To the west of the old farmstead of Hermersberger Hof in the Südpfalz Area there is a long riff of sandstone towers, called Otterfelsen. It is part of a separate geological formation, the Kaltenbach Layer which is the youngset of the three main sandstone layers of the region. During the Quaternary an inland sea covered the whole area, during which time several sedimentary layers were formed. In later times tectonical upheavals tilted these layers westwards so that today they form steps in the hillcountry. The older layers, Trifels-Step and Rehberg-Step are responsible for the impressive towers in the southern part of the region while to the north you find those sandstone formations of the youngest layer, the Karlstal Step. The layer is thinner, resulting in long but low riffs. Rock quality also varies greatly from rock-solid to loose and sandy (vertical sand).
The Otterfelsen is typical for the rock in this area - a long stretched riff of separate formations, which pop out of the hills underneath. Its top is level with the top of the encompassing hill, while the south faces drop for several metres into Scheidtal Valley underneath. Routes are short - one or two pitches - but thanks to roofs and overhangs - are also rather demanding. Among boulderers the Otterfelsen are very popular, thanks to the short access from Hermersbergerhof and the large variety of problems.
The most interesting part of the group can be found in the west, where the small needle of Ottertürmchen serves as separator between thw two main groups. Here the rock is solid and several large roofs attract attention. Some of the roofs start right above the ground, demanding a "sitting start" to some of the climbs. On the other hand - to the east and closest to Hermersbergerhof rock quality deteriorates and there are only few established routes on the sandy formations there. Otterfelsen are hidden inside an old beech forest and thus a good and popular climbing destination on hot summer days.
Almost all routes have been established as late as the 1990s when the more popular crags didn't offer any reasonable first ascents anymore.
Climbing Routes on Otterfelsen
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.
|Otterfelsen, Easternmost Group||Easternmost Group||2 routes up to 5+|
|Otterfelsen, Eastern Main Group||Eastern Main Group||17 routes ranging from 3+ - 7+|
|Otterfelsen, Western Main Group||Western Main Group||11 routes ranging from 4 - 8|
|Otterfelsen, Ottertürmchen||Ottertürmchen||2 routes up to 5+|
The Otterfelsen are located close to 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 Hermersbergerhof
- Pass the farmstead and take the first parking lot on the left hand side. Follow the dirt road for around 800m, then cut through the forest to the left until you reach a second road, lower on the slope. Follow this to the right until it bends left. 100m after the bend you can see the Husarenfelsen Towers.
- 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
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 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
- Annweiler am Trifels
LVA RLP Map L6712
LVA RLP Map 6712
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