Frankenjura, Deutschland – Exploring the birthplace of the redpoint and the world’s first 5.14d, and how to communicate in German when you klettern.
Being in Germany, a climber must spring forward at the opportunity to pay a visit to Frankenjura. Frankenjura is not only the birthplace of the “redpoint” (rotpunkt), a term now ubiquitous with free climbing, but also home to the world’s first 9a (5.14d), Action Directe.
Frankenjura boasts challenging sport climbs on perfectly pocketed limestone upwards of 10,000 routes and growing. While the area does have a reputation for stout climbs, there are an endless supply of moderates for us mere mortals. Frankenjura is spread out and typically referred to as North and South Frankenjura. We limited ourselves to Northern Frankenjura for this trip and picked up a guidebook with GPS coordinates (not a luxury, but a necessity) from one of the many local climbing shops.
Throughout the Frankenjura, your adventure takes you meandering about beautiful villages with countless Gasthofs serving up homemade German cuisine and local beers on tap ready to quench your post cranking sessions.
DAY ONE – Krottenseer Turm and Maximillianswand
A beautiful crag hidden behind a forest of trees. The climbs here varied from pocketed, technical slabs to overhung pocket pulling delights. Ratings vary from doable to superhuman. Note: all ratings are listed as (UIAA, YDS).
- Westwand (8-, 5.11c) – really good. sidepulls and pockets
- Blindes Huhn (6+, 5.10b) – fun climbing, crux forces you to make a few moves leaving behind a very comfortable stance
- Spätlese (6+, 5.10b) – up a corner to a roof with an exiting exit to the anchors. Really good route, even if the past rains left a little mud in places you didn’t want it.
- Luisenband (6-, 5.9) – climbs directly to the right of Spätlese. Very fun and heavily pocketed.
- Südriss (7-, 5.10c/d) – crux right off the ground up a right facing corner
- Gratwanderung (7, 5.11a) – deceptively pretty pockets
- Abheber (7+, 5.11b) – strong pockets with awkward clipping into technical face
- Amazonenpfeiler (8+, 5.12a) – delicate, thought provoking and overhung climbing to a definite crux.
- Anaconda (8+, 5.12a) – technical face with a sequencey roof. Just enough there, on a good day.
- Schnitzel on Seitz (8-, 5.11c) – Climb turned out to be much better than it appeared from the ground. Beautiful arete.
- Westkante (6-, 5.9) – heavily pocketed up a crack.
DAY TWO – Weiβenstein (Veissenstein)
Weiβenstein is located directly off the roadway and may be one of the most popular crags in the Frankenjura. The crag features juggy albeit polished limestone with routes from vertical to overhung. Unfortunately for us, the weather got a little feisty and gave us a tour of its emotions - snow, grapple, wind, COLD. This did not deter the crowds and the climbers climbed on, until loss of feeling in the fingers occurred necessitating a mid route hand warming break.
- Eieruhr (6+, 5.10b) – Very fun, heavily pocketed climb
- Don’t Worry be Happy (6-, 5.9)
- R2 Muffengang (6-, 5.9)
- R7 (7-, 5.10c/d) – one of my favorites for the day. All around fun climb with a little bit of everything, an arete, huecos, you name it.
- Akku (7+, 5.11b)
- Panische Zeiten (7+, 5.11b) – Very fun route that traverses out left off an arete. Deeply pocketed and extremely polished.
- Wilde 13 Direkt (8, 5.11d) – sharp pockets.
- Saftpresse (8, 5.11d) – bouldery and sequence intensive.
- Mon Marie (6-, 5.9) - great warmup to the crag’s climbing style
Exploring Frankenjura was very exciting. It spans through quite a vast area making it impossible to tire of any time soon. Though I may not speak Deutsch, they are definitely speaking my language – Crags + beer + food.
I leave you with a lesson in German climbing commands and terms:
Your new German climbing commands in action: Climber ties in and belayer threads atc. Climber says “ok”, belayer pulls in loose rope and has climber on belay then responds “ok”. Climber climbs and when he wants belayer to take in rope (i.e., to rest or at top of route), climber says “zu” and belayer immediately pulls in all rope slack. Once climber is ready to be lowered, climber says “ab” and belay lowers the climber.
Climb now, thank me later. Gut klettern!
Quick Reference Guide
Location: Northern Frankenjura
- A Technical Break
- Costa Blanca
- Cannolis, I Mean Climbing
- Monkee Ubwuzu Women’s Climbing Pants