It turns out that the Pfalz is an area of beautiful wooded hills covered in weird collections of sandstone towers and ridges. The routes are between 15 and 70m long and vary from entirely trad to slightly sparsely bolted sport (although not dangerously so, as long as you don't fall off making the first clip), with most routes falling somewhere in between. The rock is good, with lots of enormous gear-swallowing cracks, massive open book corners, mega-chimneys, giganto-bunter pebbles, cool honeycombed pockets and enormo-roofs.
|A 40m gently overhanging honeycombed wall with F6c-ish sport routes next to a 50m HVS mega-corner. Something for all the family.|
|Laemmerfelsen - just your common or garden craglet...|
|Climbing on this was rather worrying...|
So, it's amazing, you should go there. Perhaps not in the middle of a heatwave though. Some of the harder crags stay dry in the rain, so you should be able to get something done even if the weather's cack. One crag even has a classic perma-dry VS girdle traverse. If you like climbing striking lines up funky towers, then it's for you. It probably helps to like climbing cracks (and chimneys in the lower grades), but even the crackophobic could find plenty to amuse themselves I'm sure.
|If you can climb UIAA 8 then the centre of this buttress is a bit of a line to aspire to. It's rather aptly named Superlative and apparently some chap called Gullich thought it was quite good.|
|Reassuringly chunky, but rather antiquated feeling, most of the older bolts (on the easier routes) looked like this.|
- We flew to Basel, which was 2 1/2 hours drive away. Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Strasbourg and Cologne would all be reasonable alternatives to fly to.
- We stayed at the improbably named Buttelwoog campsite just south of Dahn, which was well-appointed, including a restaurant that served really good pizza, schnitzels and beer until 10pm every evening. It cost about 9 Euros per person per night.
- There's a good climbing shop at the Baerenbrunnerhof (as well as a cheaper, more basic campsite) where you can buy the guide and anything you might have forgotten (including chalk).
- Take a full rack of quickdraws (including some slingdraws), a single set of nuts, a full set of cams including doubles in the larger sizes (camalot 1 upwards) if you can. Some large hexes would be useful too. Oh, and plenty of skinny slings for weird little threads.
- A 50m single rope would be fine for most routes, although getting off some of the larger towers could be quite faffy. We took a skinny single and a half rope (both 50m), which worked really well.
- Most of the crags are really close to the road (under 10 minutes walk on generally good paths). A vague understanding of German would be useful for locating the crags, but following your nose would probably work well enough most of the time.
- The guide gives advice on crucial gear where needed, particularly on the more sport-style routes where you might want to bring a cam or two with you to supplement the bolts.
- Some crags may be bird banned from February-July, although I'm not sure how you find out whether the bans are actually in force.
- There are several supermarkets in Dahn, all closed on Sunday, although the bakery next to the one on the west side of town is open on Sunday morning. It also sells the tastiest pastries and is staffed by a higher calibre of pretzel wenches than other bakeries.