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Bouldering in Tsavas, Fribourg / Freiburg Switzerland Email
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Friday, 27 May 2016 21:30

Tucked away in the heart of the Gruyère Regional Nature Park is an astonishing bouldering area called Tsavas. At almost 1’600m, these boulders lie just underneath the foot of the Vanil Noir mountain range in the Swiss Canton of Fribourg.

You’ll have to make the effort and go out of your way to get here though, as there is no public transport link, with your only option being a one lane road winding up the picturesque mountainside. But that’s not all, a further 45min hike up 400m will finally see you to the boulders. The reward though, is a stunningly beautiful mountain valley, rolling green hills and some fantastic blocks just waiting to be climbed.

Tsavas area is made up of a wide plane and grassy fields semi-circled by the main mountain range. The boulders are easily accessible and are scattered along a winding river. The area is sun facing for most of the day, and in high summer the last rays of light will disappear at around 10p.m. making it an excellent afternoon spot from June to August. Just ensure you check the weather forecast in advance. There is little shelter from the rain. Plan for a 30min descent back down the public parking space.

The boulders themselves come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, the granite shapes ranging from small and crimpy to huge “high-ball” blocks. The granite is sharp and compact, although take care in some areas as there can be brittle elements.

There is a wide range of grades to be tackled, making this an ideal spot for all levels of climbing. However, due to this area being less frequented, many of the boulders can be dirty or covered in moss, particularly at the lower grades. Don’t let that stop you though as there are some fantastic lines to be found. A detailed guide for the area can be found in the app Bimano for a small price (see my article on the Bimano app here).

Landings are usually flat, but you may want to bring an extra crashpad or two as there are a few traverses and some of the top outs can be very high indeed. Also be aware that you will be sharing the valley with hundreds of sheep and some blocks in particular will be covered in their poop… so tread carefully!

I can’t quite get over how beautiful this area is. Huge boulders, clearly defined problems, sun all day around and the peace and quiet of the Swiss alms combine to make this a fantastic place to visit for an afternoon bouldering session or even a whole day.

A word on approach:

The area lies just South of Gruyère town, and will take you through the village of Grandvillard. From there follow the small tarmacked road winding all the way up to the designated signed parking spot (about 20min).

GPS coordinates for parking: 46°30'52.2"N 7°06'46.0"E

GPS coordinates for boulders: 46°30'50.5"N 7°07'11.1"E

From the parking you have two options:

Option 1: Walk back down the road a few metres until a dirt road turns off to the right. Follow this for 5 minutes until it takes a sharp left by the waterfall. Before the left turn, head into the grass on the right and continue until the foot of the grassy hill, you will then spot a small trampled path which snakes up the hillside next to the waterfall. After 10 minutes it will dip into the forest and connect you to the main hiking path. Turn left at this point and continue up until you hit Tsavas (about 30minutes).

Option 2: Continue a few metres down the road until you hit the first farm on the right. Directly to your left is a small gate which you can enter. Follow the path a few metres to the next green gate and from there continue along the path until you hit Tsavas (about 40minutes).

Highly recommend to download a GPS app on your phone, such as the excellent GPS Tracks. You will be able to see the hiking paths clearly on this and follow it all the way up to the bouldering area.

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."