Our Club in Wetzlar is a section of the DAV. We are based in central Germany, about an hour north of Frankfurt. Contact personat the DAV is Micha Rinn, responsible for the Alpine Climbing and Mountaineering group within the section.
The idea is to hold a joint meet for a small group from DAV Wetzlar and the Alpine Club, with a view to exploring each others’ countries in terms of climbing, mountaineering and hill walking, and to make new climbing friends.
The initial meet would take place in Germany at the Palatinate forest (Pfälzer Wald) for a trad climbing week. The Pfalz is situated in the western part of mid Germany, south of Kaiserslautern, close to the border to France. The French side of the border is the Vosges with its bolted routes, which is better known than the Pfalz with its trad routes.
The base for the week would be an accommodation in the area called Dahner Felsenland, which is the climbing center of thePalatinate forest, where most climbers gather. The region with its small villages offers basic facilities and a good gear shop for climbers. The best cliffs involves driving for up to 20 minutes. The whole area has many restaurants with regional food and the eastern part of the Palatinate (close to the Rhine) is a well knownwine area.
The best times for climbing in the Pfalz are April/May and September/October. Because many cliffs are south facing, Summer is often too hot for hard climbing. Spring has some restrictions because of nesting birds (mostly falcon), so to explore the full potential of the climbing area, we suggest holding the meet for a full week in Autumn 2023. The meet would run Saturday (fly in) to Saturday (fly out) giving, depending on flight schedules, 5-6 days of climbing. A possible week could be 30September - 9 October 2023.
The climbing in the Pfalz is on well-featured sandstone which allows good protection with cams and nuts. The general style of climbing is trad, although the routes are not usually totally free of fixed gear. On average, a typical route is about 30 metres and has four bolts. Most of the crags are between 30 and 80m high, with climbs having between 1 and 3 pitches. The climbing is either face or crack climbing, with cracks of all sizes.
In order to get the best out of the Pfalz, you should be comfortable climbing at French 6a/6b and above. Route difficulties go up to French 8b, with most between French 5b and 7c. The Sandstone is completely solid when dry but after heavy rain it looses some of its strength, which means holds and/or protection can break in the event of a fall. Therefore there is an unwritten rule to climb only in dry conditions. There are a few crags with overhanging dry faces for rainy days, but especially on rainy weekends these places can be crowded. Chalk is generally not used on climbs below 6b.
In case of a bad weather day there is sightseeing in the area, walking in great nature and exploring castle ruins. If the weather looks bad for the whole week, we can go to another region in Germany (e.g. Frankjura, Ith, Donautal, etc.).
The meet within Germany will be organized by climbers from the DAV who are familiar with the whole area. That means that they organize the accommodation, the program for the week, places to eat, highlighting the Pfalz in terms of climbing venues, landscape and cuisine.
There are two airports - Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt-Hahn, but about 120 km apart from each other. In general, both airports are possible but Frankfurt am Main is easier for our hosts in case of pick up as it is on their way to the Pfalz without having to detour. It is not sure yet if additional cars have to be rented for all Alpine Club climbers.
To get the most out of the meet, we think a group size of between 4 and 8 climbers per club. It is not necessary to have a strict one to one ratio.
Some web addresses:
How it looks from climbers point of view:
Bärenbrunner Hof: www.baerenbrunnerhof.de
The climbing area Dahner Felsenland with the Bärenbrunner Hof on Google Maps:
Climate throughout the year (reference place is "Dahn"):
Topo guide book in German language (last update 2019):