Drei Puppen

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Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, Europe
Sport Climbing, Toprope
Spring, Summer, Fall
1112 ft / 339 m
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Drei Puppen
Created On: Mar 11, 2008
Last Edited On: Mar 11, 2008


Östliche PuppeÖstliche Puppe

Hidden deep in the forest east of the twin village of Gosserweiler-Stein in the Südpfalz regionyou can find three wonderful sandstone towers, called Drei Puppen. The name means "three dolls" and reflects the shape of the towers, which resembles the pieces of certain board games, which also are called "Puppe" in German. The towers are arranged in a east-westerly direction with the eastern tower standing alone while the central and western towers are connected via a short ridge with deep cuts.

Drei Puppen are far from being popular climbing cliffs. Close by you can find Engelmannsfels, Setiner Nadel and Rötzenstein, all of which offer more, longer and more difficult routes. However, Engelmannsfels is located within the village boundaries of Gosserweiler, so that you can account for a big audience when climbing it. Rötzenstein is generally closed for more than half of the year due to breeding peregrine falcons. Thus only Steiner Nadel and Drei Puppen remein in the direct vicinity of the village.

Moreover, the setting in which the three towers are cocated are somewhat mystic. Especially in summer, when the surrounding beech and chestnut trees carry their foliage the interplay between shadow and light can become magic. Wait for the sun to set and you'll have the towers (or parts of them) gleaming brightly red through the large leaves.

Climbing-wise the towers are not overly difficult. However, they have been climbed rather early on, doring the pioneering days of Südpfalz climbing during the early decades of the 20th century. Climbing pioneers Theo Mann and Jakob Otto (both of whom have towers named in their memomry) established routes on the central tower as early as 1920. The easist routes are UIAA II for all three of the towers and thus are perfect for beginners.

Climbing Drei Puppen

Mittlere PuppeMittlere Puppe

Drei Puppen, thanks to their location far off any access road, are not very popular as climbing destinations. Therefore you can be sure to find at least one of the crags for your own. Climbing routes are not overly difficult but some of them have been put up by Südpfalz climbing pioneers Jakob Otto and Theo Mann. 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)
CragRoutes linkSummary
Drei PuppenWestliche Puppe4 routes with variations ranging from 2 - 6
Drei PuppenMittlere Puppe3 routes ranging from 1 - 4
Drei PuppenÖstliche Puppe2 routes 2 and 3

Getting There

Östliche PuppeÖstliche Puppe

Engelmannsfels is located to the west of Stein, the southern of the twin villages Gosserweiler-Stein. ^There is a parking lot nearby, belonging to the holiday village Eichwald, which in principle can only be used by guests. If it not the main holiday season, you'll be able to find a parking space there, however. Also there is a tennis court just around the corner. You can also use their parking lot. From Gosserweiler-Stein, just follow the signs "Feriensiedlung Eichwald". From the praking lot follow a broad path, which you find in the north of the lot. Follow it easward until you reach an intersection. Head south here and after dome 300m you'll see the cliffs to your right. A narrow path leads to them.

The village Gosserweiler-Stein is located deep in Pfälzerwald so that access is a bit longish.

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 Gosserweiler-Stein
  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 Gosserweiler-Stein.

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 Gosserweiler-Stein

Red Tape

DragonflyDragonfly close to Drei Puppen

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 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).


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

Weather Conditions


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/ul>
    • Bad Bergzabern
      LVA RLP Map 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

      Climbing Guidebook

      • 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