Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 49.18348°N / 7.88428°E
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing, Toprope, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 1358 ft / 414 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The Southern TowersHöllenfelsen, Vorderes Massiv

While not quite as well known as the villages of Dahn and Hauenstein for its climbing possibilities, Lug, which is located in the west of the Südpfalz climbing area, is surrounded by an equally large number of sandstone cliffs. Its most famous formations are the Geiersteine and Luger Friedrich, one of the first of the cliffs to be climbed. Right close to the latter crag, abbout 500m to the west of it, you can find Höllenfelsen, a set of three or four towers, buried deep in the forest on the slopes of Höllberg, from which the crags derive their name.

When scrambling up these slopes from the village of Lug, the first thing you see, as you near the cliff through a small clearing, is an impressive vertical face, the south face of the southernmost part, which is called (in typical no-nonsense fashion) Vorderes Massiv (Front Massif). The prosaic name hides the fact that here you find two beautiful leaning towers, complete with smooth faces, which is very rare for the Südpfalz sandstone. Usually you have relief-like erosion structures, created by the liberal amount of rain the region has received for ages.

The towers are separated from each other and from the neighbouring massif by narrow clefts, the northern of the towers even touches Höllenfelskopf (the massif). Consequently the easiest ascent to the summits of the two towers is a jump (or two) from the cliff in the north. This in itself can be reached by an easy scramble up the western slopes until you reach a saddle, which separates Höllenfelskopf from the northern tower (named Nordtürmchen). Squeeze by the tower and walk out onto Höllenfelskopf, then descent (precariously) towards its southern edge, from where a long step or short jump getsyou down onto the small platform of the northern of the two towers. Step over to the southern (higher) tower, clip in to one of the bolts and climb the remaining two metres up to its summit platform. The summit has a register, which is very rare for the Südpfalz cliffs.

The third tower of Höllenfelsen, the aforementioned Nordfelstürmchen, stands out from Höllenfelskopf by only 5 or 6 metres. It can be climbed quite easily from its south side, only the topmost part, which is slightly overhanging, poses certain (UIAA III) difficulties. From up there you have nice views of Luger Friedrich and the Hornsteine in the west as well as Spirkelbacher Rauhfels and Bavariafels in the north.

Climbing routes on the Höllenfelsen Crags

Höllenfelsen South FaceHöllenfelsen South Face

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.

RegionRoutes linkSummary
Höllenfelsen, Vorderes MassivVorderes Massiv22 routes with variations ranging from 1 - 9
Höllensteine, HöllenfelskopfHöllenfelskopf7 routes with variations ranging from 1 - 5+
Höllenfelsen, NordtürmchenNordtürmchen5 routes with variations rated 3 - 6+

Getting There


The Höllenfelsen are located directly to the north of the village of Lug, a little north-west of the village centre. There is a parking lot on L495, near the local sports field but you certainly can park somewhere within the village as well. A forest road passes about 100m to the south of the crag and you have to ascend through a clearing to reach the base of the cliff.

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 K65 through Sarnstall to 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.

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 K65 through Sarnstall to Lug

Red Tape

Dactylorhiza maculataDactylorhiza maculata

Though the Höllenfelsen crags doon't get closed on a regular basis, the common rules about climbing in the Südpfalz area apply:

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

The closest available weather information is the one for Pirmasens (40km 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
  • 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