Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 49.18217°N / 7.85373°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Sport Climbing, Toprope, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 1040 ft / 317 m
Sign the Climber's Log


BackelsteinBackelstein south and west faces

With its 60m walls Backelstein is the highest cliff in the Hauenstein area of the Südpfalz Climbing Region and indeed one of the highest cliffs of the region itself. It is hidden deep in the valleys south of Hauenstein an can easily be overlooked. Only from some of the surrounding cliffs (Burghaldefels, Lanzenfahrter Felsen and Dörreinfelsen) its top third can be seen and that often only through the dense forest. While it looks like this cliff - like so many others in the are - would protrude out of the encompassing hill, Backelstein is a standalone crag with vertical walls on each side.

Its remote (and invisible) location, together with its solitary position must have prompted people in early medevial times to build a castle there. Like Anebos near Trifels Castle, however, not much is left. Apart from several holes which accommodated roof beams nothing is left, so that the assumption is that the castle was completely built from wood. It must have been built during the 20th century but fell into ruins right afterward so that nothing is known about it today.

Thanks to its four vertical Walls and a north-western pillar, Backelstein today is a worthwhile climbing destination. Apart from the "normal route" (see below) most of the climbs are rather difficult and certainly exposed. With most of the routes hidden beneath the forest canopy Backelstein makes for a godd destination on hot summer days.

Today's normal route is a fixed route with bridge and ladder. The crags in the Hauenstein area are highly popular among hikers and adding to the aspect of a former castle the local tourism associations equipped some of the crags with ladders. Hühnerstein, Lanzenfahrter Felsen and Backelstein are among these "tamed" rocks. Backelsteins summit is fenced in - a tiny platform surrounded by railings. To obtain better views you have to climb the railing and either take the few steps to the real summit or dare the jump to the foresummits. I dare not recommend the latter but I found the fore summits much more interesting than the fenced platform on the main one.

Climbing routes to Backelstein

West face and north-west pillarBackelstein west face

As mentioned in the overview section, Backelstein is home to quite a number of climbing routes - as befits one of the tallest cliffs of the climbing area. If you look at the routes database of the Vereinigung der Pfälzer Kletterer you will find 23 routes with variations ranging from 3 to 9 (with the exception of the old normal route which is rated 1. The climbing history started in 1907 with the Kriechband Route established by Friedrich Jung and August Bauer and the great Wolfgang Güllich also established a route variation there in 1979 together with Thomas Nöltner and Andreas Kubin. To see the Backelstein routes follow this link to the PK page

Getting There

Backelstein is located south of the town of Hauenstein close to its public pool. From the town centre a sign leads to a large parking lot near the pool. Hauenstein itself, though close to the access road B10 is hidden from view by the Neding- (also a climbing cliff) and Mischberg mountains. The closest airports are at Frankfurt and Stuttgart so the itineraries start there too.

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. Leav
    • e 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 Hauenstein after you have passed Wilgartswiesen.
    • In the town centre turn right for a marked parking lot (look for signs).
  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

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 Hauenstein after you have passed Wilgartswiesen.

Red Tape

Vanessa AtalantaVanessa atalanta

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 cancelled even before that date. For a list of closures see the Closure List of PK.

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).


In Hauenstein you can find quite a number of hotels and apartments. There are two websites, the firs of which gives a very good overview over any sort of accommodation (visit the link "Unterkunft".

According to my map there is a campground about 500m east of Backelstein.

Besides from being the "secret climbing capital" Hauenstein is the "shoe capital" of the area due to its long history of shoemaking.

Weather Conditions

Hauenstein has its own weather forecast at
  • Hauenstein weather

    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
      ISBN: 3-85491-523-3
    • Bad Bergzabern
      LVA RLP Map L6912
      ISBN: 3-89637-194-0

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


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

      • Klettern im Buntsandstein
        U. Daigger, H.-J. Cron
        Published privately and out of print
      • 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