Climbing around Frankfurt - hard moves before the first bolt

Tired of the usual climbing spots around Amsterdam, we thought we'd try something new and head out to Germany for a weekend of uninterrupted fun on sparsely spaced bolts in the Rhein Main Gebiet region. 

We planned the trip quite a few months in advance but sadly even the most well crafted plans have their flaws. Between my moving the trip a weekend later and the crappy weather all around, people dropped out like flies and from a group of over 10 people, only six of us remained standing. But we were determined to climb despite the elements so off we went on the first non rainy Friday of the month, to be joined at the campsite by Anastasia who was driving from Nurenberg.

Choosing the right camping spot was quite a challenge in itself as the crags are spaced out with easily an hour's drive in between. The biggest crag around Frankfurt is Morgenbachtal, with over 100 Quartzite routes, located west of the city. I was quite keen on the sandstone in another area called Bessenbach which is all the way east, past Frankfurt. To be safe, we decided to find a campsite in the middle so we don't have to travel too much from one spot to the other.

First we tried to book places at campingplatz Gimbacher Hof. The place had an orchard, they were producing their own cider and they ran a restaurant that looked delicious. But as all good things in life, it was not available. So we ended up going to Taunus Camp, just around the corner. The campsite was absolutely massive - we had to drive so long up the hill we were starting to wonder if we had missed the right path. But once we were settled in, everything was great - we had a nice spot on top of the hill just for ourselves, we found wooden benches and tables to use during breakfast and the facilities were impeccable. My only complaint is that the campsite was a little pricey - 14e/ night (8e/ per person and 4e/ per tent) is quite steep.

We woke up on Saturday morning bright and early - there was no sigh of rain so we happily got ready to go. The morning did not go entirely without hiccups. Mat's stove wouldn't boil water but managed to melt the plastic handle on my percolator and when we finally got in the car, we got stuck in the biggest traffic jam outside Frankfurt. Even so, by 11.30 we were happily hiking along towards the crag. Bessenbach is a sandstone quarry so the wall formations are a bit strange and according to the guidebook, the routes are harder for shorter people- true that! There is also a lot of loose rock and some of the holds are man-made. With an electric saw. Aashish and I started off right next to each other on a 6- and a 6 and we both fell before the first bolt. This put a bit of a damper on our leading enthusiasm. Even thought the routes were not hard, the first couple of moves were bouldery and the first bolts were quite high which kept us on our toes the entire day. By the end of the day, we gave up on leading and we put up a couple of topropes on the harder routes around. That was great fun!

Sunday morning we packed up very efficiently - must be Mat's influence in the group. The man is a MACHINE. We decided to head out to Lorsbacher Wand as I had read somewhere that it had been recently re-bolted. Despite my hope for friendlier beginnings, Lorsbacher Wand proved as daunting as Bessenbach. The beginnings were hard up to the second bolt, after which they settled in what you would expect for the grade. We spent the morning on the right hand side of the crag. As we moved left, the routes started to flow better - we must have been improving by the minute. We finished off with Alter Weg which was truly a wonderful climb.

To wrap up, is it worth going if you live reasonably close? I would say yes, but bring a clipstick :) 

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Comment by Daniel on September 30, 2013 at 23:47

Take another mat next time ;-)

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