Europe provides a higher density of amazing climbing spots than any other continent. Within a few hours of driving, you can easily visit a bunch of unique places for bouldering, sport climbing or alpine climbing. As I see big journeys by plane more and more critical, I wanted to refocus on those crags around us in Bavaria, Switzerland, and Austria. This weekend I visited Magda in Freiburg and we went to the nearby Balser Jura for some sport climbing.
The Basler Jura is a sub-alpine mountain range 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. It is a beautiful area of more than 50 limestone crags, some of them world-class. The difficulty of the routes varies from the very easiest to the very hardest and have a reputation for being tough, due to the compact nature of the rock that makes many climbs technical and difficult to read. Routes are usually well bolted, albeit sparsely but rarely dangerously, on some of the older climbs. The Basler Jura not only provides a lot of possibilities for sport climbing but also for bouldering and multi-pitch climbing.
The most popular crags are Gempen, Falkenfluh, Schauenburgfluh, Tüfleten, and Pelzli. Due to their popularity, it is possible that these crags are quite crowded at the weekend, but during the week you should be alone. Most of the other crags are also excellent.
We spent the weekend at the Falkenfluh because it is one of the biggest crags in the Balser Jura with around 200 routes. From the parking, you can reach it within 10 minutes walking down the hillside through a small forest. The great majority of the routes is quite excellent and well bolted except for some polished classics.
The best times to climb in the Basler Jura are spring and autumn. It is possible to climb all year round, although the winter months are very weather dependent, and in the middle of summer, it can be too hot on all but the shadiest of crags.