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Submitted By: Bill Flaherty on Sep 28, 2008
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The granite walls of Salbit - from the approach.


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 (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
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


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

286 Total Routes

['4 Stars',66],['3 Stars',139],['2 Stars',65],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Switzerland:
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
Galengrat-verschneidung 5c   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 9 pitches   Furka Pass : Galengrat
NE Grat   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 11 pitches, 1150'   Zervreilahorn
Motörhead   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 14 pitches, 1600'   Grimsel : Eldorado
Blauer Käfer   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 6 pitches, 500'   Melchtal : Cheselenflue
Via Leni 6b   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, Alpine, 6 pitches, 700'   Albigna Valley : Spazzacaldeira
Salbit Westridge   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 32 pitches, 3300'   Salbitschijen : Salbitschijen Westridge
Die Maenner von Memmental   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 5 pitches, 500'   Melchtal : Cheselenflue
Browse More Classics in Switzerland

Featured Route For Switzerland
On the needle (20th pitch)

Sciora Dafora - Diretta Integrale 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  Europe : Switzerland : Bergell
Awesome climb! Lots of diversity, 6a+ slabmoves and a 100m handcrack, next to beautiful exposed ridgeclimbing. Good rock.P1-9 <5b: straightforward. Climb straight up starting at the snowfield at a red arrow. Some bolts/pitons and bolted anchors. P10 5c: bolted, slabclimbing underneath a roof with a fingercrack. P11 5c+: chimneying and wide hands, great!P12 5c: handcrack, easy for the grade.P13 5c+: slab with some delicate climbing. Bolted, but runout. Last rappelstation.P14 5a: nice...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Switzerland Slideshow Add Photo
View from Zermat after hiking down.
View from Zermat after hiking down.
It was nice to stop and have a beer while on my hike at the base of the Eiger.
It was nice to stop and have a beer while on my hi...
The Eiger
The Eiger
Eiger and lake Geneva
Eiger and lake Geneva
1950's Sunrise on the Matterhorn from town
1950's Sunrise on the Matterhorn from town
The Eiger
The Eiger
The important stuff!
The important stuff!
The slabs of Schoellenen
The slabs of Schoellenen
Jeff Buhl cranking up the steep limestone of Melchsee-Frutt.
Jeff Buhl cranking up the steep limestone of Melch...
Central Switzerland after a fresh dusting of snow. Photo taken from the crag in Ibergeregg.
Central Switzerland after a fresh dusting of snow....
Maikel vS, near Steingletscher on the Sustenpass
Maikel vS, near Steingletscher on the Sustenpass
The rock-solid Salbit hut.  Don't try that shutter decor at home.
The rock-solid Salbit hut. Don't try that shutter...
Cold Eiger
Cold Eiger
Ossian B, cragging in hell on the east side of the Sustenpass just below Steingletscher
Ossian B, cragging in hell on the east side of the...
Coming up to the Mittellegi hut from the Eismeer glacier.
Coming up to the Mittellegi hut from the Eismeer g...
Brunnital, a side valley in the Schaechental, central Switzerland. Visible here is the imposing north face of the Gross Ruchen.  Quality, very long alpine sport climbing routes can be found on the north, east and south faces of the Wiss Stöckli (in front and slightly to right of the Gross Ruchen in this picture).
BETA PHOTO: Brunnital, a side valley in the Schaechental, cent...
Engelhorner hut.  One of many great Swiss huts right next to the climbing area.
Engelhorner hut. One of many great Swiss huts rig...
Salbit, with a good view of the west, south and east ridges.  Taken from Oberalp.
BETA PHOTO: Salbit, with a good view of the west, south and ea...
Englehorner climbing area.  Great trad routes with easy access from hut.
Englehorner climbing area. Great trad routes with...
Cragging in hell (seriously, that's the name of the sector) on the west side of the Sustenpass
Cragging in hell (seriously, that's the name of th...
Nothing says "Switzerland" better than this.
Nothing says "Switzerland" better than this.
Tehya B cranking near Steingletscher on the Sustenpass
Tehya B cranking near Steingletscher on the Susten...
Grindelwald Locals <br />still need more cow bell?
Grindelwald Locals
still need more cow bell?
Crag at Ibergeregg, overlooking Lake Lucerne
Crag at Ibergeregg, overlooking Lake Lucerne

Show All 38 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
I was only in Switzerland for two weeks and had no problem finding long moderate trad routes. What about the Engelhorner?

By David Hertel
From: Sitka
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
From: Morrison, CO
Jan 12, 2011

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: Sitka
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
Dec 2, 2012