Cadarese in Val d’Ossola is one of the most famous crack climbing areas in Italy and throughout Europe. The smooth granite cliff has the highest density of cracks possible and all routes are of excellent quality, making the crag a popular destination for rock climbing courses, not only for Italian climbers, but also for those from Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic, Poland and Austria.
The crag is split into three tiers and while almost all routes follow smooth cracks, not all are trad climbs. After years of bitter controversy between those in favour of making it a cliff for sport climbing and those in favour of leaving the cracks untouched, a compromise was reached and nowadays some sectors are bolted while others are completely clean and therefore ideally suited for trad climbing. Crack Party is the most popular and accessible sector for trad climbing; the routes require protecting and only the belays are bolted. Due to the nature of the climbs, a double set of cams is highly recommended as just a single rack won’t suffice!
I wish to extend my gratitude to all those who worked hard at making Cadarese what it represents today in the Italian and international climbing scene. If foreign trad climbers make the effort to come and climb here, at this crag hidden in the folds of the Piedmont foothills, then there must be a good reason!
Follow the access as described in the guidebook (Ossola Rock, Versante Sud 2014) by entering Valle Antigorio and continuing towards Terme di Premia. Park the car immediately before the Spa, on the right next to the bridge directly in front of the crag. Cross the river, walk down the road and then follow the obvious path across the meadow. Scramble up steeply past Tribe, one of the most difficult trad climbs in the world, to reach the second sector with its bolted cracks. From here turn right and follow the ledge rightwards. This quickly becomes fairly narrow, continue along the steps carved in the rock to reach the first routes at Sector Crack Party (20 minutes from the car park). Warning! This sector is NOT suited for children, the routes start from an exposed ledge!