information can be found about areas organized:
- by canton (topodb.ch, rockclimbing.com/routes/Europe... )
- by region and type of climbing (scalamalade-areas.com/en/ )
- by north, east, south, west (the Filidor guidebooks, and chmoser.ch/ )

More reference websites:

UKClimbing - look at logbook for crags (e.g., Salbit climbs )
Gipfelbuch - Great for conditions on alpine routes
Chmoser - Excellent personal logbook of a dedicated climber, with detailed descriptions of some routes (in German)
Scalamalade-areas - Overview of some areas, no detailed route information, but good for getting ideas of where to go
Topodb.ch
hikr.org - Some alpine routes / many peaks detailed here, with condition reports
summitpost.org - Some mountains / crags detailed here
kletterportal.ch - for finding partners
camptocamp.org - Alpine focused site, good for finding climbing near a specific point

Guidebooks 

There are a ton of books you could get. For visiting climbers interested in alpine multipitch tours and single pitch sport climbing, the most useful books are the Filidor series, which divides the country into four broad regions (east, west, Jura, and south).

The series is divided into 'Plaisir' and 'Extrem' volumes, with the former covering areas emphasizing up to 6b (5.10b) climbing, and the latter covering areas dominated by the harder climbs. But plaisir areas still include topos for climbs up to 7a (5.11d) and even harder, while extrem areas may still have some 5c climbs in there.

Plaisir West and Plaisir Ost might be the two most useful books to start with. Newer and forthcoming versions have English, otherwise you can more or less figure it out.

The Swiss Alpine Club has its own series of guidebooks, which are massive, detailed, and pricy. These are generally more localized by canton, but great references if you know exactly where you want to go.

And then there are specialized books for areas like Gastlosen in Bern, Valsertal in Grabünden, or the canton of Glarus.

Climbing Season



Weather station 8.1 miles from here

315 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',72],['3 Stars',155],['2 Stars',71],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',10],['5.7',9],['5.8',11],['5.9',33],['5.10',138],['5.11',66],['5.12',19],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Switzerland

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Switzerland:
Hörnligrat Route   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13     Trad, Alpine, 3600'   Matterhorn
Namenslose Kante 5a   5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c     Trad, Sport, 9 pitches, 1100'   Bockmattli
Mittellegi Ridge 5b   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c A0     Aid, Alpine, 2000'   Eiger
NE Grat   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 11 pitches, 1150'   Zervreilahorn
Galengrat-verschneidung 5c   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 9 pitches   Furka Pass : Galengrat
La Fiamma    5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, Alpine, 50'   Albigna Valley : Spazzacaldeira
Via Cassin   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 22 pitches, 2750'   Bergell : Piz Badile, North-East Wall
Motörhead   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 14 pitches, 1600'   Grimsel : Eldorado
Via Leni 6b   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, Alpine, 6 pitches, 700'   Albigna Valley : Spazzacaldeira
Blauer Käfer 6a+   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 6 pitches, 500'   Melchtal : Cheselenflue
Salbit Westridge   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 32 pitches, 3300'   Salbitschijen : Salbitschijen Westridge
Die Maenner von Memmental 7a+   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 5 pitches, 500'   Melchtal : Cheselenflue
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Switzerland

Featured Route For Switzerland
Rock Climbing Photo: Splitter crack on pitch two of Mangolyto - note al...

Mangolyto 6a 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  Europe : Switzerland : ... : Winterstock South face
A fantastic route, very homogeneous and sustained in difficulty, yet highly varied. The line includes friction slabs, cracks to jam, layback cracks, and face climbing on small, positive holds.The pitches go at 6a-, 5c+, 6a, 6a, 5c+, 5b, 6a, 5b. Routefinding is easy, just follow the bolts....[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Switzerland Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: It was nice to stop and have a beer while on my hi...
It was nice to stop and have a beer while on my hi...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Eiger
The Eiger
Rock Climbing Photo: 1950's Sunrise on the Matterhorn from town
1950's Sunrise on the Matterhorn from town
Rock Climbing Photo: Nothing says "Switzerland" better than t...
Nothing says "Switzerland" better than t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit Matterhorn 1960, Marianne Marquardt
Summit Matterhorn 1960, Marianne Marquardt
Rock Climbing Photo: The granite walls of Salbit - from the approach.
The granite walls of Salbit - from the approach.
Rock Climbing Photo: Matterhorn Summit 1950's ascent
Matterhorn Summit 1950's ascent
Rock Climbing Photo: The Eiger
The Eiger
Rock Climbing Photo: Wendenstock!
Wendenstock!
Rock Climbing Photo: Salbit bridge from the Voralp valley
Salbit bridge from the Voralp valley
Rock Climbing Photo: Damma glacier, taken from above Goescheneralp
Damma glacier, taken from above Goescheneralp
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Buhl on the Gotthard pass in early June
Jeff Buhl on the Gotthard pass in early June
Rock Climbing Photo: Hooved company at the base of the Pfriendler climb...
Hooved company at the base of the Pfriendler climb...
Rock Climbing Photo: Salbit west ridge, from the Voralp valley near Gö...
Salbit west ridge, from the Voralp valley near Gö...
Rock Climbing Photo: Crag at Ibergeregg, overlooking Lake Lucerne
Crag at Ibergeregg, overlooking Lake Lucerne
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Buhl cranking up the steep limestone of Melch...
Jeff Buhl cranking up the steep limestone of Melch...
Rock Climbing Photo: Englehorner climbing area.  Great trad routes with...
Englehorner climbing area. Great trad routes with...
Rock Climbing Photo: Engelhorner hut.  One of many great Swiss huts rig...
Engelhorner hut. One of many great Swiss huts rig...
Rock Climbing Photo: Coming up to the Mittellegi hut from the Eismeer g...
Coming up to the Mittellegi hut from the Eismeer g...
Rock Climbing Photo: Cold Eiger
Cold Eiger
Rock Climbing Photo: The important stuff!
The important stuff!
Rock Climbing Photo: Ossian B, cragging in hell on the east side of the...
Ossian B, cragging in hell on the east side of the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Grindelwald Locals still need more cow bell?
Grindelwald Locals still need more cow bell?
Rock Climbing Photo: Central Switzerland after a fresh dusting of snow....
Central Switzerland after a fresh dusting of snow....

Show All 39 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Switzerland Add Comment
Show which comments
By marco mueller
Oct 17, 2008
I am from Switzerland and I am in love with trad climbing. It is not easy to get information about trad climbs here at all. We do not have a DB like UK climbing... We do have dozens of climbing guides for bolted sport stuff but none for trad climbs (except the "keep wild" guide which only includes long alpine climbs).

swizzy, so much rock - and even more bolts...

go climbing in switzerland: besides the alpine routes you just finde bolted sport climbing. Ask people about nice crags to trad climb single pitches - they'll starr at you like your nuts.

we would have so much of nice solid rock for trad climbing (göschenen, grimsel, alto-ticino just to mention some areas) there is no big trad scene, just some freaks who do like theire E8 stuff at secret spots, the alpinists who do the multipitches - but the rest is sport climbers!

For me, a swiss guy want to climb moderate trad routes let's say one to three pitches, I have to finde them myself.

So thats what I do. Maybe I'll put up some info here sometime...

greez from swizzy
By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Nov 21, 2008
greez,
I was only in Switzerland for two weeks and had no problem finding long moderate trad routes. What about the Engelhorner?
Brian

By David Hertel
From: Haines, Alaska
Jan 11, 2011
Just curious why there is no info on MP about the Eiger other than a handfull of people who snapped a photo from Grindelwald (myself included)? It seems to me that the most notorious face in climbing would have more info posted about it on an online climbing community. It is my dream to climb the north face (via the 1938 route) and I would like to be a mountain guide in Switzerland at some point in my life. These dreams are lofty indeed, but I'll get there eventually. I'm just a little dissapointed that there is no more information on the Eiger here. I have tons of other resources for the face, but it would be nice to see something posted on MP about it
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
Jan 12, 2011
David,

The database is built by the users. The Eiger is not in the database, because none of our users have climbed it, (or if they have, they haven't bothered to submit it). Perhaps once you do it you can add it to the database! In the mean time, this is about the the closest thing we've got. Hope its enough to get your palms sweaty.
By David Hertel
From: Haines, Alaska
Jan 14, 2011
I shall look forward to putting the 1938 route on MP once I climb it, providing it's not up before I get to it. I can barely wait!
By James Garrett
Aug 20, 2012
The latest Plaisir West, Plaisir Selection, and Swiss Extreme West are all translated into English. The Plaisir Ost will also soon be available as a second updated edition and also in English.
By C Miller
Administrator
Dec 2, 2012


By Crowson
Jun 19, 2015
Hey Friends!

Looking for a climbing partner for the summer! I'm located in Gryon in the south east part of Switzerland. I'd be psyched to make it over to Cham for some alpine objectives. Don't hesitate to hit me up. I've got rope, rack, and glacier gear. Let's get it.
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Oct 26, 2016
'Walls tend to be big, and if you're coming from North America, the vertical relief will take some getting used to.' huh???