Access to Bouldering Area Val Bavona at risk

Dave Graham and local climbers are sounding the alarm: In the popular Ticino bouldering area ​​Val Bavona, there are more and more climbers who ignore basic rules regarding private property or the parking situation. If things continue like this, there will be a risk of partial bans.

Lines like Off the Wagon, King of Sonlerto or La Rustica made Val Bavona one of the most popular bouldering areas in Ticino - and the world! Year after year, more climbers visit the picturesque valley to enjoy the first-class lines. Since many blocks are on private property, respectful behaviour is particularly important. But this is becoming less and less the case, local people complain. There is a risk of access bans.

A large crowd at the Taijutsu boulder, lots of illegal parking, gates left open and fences dismantled - it's just too much.

Dave Graham
Illegally parked cars that block private driveways, as here not far from the Boulders Fight Club, are one aspect of the problem. Image: Alejandro Miquel
Illegally parked cars blocking access to private properties, as seen here not far from the Boulders Fight Club in Sonlerto, are one aspect of the problem. Image: Alejandro Miquel

Lack of consideration threatens access

The fact that areas fall victim to their own popularity is nothing new in the climbing mecca of Ticino. The most recent access problem concerns the area in front of the boulders Ninjutsu, Fight Club and Taijutsu as well as some sport climbing routes, Dave Graham.

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Dave Graham, who often spends the winter months in Val Bavona, and Egon Bernasconi, author of the climbing guide Tessin Rock, and Alejandro Miquel, of the hostel and restaurannt Mate Y Moka, are concerned about the current situation.

“The access problem requires climbers to react quickly to avert restrictions.”

Dave Graham
fence
Fences on a farm near Sonlerto have been repeatedly dismantled. Image: Alejandro Miquel

Dave Graham describes the problem in Val Bavona as follows: “Certain climbers – we know who, but not why – have removed parts of a fence from the adjacent yard. This greatly disturbed the affected farmer. About 20 people where at the boulder Taijutsu during the holidays. Everyone parked on his property, walked across his field and left the cattle gate open.”

The farmer is really a very tolerant person and very nice, but he is at the end of his patience.

Dave Graham

Alejandro Miquel, Dave Graham and other local climbers have been working with the Bavona Foundation for over four years to ensure that bouldering is tolerated in this beautiful valley. However, with recent events and the massive increase in the number of visitors, the mood among residents and authorities could change quickly.

The stone walls in the area are of archaeological interest and are not allowed to be dismantled - even if they block the exit of a potential boulder. Image: Alejandro Miquel
The stone walls in the region are of archaeological interest and are not allowed to be dismantled - even if they block the exit of a potential boulder problem. Image: Alejandro Miquel

New rules for bouldering in Val Bavona

In order to prevent the affected areas from being closed, all climbers must now follow these rules:

1. Parking is only permitted within the officially designated parking zones

  • For climbing in and around Sonlerto (Off the Wagon, Fight Club, Mate y Moka, etc.) park vehicles at the parking lot in the village. Please do not use the private parking space by the stairs to Off the Wagon!
  • For areas near San Carlo, use the parking spaces in San Carlo.
  • For the remaining areas in the valley, a satisfactory solution must be found together with the local authorities. Until then: ask beforehand if you park somewhere. If someone asks you to put your vehicle away, please do so without discussion.

2. You are not allowed to park on farmer's fields or enter them

3. It is prohibited to dismantle private fences or parts of it

4. Spending the night in a bus/camper is prohibited in Val Bavona

  • In Val Bavona – as in all of Ticino – camping is generally prohibited. Work is currently underway with local authorities to define an area where it should be allowed.
  • Until then, please use existing accommodations. There are hostels and hotels in Cevio, in Val Bavona the Mate y Moka offers cheap accommodation.

5. Take your waste back with you

  • Please take your waste with you after your stay in Val Bavona.
  • The garbage containers in the valley are closed during the winter.
  • When they are open in spring and summer, official trash bags must be used. These can be purchased in local supermarkets.

In order to be able to climb on those beautiful boulders in the future, it is now important that everyone follows these rules and shows a healthy amount of respect to the local population in Val Bavona. Thank you for your help and good luck in your projects!

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