It took some time before getting used to the Affensteine vibe. During the first year, my climbing nightmares would usually take place between the shadows of Affensteine’s tall, dark towers. On a first visit, the steep walls look clean and uninviting … until you spot countless cracks and chimneys crisscrossing the rock. Then you start following fantastic features and creating itineraries that get lost in the immensity of red and black sandstone. By then you’ve bitten the hook. You’ll return again and again to the strong grip of Affensteine.
There are two main characteristics that define Affensteine: the rock is solid and of very good quality and the routes are hard. The area proudly has the highest density of difficult climbs in Elbsandstein! It’s no surprise that the first VIIIa in the world (~ 5.10b/6b) is here. If you climb in the IX – X range, you’ll have plenty of lines to choose. Of course, there are also much easier routes, but to make the most of the area it is advisable to feel comfortable at least at the VII grade. Even then, the exposure and sparse protection of routes, together with multiple chimneys, cracks, and traverses will keep you challenged.
Roughly, the area can be divided in two different sections: the lower section, with iconic big walls with challenging multi-pitch routes, including the Bloszstock and the Rokokoturm, and the upper section next to the obere Affensteinepromenade, where the peaks are on average smaller (but not less challenging!). Good places for a first visit are the peaks at the west end, such as the Lorenzwand or the Sandlochwächter. Though not as spectacular as the big towers, they have plenty of well-protected high-quality routes.
In summary, the Affensteine is an area to be enjoyed slowly. The size and difficulty of the climbing is daunting at first, but, once getting used to it, is an endless source of adventures. Ticking the classic test-pieces of the area will be a well-earned reward!