Parkplatzwand near Holzen in Ith is worth visiting for a good, fun day of sport climbing

Parkplatzwand near Holzen is a nice crag that offers plenty of sport climbing and a few traditional routes. Nothing spectacular, none the less a great experience. And it’s only a two hours drive from the city of Hamburg.

The crag is located in the village of Holzen in the Ith region of Lower Saxon. The area resembles much of what you will find in Frankenjura near Nürnberg in southern Germany, just smaller. The crags are usually located on small hills inside forests, and you can barely see them from the road. There are a few longer routes of 50-60 meters, which are hard to find in Frankenjura. The capitol of the area is Hannover, which is one of the major city in Northern Germany.

Approaching Parkplatzwand Holzen is pretty simple. Just drive to Holzen, which is a small village nearby the town of Hameln. When you reach to Holzen, just take take only road leading uphill. Should you come from the south the road will at some point make a sharp right turn with a smaller road going straight forward. Take that road. You will pass several houses and one of them has s huge beer bottle(!!) in the yard. If you see that you are on the right track. Follow the road that breaks into a dirt road leading into the forest about 150 meters until you reach a sizeable parking place from where you see the crag. The parking place is just at the crag, so you can’t miss that.

Parkplatzwand near Holzen is part of a larger group of crags following a trail that leads to the west of the crag. There is a sign post where these are mapped out. We chose this particular crag as the routes are about 12-14 meters and grades from 5a to 6b. I visited the crag with the group that I usually go with, Thomas, Joachim and Donald, two Danes and a Scot. Besides that we had invited three guys from our climbing gym, Adam from Poland, and two Ukrainian brothers, Kris and Loran, who have never rock climbed before. So the crag has routes for everyone.

Joakim on the 'Peepshow' (6a) at Parkplatzwand near Holzen

Joakim on the ‘Peepshow’ (6a) at Parkplatzwand near Holzen

Throughout the five hours long visit to the crag I managed to lead five routes and top rope one. Starting with the latter, the ‘Verkehrte Welt’ (6a), which I top roped, is 70% polished slab, 30% overhang. It is really challenging, especially as you need to apply very different sport climbing techniques. It starts with the slab, where you need to balance and move slowly as there are only a very few good hand and foot holds, while you need strong pulling on the overhang at the end. There is a huge crack rising vertical from the bottom of the overhang to the top, which are your only option of finding handholds. I must at it that the 6a grading of this route is a bit underestimated. Personally I would rank this at least 6b.

Toproping the overhang section of the 'Verkehte Welt' (6a) route.

Toproping the overhang section of the ‘Verkehte Welt’ (6a) route.

Another interesting route we did is the ‘Damokles’ (5c) that follows one of the cracks that slices through the crag. You climb in a corner, and this also tests your skills. It is not hard as such, but pretty technical. The crux is about 2/3 up the route, where you need to pass a small overhang. At the crux there are no bolts and the latest is maybe a 1,5 meter beneath you. Actually I find the Parkplatzwand sport climbing crag pretty well bolted. It is definitely not Cinque Torri in the Italian Dolomites, but it is neither Frankenjura. The distance between the bolts are a couple of meters, which makes it a great area for lesser experienced lead climbers.

The last route worth mentioning is the ‘Henkelkante’ (5c+), which runs on the outer corner of that makes up two walls. There are a couple of horizontal cracks for hands, which makes an interesting climb. The crux is near an overhang, where you need to do some heavy pulling to pass. There are no particular good hand holds until you reach the overhang except a few edges and two-finger pockets. This route is definitely good fun.

Me on 'Henkelkante'

Me taking a short rest to chalk the fingers before moving on, on ‘Henkelkante’ (5c+

Parkplatzwand near Holzen is a pretty nice crag. It does mostly have sport climbing routes with a few traditional climbing routes. And at a large number of the sport climbing routes you can bring traditional gear to practice setting this. Being so close to the parking place I would imagine it being pretty overcrowded on hot summer days, but on the other hand it’s quite isolated. Worth visiting though!

Do you not agree that the ‘Verkerte Welt’ is really a 6b? Leave a comment below.

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