Ettringen, Deutschland – Stemming, jamming and dancing in a basalt quarry turned crag. A week of rainy weather in Germany is not uncommon; however, it can really cramp your climbing lifestyle. This past week was filled with intermittent rain and grapple showers making all climbing limited to pulling plastic at an indoor gym. This isn’t a [...]
Ettringen, Deutschland – Stemming, jamming and dancing in a basalt quarry turned crag.
A week of rainy weather in Germany is not uncommon; however, it can really cramp your climbing lifestyle. This past week was filled with intermittent rain and grapple showers making all climbing limited to pulling plastic at an indoor gym. This isn’t a horrible consolation prize because German climbing gyms are about ten times more awesome than those I have frequented in America, but I may be biased as they serve beer and food and I am a lover of all things calories – liquid and solid state. You can crank for a few hours, take a snack break topped off with your favorite Weisen, all whilst staring at climbing posters for inspiration to crank a little more before calling it a day at the gym.
Thankfully the weather gods granted some generous and beautiful weather, by Germany standards and we only had to suffer the awesomeness of a climbing gym for half the weekend while the other half was spent outdoors at Ettringer Lay in Ettrigen, Deutschland. Your history lesson for the day: Ettringer Lay is an old Basalt quarry that ceased mining in the 70s and was developed by climbers starting in the 80s. The area boasts bomber cracks, balancey face climbs and all the stemming your legs could dream of amongst abandoned cranes and metal rods spread sporadically throughout the rock. The routes are mixed protection, meaning there are bolts but you are going to want some friends and nuts for a lot of them.
Arriving at 10 am, we realized we were not so in tune with the workings of German weather as the parking lot was fairly crowded (fairly unusual at that “early” hour). After socializing with some local climbers we were informed that our generous weather gods would only serve up clear, blue skies and shelter us from the rain until around 2 pm. So with that useful information we were off, or up rather.
- Harakiri (7-) – an awesome hand crack that pulls a roof with an exciting push for the anchors. As always with cracks, don’t get suckered in too deep.
- Kondensstreifen (7+) – hand crack with comfortable stances for gear placements in all the right places. Right when the crack peters out, look around for happy hands.
- Flying Circus (8+) – holy balancey. Very technical with a muscle move or two. Right when you think you’re done, it’s time to bust out your best Jane Fonda.
- Gemütlicher Ausklang (7) – balancey face moves before the first bolt and then eases off until you reach fun cracks in a corner, when you reach the roof
clip a bolt before making an exciting swing left around the arête to move
up and then back right into the corner.
- Mut der Verzweiflung (8+/9-) – Easy terrain into a pod, clip a sling and launch up the slightly overhanging seam, rapidly thinning hands coerces you into a layback.
- Irrgarten (6) – don’t let the rating fool you. Very aesthetic line up a widening crack with a mantle exit.
We called it a day around 7:30 pm (yep, it stays light quite late) after a full day of climbing with mandatory rests when the sky started projectile leaking. It is unusual for me to have two climbing partners on my climbing jaunts, but today we did and as a result one was belaying while the other was snapping photos leading to a very well documented trip to Ettringer Lay. Cheesy sentiment: A special thanks to Ari and Eric for the awesome belays, the top notch photos and fun times at the crag.
Quick Reference Guide:
Location: Ettringen, Deutschland
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Guidebook: Schwarze Säulen: Kletterführer Mayen, by Alexander Schmalz-Friedberger