Canyonlands: Tales from Narrow Places

A dreary and quick run down Cresciano Boggera inferiore

Posted in Switzerland & Italy by canyoneering on October 29, 2012

Cresciano Boggera inferiore, V3A3II
Riviera, Ticino, Switzerland


Another dreary and damp morning leaves us unsure of where the day will take us. As we travel by vehicle from the Maggia Valley to the Riviera, the next major valley to the east and home to the highest concentration of technical canyons of the area, we are uncertain if a descent is in store for us today. We decide to drive to the trail head of Cresciano Boggera. The lower section, or inferiore in the local nomenclature, is one of the easier, more popular  and shorter routes in all of Ticino. It is a classic European descent. Like other canyons in the area, Cresciano Boggera is dammed for a hydroelectric power station upstream of the route. Though not eliminating the risk for flash floods, these dammed canyons pose a lower risk for flash flood as the sudden precipitation or snow melt would have to be concentrated below the location of the dam. These canyons do however require that you call the power company to ensure they are not doing a release of water on the day of your descent. Speaking on the phone with the power company we get approval for the descent. We arrive at the trailhead to see over a dozen individuals, most of whom were part of commercial guided groups getting their canyoneering gear together. Though the weather is gloomy the rain has stayed away. After factoring in the descent’s short required time, along with its location below a dam and local guide companies prepping for a descent we decide for a run of our own.

As we get our gear together we are greeted by a local resident, a curious and bold goat. We pack quickly hoping to position ourselves in front of the large tour groups also getting ready to start their hike. After passing the remains of a World War II barbed wire fence on the steep approach, we suit up in our neoprene. The canyon is teaming with activity with even more groups, some guided, others not, making their way down the rappels, toboggans and jumps.  A group lets us play thru on their rope on a 60- foot rappel. We then try to pass a group of six local unguided canyoneers. They happily let us pass but then quickly take us, as we rappel the next drop that they all jump. The dust settles and we find our pocket in the descent surrounded by what could have been over 50- other people in the canyon. As billed the canyon is exciting but not terribly difficult as we move ever closer down to the town of Cresciano, which we could see nearly the entire time in the canyon. As if on cue the rain begins as we make our way back to our vehicle. The goat is gone, but a donkey grabs Eric’s neoprene vest hanging on a fence as we change into our dry clothes. After recovering the vest we drive higher up the Riviera. The weather gets colder and the scenery more magnificent. Snow can be seen atop the nearby peaks. We stop to take in the sights at a slow pace, strolling by towering waterfalls coming out of low hanging clouds, a stone church in a verdant field, vineyards and mountain pass villages.



2 Responses

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  1. Stephen Schwartz said, on October 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I’ll bet you enjoyed having to compete with 50 other folks! 😦

    Great pictures, as always.

  2. […] trees of the Riviera valley below illuminated in the morning sun. We can see the side canyons of Cresciano Boggera and Osogna Nala across the Riviera that we descended earlier in the […]

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