With the weather at high of 22C today, we headed for our favorite family crag: Klettergarten Stetten. This time, I invited a friend and his family who’d recently bought a car and were now able to join. They jumped on the offer and off we went.
For anyone with kids, I highly recommend picking up Petzl’s Macchu kids climbing harness along with the separate chest harness. More cautious kids can always optionally use the chest version but since they’re not connected, they can grow right into a standard waist harness without you having to get a new one.
The Perils of Finding Saengerheim and the Klettergarten!
Unfortunately, getting there isn’t always easy since you end up driving uphill through the vineyards on roads where it looks like you shouldn’t. The signage is also poor and I made sure to stop and send him pics at several turns. Unfortunately, he fell for the “GPS told me so” trap and decided to park elsewhere. So over an hour later, they finally showed up after some wrong turns in the woods with toddlers in tow and picnic gear.
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
Grades: Good mix of easy and moderate, a few hard ones
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. If you’ve climbed at Klettergarten Stetten, it’s the same black high quality sandstone there. There are lots of nice little pockets throughout the wall but whatever you choose, it’s slab climbing all the way. There are a few nice cracks to use too. Nuts and hexes aren’t really 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 don’t 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. For spring and summer, I’d recommend arriving around 8am and leaving around noon or alternatively late afternoon to dusk. In the cooler months, get there late morning.
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.
With good weather on a roll here, it was time for another family outing to the Klettergarten Stetten, northeast of Stuttgart in the vineyards. Located in an old sandstone quarry, it’s an easy drive, easy approach and lots of climbing for every level, plus a walk off option. Good times were had by all.
My son climbed his first route, as in from top to bottom – not stopping 1/3 of the way up as usual. To my delight, he said he didnt like the gym but outside was more fun. Message received! I managed a 7+ (Z-riss) on top rope after some trouble with the crux. But good to feel improvement in the gym translate into real rock.
As Germany slowly coughs up a few days of decent weather now and again, it’s time to take a look at a simple crag near Stuttgart that is family-friendly, and a low investment in travel time, distance and required gear. It’s known simply as Klettergarten Stetten. For route details and grades, I’ve added already the area to Mountain Project here.
Height: 6-8 meters
Distance from downtown Stuttgart: 20 minutes by car
Approach: 10 minutes
Protection: Shiny new glue in bolts; everything can be TR’d and easy walk off
Stetten, as it known for short, is a very small former sandstone quarry northeast of Stuttgart in an area known as Remstal. Located on top of a hill sprawling with vineyards, it was from here that the rock for all the retaining walls up and down the hilly vineyards was taken. At some point, local climbers realized it made a fantastic (albeit very short) practice area. Over time, upkeep was taken over by the local DAV chapter and it is often used to teach children and new climbers the basics of outdoor. Located just 20 minutes or so from downtown Stuttgart by car, it’s a popular destination for kids groups, beginners and those looking for a quick outdoor fix without needing an hour’s drive and more gear.
See my directions on Mountain Project but either way it’ll depend on where you’re coming from. See Google Maps below for the exact location
Klettergarten Stetten is located in a kind of sunken circle given that it’s a quarry. That means it has a large completely flat area for kids to run and play, with nothing to trip on. Moreover, because it was a quarry, there are “walls” surrounding it meaning no bike or car traffic and only two ways in/out for kids to escape. There’s ample shade, room to throw a ball around and even plastic chairs around for everyone’s use.
Every single route and be top roped and there’s a walk off for everything. The place is so well organized and equipped, it’s nearly an outdoor gym. If you want to lead, you’ll only need to bring 6 draws and no gear. There are many easy routes, some being no more than basic scrambling which is great to get children used to the harness, rope and up their first route.
Lastly, given the location and size, Klettergarten Stetten is also a great place to run lap after lap on top rope solo. There’s usually at least one person doing so. Feel free to email me any questions and take a look at the gallery below for a concrete idea of the crag. Sorry about the sun/shadow in some of the pictures!