Trip report and blog post by Dan Turner of Highball Productions
Ticino is the Italian region of Switzerland, situated in the South of the country. It is home to some of the best granite in the world. Most of the main Swiss bouldering areas seem to be located here including Magic Wood, Brione, Cresciano and Chironico. All these areas offer something thing slightly different and unique however there is one thing in common, they all have world class lines.
Brione has got to be one of the most scenic places you will ever climb. It's hidden away, high up in a traditional Swiss mountain valley. There is a real varied feel to Brione. Some boulders lie next to the beautiful alpine river, others are tucked away in the woods, and some sit proud in the meadows. This means there is a variety of different styles as well - from smooth, friction dependent, slopey affairs, to steep powerful edge battles to teetering slab test pieces.
Brione is in the Ticino area of Switzerland, situated in the south towards the Italian border. It is your typical Swiss mountain village, ripe in cultural and history, with iconic old stone built houses and stunning views. It also happens to be home to some of the best granite in the world, creating some of the craziest shapes and boulder problems, collectively providing a pretty amazing climbing experience.
We have been going to Brione for the last couple of years. The area is relatively small compared to its peers, Magic Wood and Chironico; however, you never seem to run short of boulder problems to keep you from planning your next trip. The style of climbing varies from steep powerful edge climbing to friction dependent slopey river blocks to amazing technical slabs. Therefore, if you plan your climbing days you can climb several days on. The area is packed full of world class boulder problems from the 'General Disarray' to 'Black Mirror Slab.' This video illustrates some of the lines that kept us entertained for a week at the beginning of November.
Thinking about planning a trip?
There isn't a guide book or a huge amount of information on the area, your best starting place is: here and doing some searches online to watch videos of problems your are interested in. There is a guide book, but it is slightly outdated; don't get too angry with it if you get lost trying to find your way around - it's the most confusing place on earth because every boulder looks similar! There are several places you can stay in the local villages but van life is a popular option.
It sounds a bit frustrating not knowing the ins and outs about the area, but it can be quite refreshing, exploring the area for yourself and finding these hidden gems. You get a good feeling of how it must have been like to discover the place. Brione is also within 1 hour drive from both Magic Wood, Chironico and Creseciano so you can combine it with those areas to make an amazing trip!
One word of warning: the area is quite sensitive. Climbing is accepted in the area and welcomed, but there are restrictions in place (more info here). Just be aware that you are basically climbing in someone's back garden.
A hillside of giants and another hardcore bouldering mecca of Switzerland. It seems all the legends have left a test-piece for generations to come. Big Paw, From the Dirt grows the flowers, Insanity of Grandeur just to name a few. The majority of the boulders are house sized, balancing on a steep hill side. Generally speaking, the climbing is steep on positive edges, giving one a good work out if not used to this style of climbing.
Here is a an example of bouldering you might find: