Switzerland - Basler Jura

The start of the Jura mountains to the south west of Basel

 

Climbing Area

The Basler Jura is a beautiful area of limestone crags located at the Eastern end of the Swiss Jura mountains, close to the Rhine, the city of Basel, and the borders of France and Germany. Some of the crags are in fact in France. There are around 50 crags in the area, some of them world class.

Number of routes
2000
Scrambles and Alpine climbs

The Biederthal / Burg gorge is a small, hidden gem on the border between France and Switzerland. The river Birsig has it's source in Switzerland near to the village of Burg, best known for its Schloss perched on the top of a large fin of rock. The stream cascades down a pretty little gorge in a series of small waterfalls between steep but short limestone walls.  The climb up this gorge is an interesting and pictureque scramble from the bottom in France to the top in Switzerland.

Difficulty
II - steeper sections may need a rope
Time required
30 to 90 minutes depending on conditions
Crag

Chalengraben is a beautiful gorge tucked away in the hillside above Hofstetten. It has a few short and difficult routes that can be really pleasant in the spring, summer and autumn. Due to the narrowness of the gorge, and hence lack of sun it is slow to dry after rain. The climbs have a convenient picnic table under them, and a walk up the gorge to the Bergmatten restaurant is worthwhile in its own right.

Number of routes
20
Range of Routes
6b to 8a
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Set in a beautiful area, just above the Chastelbach, the cliff has a number of buttresses with some excellent routes. In the afternoons Chastelfluh is a good hot weather crag, there is lots of shade. Note that the slabby routes in particular often get overgrown in the summer.

Number of routes
100
Range of Routes
6a - 8b
Rock Type
Limestone
Sun
In the morning
Crag

Seldom busy, Chuenisberg is a peaceful place, set in a beautiful wood of beech trees. Often the only sound to hear is the cursing of climbers who have not quite managed to redpoint their latest project. North facing, it is an ideal crag for hot summer days,  the downside being that it can be slow to dry after the winter and after prolonged rain. Although the majority of the routes are hard - and it has of some of the hardest routes in the Basler Jura - Chuenisberg nevertheless has a few excellent middle grade routes.

Number of routes
100
Range of Routes
6a - 9a
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

A compact sector with two distinct buttresses. The left hand side has some hard slabs and steep pocketed walls. The right hand side has a mid grade classic - big holds up an overhanging wall, plus some easier slabs and harder routes up the overhanging wall.

Number of routes
20
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Premiere is the far left hand side of Chuenisberg. Often neglected it has a few excellent routes. As with the rest of Chuenisberg it is in the shade, and so good for hot summer days, but equally slow to dry and cold in the winter.

Number of routes
25
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

The sector Ravage is steep and has a long history. It was once home to the hardest route in the world. Ravage is a route that has now been on sighted by Adam Ondra. The Bohemian born, Basel resident, Wenzel Vodicka worked with  the leading French climber Antoine Le Menestrel to make the first ascent back in 1985. Originally graded 8b+, it is now thought to be 8c, and still sees very few ascents. Vodicka later turned his attention to the wall to the right, but continually failed on one move, despite many attempts over many years.

Number of routes
20
Rock Type
Limestone
Climbing Area

Falkenfluh is a large important cliff containing hundreds of excellent routes, nearly all single pitch up to 30m in height. The climbs are predominately steep walls, and the routes are in all grades, with something to suit everyone, except perhaps the complete beginner. Most of the routes are well bolted, although the bolts are sometimes a little spaced, but rarely dangerously. The crag is located in a forest offering welcome shade in the summer, which can mean some sections are slow drying after prolonged rain. The area is very beautiful, and is popular, but rarely crowded.

Number of routes
250
Crag

The left hand side of Falkenfluh has many excellent mid grade routes climbing to the top of the Falkenspitz and Amboss pinnacles. It is typical Baslerjura climbing, with walls, corners, slabs and cracks, often polished. The left hand side gets the sun most of the day, although the trees do provide some shade.

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Höhle Gasse is the narrow lane between the crag and the 4m high boulder lying next to it. 

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Lange Wand is the continuous stretch of crag on the right hand side of Falkenfluh, just after the Holzer recess and its fine arete "Holzerkante". It is reached in just a few minutes from the descent staircase. Most of the cimbing is in the upper grades, with many excellent hard routes. It gets the sun in the afternoon, but the trees can keep it pleasantly cool. The routes can be slow to dry after rain.

Number of routes
40
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Some easy slabs, some desparate walls and one of the best routes in the area. Piazza Grande lives up to it's name as one long layback, although maybe it is better to jam it in places. The crag, like the rest of Falkenflluh gets the sun in the afternoon. 

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

The first crag you reach as you descend the steps is above a spring that leads into the river Birs. There are only a few very hard routes here, including a right to left boulder traverse completed in 1994 by Fred Nicole.

 

Number of routes
5
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

The crag nearest to the Flakenfluh staircase contain many excellent routes and is justifiably popular. Climbing is on walls typically with good solution pockets or short cracks, and the routes are often strenuous. It gets the sun in the afternoon, but the trees can keep it pleasantly cool. The routes can be slow to dry after rain.

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

The continuation of Falkenfluh past Höhle Gasse, is again steep and hard. Many of the routes here were put up at the end of the last century, and remain test pieces for locals and visiting climbers. The rock is mostly good, and reasonably well bolted, if maybe a bit sporting in places.

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Elsässerwand at the left hand side of Hofstettenchöpfli is a pleasant crag with lots of wall climbing in the 5b to 6c range. It gets the sun in the afternoon, and dries quickly after rain. At 5a, Efeupfeiler is a classic of the crag

Number of routes
30
Range of Routes
Mostly 6a to 6c
Rock Type
Limestone
Sun
Gets the sun in the afternoon
Climbing Area

Gempen, or Schartenfluh as it is more formally known, is a popular crag in a beautiful location, with great views over the surrounding countryside. It is possible to see the Alps on a clear day, and the sunset is well worth waiting for. There are 4 main sectors, all with their own character. The rock is mostly solid, and getting polished on the popular routes. It dries very quickly, and Sandührliwand in particular catches all the sun that is going, so can be busy on a nice Sunday afternoon in autumn, winter and spring.

Number of routes
150
Crag

A nice selection of climbs in this middle section of Gempen, mostly on steep walls with a few aretes and slabs thrown in. Not as open as Sanduehrliwand, so not as warm on sunny winter days, but some welcome shade in the summer

Number of routes
40
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

The easiest sector at Gempen with many short, safe routes in the lower grades. Perfect for beginners, and the routes on Block wall are well worth the visit in their own right.

Number of routes
40
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

A very sunny crag that dries quickly and can sometimes be too hot even in the coldest months! Excellent wall climbing often on pockets, well bolted.

Number of routes
100
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Ziegenrücken is the first slab you reach after descending the steep stepped gully. The climbs are popular, perhaps partly due to the easier routes, and obvious warm up potential. However, especially in hot weather they can feel hard for the grade, despite the shade.

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

On hot summer days after a long dry period, Get Wet Canyon is an ideal place to escape the heat. A deep chasm cut into the side of the hill, the temperature can be 20 degrees lower at the foot of the canyon than at neighbouring Tannenfluh. However it stays wet for a long time, and the routes can be dirty until they have had a bit of traffic. When it is in condition, many of the routes are excellent.

Number of routes
30
Rock Type
Limestone
Crag

Situated deep in the forest, this small gorge with its quaint little cave has a handful of steep and difficult climbs up to 30m in length. It provides welcome shade on hot summer days, although is slow to dry after prolonged rain. The crag is not perfectly solid, so take care not to kill any tourists wandering through the gorge.

Number of routes
20
Rock Type
Limestone
Sun
The crag is mostly in the shade
Climbing Area

Hofstettenchöpfli is the escarpment of limestone crags that lies between Flüh and Hofstetten. The escarpment is interesting for it's abundance of rare Downy oak trees that usually only grow in a Mediterranean climate. On the Chöpfli they survive only at a very limited altitude, and the tree line can clearly be seen in autumn from nearby Landskron castle. The left end of the ridge is approached from Flüh and Elsässerwand is a pleasant crag with lots of wall climbing in the 6a to 6c range.

Number of routes
60