Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 49.13624°N / 7.88218°E
Activities Activities: Sport Climbing, Toprope, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 1404 ft / 428 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The rocks are closed to climbing due to peregrine falcon breding until August 2012.

Overhangs anybody?The overhanging upper south face of Rödelstein

What makes a climb a historic one? It happened long ago? It employed new techniques? It was done by the true pioneers?

With respect to these questions, Rödelstein in the central Südpfalz Climbing Region has had its share of history. In 1903 it was first climbed by Karl and Oskar Mugler, the first ever climb of one of the sandstone cliffs and towers which are strewn around the area. The first climb that is, which didn't make use of any aid, while others - like Asselstein to the north-east had been climbed by felling trees and leaning them against the rock. The two pioneers climbed Asselstein from the north face, which is lower than the south face and which certainly looks easier. However the moss and brushwork on its walls and ledges made (and still makes) this route a nasty climb. However, with this climb the two brothers kick started a movement of clean climbing which still prevails in the area.

Rödelstein is a 58m sandstone cliff, which hovers above the village of Vorderweidenthal. The cliff is long stretched, actually forming a long , slightly curved ridgeline, running from east to north-west. On both sides the ridge terminates in impressive towers, the western one called Preußenschanze, the western one Rödelstein itself. The ridge is divided into several towers and boulders on its top and there are numerous possibilities for climbing any of the rocks. Consequently a huge amount of routes have been established and if you don't visit the crag in November, like I did, you will be sure to find climbing parties there.

Coming back to "clean climbing" for a moment: Rödelstein is an example of bolt-mania, an exception of the rule. On the south face, which is some 300m long and where some truly difficult routes have been established, there are so many fixed bolts that you wonder who would take the time to drill so many of them in so small an area. To be sure, there is no lack of protection now, but half or even a third of the rings certainly would have sufficed.

While the two endpoints of the ridge are reserved for climbers the rocks and boulders on the ridge as well as some of the ledges leading out into the Rödelstein north face make for good scrambling and exploring. To the east of the Rödelstein main face, i.e. east of its east face there is a "forecastle" which can be climbed via those ledges and a short scramble. It offers a great view of the snakelike upwinding Rödelstein east face.

Climbing Routes

Strained perspectiveRödelstein 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 t the complete database.

RegionRoutes linkSummary
RödelsteinRödelstein53 routes with variations ranging from 2 - 10-
Rödelstein WestgratRödelstein Westgrat3 routes with variations ranging 2 - 4
SchanzenturmSchanzenturm6 routes with variation rated 1 - 6-

Getting There

Lindelbrunn Castle and the smooth slopes of the Pfälzerwald mountainsLindelbrun Castle in front of Pfälzerwald

Rödelstein is located between the villages of Oberschlettenbach and Vorderweidenthal. From both villages you have to hike for about 15 minutes until you get to the crag. There is a parking lot east of Oberschlettenbach near L490, the road, which connects the two villages. From there a marked trail (red and yellow) leads to the fields east of Rödelstein. Vorderweidenthal is located to the south of Rödelstein and there are several trails leading north to the crag.

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
    • Stay on the road which now is called L490 until you reach Oberschlettenbach or Vorderweidenthal.
  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.
    • Switch onto L490 south to Oberschlettenbach and Vorderweidenthal.

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
  • Stay on the road which now is called L490 until you reach Oberschlettenbach or Vorderweidenthal.

Red Tape

Mushroom on the mossy trees beneath the north faceMushroom beneath the north face of Rödelstein

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).


There is a campground in Vorderweidenthal and there are several inns in the area. 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