Hohle Felsen - Hollow Rocks - doesn't this name already imply what these sandstone crags in the Südpfalz area stand for? Caves, roofs overhangs, even several standalone pillars supprtiong the roofs - the Hohle Felsen stand for the most difficult climbing and bouldering in the region. Hidden deep in the forests of Pfälzerwald, about 2 - 3 hiking hors away from the nearest village the cliffs of Hohle Felsen are divided into four or five low cliffs, which somehow grow out of the south face of Kleiner Mückenkopf. When seen from above or from the north they are utterly unimpressive, in fact they can even be overlooked, as few rock outcroppings only betray their presence. But turn the corner and see them from the south and your mouth will fall open.
Somehow, Hohle Felsen to me appear to be little brothers to the Altschlossfelsen crags in the south, which they resemble very much. Both cliffs have lots of things in common - hidden very deep in the forest, nearly invisible from one side while very impressive from the other and running an uncommonly big length along the ridge of an otherwise insignificant mountain. However, the Altschlossfelsen crags are more open, i.e. not as much hidden by trees, they are bigger with larger walls but less roofs and overhangs.
There are half a dozen cliffs, which make up Hohle Felsen, all with roofs on their tops and caves underneath. There are some two dozen routes, most of which can only be aided. Consequently you find quite a number of bolts and rings in the roofs. Moreover there are also about a dozen bouldering problems around the cliffs which would make them among the most popular crags if it weren't for the long distance you have to walk to get to them. From the town of Dahn there are two reasonable access routes but both take about 2 - 3 hours. The same is true if you start from the village of Fischbach, located in the south of the rocks. The best access possibility is by bike from the campground at Neudahner Weiher to the north of Dahn. An asphalt and gravel forest road leads up to the saddle between the mountains Großer Mückenkopf and Kleiner Mückenkopf, from where a mere 100m separate you from the cliffs.
Climbing Hohle Felsen
The Hohle Felsen roofs and overhangs are among the most difficult climbing locations anywhere in the Südpfalz area. The website of the PK lists only few routes with difficulties since they are dedicated to free climbing. Many of the routes found here can only be aided and it takes the climbing guidebook by Udo Daigger and Hans-Jürgen Cron (see below) to check out the grades. The bouldering guidebook by Peter Weinrich also lists about a dozen interesting bouldering problems for the crags.
The following "table" has a link 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.
|Hohle Felsen||Hohle Felsen||20 routes with variations ranging from 2 - 9, also up to 6, A2|
The cliffs of Hohle Felsen are located as far from any habitation as is possible in the Pfälzerwald area. They are located right in the middle between the town of Dahn and the village of Fischbach between Großer and Kleiner Mückenkopf, about 7 or km away from town or village. The best access is by an asphhalt forest road, which is closed to traffic, but which can be used by bike. This road climbs across the saddle between the two mountains, from which it is a mere 100m to the first of the crags, "Großes Dach". The forest road starts at the parking lot near Neudahner Waeiher to the north of Dahn (signed). or directly from Fischbach in the south. The following itineraries are for Dahn. Fischbach can be reached easily from the town by heading south to Bundenthal on L489 and then west on L478 to Fischbach.
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.
- At Hinterweidental turn onto B427 south which will take you to Dahn. Before you reach the town a side road turns off to the west (right) to Neudahner Weiher.
- 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)
The most impressive feature of Hohle Felsen, Großes Dach (the big roof) has halfway collapsed in 2003, taking with it three of the most prolific routes. Near the rockfall area extreme care has to be taken as the rock is quite unstable. Don't try to climb across the cutaway edge. Apart from this the usual Südpfalz rules apply:
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 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 town of Dahn you can find numerous hotels or apartments. Have a look at the tourist information site for more info. There are two campgrounds, one at Neudahner Weiher one in nearby Bruchweiler-Bärenbach
Weather ConditionsThe following link is for the town of Dahn:
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
Here are a number of climbing guidebooks on the region of Südpfalz. The best one is the one by U. Daigger and H.-J. Cron, complete with many topos. However, it is hard to get by and often out of print almost immediately after a new edition has been published. Currently it is available here.
B. & J.-Th. Titz
- Klettern im Buntsandstein
U. Daigger, H.-J. Cron
Westpfälzische Verlagsdruckerei St. Ingbert
- Pfalz ++, Klettern im Buntsandstein
R. Burkard, P. Weinrich
- Klettern im Naturpark Pfälzerwald
- Pfalz & Nordvogesen en bloc
A. Wenner, Y. Corby, I. Bald