If there is such a thing as the middle of nowhere in densely populated Germany the region around Hermersbergerhof would qualify to be shortlisted. It is located in the centre of the Pfälzerwald Area and there is little to be found but trees and rocks. The closest thing to being a habitated area is the old farmstead of Hermersbergerhof, which nowadays hosts a restaurant to cater to (motor)bikers and hikers who venture there. Wilgartswiesen, 8km to the south of the farmstead is the closest habitation and the easiest access is through that village. The main attraction of the area is Luitpoldturm, a lookout tower which offers a vista of a sea of trees.
Amidst these trees, however, there is what amounts to a bouldering Mekka - or as close as it gets in the Südpfalz Area. On the nearby mountaintops of (to name a few) Husarenkopf, Otternkopf, Spitze Boll, Breite Boll or Kieneck you can find low but long sandstone ridges, which offer climbs of all kinds of difficulties. There are a big number of roofs, more than is the average for the Südpfalz cliffs. Some of them hover a few feet above the ground so that sitting starts are quite common for the most serious bouldering problems.
Rock quality and structure is different from what you can find in the heart of the climbing area. Here a geologically different type of sandstone can be found, not as deeply red and often quite rotten. The word of "vertical sand" can be attached to quite a number of the rocks and you have to make sure to pick the right holds for hand and feet. Avoid the mossy sections and don't clean them. Where moss grows, the rock will be wet and rotten; handholds are sure to break away.
Kieneck is a huge, broad mountaintop. It hosts three different climbing areas, the eastern one of which is the topic of this page. Östliche Kieneckfelsen appeared a little long as a name so that local climbers simply renamed it Jurassic Park. The name already indicates when the climbing and bouldering routes on these rocks were established. A first route was created in the 1980s but the bulk of the routes are fairly recent 21st century creations. Between 2002 and today some 20 routes have sproutet and who can tell about the number of bouldering problems which were solved here?
The rocks are located to the east of the Kieneck summit plateau, where the mountain suddenly and steeply drops into the valley underneath. They can be divided in three groups - a large southern one, a single rock central one and a lower northern one. All three display interesting features, of which the roofs stand out. Route difficulties range from a moderate 3+ on one of the crack routes of the northern block to 8+ routes on the central and southern ones. The ground underneath the formations is flat so that the use of bouldering pads is possible if not recommendable. As a typical bouldering location there are only few bolts for protection of the climbing routes, everything else is unprotected.
Climbing in Jurassic Park
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.
|Jurassic Park, left block||Southern block||4 routes with variations ranging from 6+ - 8-|
|Jurassic Park, central block||Central block||5 routes with variations ranging from 5 - 8|
|Jurassic Park, right block||Northern block||6 routes with variations ranging from 3+ - 7|
Getting ThereThe Kieneckfelsen are located in the greater area of Hermersbergerhof, an old farmstead far from any real habitation. The closest village is Wilgartswiesen, some 8km to the south of the farm. There are two possible ways of accessing the area, one from the north, the other from the south but it appears more reasonable to describe the southern approach because of its greater simplicity.
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.
- Some 500m after the village (pass Falkenburg Castle) a road, K56, heads north, direction HHermersbergerhof
- Pass the farmstead, ignore the first parking lot to the left but take the second, which is located on a ridge between two deep valleys.
- 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
- Take the Wilgartswiesen exit and immediately turn onto K56 to Hermersbergerhof
- Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
- At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
- Take the next exit to head for A65
- At Landau switch to B10 west.
- Take the Wilgartswieden exit and follow the instructions above, then follow the instructions above
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).
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
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