Ruine Leienfels is a sport climbing crag near Obertrubach in the Frankenjura district. The crag is located beneath an old medival fortress making it a quick spectacular scenery for a sport climbing crag. There are 19 single-pitch sport climbing routes ranging from 4c to 6b with a height of between 15 to 18 meters.
Frankenjura is located near Nürnberg in the southeastern corner of Germany. It is one of the biggest climbing spots in central Europe with thousands of routes to explore. The area has a wide variety of traditional, sport and mixed climbing routes, however 99% of these are single pitches. You will find everything from grad 4 to grade 8, with steep cliffs, roofs, overhangs, slabs – basically everything. There are only a few multi-pitch crags in the northern parts of Frankenjura. It is cheap to stay, and easy to get to from most countries in Europe. Personally, Frankenjura is one of my favourite spots due to its vast amount of crags – there are simply something for everyone, being a beginner or a climbing guru!
We stayed at the Gasthof Eichler (german for Tavern) in Untertrubach in a four bed apartment and shared a kitchen and toilet with one other group. We paid 14 euro per night per person, which I find really cheap. There are other Gasthofs and camping sites around Frankenjura, but Gasthof Eichler in particular is a nice base camp as it is located centrally and there are a far amount of crags nearby – some that we can actually walk to in under 15 minutes.
Check out the video below for a quick tour around some of the crags in Frankenjura.
Approaching the crag was quite easy. This was one of the key factors for choosing the crag. We parked in the small village of Leienfels near the local Gasthof. There is a parking space for 5-6 cars, but if this is occupied you can look a round the village. The walk to the crag is only a few minutes following signs towards Burgruine Leienfels. The walk is uphill on a paved road until you enter a small forest, where the fortress and crag is located.
The routes starts at the base of the 18 meters limestone wall leading towards the medival fortress on the top, which is located inside a forrest. The crag is therefore quite well protected from the sun and you could easiliy spend the whole day here. However where you belay from is in an open area, so you are still a bit exposed to weather if the sun is high or on rainy days.
Unfortunately due to poor weather conditions we only managed climbing one route – the ‘Ahornweg’ (5b). The difficulty of this particular route is consistant mostly with one-, two- and three-finger pockets as your hand holds and only a few jugs along the way. What really surprised me about Frankenjura is the distance between the bolts. On this 18 meters route there are maybe four bolts and bringing trad gear did not prove any advantage in terms of safety as there were no real good placements to make. This definitely adds to the difficulty of the climbing – not in terms of how hard it is physically, but mentally. Being three to four meters above above the latest clip really pushed me hard and I was really careful about how to proceed the climbing. I must admit that I really struggled with this, and Frankenjura is not the place where I would challenge my climbing skills and climb grades that are close to or above what I am confident about what I can do. On the contrary this particular crag is actually quite nice to practise falling as the crag is actually nearly vertical, and should you take a fall you will not hit rock.
Ruine Leienfels in Frankenjura is a really nice crag. As mentioned we did only try out one of the routes, but we could have spent the whole day here. Going to Frankenjura and being in the area around Leienfels, the crag is worth visiting. It is easy to find, easy to approach and the routes are between grade 4a to grade 7a.