The rocks are closed to climbing due to peregrine falcon breding until August 2012.
Rappenwand east face
The little village of Erfweiler is located deep in the Südpfalz / Wasgau Climbing Region, so deep that it is kind of a dead end village. Though two roads lead to it both start from different parts of the town of Dahn and only touch Erfweiler in its easternmost part. The bulk of the villageleads from the intersection of the two roads to the north-east, leading directly into one of the finest valleys, Glastal. Among climbers Glastal has earned its renown for two very fine crags which oppose each other across the valley. Glasfelsen is the one of the, Erfweiler Rappenwand the other.
When speaking about Rappenwand or Rappenfels one always should add the location. On my count there are five cliffs of this name in the Südpfalz region - and I only counted the ones with climbing routes on them. The Rappenwand I'm discussing on this page is a massivechunk of vertical sandstone rock, which rises out of the neighbouring hills, like so many of the other cliffs in the region. It can be easily (2) climbed by scrambling up one of its sides and coming to it from the back. You need to step over - or rather jump a deep chasm and then finalise the ascent by some exposed climbing to the summit plateau.
But apart from that easy route there are the sports climbing ones - ranging in difficulty from 3 up to 10!, pillars and overhangs, lofty traverses and a nice off-width crack make Rappenwand one of the most popular crags of the area. And like everywhere in Wasgau you have to deal with vegetation high up in the wall. Its height is about 70m and most climbs will need three pitches.
On top of Rappenwand there are two further objects, waiting to be climbed: Fenstertürmchen, a towerlet which is broken through by three rock windows and Nordgrattürmchen, another smaller tower which has some one pitch routes for beginners (?). Both are very exposed on their eastern sides, which hover above Glastal valley. Fenstertürmchen has some interesting bouldering problems but the scariest "climb" is the jump from the Rappenwand main summit across the deep chasm down onto it. I stood there contemplating it but got too weak in the knees to try.
All routes onto Rappenwand are well (but sparingly) equipped with protecting bolts and rings. Some run across honeycomb structures - erosion forms which are typical for the Wasgau sandstone rocks and which demand a special jamming technique to cross them.
As you can see in the Red Tape section - often access to some of the climbing cliffs is restricted because of breeding peregrine falcons. In recent years a couple nested on Rappenwand - you can still see the place in the east face (go for the droppings) but this year (2006) the cliff is free while neighbouring Glasfelsen is closed. Peregrines seem to be very shy birds, even taking off from their roost when people hike along beneath the base of the crag. I have been "chased" from three cliffs the last week alone by Peregrines which is a very good sign since the species was on the brink of extinction in our country.
Climbing Routes to Rappenwand and its Satellites
Climber on the upper part of the east face of Rappenwand
Rappenwand has a number of routes of all difficulties. Together with its satellites, Fenstertürmchen and Nordgrattürmchen, and its less popular neighbour Westlicher Rappenfels it offers everything from scrambling to bouldering to sports climbing.
Rather than reprinting the copyrighted information 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.
Rappenwand is located north of Erfweiler, a 10 minute hike from the last parking lot at the end of the village. Erfweiler itself is hidden very deep inside Pfälzerwald and thus the itineraries are a bit longish. The closest airports are at Frankfurt and Stuttgart so the itineraries start there too.
There are two possible routes which both take equally long
From Frankfurt take motorway A5 southward to Darmstadt.
There change to A67 south.
At Viernheimer Dreieck turn onto A6 west.
e 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 which will take you to Dahn.
In Dahn, after you have driven around Jungfernsprung there is an intersection directly in the town centre. Turn off left onto K39 which takes you to Erfweiler.
In Erfweiler don't follow the main road (K39) where it bends right but rather go straight on (but later keep to the right) until the road ends in a parking lot
From the parking lot follow the left hand trail, signed "Glastal" which takes you to the base of the cliff.
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 south to Dahn
In Dahn turn onto K39 to Erfweiler
In Erfweiler go straight on to the parking lot at the end of the village
Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
Tke the next exit to head for A65
At Kandel you can leave onto B427 which will lead you directly to Dahn where you can turn right onto K39 to Erfweiler. However the detour to Landau and B10 (see above) will take less time as the roads are better (three or four lanes)
The big curved overhang
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. However, if you find "Stop" signs on the access routes to the crags, please don't go there! Peregrines seem to be on the rebound from what I can tell and that's definitely good news1
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).
You can find hotels and apartments in Erfweiler and in neighbouring Dahn. Have a look at the following links:
There are two campgrounds, one in Dahn at Neudahner Weiher one in nearby Bruchweiler-Bärenbach.
The closest available weather information is the one for Pirmasens (20km to the north-west): Pirmasens 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 1:50000