Cadarese is a famous tradclimbing area, known for its incredible gneiss rock that offers unique cracks and challenging lines for beginners as well as advanced trad climbers (from 4a to 9a). If you want to learn how to place cams and nuts, you can even practice on some bolted routes. Spread over several sectors, the climbing area lies shaded in the forest. Cracks of all kinds – from finger to chimney – line up here. Although the little village Cadarese in Northern Italy (Piemont) appears to be pretty much out of nowhere it can be reached by public transport and allows climbers once they arrived there to reach the crag easily without the car.
How to get there
We started our trip from the main station in Nuremberg, Germany and stayed one week in an apartment in San Rocco, the next village above Cadarese (2 km). The Flixbus took us overnight from Nuremberg to Milano Lampugnano (in 9:20 h). You can’t always find good sleep in the bus, but sometimes it works quite well. We arrived in Milano Lampugnano in the morning. From there, you can use the metro M1 to get to the train station Rho Fieramilano (10 min drive) in Milano where a regional train departs to Domodossola (1:30 h drive). In Domodossola a bus brings you to Cadarese or San Rocco (40 min). The bus to Cadarese does not drive very regularly on sundays, so check the bus schedule here.
Ideally you change means of transport three times during the trip. The described journey will take around 16 hours. There is also the option to use the train instead of the flixbus from Germany, e.g. a nightjet from Munich to Milano (duration: max. 12 h). This might allow you to have more space and a higher comfort during the nocturnal journey. We did not take the bikes because it’s very comfortable to reach the crag by feet in a short amount of time.
Where to stay
There is a campsite directly in Cadarese. However, as we weren’t sure about the weather in October, stayed as a group of five climbers and preferred to travel light we rented a flat via Airbnb. Our Airbnb was located in San Rocco, next to the village of Cadarese. It was cosy and offered everything a climber needs: Warm showers, a nice place to cook and hang around, and most importantly proximity to a wonderful, fancy bar called “Panevino” by the unique gluten-intolerant italian cook Stefano. If you prefer to stay in hotels there are at least two options in Cadarese.
How to reach the crag(s)
From our accommodation (in San Rocco), we could reach the main crag of Cadarese within 15 minutes by feet. To the upper sectors add around 5-10 minutes by feet up the hill or to the right.
The supermarket situation was a little bit tricky. There is no grocery store in walking distance, so it is necessary to take the bus or to hitchhike to either Premia or another bigger village close by. Food shopping is therefore rather an activity for a rest day. We therefore recommend buying food for the first days when arriving in Domodossola (there are supermarkets close to the train station). Other activities on rest days include running, hiking or chilling in the bar. In Cadarese, there is also a thermal spa and a nice river to swim.
In the region, you can find a lot of other crags for trad climbing as well as multipitch, sport climbing and bouldering.
How to book the trip
The booking app we used for the overnight bus drive was flixbus (the earlier the cheaper). The metro ticket, train and bus ticket can be directly purchased at the respective station and the bus driver or here. If you want to travel by nightjet, you can purchase the ticket, e.g. here.
About the author
Ecopoint Frankenjura Initiative