If you would like to climb limestone towers that seem like they have just dropped from the sky, go visit the area around Untertrubach and Obertrubach in Frankenjura, Germany. Here you will find Zehnerstein, which is exactly one of the those places!
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 grade 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!
Where to stay
We stayed at the Gasthof Eichler (german for Tavern), where we at rented a three bed room in owners’ sons’ house in Wolfsberg. We shared a really nice kitchen and toilet with an Aussie that was passing by the area. 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. I went with Mia and Martin, two Danes that I have only climbed with indoors in the local climbing gym, but we shared a good chemistry and spirit, and all the three of us was eager going to Frankenjura during the summer.
Check out the video below I shot from our trip to Frankenjura.
We arrived early in the morning and decided to go to Zehnerstein as the crag is located just next to the house. From the campsite though, I would imagine a hike of maybe 15 minutes. It took us 10 minutes from the house. There are a small parking place just next to the trail that leads to the crag, but this is for residents of the nearby houses. Anyway, approaching from Gasthof Eichler, just follow the ST2260 road east towards Wolfsberg and Obertrubach for about 300 meters until you reach a bus stop to the right and the football field. Turn left at the small road leading uphills behind a couple of houses and you reach the parking space after 20 meters. Follow the trail into the forrest for about 50 meters and you see Zehnerstein. You can also park your car at the parking space at the football field if you preper not to hike from Gasthof Eichler.
The towers that fell from the sky!
Zehnerstein is a sport climbing crag with 30 routes split between the three towers that make out the crag. The towers look like the litterally fell from the sky! There are beginner routes as well as more sustained, harder routes. Grades are ranging from 5a to 7a with a height of between 20 to 40 meters.
We started the day on ‘Ostverschneidung’ (5c) that runs between two of the towers and actually makes out a rather nice chimney. What makes this a challenging experience is the distance between the bolts – not the actual climbing, which is pretty easy – you really need to climb quite solid if you don’t want to hurt yourself, though. The route starts off from a couple of large boulders and the first clip is about 2 meters from there. You can switch sides inside the chimney which is quite cool, although the route runs on the left side of the chimney. The crux sits on the last section of the route where you climb inside a narrow corner just to the left of the anchor. There a only a few good handholds and very small feet. The route ends at the top of the tower, which has a spectacular view over the valley that surrounds Zehnerstein. There is a iron pole that you can abseil from, but I chose to do it from the achor point on the route itself. The pole is quite rusty, so I would not trust it.
We also climbed the ‘Himmelsleiter’ (5b), which is a like climbing a huge staircase – well, not in the sense of similar ease, but more that you climb form one small plateau to the next. It would have been a great beginners route if it wasn’t for all the trees and fauna on the route. This can make it quite slippery and a few times I actually felt my feet slip. In the beginning of the video above, you can watch Mia top roping the ‘Himmelsleiter’ (5c).
On the other side of the crag there are a few very short routes worth mentioning – the ‘Sitting Duck’ (4) and the ‘Flying Duck’ (5c). They seem like beginner routes, but they are actually quite technical, and fun! For Frankenjura they are actually bolted quite well with only about 1,5 meters in between. The ‘Flying Duck’ (5c) is a nice warming up route that isn’t that technical and you can easily bring beginners here, and you could bring kids to both routes.
Zehnerstein is a nice crag. It offers various climbs and offers a nice variety of difficulty. The route lengths also vary alot and the crag is close to the street. You could easily spend a whole day climbing here. When I visited the crag I did not had much outdoor climbing experience, but when when ready to try out some of the routes in the grade 6 range, I would definitely come back, and I highly recommend stopping by to climb the chimney.
What do you think of Zehnerstein? Is it worth stopping by?