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Rheinland Pfalz, Germany, Europe
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Created On: Jul 23, 2009
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Heidelsburg Heidelsburg, Niedere Wand

Heidelsburg is one of the typical sandstone formations in the northern part of the Südpfalz Climbing Region. It is part of the Kaltenbach Step, the youngest of three massive sandstone layers in the area. This layer is the thinnest one of the three and thanks to its lack of age it is also the least solid one. Here, at Heidelsburg, it forms a ring wall of some 10 - 15m height, with vertical and overhanging formations high above a bend of the Schwarzbach Creek. The valley, though which the creek flows for a long time has been one of the major route of commerce through this sparsely populated region and a natural fortification like Heidelsburg was a logical place to overlook and regulate the commerce along the valley. In short - very early on, Heidelsburg was used as a castle.

There are hints that the formation already served as a refuge in celtic times but the eaarliest artefacts, which were found, date back to the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian and a time between 150 and 350 B.C. The romans fortified the formation to protect the valley from attacks of Germans, who at the time again and again attacked the boundaries of the Roman Empire. Today, a few walls can still be found on the plateau above the ring wall with two gates having been reconstructed in th 1920s. Additionally there is the leftover of a cistern in the southern part of the castle grounds but not much more has survived.

That is - if you don't count a tomb slap with the relief of a Roman official and his wife. It was found during the first excavations, which took place in the castle during the early 20th century. The axe, the official is carrying on the relief and an inscription nearby spelling "Saltuarius" - forestry - official indicate that the Romans already cultivated trees during the first centuries B.C. Locally, Heidelsburg is called "Germany's oldest forrestry lodge".

But Heidelsburg is not on SP for its interesting history but rather for the excellent and unspoilt climbing possibilities you find on its east faces. A long wall, 700m in length - the eastern part of the ring wall - runs from south to north with several wonderful, well structured rocks. When seen from the south, the wall starts with a huge overhanging roof, not far above the ground but reaching very far out. This is quite obviously the most difficult spot to climb on the whole formation. Heading northwards there is a secon, smaller roof before the wall separates into a number of narrower towers, which offer routes in all types of difficulties. Often, the walls are divided into several parts by ledges which offer good protection. The moss, which covers many of the rocks, however, is a good indicator that the routes on Heidelsburg are still young and have not been climbed too often.

Climbing routes on Heidelsburg

Heidelsburg The Big Roof, Dachwand

Heidelsburg is a latecomer in the history of Südpfalz climbing. There are several routes but so far none have really been published. The site of the PK lists some 15 routes (see below) all of which were established in 2006. None of the routes have names, none has been rated and some are still marked as "projects". There is still plenty of potential for establishing new routes on the crag.

The following table has a links to the tour database of the PK, where you can find the grades for the free routes plus additional information. Here is the link to the complete route database.

FeatureRoutes linkSummary
Heidelsburg, Mittlere WandMittlere Wand4 routes, no rating
Heidelsburg, Niedere WandNiedereWand5 routes, no rating
Heidelsburg, DachwandDachwand3 routes, no rating

Getting There

Heidelsburg The reconstructed Roman west gate

Heidelsburg is located above a bend of the Schwarsbach Creek right across the valley from Clausen. It is hidden deep inside Pfälzerwald, so that the itineraries are rather lengthy.

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.
    • At Rinnthal switch to B48 north, direction Kaiserslautern
    • At Johanniskreuz switch to L496, direction Leimen
    • In Leimen switch to K32, direction Waldfischbach-Burgalben
    • Right before and after the exit Clausen there are small parking areas. From both hiking trails lead to Heidelsburg
  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 the exit Kaiserslautern Zentrum turn onto B270 south
    • At Waldfischbach Burgalben turn onto K32, direction Johanniskreuz
    • Right before and after the exit Clausen there are small parking areas. From both hiking trails lead to Heidelsburg

From Stuttgart

  • Take motorway A8 to Karlsruhe
  • At Karlsruher Dreieck turn north onto A5
  • Take the next exit to head for A65
  • At Landau switch to B10 west.
  • At Rinnthal switch to B48 north, direction Kaiserslautern
  • At Johanniskreuz switch to L496, direction Leimen
  • In Leimen switch to K32, direction Waldfischbach-Burgalben
  • Right before and after the exit Clausen there are small parking areas. From both hiking trails lead to Heidelsburg

Red Tape

Heidelsburg ReliefReplica of the tomb slab relief at Heidelsburg

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 Schillerfelsen are so close to the nearest houses of Dahn, that usually birds don't nest there. However, please adhere to "stop signs" if there are any.

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 addition to these general rules, Heidelsburg also is a cultural monument, given its age and history. You may climb and hang out there but please keep what little remains of the old architecture in place.


The closest village from Heidelsburg is Waldfischbach-Burgalben. There are some inns there and you also can get holiday apartments. If you are looking for hotels, you should go to the cities of Pirmasens in the south or Kaiserslautern in the north. Here's a link with accommodation in the area:

Accommodation in the Waldfischbach-Burgalben vicinity

Weather Conditions

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
  • Annweiler am Trifels
    LVA RLP Map L6712
    ISBN: 978-3-89637-191-1

  • Merzalben
    LVA RLP Map 6712
    ISBN: 978-3-89637-140-9


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 des Pfälzer Felsenlands
      J. Richter, S. Tittel
      Panico Alpinverlag
      ISBN: 978-3-936740-41-7
    • 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