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Paige Claassen - Climbing in Voralpsee

Paige Claassen climbing in Voralpsee, Switzerland

Climbing tiny white ripples that don’t show chalk and won’t let you see the holds until you are above them...

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“Dang, you get to climb on that one sexy wall.”

This message from my friend Tara accurately describes the sentiment of many climbers when they first lay eyes on a photo of Voralpsee. It’s a pretty darn good looking wall, a wall with a sea of tiny white ripples that don’t show chalk and won’t let you see the holds until you climb above them. Set within a dense forest of towering pines above a glassy mountain lake, you won’t find a more tranquil crag.

You want to visit, you say? Read on for the travel beta.


Fly into Zurich, Switzerland.

Rent a car to make the 2 hour drive from Zurich to Lake Voralpsee.

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Take the bus, as the Swiss bus system is one of the world’s most advanced, and there’s a bus stop at the trailhead to the crag! Truth.


Rent an airbnb apartment in the scenic villages of Wildhaus or Alt St Johann, if you’re willing to drive about 20 minutes to the crag each day. We rented an apartment in the quaint old museum of Alt St Johann.

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Stay directly above Lake Voralpsee at the Berggasthaus Voralp. A pricier option at CF 55 per person for a room and breakfast, but you can’t stay much closer to the crag!

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Camp in one of many pay campgrounds available in the towns. It is forbidden to camp at the lake, and strictly patrolled, so stick to pay campgrounds.


Climbing season at Voralpsee is late spring through mid fall. Mid summer can get warm, but push too far into spring or fall (as I did in May) and you’ll encounter a drenched wall, as melting snow or excessive rain will run down the wall. Like many places, the best month to climb depends on what the weather is doing that year.

Approach via the obvious trail from the parking lot (don’t forget to pay the CF 6 fee per day during summer months). Hike left around the lake until a road leads up the hill with a small but obvious trail leading to the cliff. Total approach time is approximately 20 minutes.

View the online route list, a comprehensive guide to the routes at Voralpsee, in order from left to right. There aren’t photos, but once you reach the cliff, you’ll find the route names painted at the bottom of each climb. It's not necessary to buy the guidebook, but the Schwiez extreme OST includes Voralpsee if you need.

Climb fast. The pump you’ll endure at Voralpsee compares to no other crag, as the continuous sloping crimps and lack of rests offer little relief from the burn in your forearms. Enjoy those bulging veins.

Paige Claassen climbing in Voralpsee, Switzerland


Shop for groceries just over the border in Austria, where you’ll find groceries at half the price of Switzerland’s shops!

Wildhaus’ mainstreet bakery provides a variety of sweet treats and breads for crag snacks. My favorite are always Linzer tarts.

Käserei Stofel in nearby Alt St Johann sells a wide variety of local homemade cheeses from the Toggenburg region. Just be careful, some varieties are inexplicably potent!

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Paige ClaassenPaige Claassen has been a member of the La Sportiva Climbing Team for 8 years.

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7/13/2015 2:06 PM
Posted in Climbing By Paige Claassen

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