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Another concrete climbing wall outdoors

Another concrete climbing wall outdoors

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

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.

 

Better Belaying Workshop – Stuttgart

Better Belaying Workshop – Stuttgart

There’s a Better Belaying Workshop in Stuttgart on Tuesday March 21st and Saturday April 1st. The gym has a one-of-a-kind belay simulator that consists of a vertically oriented rail. A dummy climber is lifted up and dropped. The height and amount of slack are adjustable. The workshop costs 25 EUR and helps people gain experience catching falls in TR, lead and lead when falling before making a clip. They also have multiple belay devices for climbers to try out. Feedback is given on technique, movement and so forth. The class is outdoors and 2.5 hours and I think something everyone could benefit from. See photo of flyer for details.

 

Better Belaying Workshop

Sunday Outdoor climbing

Sunday Outdoor climbing

This past Sunday I had an unexpected window of free time and good weather, a combination hard to pass up. So I texted a friend and we hit the outdoor section of the gym. Did 6-, 5+, 6, 7-, 7+.

Had to cheat on one hold of the 7+ getting over the ledge. But watching a friend do it, looks like I needed to move my right foot up a bit. I’ll definitely repeat the route next time anyway as it’s probably the most fun one there. After that you’re horizontal most for 2 more bolts until the anchors. Super super fun and luckily my partner agreed to clean. To be fair though, I’d downgrade it to 7 or 7-. See second picture.

 

DAV Kletterzentrum Waldau AussenbereichMy favorite 7+

Route follows red line. Another view (with snow) here.

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
Photo: Kletterzentrum Stuttgart in Waldau, in Winter

Photo: Kletterzentrum Stuttgart in Waldau, in Winter

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