Crag Info: Oelaenderle Climbing in Nagoldtal

Crag Info: Oelaenderle Climbing in Nagoldtal

Located just south of Calw in a neighborhood of the same name, Oelaenderle is a popular former sandstone quarry in the Black Forest and now climbing crag with an easy approach. There are lots of moderate climbs here and around 6 or so easy ones but above all it’s easy to get to and family friendly making it a great destination. The rock is buntsandstein, so totally different from nearby crags like Kentheim in both rock type and style of climbing. Some holds are drilled but its mostly as it was left when the quarrying was finished. Moreover, it’s just a few minute drive from several other crags making it easy do some Kentheim climbing and then try other places.

Oelaenderle Climbing Overvew:

  • Height:  20 meters
  • Routes: 27
  • Grades: Good mix of easy and moderate, a few hard ones
  • Rock: Weathered sandstone
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 45 min
  • Approach: 5 minutes, car to crag
  • Protection: Mostly newish bolts in good shape
  • Walk off: No
  • Guidebook: Kletterführer Schwarzwald Nord
  • Family friendly: Yes! Excellent overall!

Oelaenderle: Getting there & Approach

Head to Calw from wherever you are and take the B63 south to the area of town called Oelaenderle. It’s just a minute or two south of the center. Turn in and head right to teh small parking area after the little building. Then walk back the way you come, passing where you turned in and then heading up the path on the right. When you see the first sign, head left a few seconds and take the uphill path (not the one that stays level). The crag is just a minute or two from there, overall also a 5-10 min approach max. If you’re driving from Kentheim, it’s maybe 10-15 minutes from leaving one to standing at the other.

Oelaenderle Crag Details

Oelaenderle is a former buntsandstein quarry that was taken over by local climbers who saw the potential. And as soon as you walk up to it, you’ll see the same. Being buntsandstein and with lots of cracks and varied features, it’s very different from nearby crags and itself offers plenty of different climbing types in once place. It gets lots of shade making it a great summer desination and has a huge, flat area around the base with space for a fire and lots of room for kids to run around, or you to throw down a picnic blanket or tent. It’s a great area to just chill for the day and climb.  It’s also one of the best family friendly crags <1hr from Stuttgart.  There are enough climbs at all levels to keep you busy but you can’t top out and there’s no good way to top rope so make sure you or your partner can lead.

Pictures: Climbing in Oelaenderle

Crag Info: Kentheim – Climbing in Nagoldtal near Calw

Crag Info: Kentheim – Climbing in Nagoldtal near Calw

Located just south of Calw in a neighborhood of the same name, Kentheim is a popular sandstone crag with an easy approach. With beautiful Black Forest spruce trees all around, plenty of morning sun and good sandstone with lots of nice pockets and a few cool cracks, this place can get busy with locals. Moreover, it’s just a few minute drive from several other crags making it easy do some Kentheim climbing and then try other places.

Kentheim Climbing Overvew:

  • Height:  20 meters
  • Routes: 27
  • Grades: Good mix of easy and moderate, a few hard ones
  • Rock: Weathered sandstone
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 45 min
  • Approach: 5 minutes, car to crag
  • Protection: Mostly newish bolts in good shape
  • Walk off: No
  • Guidebook: Kletterführer Schwarzwald Nord
  • Family friendly: Yes! Flat, easy approach. No strollers.

Kentheim: Getting there & Approach

Head to Calw from wherever you are and take the B63 south to the area of town called Kentheim. It’s just a minute or two south of the center. Right before the obvious railroad bridge, use the parking lot on the right. Get out and walk past the railroad bridge towards the first street on your right, Roetelbachweg. Instead of taking that street, go uphill to your right through the grass in the direction of parking/the bridge. It’s 2 or 3 minutes from there and only slightly uphill. The base of the crag is totally flat.

Kentheim Crag Details

Made of weathered sandstone, the rock is good as is the friction. There are lots of nice little pockets throughout the wall but whateer you choose, it’s slab climbing all the way. There are a few nice cracks to use too. Nuts and hexes aren’t realy useful here but a few cams are nice for run outs and very high first bolts. The base of the crag is flat so good for kids but the plants around aren’t to be played in. I don’t know the German name anymore, but it’s a little like poison ivy (but not as serious) so avoid them yourself and you dont want kids messing around in them and getting an itchy rash.

The crag gets lots of morning sun which can be great in winter and brutal in summer. By the afternoon it’s shady again so choose your time based on the time of year. And if slab climbing in Kentheim isn’t your thing, do a few easy routes and head on over to nearby Oelaenderle or Fuchsklinge which are just a few minutes drive.

 

Pictures: Climbing in Kentheim

Calw tomorrow

Calw tomorrow

Just got back from a daytrip to France and packed for tomorrow. Gorgeous weather and hoping it stays that way for my trip to nearby Calw. Aside from being the home of Hermann Hesse, it also has some good sandstone climbing so I’m headed to Kentheim with a friend and maybe Oelaenderle if time allows. Pics, crag info and more to come.

Ready for climbing in Calw.
Ready for climbing in Calw.
Bad Boll and dreams of the Ostalb

Bad Boll and dreams of the Ostalb

Was out in Bad Boll today doing a “Sinneswandel” hike through the woods. Super fun with young kids. I’d hoped to hit a few areas around Geislingen (see the Ostalb book) but alas we were tuckered out and decided to leave it for another day. There’s a couple neat looking areas big enough for multipitch but they’ll have to stay on the list for now.

 

Ostalb Guidebook
Had a few places marked to check but didn’t manage.
Arcteryx Araks shoes
Giving the Arcteryx Araks shoes a whirl in the mud
Crag Info: Hessigheimer Felsengaerten

Crag Info: Hessigheimer Felsengaerten

After many a wasted weekend doing housework, I decided to make a quick run to Hessigheimer Felsengaerten. I didn’t have time to climb and had to bring my four year old who was not happy about it. But, having been here nearly two years now, I still hadn’t visited a crag so near to Stuttgart despite having been to the Klettergarten Stetten several times. The main reason is that living in the southern part of town, it’s actually quicker for me to head to Bad Urach or the rest of the Swabian Alb. But it was time to finally check it off my list.

  • Height:  5 to 15 meters
  • Routes: 147
  • Grades: Good mix of easy and moderate, a few toughies too
  • Rock: Limestone (Muschelkalk)
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 30-45min
  • Approach: 15 mostly even, short downhill section
  • Protection: Mostly newish bolts in good shape
  • Walk off: No
  • Guidebook: Stuttgart Rockt!
  • Family friendly: Yes! (but not for strollers)

Hessigheimer Felsengaerten: Getting There

You could drive through town, but the quickest way is generally to take the A81 north and get off at the exit for “Mundelsheim” from which it’s only a few kilometers. The crag is listed in both Google Maps and Waze so just enter it in and choose the “Im Fetzer” parking lot, which is probably the one it is set to anyway (for Waze it is). You’ll end up driving through vineyards – as usual around Stuttgart – and on some country roads but keep going until you reach the parking lot. There are plenty of signs for it.

Hessigheimer Felsengaerten: Approach

From “Im Fetzer” it’s just about 0.5km to the crag. In fact, after parking, find the hiking sign and then just walk straight. It’ll take you down through the vineyards, past the Bergwachthuette (rescue hut) and then downhill to the crag. Up until the downhill section the approach is stroller friendly. The short downhill part is well maintained, not that steep and easy to do, just not with a stroller. But it’s totally fine for small kids who can walk. Once the initial downhill part ends and you reach an intersection (and you can begin to see the river below), turn left for about 30 seconds and then head right downhill towards the rock.

Hessigheimer Felsengaerten: Crag Overview

Surrounded by vineyards with the Neckar river snaking by below, Hessigheimer Felsengaerten couldn’t be in a nicer area. Local Swabians have been climbing in this area for nearly a hundred years by some accounts and it counts as Stuttgart’s home crag. Given it’s short distance from the city, it’s relatively popular, particularly in summer when the temperatures are high. There are more than enough routes for everyone with nearly 150 and a great mix of grades. The approach is pretty easy making it an all around favorite destination for locals. That being said, it doesn’t warrant a visit from far away unlike other areas such as Battert or Donautal which are worth visiting from out of town. But if you’re looking for a change from Stetten but something still nearby and famiyl friendly, this is a good option.

Hessigheimer Felsengaerten: Pictures

 

Gear: Metolius Ultralight Mastercams Review

Gear: Metolius Ultralight Mastercams Review

I’m not a pure trad climber so keep that in mind while reading my ultralight mastercams review. I’ve used gear mainly to supplement and protect runout sections between bolts like at Stuhlfels and Kentheim and most recently on my first trad climbs at  Battert. So with that disclaimer, let’s dive into Metolius ultralight mastercams.

When just starting out, you’ll see Black Diamond Camalots (C4s) the most, making them seem to be the natural and automatic choice of cam. The honest reason I first went with mastercams? They just felt better. Perhaps because they were tighter, or took a bit more effort to manipulate they just felt better to use and “tougher” than Camalots. Of course, they’re both certified and rated by the same agencies and will hold falls when placed right. But there’s a certain ineffable haptic pleasure I get when using them. I also love the ultralight mastercam design personally.

You can find the technical specs in seconds with the Google, so I’ll focus on why I like them.

Klettergarten Stetten
My daughter, testing an UL mastercam #8 and staying happy/busy!

Original, or old Metolius Mastercams

There are two styles of mastercam, the original and the ultralights. The original mastercams feature a thumbloop, different trigger, horizontally notched cam lobes and some are slightly longer. The UL mastercams have no thumb loop and are comparable to DMM’s. There were few downsides to the original mastercams. The most frequent were that the #6 was floppy (totally true) and that they didn’t make any bigger sizes, whereas C4’s go up to well, gigantic! The rangefinder system is also nice, though I honestly can’t remember really using it while climbing. I found it more useful while practicing placements on the ground.

 

Metolious mastercams
Metolious mastercams, both original and ultralight

New Metolius Ultralight Mastercams

After years of mastercam awesomeness, Metolius redesigned them making them look even cooler, but more importantly reducing weight and size while maintaining all the same specs otherwise. Check out this chart, courtesy of Weigh My Rack with the differences:

Metolius mastercam comparison chart
Metolius mastercam comparison chart

I immediately got the 6, 7 and 8 where the weight difference is biggest, because the original #6 is indeed floppy and finally because there wasn’t a 7 or 8 before. As it stands, the new UL mastercams go up to a BD C4 #3. Most people’s final judgement on the new ultralight mastercams is decided by whether they want a thumb loop or not. I honestly don’t care and easily place both styles. I tend to prefer minimalist things in general which makes me favor the ultralights. I also like the sleek aluminum and steel vs the plasticy C4’s. The wire stems are taut enough not too be floppy or bend when pulling the trigger yet flexible enough to use horizontally without worry and take heaps of abuse. They are also just flexible enough to help minimze walking.

Other Reasons to Choose Mastercams

Any cam you buy that is certified will basically serve it’s purpose. Metolius as a company is still focused on climbers and has not gotten lost in the “lifestyle” products that others have (like Black Diamond). They aren’t busy focusing on selling t-shirts marked up several hundred percent and selling gear as a side business. All their cams are made in the US, and materials even sourced in the US.

For other and more in-depth mastercam reviews, you can check out Weigh My Rack, UKC Gear, Blister Gear Review, and Outdoor Gear Lab.

Metolius rocks!

Metolius rocks!

I recently contacted Metolius with a few questions about reslinging.

  1. Do they resling in Europe?
  2. Does shipping from here to the US make any sense?
  3. If not, how long is the normal time because I’d have to do it while visiting
  4. Could they give me longer extendable slings (like dmm’s etc)?
  5. How about some free stickers?

Their answers were: 1. No reslinging in Europe 2. Shipping is a bad idea cost wise 3. 2 weeks or so but they could expedite under the circumstances. 4. Sadly no, because as they dont offer that option as a product, they aren’t certified to do the work 5. well, the image speaks for itself.

Here’s hoping they start selling cams over here and reslinging them as well. Just hope they don’t do it in Switzerland (like Arc’teryx does for all repair work).

My “arthritis” medicine for climbing – Benzl Nicotinate

My “arthritis” medicine for climbing – Benzl Nicotinate

After visiting an orthopedist a month or so ago, he determined that I had no tears or other obvious problems that would explain my finger pain. For reference, I was experiencing pain on the sides of the first joint (first down from fingertips) of my middle 3 fingers on each hand. Wasn’t always every one at once, sometimes just one finger or so, and never a constant thing. Only came about when bouldering and doing small crimps and slopers. The doc gave me Pernionin to try out, which is an arthritis medicine that you poor into a bowl of water and soak your hands in to increase blood flow. The active ingredient is  benzyl nicotinate which makes me things it’s like cigarettes for my hand.

I haven’t heard about it in any climbing forums or websites but so far it’s worked well. Of course, I’ve tried to rest a bit and not do much hard climbing, but even after several hours of intensive bouldering, no pain at all. Here’s hoping it works. After a few more times I’ll have a better idea.

 

 

Upcoming events in May and July

Upcoming events in May and July

First up on Sunday May 14th, there’s a DAV sponsored event in Leonberg that includes climbing, demonstrations and more, plus food and drinks of course. It’s family friendly and worth visiting for both a nice day and to get to know other climbers. Click the image for more details.

 

Second up, for anyone with kids, there’s a youth “talent scouting” event on Friday July 21st at 16:00. The ages listed are from 5 to 8 and they must “train” regularly during the week and enjoy climbing.  Click the image for more details.