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Good weather and no partner at Waldau!

Good weather and no partner at Waldau!

With temperatures hitting a scorching 15C today here in Stuttgart, my plans to climb outdoors were unfortunately dashed by a last minute cancellation on my partner’s part! That means of course: forever alone….or rather bouldering. So, I hit the gym today and was at least greeted by a dozen or so new problems bolted since the last time I went bouldering. On my way out, I wistfully snagged a few pictures of the climbs that could have been. Nevertheless, time to climb is always good.

The Ohm is here to rent

And in a first, my gym now has the Edelrid Ohm for rent for 3 EUR. Not surprising I guess. The German version of Climbing magazine (Klettern) did its tests of the Ohm there. I was surprised when reading the last issue to recognize all the walls.

 

DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart Waldau DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart Waldau

Edelrid Ohm for rent
Edelrid Ohm for rent
Crag: Steinbruch Renningen bouldering near Stuttgart

Crag: Steinbruch Renningen bouldering near Stuttgart

For boulderers in the Stuttgart region, pickins are slim. So it’s Renningen bouldering to the rescue! If you are looking for, or rather willing to settle for, something local and man-made, then this is your best (and only) bet. Steinbruch means quarry and thus this is another local sandstone quarry. It consists of two long walls filled with cracks and pockets (some natural, some not). Sounds enticing right? If you’re nearby, however, it is a great place to practice finger and forearm strength and endurance. It may not be as technically interesting or varied, but it is quite well suited to training and it’s outside.

There are only two official-ish problems, which are a lower and upper traverse of the wall (which features wall-length horizontal cracks). Otherwise, you’re free to do whatever you want. Most people just do laps on the traverses which will destroy your forearms. The climbing area is located in the parking lot of the Naturtheater Renningen, which means if you have children, it’s a good destination to combine with a little climbing.

If you want to find this in a guidebook, though there’s not much more than in this post, you can get Stuttgart Rockt! here.

Directions:

The quarry doesn’t have an address per se, so the theater’s address is best:

Nowadays, we’ll assume you can (mostly) get there via Google Maps/GPS. Note that at the very end, you may hesitate as you’ll be pulling off into the woods and following a dirt road a short ways (which isn’t as usual in Germany). There will be signs for a Schutzenverein (shooting club) and then you’ll pass the sign (below), signalling you’ve arrived. Park where ever, but try not to block the wall. Importantly, the sign notes parking is ONLY for visitors to the theaters during the times listed here:

  • Tuesdays as of 13:00
  • Wednesdays as of 13:00
  • Fridays as of 18:00
  • Saturdays as of 18:00
  • Sundays as of 13:00

Family Friendly!

Perhaps the best use of this small area is for hanging out with family or friends. As you can see from the photos below, it’s a great place to drive up, unpack a blanket and grill and drink a few beers with friends while training on the walls. The area is entirely flat and has virtually no traffic or other dangers for children. In summer, you’ll find little “grill parties” of locals who show up after work to chill and boulder a bit before heading home.

Klettergarten Stetten Gallery

You can also visit this area at Mountain Project, where I’ve added the same information and photos as well.

 

New bouldering grades at my gym

New bouldering grades at my gym

In the United States, we have the V system for bouldering problems. In France, they use the Fontainebleau, or font scale. Yet, while Germany has its own UIAA system for roped climbs, there is no standard for bouldering which initially confuses us poor foreigners.

How boulder problems are often set in Germany:

First of all, I can’t promise everyone uses this system. But it’s common in one variant or another. Problems are color coded with a letter to indicate the wall and number for the route, written on a colored tag. So, you’ll see “M5” at the start of a route and then you look at the top to find the end of M5. Note the grade is indicated by the color, NOT the number since boulder problems are numbered instead of named.  And best of all, problems are set in a single color. You won’t find a mess of tape surrounding every hold like in the US. The same goes for normal routes. Ordnung muss sein!

My gym’s modified font scale

Below, you’ll see a photo I recently snapped of the new bouldering grades at my local gym in Stuttgart.  It was a new year’s surprise and came in response to customer gripes. In German, it says on top “Explanation of the Grade Signs” and then features a table with the French or Fontainebleau grading scale on the left hand side and the gym’s new system on the right.

The bouldering grades at my gym were originally white, yellow, blue, red, black (from easiest to hardest). But this of course meant each color contained many grades. The new sign explains they are split into six categories: easy, moderate, medium, tricky, difficult, and extreme and  still color coded. Basically they just added orange. Nearby Cafe Kraft in Vaihingen uses the standard font system which includes several additional colors. For more info on the history of bouldering and grading systems, check out 99boulders.

bouldering grades

 

Below, is the “true” font scale that Cafe Kraft uses. Given they’re a purely bouldering gym or Boulderhalle, it is unsurprising.

 

bouldering font scale at cafe kraft

Stay tuned for a brief overview of the UIAA grading system for roped climbs.