Brione for beginners: The most beautiful boulders up to 7A

Brione in Ticino's Verzasca Valley is a bouldering hotspot for the world's best hard movers. But beginners will also get their money's worth in this fantastic area thanks to the extensive bouldering guide and constant development. In this article you will find out why you should pay a visit to Brione and where you can find the most beautiful beginner blocks.

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The content specialist Fabian Reichle is himself an enthusiastic mountain athlete and enjoys being outdoors as often as possible. Benefit from the experience of Bächli Bergsport and take advantage of our expert advice. We are looking forward to your visit!

Brione for beginners – You’ll find out in this article

Dolce Vita – but Swiss. In Ticino, picturesque villages, fantastic food and Mediterranean-style weather conditions also include impressive mountains. And where there are mountains, bouldering rocks are not far away, an El Dorado for problem solvers and block fans. La Dolce Vita Svizzera.

While the spots Cresciano and Chironico have long been bouldering meccas with international appeal, Brione in the Verzasca Valley long seemed like the little sibling in southern Switzerland.

Presumably because, on the one hand, there was no clean, printed guide with topos for the blocks for years and, on the other hand, the image of a hard mover area was established since Bernd Zangerl and others plowed the area around the turn of the millennium.

Rectangle_Knatsch in Magic Wood

And in fact: Lines like General Dissaray (8b), Pamplemousse (8a) or Like on Holiday (7c+), which the professional and local hero Giuliano Cameroni also gave a seated start (8b+), make the hearts of bouldering cracks beat faster.

Local hero Giuliano Cameroni climbs Poison the Well. Image: Paul Robinson
Local hero Giuliano Cameroni climbs Poison the Well. Image: Paul Robinson

Incidentally, Cameroni is the person responsible for and first ascent of several other great routes in Brione, such as Poison the Well (8c+) or Kubalik (8b). Either way: If you say Brione, you have to say Cameroni. Giuliano's father Claudio also left his clear mark in the Verzasca Valley.

Six reasons why you have to go to Brione

Hard movers? Limits of the possible? Brione can do more. It was published in 2019 Bouldering guide “Verzasca Boulder” – Claudio Cameroni is one of the authors. Suddenly the area became more accessible. And it became obvious what potential the blocks there offer. Also for beginners.

The book covers 19 sectors with around 500 problems, although the upper limit is much higher; sectors like Pamplemousse in particular continue to offer enormous potential. In addition to the literally difficult rocks up to 8c+, there are also a number of routes in the deeper areas in the Verzasca Valley. You can find some highlights and rock material to explore in this article.

But first of all: Why should you definitely go to Brione when there are so many alternatives in the surrounding area? There are valid reasons:

  1. The rock is made for bouldering. Gneiss has an almost perfect structure that you can cling to, but which also works perfectly when rubbed. Paired with all kinds of block formations, the result is a bouldering arrangement that is second to none.
  2. The Verzasca Valley is beautiful. The ever-present river is a feast for the eyes, the forests are enchanting. In the valley you will find idyllic, sleepy villages, embedded in quiet nature, without having to miss out on culinary delights, overnight accommodations and warm people.
  3. Brione is accessible. Through the Gotthard Base Tunnel to Bellinzona, on to Gordola and by bus into the valley. This stops at virtually all the important starting points to the sectors. You will rarely find a bouldering area easier, faster and more sustainable.
  4. The area is compact. The most remote sector can be reached in a maximum of 20 minutes, and you can reach many of the blocks within two to five minutes. Often on pleasant paths and sometimes even clearly signposted.
  5. There is bouldering here (almost) all year round. The perfect time is in spring and autumn, but Brione is also accessible in summer and winter.
  6. There are family-friendly sectors. The Ganne and Molonk areas are particularly suitable for kids. And what could be nicer than introducing young people to the sport of bouldering?

Petzl Cirro: Large bouldering mat for safe landings

Petzl Cirro bouldering mat

Cirro is the name of a large bouldering mat with a continuous landing area, which is made of three-layer foam made of polyethylene and polyurethane and has an outer material made of Ballistic Cordura.

A practical folding system offers enough space to store climbing shoes and other equipment, the comfortable carrying system has an adjustable chest and hip strap.

Eight boulder problems to warm you up to in the Verzasca Valley

Convinced of the advantages of the Verzasca Valley? Then all that's missing is a concrete to-do list for your trip. The following list should help you get started in the area.

1 | Idroman (4), Pièe

If you like slab climbing and aren't afraid of water, you're in good hands here. The striking block is essentially standing in cool water. The route leads to the top via a few but solid holds and steps. 

2 | Sunny Day (5+), Ganne

Short, sweet, but not quite as trivial as it seems. The main focus is on the starting edge, which gains stability with a heelhook. From this position you go directly to the target edge. It looks simple, but it definitely has its pitfalls – and of course its charm.

3 | Alla Radice (5+), Ganne

Best holds paired with easy traverse climbing on a rutted block. The logical line is particularly suitable for newcomers, although the crisp conclusion requires some mental work. 

4 | La vie en Rose (6B), Lavertezzo «Ai Poss»

An angular piece of stone, right next to it is the rushing water of the Verzasca. The line leads in a traverse style over stepped drops and from halfway over a distinctive edge. The ending then becomes slightly dynamic. With a small, hearty boost you reach the top.

5 | Brione Arête (6B), Pianesc

Now a real classic. As the name suggests, the line consists of an edge - a beautifully curved one at that. Initially flat underfoot, with slight slopes for the hands. The end is slightly overhanging with more angular handles. The crux of the matter is in the upper area just before the top-out. All in all, a wonderfully technical affair in the middle of an idyllic meadow landscape.

6 | Extra Lusso (6B+), Molonk

Off through the roof. This angular block, which is also interesting in terms of color, first leads over two ledges in the strong overhang before continuing with a hearty mantle into the flat remaining climb. On the same block, a second line also leads through the rock a little further down in area 6b. Similar in type – also in name. The variant is called Extra.

7 | Monnalisa (6C), Ganne

Seated start, dead straight up, with nasty side crimps in between. Solid (high) footwork and dynamic body shift is the key to successfully tackling this problem. A wonderful line in the Ganne sector for strength-oriented bouldering fans.

8 | Oblivion (7A), Brionesque 

Here comes the first taste of the harder routes. Oblivion has pretty much everything a bouldering heart could desire: overhangs, slopers, crimps and hooks that need to be tackled with a lot of strength and even more technique. There are also dynamic and static elements. A real all-round feel-good package.

Scarpa Arpia V LV – entry into the performance sector

Scarpa Shark bouldering shoe

With its slight camber, the Arpia V LV climbing shoe is also at home on smaller ledges. Its soft microfiber upper makes it supple and comfortable, while the two opposing Velcro fasteners ensure a good fit.

The Vibram XS Grip2 sole offers optimal grip, making the Arpia V LV the perfect choice for sport climbing and bouldering - indoors and outdoors.

Interesting facts about the Brione bouldering area

Brione itself is a small village in the middle of the Verzasca Valley, which extends north of Locarno. As described at the beginning, you are doing yourself a favor by traveling by public transport. If you still have to or want to use your car, please make sure that you only park your vehicle in the advertised parking spaces. Also stick to the (payment) rules and make sure that you are not one of those which are fueling another negative debate about bouldering in Ticino.

By the way, this also means that you cannot enter the Vecchio Leone, Sbandiera Bianca and Pianesc sectors from March 31st to October 15th. The meadows there are used for agriculture during this time and bouldering is strictly forbidden.

You can find the bouldering sectors south of Brione. As already mentioned, the entire area is relatively compact; you can get to most of the blocks quickly and without much effort.

Find your way around with the guide “Verzasca Boulder”

Gone are the days when you had to wander around the area or rely on dubious approach routes to find blocks. With the bouldering guide “Verzasca Boulder”, a comprehensive work for 2019 sectors around Brione was created in 19. 160 problems are described on 500 pages - in three languages ​​and with illustrations.

Bouldering guide Verzasca Boulder

You can find the handy book at Bächli mountain sports. Either directly in Online-Shop or your next one branch (sometimes in Tessin,  himself).

Do you want to know more about the bouldering guide? Information can be found in this article.

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Credits: Cover picture Stefan Lehner on Unsplash

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×Display 350x90_Knatsch in Magic Wood