Donautal Camping and Aussichtsfels visit!

Donautal Camping and Aussichtsfels visit!

Got up bright and early Saturday, packed the bags and kids in the car and headed for Hausen im Tal. The plan? Some father-kids camping time in the Danube valley. This was the first time I visited without doing any climbing (and hopefully the last). In contrast to the city folk still staring down at their phones constantly, my gaze kept going up at the dozens upon dozens of crags around. In fact, no matter where you look, there they are, lining the valley walls overlooking the Danube. A good deal are closed to climbing, and yet there are still nearly 30 which are open.

Donautal Camping at “Camping Wagenburg”

We stayed at Camping Wagenburg which occupies a long grassy field along the Danube. It is located in the town of Hausen im Tal which is the center of Donautal climbing and usually the base for most climbers. It also has some easy stuff right in town like Stuhlfels which means big climbing groups from the DAV. That makes camping there incredibly convenient, however compared to the US, annoyingly crowded. Tents were 10 feet from each other with people constantly walking by or running around your stuff. The location is beautiful and practical, but it’s certaintly not all that relaxing and in no way camping in the sense that an American would understand it.

Donautal Crag: Aussichtsfels

With the kids in tow and no belay partner, I had no plans to get on the rock this trip. However, I had plans to drive further through the valley and check out a number of other crags. A few I only saw from a distance or from the parking area, but two were next on my to-climb list so I broke camp Sunday morning and headed eastwards towards Inzigkofen to check out Aussichtsfels and Dreiecksfels, both of which offer a number of easy multipitch climbs with great views.

Donautal: Camping & Aussichtsfels Pictures

Off to Donautal

Off to Donautal

I’m off soon to Hausen im Tal in the Upper Danube Valley for a short weekend of camping.

In the meantime, it looks there’s now a good reason for me to visit London, aside from the Imperial War Museum:

London’s first “climbing window” will sit 400 feet above the ground. Entrants will be able to climb routes fixed on clear glass planes overlooking the city and expansive drop.

[…] Convenience for the active lifestyle is center stage at the newly announced 22 Bishopsgate development in downtown London. Bike to the office, enjoy modern collaborative, productive work spaces, climb after work, and pick up groceries for the week—all in the same building.

climbing glass building in london
Stock photo without a rope! Or is she just free soloing?

Pretty neat idea.

Schloss Lichtenstein and Triafelberg Crag

Schloss Lichtenstein and Triafelberg Crag

This past Thursday was a holiday, one of the many Christian holidays that are also federal holidays in Germany (and would be illegal in the US). While I didn’t get to climb, I took the kids to the Swabian Alb to vistit Schloss Lichtenstein and Nebelhoehle, a castle and cave respectively. Lichtenstein is also located just across from Traifelberg, a long series of crags overlooking the village of Lichtenstein with plenty of moderate to hard routes.

Schloss Lichtenstein (castle)

Schloss Lichtenstein is not famous outside of Germany, in fact not realy outside of Baden-Wuerttemberg, but here it’s known as the “Fairy Tale Castle.” My  daughter changed that into “Fairy Castle”.| Luckily, she didn’t notice when we didn’t actually find fairies there. Despite being a castle and looking the part, it’s not actually that old, build in the gothic revival style in the mid 1800s. It is still privately owned, but open to tourists near daily. While possibly disappointing to some, for families the fact that it is actually rather small is fantastic. You can view the castle grounds for 1 EUR per child and 2 EUR for adults. The tour is a few euros more but only 30 minutes.

Compared to the Disney like lines and hordes of Neuschwanstein, Lichtenstein is fairly quiet. Located southest of Reutlingen, it’s also right across from Traifelberg, a crag full of moderate to hard climbs. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough patience left after the castle visit to convince the rugrats to hike up and check it out. We settled for pictures from across the valley.

Nebelhoehle (Fog Cave)

Just 5 km from Lichtenstein in the Swabian Jura (Schwaebische Alb) is a famous cave, featured in many local fairy tales including those associated with the castle Lichstenstein. Important to know, they take cash only and the nearest bank is nearby in a tiny village. So bring cash (I learned the hard way). In addition to the cave, they have a pleasant little restaurant, great playground and some nice hiking in the area. If you’re in the area, it’s worth spending an afternoon in the area and finishing off at the cave followed up by watching the kids play while drinking a beer or radler. Good times were had by all.

 

Schloss Lichtenstein + Traifelberg Pictures

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.