Teufelstisch is the regional landmark of the area of Pfalz (or Palatinate), the southernmost part of my home state Rheinland Pfalz. Sparing a glimpse at the pictures on this page it is obvious to see why. Still it is only a distant second of natural landmarks to Loreley Rock on the Rhine River near St. Goar. One of the main reasons, of course, is the fact that the Rhine River for ages has been one of the major traffic routes of Europe and thus is far more easily reachable than the remote villages of Hinterweidenthal and Kaltenbach between which Teufelstisch can be found.
The area around Hinterweidenthal is famous for its standalone towers. While most sandstone cliffs of the Südpfalz Climbing Region are connected to some hill or mountain in their back by a long ridge, dubbed massif by the local climbers, here at Hinterweidenthal there are many formations, towers and spires which stand separately on their own. There is more than one Teufelstisch - the translation means "Devil's Table" - in the Südpfalz region. All are improbable formations with flat tops balanced on seemingly shaky pillars. They are distinguished by the closest village so that our formation is known as Kaltenbacher Teufelstisch and sometimes Hinterweidenthaler Teufelstisch.
The name - quite obviously - has its roots in a legend. It tells the story how the devil, looking for a place to rest and eat in a stormy night, cannot find anything nearby. So he picks up a few rocks to pile up his table. After refreshing himself he leaves the site and the storm passes. The next day everybody is frightened except for one: he claims to sit and eat at the same table the following night. Does so but at midnight a horrible cry is heard and the next day our daredevil is found dead.
Of course, since then times have changed. Teufelstisch has become a major tourist attraction with its own (charged) parking lot and a big children's playground nearby. In summer a lot of people pay a visit to the formation and nobody has been found dead underneath it. There are roumours that modern daredevils actually climb it! Quite naturally Teufelstisch is the rock to climb in the whole Südpfalz area. Crowds deter climbers during the day but in the mornings or at nights you can have the formation to yourself. Also, on a winter day you don't have to expect too many lookers-on. There are only a few routes to the top - three in all - but all are rather demanding. The normal route, an UIAA 6+ route was first climbed in 1923 already by brothers O and W. Matheis. The overhanging tabletop is the crux of all routes but thanks to the small height of the formation, the climb is little more than a long bouldering problem.
Climbing Routes on Teufelsstisch
Teufelsfels has only a few routes, all of which are short but demanding. Obviously it is a must for any Südpfalz Climber. Still the crowds which visit the formation deter many would be summitters. The normal route was first climbed in 1923 by O. and W. Matheis.
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.
|Teufelstisch||Teufelstisch||3 routes with variations ranging from 6+ - 9-|
Teufelstisch is located on a prominent ridge between the villages of Hinterweidenthal and Kaltenbach. It is plainly visible from the highway B10, which runs by to the north. The best starting point is Hinterweidenthal, either near the station or on the village square. There is a parking lot right underneath the formation but they charge a fee there.
Hinterweidenthal is pretty deep inside the Pfälzerwald area so itineraries from the nearest airports Frankfurt and Stuttgart tend to be lengthy:
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 and immediately follow the signs to Teufelstisch (right).
- Don't cross the railway line but search for a parking space near the crossing. The next one is to the right near the station, the village square is 200m further onwards to the left.
- 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, then follow the instructions above
- Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
- At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
- Take 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).
- At Hinterweidental take B427, then follow the instructions above
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 lot closest to Teufelstisch are charged. There is a children's playground nearby which also costs some bucks.
AccommodationHinterweidenthal has only a few inns and one hotel. The latter is to the east of the village on B10 and certainly is pretty noisy. A few kilometres to the south, at Dahn you can find everything that you need. See the following link:
Dahn tourist information site
Dahn has a youth hostel and several campgrounds. The closest one is between Hinterweidenthal and Dahn at Neudahner Weiher.
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