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Suedpfalz Climbing Region

Suedpfalz Climbing Region

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Suedpfalz Climbing Region

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, Europe

Lat/Lon: 49.13000°N / 7.80000°E

Object Title: Suedpfalz Climbing Region

Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope, Bouldering, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 1988 ft / 606 m


Page By: Gangolf Haub

Created/Edited: Feb 9, 2005 / Aug 9, 2012

Object ID: 153677

Hits: 39217 

Page Score: 97.85%  - 76 Votes 

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Intention of this page

The area of Südpfalz (Southern Palatinate) is one of the most important climbing areas of Germany. However, if you are looking for guidebooks you will stay empty handed: though there are a small number of excellent guidebooks they all have been printed privately and are available only at book- and climbing shops of the region itself. Moreover, the most important guidebooks are out of print now and you'll have to hunt high and low to obtain one of the rare copies. If you are talking about web pages, there are a couple of excellent sites, the best being the site of the Association of Palatinate Climbers (Vereinigung der Pfälzer Kletterer). Here you can find huge lists of all major regions, crags and boulders. The info on routes, however, remains very short. Also, the site is in German and since many US soldiers are located in Kaiserslautern, some 30km to the north, it is worthwhile to have a page in English.

When hiking in the heart of the area, at the town of Dahn, I "conceived" this project: similarly to what Moni has done with the Sächsische Schweiz Page I want to start an area guide on Summitpost. My hope obviously is that the many climbers out there will start posting their route beta about the routes they have done in the area. I am aware that this task can become Herculean: there are 120 towers and 200 "massifs" in the Südpfalz region. If all ran well, we could expect up to 500+ routes on this page (In which case a subdivision into smaller areas surely would be opportune). But for the time being there is a white spot on the SP landscape which now will be filled.


Theoturm on Lämmerfelsen
The southernmost part of my home state Rheinland Pfalz (or Rhineland Palatinate if you have to translate it) is one of the more important climbing areas in Germany. In general the area, called Pfälzer Bergland, consists of hills which reach an altitude of up to 500m. In its southern half (and yes, that's the part we are talking about: Südpfalz or Wasgau) however, between and among these hills you will find a lot of sandstone cliffs, which are loosely distributed over the whole area.

And this area is huge. To the north the boundary can be assumed being B10, the road between Pirmasens in the west and Landau in the east. To the south the boundary is the French - German border. All in all this adds up to an area of 500 square km. There are roughly 120 towers, 200 massifs (think of them as sandstone ridges) and uncountable numbers of boulders. They all are distributed over the whole area so that finding them is certainly a major logistical problem. Moreover, many of the crags are hidden in pine and beech forests or can be seen only from one specific direction. I therefore plan to include the exact topo coordinates for the various crags and additionally (very) short getting there descriptions. I'm not sure how to handle the boulders, though, since they are not shown on any map.

The most impressive and best known rocks, however, don't fall in this category. This is particularly true about Teufelstisch (the Devil's Table, see signature picture) which looms high above the village of Hinterweidental and can be even seen from B10, the main access road. Some other crags crop out of the forest directly above the villages. Jungfernsprung in Dahn, Kreuzfels in Hauenstein and Herrenstein in Erfweiler are a few examples. Moreover there are quite a number of castles in the area, all located on one of the sandstone ridges and offering great views and good hiking and climbing possibilities.

The sandstone is what we call "Buntsandstein" in German, a colourful (mostly red) variation. The character of the rock is quite similar to the on of Sächsische Schweiz in Saxony, but shows more difference in quality. "Solid as a rock" on one hand, "sand heaps and rubble" on the other. Almost all of the crags and boulders are overgrown with vegetation. You will barely find a rock which doesn't sport a little tree on its shoulder; all the north faces are covered with moss and lichen. Though the rock "has good grip", be careful on wet surfaces. Though generally as "grippy" as the dry rock, you'll often encounter spots where lichen has started to grow - and these spots can be astonishingly slippery! You will encounter the same problem, wherever magnesia has been used. It closes the pores in the sandstone and forms smeary surfaces when wet. For the restrictions on the use of magnesia see the Red Tape Section.

And for all the climbing you shouldn't forget the hiking possibilities of the area. A well kept net of hiking trails connects the villages with each other as well as with the rock outcroppings. You'll never know what you encounter on your hike - suddenly - seemingly out of nowhere there will be a huge boulder or two or even a large cliff barely visible through the trees. In sunny weather the play of shadow and light among the pine trees causes great effects, which unfortunately cannot be caught in pictures very well. The bright red sandstone contrasts beautifully with the blue sky, the light sandy underground and the red (also) bark of the pines. If you come across one of these hidden treasures by all means try to climb them - the "back way" (from the ridge / slope in the back) usually is manageable for everybody who can take exposure. Head along the ridge of the sandstone cliff - and suddenly everything else drops back. Especially during sunset this can become magical.

Climbing History

The history of climbing in the Südpfalz Region dates byck to the beginning of the 20th century. There had been ascents before but they had been using ladders, planks and whole tree trunks. In 1903 the first "free" ascent of Rödelstein was recorded by Karl and Oscar Mugler. Shortly afterwards a veritable climbing boom broke loose and most of the crags had been ascended by 1910 - 1920.

From then on the hunt for ever more difficult routes started, culminating in a XI- Route, Gambaxplosion on Retschenfels. Over the years there have been quite heated discussions about climbing ethics in the area, which by now have been settled by Climbing Guidelines, which have been generally accepted. The web page of the Pfalz Climbers Association lists them (in German) on this page. I will post a short transcript in the future in the Red Tape section.

Speaking of the Pfalz Climbers Association or "Vereinigung der Pfälzer-Kletterer" as it is known in German (also PK by its abbreviation), it has been founded in October 1919. After several disputes in the 1980s it now again is the generally accepted representative for all climbing related activities and all contacts with authorities and nature conservation agencies.

Its address is
Vereinigung der Pfälzer-Kletterer
Lindelbrunnstr. 40,
76855 Annweiler

History, the Castles of the area

Lindelbrunn Castle (or what...
Lindelbrunn Castle

Already mentioned in the overview section, there are a lot of castles in the area. By some accounts in the greater Pfalz region there were more than 500 of them. Most nowadays are ruins, often hidden in the forests and here, in the climbing area of Südpfalz they always have been built on sandstone rocks. In may cases they follow the ridgeline of the sandstone massifs all the way, which can be seen in the case of the three castles of Dahn in the picture above. Most of the castles were built between the 12th and 14th centuries, many got destroyed during the 30 Years War or the preceeding Peasant Uprising. Those which were left standing later got destroyed by French troops, an interesting example how an old technique (fortified castles) could not withstand progress (artillery).

As with the climbing rocks the castles don't stop at the French - German border. Landscape and culture still are very similar. The French Alsace as well as the German Pfalz have a chequered history, always having been at the centre of wars between the two countries. Still (or luckily) nowadays cross-border relations are very friendly.

The Cliffs, Südpfalz on SP

The Annweiler RegionVorderweidenthal and Surrounding AreaLug and Surrounding AreaRegion Rinnthal / WilgartswiesenHauenstein RegionErfweiler AreaBusenberg and SurroundingsBärenbrunn ValleyDahner FelsenlandBruchweiler / Budenthal RegionRegion Schönau / FischbachHinterweidenthal AreaRegion Leimen / MerzalbenEppenbrunn and Surroundings
Interactive map of Südpfalz. Click the numbers to be directed to the corresponding section.

There are so many sandstone cliffs in the Wasgau area that a subdivision into regions is necessary. I follow the subdivision as given by the PK on their web site. I also follow their principal listings of crags though - for copyright reasons - won't give the specifics of the routes. Just go to their web site for this information. You will, however only get (very) short route characteristics. For more information see the book by U. Daiger and H.-J. Cron (see last section), where the PK data are coming from.

For me the main problem is to identify the crags, how to get there and what to expect in the vicinity. I therefore have studied the maps and made extensive hikes in the area. Together with the aforementioned book I could identify about 99% of the crags. These are listed in the tables below for each region together with a map, which shows the approximate location of the identified cliffs.

For identification I used the maps and topo CDs I have listed in the Maps & Books Section below. I always used elevations as stated on the maps. In case the cliffs didn't have an elevation label attached to them I used the 1:50000 CD for approximate data. Topo coordinates are accurate within 20m except for a few cases in which I had to do "intelligent guesses". The coordinates are given in WGS84 format and thus can be used together with Google Maps.

The regions are listed west to east. According to the schematic map above you'll find the following regions:
  1. Eppenbrunn and Surroundings
  2. Region Leimen / Merzalben
  3. Hinterweidenthal Area
  4. Region Schönau / Fischbach
  5. Bruchweiler / Budenthal Region
  6. Dahner Felsenland
  7. Bärenbrunner Tal
  8. Busenberg and Surroundings
  9. Erfweiler Area
  10. Hauenstein Region
  11. Region Rinnthal / Wilgartswiesen
  12. Lug and Surrounding Area
  13. Vorderweidenthal and Surrounding Area
  14. The Annweiler Region

1 - Eppenbrunn and Surroundings

Overview Map of the...
Eppenbrunn Area

The area around Eppenbrunn is the south-westernmost part of the Südpfalz climbing region. It touches the French-German border as well as the border between the German states Rheinland Pfalz and Saarland. The area is compact with few climbing destinations, all close to each other. It sports a Teufelstisch, not quite as impressive as the one near Hinterweidenthal, which you can admire in the sig pic.

Rock / MassifHeightLatitudeLongitudeThumbnail
Stephanstürmchen 336m49,13617,62526 
Hübelfelsen 355m49,12917,62748 
Lattenteichfelsen 316m49,128667,63248 
Fleckstein 2398m49,133637,65845 
Eppenbrunner Christkindelsfels 357m49,110887,61274 
Eppenbrunner Krappenfelsen 350m49,108827,61193
Eulenfels 407m49,108857,58488 
Rotenrumer Eck 401m49,107947,54027 
Hohle Felsen 356m49,110187,55124 
Eppenbrunner Altschloßfelsen 377m49,104357,53975
Eppenbrunner Teufelstisch 358m49,117097,54461 
Rotzollwand 377m49,111557,53083 

2 - Region Leimen / Merzalben

Map of the Merzalben / Leimen...
Leimen Merzalben Area

The north-westernmost part of the Südfalz Climbing area is the region around the villages of Merzalben and Leimen. The crags are distributed evenly but many are very close to the villages. Zigeunerfels and Bruderfels are very close to the city of Pirmasens.

Rock / MassifHeightLatitudeLongitudeThumbnail
Breite Boll – Nordostturm 525m49,23727,8244 
Spitze Boll 540m49,232057,8142 
Otterfelsen 537m49,242817,81579
Husarenfelsen 544m49,253237,81873
Schmaler Hals 518m49,246987,79668 
Kieneckfelsen 527m49,262117,81648 
Östl. Kieneck Massiv (Jurassic Park) 523m49,261757,83348
Hortenkopf Massif 520m49,271847,81906 
Wartenbergfelsen 440m49,241487,78418 
Kippkopffelsen (Geißenfelsen) 522m49,260867,76205 
Hubertusfels 522m49,256147,74385 
Langenbergfels 320m49,243287,70483 
Rappersborner Fels 40249,293757,75327 
Seelenfelsen 364m49,273477,69803
Fischerfels 336m49,269027,68599 
Spitzfelsplatte n.a.n.a.n.a. 
Felixköpfel 331m49,270757,67545 
Roschelfels 305m49,268867,67988 
Clausener Platte 387m49,265037,68558 
Saufels 360m49,242987,65573 
Bruderfels 353m49,236357,63473 
Zigeunerfelsen n.a.n.a.n.a. 

3 - Hinterweidenthal Area

Map of the Hinterweidenthal...
Hinterweidenthal Area

Famous for the Teufelstisch (Devil’s Table) between Kaltenbach and Hinterweidenthal this region offers more than one of these bizarre formations. Near Salzwoog there is a second Devil’s Table and there are a number of impressive cliffs directly in Hinterweidenthal. Most of the other crags are hidden in the forests, however.

Rock / MassifHeightLatitudeLongitude
Mautzenbergtürmchen 370m49,224817,81052 
Rotenstein 423m49,216047,75188 
Bauwalder Fels473m49,225737,73402 
Hinterweidenthaler Steinbruch230m49,201187,75185 
Handschuhkopf 324m49,196237,74449 
Kaltenbacher Teufelstisch 277m49,194877,74352
Hinterweidenthaler Rappenfels 240m49,196347,75482
Rehfels (Heibertsstein) 249m49,186767,74185 
Heufelsen 232m49,186547,74699
Dreikönigsfelsen 244m49,184517,75205
Schweinsspießfels 351m49,182717,7919 
Reiherfels 299m49,186217,80482 
Rohrwoogtürmchen 270m49,180647,7939 
Biegdentaltürmchen 275m49,172147,79343 
Woogelfelsen 266m49,181267,74144 
Maiblumenfels 453m49,172237,7043
Salzwooger Teufelstisch 320m49,160657,70508
Rumbergfels 340m49,164197,63725 
Kleiner Rabenfels 448m49,171577,66753 
Ringstein 449m49,17647,67028 
Hummelfelsen 459m49,179767,67789 
Ruppertstein 452m49,186767,68592
Pirmasenser Kanzel 420m49,185327,64834 
Kugelfelsen Kanzel 355m49,197797,62962 

4 - Region Schönau / Fischbach

Map of the Schönau /...
Schönau / Fischbach Area

The region around the villages of Fischbach an Schönau extends across the border onto French soil (Alsace). Some of the more interesting rocks are located across the border underneath the castles (or ruins) Löwenstein, Hohenburg and Wegelnburg.

Rock / MassifHeightLatitudeLongitudeThumbnail
Rumbacher Christkindelsfels325m49,088587,77782 
Kleine Rumbachtalplatte 255m49,083867,75841 
Rumbachtalfelsen 286m49,083867,75499 
Nördliches Rumbachtalmassiv 297m49,087587,75777 
Adelsfelsen 284m49,078887,75052
Dachsbergtürmchen 427m49,056147,72167 
Schönauer Pfaffenfels 328m49,057057,74622 
Schönauer Hirtsfels 358m49,051427,7658
Langer Fels 428m49,065617,78677 
Wegelnburgfelsen 571m49,060787,78591
Löwenstein (F)515m49,053667,78621
Krappenfels (F)451m49,051557,7868
Fleckensteiner Felsen (F)358m49,048057,7758
Große Hinzenfelsen 300m49,080247,70944 
Mittlere Hinzenfelsen 277m49,080697,70445 
Kleine Hinzenfelsen (Kilpenstein) 226m49,083727,70156 
Florenbergtürmchen (D/F)366m49,063337,69014 
Ostersäule 345m49,051647,68695 
Höchstturm 305m49,080697,65812 
Simter Türmchen 290m49,072667,64645 
Krähenstein 334m49,064257,67723 
Spitzer Fels 330m49,0557,65254 
Rumbergfelsen 331m49,053457,65828 
Adelsbergfels 395m49,054367,64629 
Biesenfels (Horbach-Kanzel)308m49,092417,6622 

5 - Bruchweiler / Budenthal Region

Map of the Bruchweiler /...
Bruchweiler / Budenthal Area

The village of Bruchweiler – Bärenbach is the centre for the climbing activities in the Südpfalz Region. This are is rather small but consists of quite a number of crags, located very close to each other. All can be reached from the village in no more than a 30min hike. Also, the Dahn and Erfweiler Regions with their fascinating towers are close by so you have the choice among a lot of sandstone crags.

Rock / MassifHeightLatitudeLongitudeThumbnails
Mühlengrundtürmchen 250m49,061117,83968 
Bobenthaler Rappenfels 225m49,067647,84962 
Fladensteine 373m49,102067,81729 
Jüngstbergfelsen 491m49,112217,82265 
Kastellfels 310m49,10937,81887 
Bruchweiler Geierstein 309m49,124377,808
Retschelfelsen 290m49,122697,79277
Eisenbahnfelsen 357m49,125637,79178 
Bruchweiler Rauhfelsen 332m49,125427,78403 
Dürrensteine (Maria und Friedrich) 409m49,127887,7768
Napoleon 336m49,121797,77047
Bruchweiler Turm (Zwicksteine) 270m49,115827,7701 
Käskammerfelsen 269m49,11467,77391 
Beutelstein 312m49,108637,77374 

6 - Dahner Felsenland

Map of Dahner Felsenland in...
Dahn Area

Dahn is the “capital of the Südpfalz climbing region. Located in its middle, Dahn is surrounded by the most beautiful cliffs you can find. The distances to Erfweiler and Hinterweidenthal are short and you have the choice of so many climbing routes. Moreover with Jungfernsprung in the north, Hochstein in the south and the three impressive castle ruins of Altendahn the town is a tourist hotspot. There are also the fourth castle Neu Dahn and the twin towers of Braut und Bräutigam (Bride and Bridegroom) which add to the fascination of the place.

Rock / MassifHeightLatitudeLongitude 
Fischfelsen 278m49,14517,8029