Chironico is one of the best and most popular boulder crags in Europe. In the Topo Guru database you can find the photo-based topos of the whole crag with more than 1500 boulders in 23 sectors. Besides Cresciano and Magic Wood, Chironico is one of the three big must-visit bouldering crags in Switzerland. The popularity of the crag is based on the super solid gneiss, amazing boulders, small distances and beautiful landscape.
Typical alpine gneiss boulder area: the characteristics of the boulders are often crimpy overhanging, but you can also find all other types of boulders also: slabs, aretes and vertical walls. The rock type here in this part of the Alpes is often called granite, but the most precise phrase is gneiss. Gneiss and granite are similar, but not the same. The rock texture is rough here: it means good friction and rapidly abrading fingers. Landing is mostly good and easy, so it’s possible to climb alone, you can find a lot of boulders while your buddies are projecting somewhere else.
The best climbing season here is spring and autumn, but it depends on your goals. If you want to climb hard ascents on your top level, you should choose chilly weather to get more grip. For top boulderers winter is the best time to visit, although climbing in the winter may be effected by snow levels or rain. From the car parking area the first boulders are within one-minute walk, the popular sectors are within 10 minutes of walk and even the most far away sectors can be reached in 25 minutes.
Canton Ticino is located in the SE of Switzerland, near to Italy. The distance between Chironico and Cresciano is just 25 km, so it is easy to visit both crags in one trip. The nearest airports are Milan and Lugano, both are big budget airline centers and they are just a two-hour drive from the crag. Be aware of speed limits on swiss roads, the fees are extremely high. Also don’t forget that you need an annual vignette on your car, which costs 40 CHF.
Where to stay
The cheapest solution is Camping Gottardo, which is a popular place to stay for climbers. The campsite is well equipped with showers, hot water, wifi, electricity, restaurant and a good bakery. It is 10 minutes drive from the boulder parking area. The owner/runner old lady is a very kind person, she speaks german and italian. The camping is open from March to the end of October. If you want to stay inside, you can try Airbnb, interhome.ch or casafile.ch where you can find a few apartments in the village of Chironico. It is recommended to book earlier in the season, because there are not so many opportunities in the area.
As you are in the Alps, the location tempts you to hike, try multi-pitch climbing or go rafting. As a holiday activity, you can visit a lot of beautiful sights near Chironico. You can drive up to the Gotthard-pass, the top is at 2091 meters and you have a nice view of the surrounding mountains. You can also visit the beautiful cities of Locarno, Lugano and Como, within 1 hour drive to south from the crag. If you have a long spell of damp weather, you have the possibility to try one of the nearby indoor climbing gyms: Indoor Boulder Riazzino or Evolution Center. If you need climbing equipment, you can buy quite a lot of stuff in Evolution Center or in the shops of the above mentioned cities. There is a small supermarket 7 km South, towards Bellinzona. In this city, you can find several big supermarkets.