Out of more than 300 sandstone formations in the Südpfalz Climbing Area some are famous, some are popular among climbers, some are historical and some are legendary. And some have their place in all of those categories. One of these formations is located on the western outskirts of the town of Dahn, right vis-à-vis the Felsenland Hotel. It consists of two sandstone towers, separated by a narrow chimney which is conveniently located just above a road crossing and thus very easily accessible.
The name of this formation is Braut und Bräutigam - or as you might have guessed - Bride and Bridegroom. Except for the nearby Teufelstisch but certainly before downtown Jungfernsprung it is one of the most photographed formations of the whole Wasgau area. Like for the other two its name is based on a legend or two, indicating that for long years people have tried to understand, how those bizarre formations heve been created. One legend tells of a soldier who stood sentinel on the neighbouring Wachtfels (Watchtower). When the enemy arrived his troop fled, completely forgetting him. He stayed in town, married his girl, and when his troop returned a year later he secretly regained his position on Wachtfels. In honour of the brave sentinel the three towers were named Wachtfels, Braut and Bräutigam.
Another legend tells of a maiden, who together with her dog, grazed her goat beneath the rock, when an Elwetritsch (legendary animal of the region) attacked the goat. The dog came to the recue and after a heavy fight, killed the Tritsch. At that moment two things happened - a golden, diamond studded heart fell out of the Tritsch and the rock broke in two, creating the formation of Braut und Bräutigam.
Naturally the real origin of the towers is different. A large sea covered this part of Germany 230 million years ago. The sediments were sintered together under pressure forming a large sandstone shield which soon got covered by other deposits. By tectonic shifts the shield tilted in east-westerly direction with the eastern parts higher than the western ones. In consequence parts of the shield were exposed and erosion did the rest.
Braut und Bräutigam is one of the smaller formations in the area. Bräutigam, the higher eastern tower reaches about 30m whereas Braut is some 5m lower. Both are separated by a narrow chimney, which get wider only near the tops of the two towers. There are climbing routes on the north and south faces as well as through the chimney, the south face routes being the more popular ones, mostly because they are hidden on the backside of the formation. To the north-east of the two towers you'll find two more towers of less importance (and less height): Kohn and Sarah. You will find climbers here at all times of the year, thanks to the fact that the formation is very easily accessible. Moreover the Dahn youth hostel is just steps away as are the Felseland Hotel and the Büttelwoog campground.
Climbing Routes on Braut und Bräutigam
Braut, Bräutigam, Kohn and Sarah are among the most popular climbing destinations of the Wasgau area. The oldest route on Brütigam, the normal route was established in 1908 by H. Holder and A. Grimmeisen. The oldest route on Braut, the recommendable chimney route, was first climbed in 1920 by A. Winterroll and Südpfalz climbing pioneer J. Otto.
The following table has links to the tour database of the PK, where you can find the grades for the free routes plus additional information. Here is the link to the complete route database.
|Braut||Braut||5 routes with variations ranging from 1 - 6|
|Bräutigam||Bräutigam||5 routes with variations ranging from 1 - 7-|
|Kohn||Kohn||3 routes with variations ranging from 2 - 8-|
|Sarah||Sarah||2 routes with variations rated 1 and 7-|
Getting ThereBraut und Bräutigam are located at the western outskirts of Dahn, directly underneath the Youth Hostel. Dahn is located right in the middle of the Pfälzerwald area and access routes are rather long. The closest airports are Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
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.
- Leave it at Frankenthaler Kreuz for A61 south.
- At Mutterstädter Kreuz take A65 south until you reach Landau.
- At Landau turn on B10 west.
- At Hinterweidental turn onto B427 south which will take you to Dahn. In the town centre a sign leads to Felsenland Badeparadies, the public open air pool. Park at the pool parking lot. To reach Braut und Bräutigam just head back the street (Hasenbergstrasse) until you reach the formation.
- 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 Hinterweidental take B427 south to Dahn
- Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
- At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
- Tke the next exit to head for A65
- At Kandel you can leave onto B427 which will lead you directly to Dahn. However the detour to Landau and B10 will take less time as the roads are better (three or four lanes)
Red TapeYes, 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 Schillerfelsen are so close to the nearest houses of Dahn, that usually birds don't nest there. However, please adhere to "stop signs" if there are any.
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).
Parking: The parking lots near the public pool of Dahn are free. However, they are not public and you shouldn't stay after nightfall.
AccommodationIn the town of Dahn you can find numerous hotels or apartments. Have a look at the tourist information site for more info. The closest accommodation possibilities are the Youth Hostel (near Wachtfels, 100m to the east), the Felsenland Hotel (200m down the street) and the Büttelwoog Campground (another 300m behind the hotel).
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
- Pirmasens Süd<
LVA RLP Map L6910
LVA RLP Map 6812
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
Westpfälzische Verlagsdruckerei St. Ingbert
- Pfalz - Klettern im Buntsandstein des Pfälzer Felsenlands
J. Richter, S. Tittel
- Pfalz ++, Klettern im Buntsandstein
R. Burkard, P. Weinrich
- Klettern im Naturpark Pfälzerwald
- Pfalz & Nordvogesen en bloc
A. Wenner, Y. Corby, I. Bald