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Climbing gyms or Kletterhallen

Gym Review: Griffwerk Ludwigburg

Gym Review: Griffwerk Ludwigburg

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Since opening less than a year ago just north of Stuttgart, I had yet to make it to Griffwerk, a brand new climbing gym. With temps well below zero degrees today and the kids looking for something new, we finally decided to head over.

Griffwerk Kletterhalle
Fuchshofstraße 66
71638 Ludwigsburg
Germany

Griffwerk Ludwigsburg at the Sportzentrum Ost

For anyone in the Stuttgart area, Griffwerk is well worth visiting, regardless of whether it’s the one nearest to you or not. It was finished less than a year ago and still has plenty of new gym shine and smell. There are two large bouldering areas with plenty of space and wall types as well as a nice central climbing area for roped climbs. Upstairs, there are two further roped climbing areas slightly shorter, perhaps 12 or 15 meters and mostly aimed at beginners and courses.

All routes are well labeled and even available in the Vertical Life app though I can’t comment on how useful that actually is. I have a few digital guidebooks in the app but have yet to use them.

Griffwerk Kids Area

The kids area is downright great. It’s not huge, but features both a little playhouse type thing with slide, climbing walls but also drawing, books and toys. For those with kids, climbing onyl kids areas can get old quick, especially if you’re off climbing yourself and the kids are there alone or with one parent. This offers more options so it’s a better rounded play area with plenty of activities to switch too when they get board.

Facilities

Like all German gyms, they have a little cafe and serve food, caffeinated drinks and of course alcoholic ones too. Prices are reasonable and there are nice new couches and several tables to chill at with a good view of the action.

The lockers are spacious and operated by a little electronic key fob you get when checking in. You can also charge food and drinks to it to avoid carrying cash, and then pay when you leave. It’s much nicer than always having to remember to have a 1 or 2 EUR coin as with many other places. The bathrooms are separate from the locker rooms which is also practical.

I can’tc comment much on the outside area as it was -3C and I just ran out to see it and take some quick photos. It’s fairly sizable and made of the gym’s outer wall. Will definitely want to try it in summer. I had the impression construction wasn’t complete and am not sure whether more is coming nearby.

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Another concrete climbing wall outdoors

Another concrete climbing wall outdoors

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While thumbing through the recent issue of Schwaben Alpin, the DAV magazine of my local chapter, I noticed a picture of a concrete outdoor climbing structure that I didn’t recognize in an article about nearby Boeblingen. Being curious and having only ever seen and heard of the one at Waldau, I started looking. Sure enough, there’s a very small one in Boeblingen as you can see:

 

SVB Bergsport concrete climbing wall

It’s part of the SVB Bergsport group and unfortunately NOT open to the public anymore. Nevertheless, it’s cool to see another similar structure. Does anyone know of other ones elsewhere in Germany or other countries?

My gym: DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart

My gym: DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart

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Here’s an overview of my home gym, the DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart. Just a five minute drive or 20 minute walk away for me, I’m incredibly thankful to be so near. Let’s begin with a few stats to give you an idea of how awesome it is.

The Gym in Numbers:

  • Climbing area (inside): 2939 m²
  • Climbing area (outside): 1087 m²
  • Wall height: 17m
  • Routes: ~320 inside / ~ 145 outside
  • Grades: 2 to 11- UIAA
  • Max climb length: 28m inside / 22 outside
  • Multipitch: YES!
  • Bonus: All route grades are listed in the UIAA, YDS and French systems!

The DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart

As the name suggests, the gym is run by the Deutscher Alpenverein in Stuttgart.  Located south of the city in the Waldau neighborhood, it’s easy to access by subway (u-bahn) and the largest facility in the city. Locally, most climbers simply refer to the gym as Waldau. It also also about two blocks from the local DAV chapter’s headquarters, DAV Sektion Schwaben, which includes a library and gear rental.

The gym has a small cafe serving both caffeinated and alcoholic beverages (it’s Germany) and the typical long green beer tables outdoors. There are very few top ropes available as it is generally seen as something reserved for beginners. Therefore, any TR routes are usually going to max out at 5.5 YDS. Around 90% of the routes are lead, though you can always follow which many people also do. For boulderers, there are three separate bouldering areas.

Two highlights for me are that there’s ledge on one of the walls setup to create a two pitch climb where people can practice multipitch technique. No permission, training or anything else required. Just try it. The same can be done outdoors as well.

The second highlight is the outdoor area consisting of an outer building wall  as well as a large, modern-art esque structure covered in bolts and features. It’s a great way to get your outdoor fix when the crag is too far away. Unlike indoors, here you’re required to use your own quickdraws.

Route Logic / System

Routes are defined by hold color, NOT tape. So the entirety of a route will all be the same color. Volumes can be used IF they can be used to bolt additional holds onto. A volume which does not accept further bolt on holds is only for use on the route of its color.

Admin & Legal

This is Germany! There are no belay tests, certifications or anything similar. Don’t be stupid is the motto. You’ll sign a one paragraph document agreeing to follow the gym’s rules and that’s it. Climbers must bring their own rope and quickdraws (for outside) though you can rent everything should you forget.

Family Friendly!

The DAV Kletterzentrum Stuttgart is very family friendly for those of us with kids to think of. There is a small children’s climbing area that is enclosed as well as a large playground outdoors with a sandbox, slide, bridge, swings and more. There is no childcare on site which is unusual here (and in my experience, in the US too) so keep the little one’s in view.

Photo Gallery:

If you can accept I’m not a professional photographer and just a guy using his phone, please enjoy an impromptu series of snaps from my last visit.

 

Photo: Kletterzentrum Stuttgart in Waldau, in Winter

Photo: Kletterzentrum Stuttgart in Waldau, in Winter

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Here’s a recent snap of the Kletterzentrum Stuttgart in Waldau. Their outdoor area features this unique, modern art-esque concrete structure as well as a regular wall on the outside of the building.  The concrete structure features both bolt on holds as well as pockets and other features directly in the concrete.  In total, there’s 1,087 m² (11,700 ft²) of climbing area outside.

Other features:

There is also a speed climbing wall and a slackline setup. For families, it also features a full playground with swings, slides, a sandbox and more. Being Germany, it of course also has several beer garden type tables, picnic tables and a grill. As you see, none of it looks particularly inviting this time of year, but allegedly spring is right around the corner.

 

Kletterzentrum Stuttgart Waldau in Winter