Bavariafels - also named Wilgartswieser Rauhfelsis a massive sandstone cliff to the south of Wilgartswiesen in the Südpfalz Climbing Region. Towering 200m above the village the rock overlooks the Queich Valley and itself is visible from far around. In fact only the topmost part of Bavariafels can be seen since the greater part of the rock is hidden beneath the forest which covers the slopes of Großer Rauhberg (or Wilgartswieser Rauhberg), the mountain of which Bavariafels is but one part. There are two more crags, both of which can be (and are) climbed, two pillars to the south-east and south-west of the mountain. While the south-western pillar is rather small and completely hidden in the forest, the south-western pillar is about 40m in height with a vertical east face popping out of the canopy. On a busy day on Bavariafels you might dodge the crowds by retreating there. Just follow the hiking trail, which starts at the eastern base of Bavariafels and hike around Großer Rauhberg to its opposite side.
But back to Bavariafels: Its most impressive aspect is the huge south face as seen from the base of the mountain. Though hidden beneath the canopy the forest on the southern side is not as dense as the one on the northern side. Consequently a deep look into it reveals this incredible wall in the high distance. The crest runs from south-west to north-east, starting near the summit of Großer Rauhberg and ending at its base. Though the height diminishes the farther you get from the summit, it does so but slightly, leaving the north-eastern ramparts very massive indeed.
The easiest route to the main summit of Bavariafels is rated a simple UIAA I, though it is very exposed. One has to follow a few ledges from the Rauhberg summit on the south side of the cliff to the col between main and west summit. From there a short scramble brings you up a step from which you need to head out onto a narrow ledge in the south face which takes you over to the eastern summit ridge. You can follow the route easily on the large picture above. The western summit, from which this picture was taken can be reached in much the same way - a ledge through the south face leads to a small plateau from which a short climb takes you to the top of the summit structure.
Bavariafels is often home to breeding peregrine falcons which in turn closes the cliff for the first seven months of the year. I went there on the last day of the general closure (it had been lifted in particular for Bavariafels acouple of weeks before) and found lots of signs of the birds or prey up there, mainly feathers and droppings. When resting on the wetsern summit a peregrine lifted off from the main summit, though not as nervously as they do during the breeding phase.
Climbing on Großer Rauhberg
As said above Bavariafels is but one of three cliffs which protrude out of Großer Rauhberg. The climbing history starts sometime in 1908, when Jakob Otto, Karl Baumann and Adrian Platz climbed a route which is now counted as a variation to the normal route.
The following information is linked from the site of the Vereinigung Pfälzer Kletterer I link to their routes database directly with some summary info. Here is the link to the complete database.
|Bavariafels||Bavariafels||40 routes with variations ranging from 1 - 7|
|Wilgartswieser Rauhberg - Südostpfeiler||Südostpfeiler||7 routes ranging 3 - 6+-|
|Wilgartswieser Rauhbergpfeiler||Rauhbergpfeiler||14 routes with variations ranging from 1 - 8|
Bavariafels is located directly above the village of Wilgartswiesen, directly above the main highway, B10. The closest airports are at Frankfurt and Stuttgart so the itineraries start there too.
From FrankfurtThere are two possible routes which both take equally long
- Via Ludwigshafen
- From Frankfurt take motorway A5 southward to Darmstadt.
- There change to A67 south.
- At Viernheimer Dreieck turn onto A6 west. Leav
- e it at Frankenthaler Kreuz for A61 south.
- At Mutterstädter Kreuz take A65 south until you reach Landau.
- At Landau turn on B10 west.
- Leave B10 at Wilgartswiesen and drive into the village
- Right in the center K54 turns off south in the direction of Spirkelbach
- After having crossed underneath a railroad bridge you will find the cemetery on the right hand side of the road. Right behind is a parking lot underneath the B10 highway bridge.
- Via Kaiserslautern
- From Frankfurt take motorway A3 west
- At Mönchhofdreieck turn onto A67 south
- At Rüsselsheimer Dreieck take A60 west
- At Kreuz Mainz Süd take A63 south
- At Kreuz Kaiserslautern turn onto A6 west
- At Kreuz Landstuhl turn onto A62 south
- At Pirmasens turn onto B10 east
- At Wilgartswiesen turn off and take K54 south from the village centre
- Park near the cemetery underneath the B10 highway bridge.
- Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
- At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
- Tke the next exit to head for A65
- At Landau North turn to B10
- Rest as above
Yes, there is red tape and lots of it. The sandstone of Südpfalz forms lots of caves and overhangs. Though this makes it most interesting for climbers, two species of birds of prey compete for this habitat: the peregrine falcons and the eagle owls. Both are endangered and wherever there is a eagle owl pair found nesting in the sandstone the crag will immediately be closed. Generally this closure lasts from the beginning of each year through Aug. 1st. If breeding is not successful the closures will be cancelled even before that date. For a list of closures see the Closure List of PK.
The use of magnesia is not allowed in the whole Südpfalz region. This is rather a directive or an arrangement than an outright law. Thus you probably will get away with using it but do so only when absolutely necessary. Magnesia closes the pores which you find in the sandstone and together they form a smooth surface which will get very slippery in wet conditions. The rule of thumb is to use magnesia in the highest difficulty sections and only extremely sparingly.
A list of guidelines can be found here (in German).
AccommodationYou can find hotels and apartments in Wilgartswiesen or neighbouring Rinnthal and Hauenstein. Have a look at the following links (which are in German, however):
- Wilgartswiesen information
- Trifelsland information
- Hauenstein Pfalz information
- Hauenstein information
- Rinnthal information
Weather ConditionsWilgartswiesen has its own weather forecast at wetter.de:
Maps & Books
As for maps there is a good overview map (1:50000) by Kompass Verlag but the best ones are the official topographic maps by the state government of Rheinland Pfalz, scaled 1:50000, 1:25000 and 1:5000. All official maps can be found on the web page of Landesvermessungsamt Rheinland Pfalz
- Naturpark Pfälzer Wald
Kompass Map WK766
- Annweiler am Trifels
LVA RLP Map L6712
- Annweiler am Trifels
LVA RLP Map 6713
There are a number of climbing guidebooks on the region of Südpfalz. The best ones, however, have been published privately and are sold only in selected bookshops of the region.
B. & J.-Th. Titz
- Klettern im Buntsandstein
U. Daigger, H.-J. Cron
Published privately and out of print
- Pfalz ++, Klettern im Buntsandstein
R. Burkard, P. Weinrich
- Klettern im Naturpark Pfälzerwald
- Pfalz & Nordvogesen en bloc
A. Wenner, Y. Corby, I. Bald