It is obvious why Magic Wood got its name. This place is cozy, beautiful and one of the biggest and most popular boulder climbing crags in Europe. We can say it’s the best of the best. Magic Wood is probably the most famous climbing place in Switzerland, although Chironico and Cresciano are also world-wide known superb bouldering spots. Magic wood is located in a forest high in the mountains next to a wild water river. It is an ideal boulder crag in the summer, as the location is cooler than most of the crags thanks to the narrow valley and the altitude of 1300 meters. This crag is famous for its very high concentration of boulders.
Magic Wood Bouldering
The rock is high-quality granite with good friction, but the famous and popular problems can have polished holds. As the problems tend to be harder, the holds are usually still have good friction. The boulders here are typically steep, hard, we can say they are physical. Magic Wood is also known for poor landings, as the boulders are situated on a hillside, so climbing requires multiple pads and spotters to make it safe.
The whole area is very compact, you can reach every boulder with a maximum 20 minutes walk on the beautiful forest path. However, reaching the upper sectors sometimes can be hard with the pads, because of steep hillside and crowded blocs. Magic Wood has one of the biggest concentration of hard boulders, more than 100 problems are 8a and above, including some of the most famous ones like Never Ending Story 1-2 (8a, 8a+), Foxy Lady (8a), Jack’s Broken Heart (8a+), Riverbed (8b), In Search of Time Lost (8c) and many others…
The boulders are mainly crimpy and fingery, so if you are good on the campus, probably this is your place to crush in your grade. As mentioned, landings are usually poor so several crashpads needed to climb here. And also a good spotter… Climbing alone here is possible, but means a big limitation, so it’s better to come here with your friends. Hiring crashpads is available at Bodhi, but in high season it’s recommended to write an email them to make sure they reserve one for you.
This is a summer prime destination, most of the climbers come here from June until September. The snow season can be from mid-October through to Easter. It can also rain a lot here in the summer, though the boulders dry out surprisingly quickly even after heavy rainfalls. It can be crowded on summer weekends with passable weather, gets less crowded around September, by October there’s a good chance you will not meet a single climber. In spring/early summer be careful at the river, the watermark can raise quickly because of the melting snow up in the hills. This can have effect on the boulders next to the river, mainly in Beach sector.
If the crag is crowded and you stay for a longer time, on the busiest weekend days you can visit other nearby crags: the rightly famous Cresciano and Chironico which are just 1,5 hour drive from Magic Wood. If the weather is hot, you can try the special summer bouldering area Sustenpass, which is on the same way as the two mentioned big crags, just one hour more driving.
Where to stay
Most climbers stay at Bodhi Camping or Gasthaus Edelweiss, both run by the local hero Thomas. He also produces the best brushes on planet Earth, so if you are in Magic Wood, stock up with those. The camping spot (which is cheap for Switzerland) is by no means a deluxe camping spot, but it has running water, toilets and hot a new hot water shower block from 2017. In the popular months (June-August) Bodhi gets busy on weekends, so you should book a campsite in advance. Both the camping and the guest house are within a five minutes walk from the first boulders.
There is a lounge in the house which can be used by people staying at the campsite, with sofas, TV, games console, Wifi and even a small climbing shop. Wild camping is strictly prohibited and police will fine you lots of money if you find you there.
The two nearest airports are Zürich and Milan. Zürich is 2 hours drive from the crag, Milan is 2,5 hours by car. Once you are in the car, you should search the GPS for „Magic Wood” or Ausserferrera, the nearest village. 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. By public transport, catch a train from anywhere in Switzerland to Thusis. From here you can take the local bus which takes you up to the crag.
Rest day / Food
Refreshing and chilling are the best options on your rest days probably in the guest house where you can eat too. If you would like to move out, you should visit Thusis, there are some big supermarkets for shopping. Good to know, Switzerland is about 50% more expensive than nearby countries in general, so if you drive through Austria or Germany we recommend stocking up there.
The great bike festival (Downhill world cup) is held in Lanzerheide every summer (early July). You can easily take a day off and visit the event by car in 30 minutes. The race is so spectacular and visitors can try out the most recent electric bikes. You can cool down your body at the lakeside in the town.