One of the most interesting sandstone formations of the Südpfalz Area can be found in the wooded area to the south-west of Dahn and west of the village of Bruchweiler-Bärenbach. Its name? Dürrensteine. The formation consists of two towers, Mariaturm to the east - named after Anna Maria Nau, one of the few early female climbing pioneers who established a variation to the normal route - and Friedrichturm - named after Fritz Mann, one of the fathers of Südpfalz climbing. In fact there are a number of other towers which carry his name, the best known one Luger Friedrich. Dürrensteine are home to some of the most important and difficult climbs of the whole area though the rock quality varies greatly across the faces.
The crags are located right beside Reinigshof, a farmstead, hidden away in the depths of Pfälzerwald. The owners have made a second living out of catering to the climbers who stop by on their way to the nearby crags. The cliffs - though distinctively separate - are connected by a low ridge, which gave rise to the most popular of the routes, Landauer Weg, a grade 4 traverse of the whole formation. The route is one of the oldest ones on Dürrensteine, having been established in July 1913 already by Fritz Mann (sic!) and Werner Haß.
Speaking of routes - there have been three separate periods in which most of the routes were established. The first period, which started in 1906 already with the first ascent of the normal route on Mariaturm by Oskar Volkmer and Otto Bilfinger. During this time and the following decade the Brothers Mann - Fritz, Theo and Ludwig - established half a dozen new routes with difficulties up to a (then whooping) 6-. The next period of activity started in the early 1950s when Hans Laub did his first routes on the two towers. But the most difficult and interesting routes were established in the 1980s - 1990s by Oliver Jacob who with various partners created about a dozen new routes all in the range between grades 7 and 9. Others, like Rainer Scharfenberger or Hans-Jürgen Cron also worked a lot on the cliffs and it is the latter's Denkmalpflege, which holds the current difficulty record at grade 10.
Dürrensteine stand alone among the trees above Reinigshof and thus are an excellent destination at all times of the year. There are routes on all faces and depending on season or weather yoou can chose the best suitable one. The north-faces, however, have been fenced off for a patch of tree nursery. You can climb the fence but are requested to stay as close to the wall as possible.
Climbing Routes on Dürrensteine
As mentioned in the overview section the first climb of the formation occurred as early as 1906 with numerous other early ascents up to 1911 and 1913. The most difficult climbs were established in the 1980s and 1990s. Though Dürrensteine divide in two distinctive towers, routes on the crags are usually listed in common.
Rather than reprinting the copyrighted information 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.
|Dürrensteine||Maria und Friedrich||35 (!!) routes with variations ranging from 2 - 10|
The shortest access to Dürrensteine is from Bruchweiler-Bärenbach. There is a small road which runs westward from the village to the farm buildings of Reiningshof as well as to the Pfälzerwaldhütte. Take the right hand branch of the road and park at the parking lot after a few hundred metres. Follow the road to Reinigshof, where yoou already can see the two cliffs on a hill to the north.
To reach Bruchweiler-Bärenbach, follow one of the following itineraries (from the closest airports).
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 through Dahn to Bruchweiler-Bärenbach
- 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 Bruchweiler Bärenbach
- 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 the north of Bruchweiler Bärenbach. At the intersection with L489 turn south to get to the village.
Red TapeThe 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 canceled 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).
AccommodationIn the two villages of Bruchweiler and Bärenbach you can find hotels, apartments and restaurants. Have a look at the official site for more info. There is a campground in the village, and the one at Neudahner Weiher, north of Dahn is not far.
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