In and around the bilingual city of Biel, people have long been climbing blocks at the height of the jump. Since 2018 there has been a bouldering guide who neatly describes and illustrates the 600 bouldering problems. You can find out more about the area and bouldering guide in Alena Stauffacher's contribution.

A contribution by Alena Stauffacher, Bächli Bergsport

Where German-speaking Switzerland and French-speaking Switzerland meet, the Jura south foot begins just outside the walls of the watch city of Biel. Known for its light limestone, the wide plateaus and the view over the Seeland up to the high alpine peaks, the Jura is as popular with hikers as it is with climbers and boulderers. Not far from the urban industry, alpine-style slab climbing and tricky boulder blocks are attractive.

stone on stone

What characterizes the Jurassic limestone are its stratifications, the cracks and holes that result from erosion, which often causes hourglasses and individual rock towers. Due to its angular, rough surface, the lime is easy to grip and ideal for climbing. The cliffs typical of the Jura form high rock faces on both sides - as if made for beautiful single to multi-pitch routes. The furrows and holes are breeding grounds for mosses and other plants, birds often nest on larger ledges in quieter walls and, last but not least, the limestone forms perfect handles and steps. But be careful: if you roam the Bernese-Jurassic forests carefully, you will also notice so-called erratic blocks, erratic blocks that were left there by glaciers several million years ago.

It may well be that a block of gneiss or granite can be found in the middle of a lime foundation. One of the most well-known boulders and the largest in the region around Biel is the Holenstein in the Gaicht area. Several bouldering routes lead to this block of Montblanc granite, eleven of which are described in the bouldering guide “Biel-Bienne Boulder”. Further erratic blocks made of granite and gneiss can be found on the Bözingenberg, north of Biel; A chapter in the guide is also devoted to this region.

Look into the book

No bouldering day without appropriate preparation: The «Biel-Bienne Boulder» guide just mentioned covers a total of twelve areas around Lake Biel, from La Neuveville to Twann, along the Vingelzberg to Bözingenberg and to Frinvillier. The areas are divided into three chapters, Bord du Lac, Frinvillier and Bözingenberg, according to their location.

If you are not yet familiar with one of the bouldering areas and would like to discover a new spot, you will certainly enjoy the practical overview maps, with information on boarding, exact coordinates and information on other blocks, fire pits and more. The bouldering guide can delight with 600 presented problems, generous color photos and detailed topos. Due to the large selection of routes, everyone from beginners to professionals will find a suitable project.

"During the warm summer months, Lake Biel invites you to take a refreshing jump after bouldering."

Alena Stauffacher

A few of the areas presented were insider tips until not so long ago, the topos were immediately preserved and treasures were only passed on with extreme caution. Due to the increasing popularity, more and more boulderers are finding their way to the blocks on the south foot of the Jura and enjoying the sunny slopes above Lake Biel.

During the warm summer months, this invites you to take a refreshing dip after bouldering. In spring and autumn, gentle sun rays warm the rock - now that there is still snow in the mountains, it is great for bouldering; the rock firmly in your hands, the problem in front of you and your gaze wandering over the unique panorama again and again.

The bouldering guide for Biel

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Credits: Cover picture Quentin Blanchard