If, like me, you are getting through winter by making plans for the summer, you will no doubt be itching to hear about this year’s alpine meet. Dates are 6 - 14 July.
The plan this year is to go to the Bregaglia valleys in Switzerland. The Bregaglia are a collection of valleys on the Swiss/Italian border with amazing climbing on solid granite. There are two main areas:
Albigna - reached by cable car, this valley offers a huge variety of easily accessible climbing as well as some longer routes which a bit more a hike away. There’s the Spazzacaldeira right next to the lift which has an enormous number of semi-bolted climbs of all difficulties, which can be topped off by climbing one of the famous ‘Fiamma’ or ‘Dente’ which lean over a 2000m precipice into the valley below. There’s loads more to go at further up the valley, including more alpine style rock climbing e.g. on the Piz Frachiccio and the Punta Albigna. Dave A and I can offer intel on the worlds greatest Bivy spot (tho technically illegal in Switzerland).
Val Bondasca - this areas is home to some mega routes, including the famous North Ridge of the Piz Badile and the Via Cassin on its North Face. There are also tons of easy long routes to go at as well as a few shorter routes (even some single pitch sport next to the huts). Access is by staying in either the Sciora or Sasc Fura huts. Psyche material here: https://www.climbing.com/places/the-alpine-pursuit-of-5fun-in-switzerlands-val-bregaglia/
Transport - fly to either Milan or Zurich airports. Milan may be a bit cheaper and will have cheaper car hire/supermarket options, but leave choice up to you.
Accommodation - for a valley base there are two excellent campsites, either the Acquafraggia in Italy (closer to Val bondasca and supermarket, also has some sport climbing nearby) or the one in Vicosoprano in Switzerland (closer to Albigna and very swiss with no washing machine). Then there are the bivy and hut options for those venturing into the mountains.
I will look into booking a group area once I have a better idea of interest levels.
Backup plan There was a massive rockfall in the Val Bondasca in 2017 when half the Piz Cengalo fell into the valley. That meant all the paths and huts were closed in 2018 making access to the big peaks hard and arguably dangerous.
Hopeful for reopening this year, but as a back up plan I suggest basing ourselves near Andermatt. There we have access to the amazing routes on the Salbit and the slab climbing in the Grimsel Pass area (an hours drive away). Again - loads to go at in both these locations including the classic South and (if you are a lot more proficient than me) the West ridges of the Salbitschijen.
This plan means we can still fly to Zurich/Milan and rent cars etc so we can take a call when we know more about the state of the valleys.
Sign up sheet
Please input your name if you would like to come, and what your preferred travel plans/dates are and a brief bit about what you are looking to get out the trip/what your experience level is. If people are driving hopefully we can do some car pooling.
All the best,