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Wernersberger Geiersteine
Mountain/Rock

Wernersberger Geiersteine

 
Wernersberger Geiersteine

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, Europe

Lat/Lon: 49.17913°N / 7.91230°E

Object Title: Wernersberger Geiersteine

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

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 1237 ft / 377 m

 

Page By: Gangolf Haub

Created/Edited: Mar 4, 2007 / Nov 21, 2007

Object ID: 275064

Hits: 2989 

Page Score: 88.12%  - 26 Votes 

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Overview

 
Geiersteine
Geiersteine as seen from the road

The Geiersteine are a number of sandstone cliffs and towers located between the villages of Lug and Völkersweiler in the Südpfalz Region of south-western Germany. To distinguish them from other crags of the same name they are mostly known as Wernersberger Geiersteine (after a village to the north-east), less often Luger Geiersteine. The cliffs are among the most popular climbing crags of the entire region, mainly due to the proximity of the nearest parking lot but also since the best climbs are along its sunny south face. On a sunny Sunday afternoon you will be able to meet dozens of other climbers there, much like a family gathering. Geier means "vulture" in German and the name might originate in the vaguely beak-like form of the two highest towers.

There are three separate cliffs, wich are aligned on the north-west to south-east running east ridge of the Heischberg mountain between Lug, wernersberg and Völkersweiler. If you start from the east, i.e. if you start from the parking lot on the highway the first cliff is Geierturm (vulture tower), a standalone tower of up to 40m elevation (east side). It is somewhat hidden in the forest and only its topmost part pops up from the trees. Its faces are structured and offer a great number of routes.

To the west of Geierturm across the Luger Tor saddle you find the twin towers of Geierkopf and Geierschnabel (vulture's head and beak), which are connected to the massif to their west. Geierschnabel has a very impressive east face, overhanging at its top, which is some 45m high. Two of the most important routes in the Südpfalz area run there, "Geierwally" and "Luger Tor Weg" which explains their popularity. You have to get up real early to do them in some solitude.

Even further to the west, west of Geierturm and Geierschnabel but connected to them is the Westgrat Massiv (west ridge massif), the highest part of the group. The climbing routes are 25 - 35m long and are equipped with lots of protecting bolts. There is one particular overhang, near the top of the formation, which bears beautiful honeycomb patterns, easy but fragile holds. The top of the formation can be most easily reached from the west by a bushwhacking scramble, which also is the general descending route when not rappelling from the cliff. The north face of the Westgrat Massiv is muh less popular and considerably overgrown.

In case of overcrowded routes Heischberg offers a number of smaller crags nearby, like Katzenfels, Katerfels and Maus, directly to the west and the Hornstein towers to the east of Lug on the west side of the Heischberg.

Climbing Geiersteine

Geierschnabel east face
Climbers on the Geierschnabel east face

As said above, the cliffs of this formation are among the most popular climbing crags in the Südpfalz region. There is an abundance of routes though belaying space might get scarce on fine, sunny afternoons. The most popular routes are along the south faces of the Massif and on the east face of Geierschnabel. The first "ascent" of the formation was done 1908 by throwing a rope from one of the neighbouring trees around one of the summits. Carved steps in most of the faces bear witness that the crag was already climbed in the middle ages, probably as a lookout across the neighbouring passes and saddles.

The following information is linked from the site of the Vereinigung Pfälzer Kletterer I link to their routes database directly with some summary info. Here is the link to the complete database.

For more information see the book by U. Daigger and H.-J. Cron (see below)
RegionRoutes linkSummary
GeierturmGeierturm27 routes with variations ranging from 2 - 10-
Geierkopf, Geierschnabel, Westgrat MassivGeierkopf, Geierschnabel, Westgrat Massiv45!! routes ranging from 1 - 9

Getting There

Geierkopf, Geierschnabel, Geierturm
Geierkopf, Geierschnabel, Geierturm

The Geiersteine are located between the villages of Lug and Völkersweiler, quite close to the highway L495. There is a parking lot on L495, close to the highest point between the two villages. If it is too crowded there is another one hidden between the trees on the other side of the road.

From Frankfurt

There are two possible routes which both take equally long
  1. 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.
    • Take the exit Annweiler North after you have passed the second tunnel on the road.
    • Take B48, direction Wernersberg and follow it past the village to the intersection with K494 to Völkersweiler
    • Just before you reach the village turn onto L495 direction Lug
  2. 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 Hauenstein exit and drive along L495 to Lug and further on to Völkersweiler.

From Stuttgart

  • Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
  • At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
  • Take the next exit to head for A65
  • At Landau turn on B10 west.
  • Take the exit Annweiler North after you have passed the second tunnel on the road.
  • Take B48, direction Wernersberg and follow it past the village to the intersection with K494 to Völkersweiler
  • Just before you reach the village turn onto L495 direction Lug

Red Tape

Yes, 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 canceled even before that date. For a list of closures see the Closure List of PK.

The Geiersteine, however are so popular among climbers that the birds avoid them generally.

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).

Accommodation

The following accomodation link offers hotels in the larger region (50km circle).

Weather Conditions

The closest available weather information is the one for Pirmasens (40km to the north-west):
Pirmasens weather

Maps & Books

Maps


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
1:50000
  • Naturpark Pfälzer Wald
    Kompass Map WK766
    ISBN: 3-85491-523-3
  • Bad Bergzabern
    LVA RLP Map L6912
    ISBN: 3-89637-194-0

1:25000
  • Bad Bergzabern, 6813, ISBN: 3-89637-148-7

    Books


    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.
      Hiking
      • Pfälzerwald
        B. & J.-Th. Titz
        Rother Verlag
        ISBN: 3-7633-4268-0

      Climbing
      • Klettern im Buntsandstein
        U. Daigger, H.-J. Cron
        Westpfälzische Verlagsdruckerei St. Ingbert
        ISBN: 3-00-0155457-4
      • Pfalz ++, Klettern im Buntsandstein
        R. Burkard, P. Weinrich
        Published privately
      • Klettern im Naturpark Pfälzerwald
        Naturfreunde Lambrecht
        Published privately

    • Pfalz & Nordvogesen en bloc
      A. Wenner, Y. Corby, I. Bald
      Panico Verlag
      ISBN: 3-936740-19-4

    Images