You will not see the Pfaffenstein towers while travelling along the Elbe on the train. You still will not see them when arriving at Königstein or even after beginning the steep approach. Then right in the middle of an otherwise flat field rises a dense group of complex rock formations. With such an unexpected greeting you will certainly speed up to discover the routes on those dark faces.
Seen from a distance, Pfaffenstein might look like a small area. However, it is home for the biggest number of routes in the Gebiet der Steine. Similarly, the variety of peaks is astonishing: from tight groups of small towers at the top of the massif to the blank faces that climb the whole Pfaffenstein height. Whichever you choose, you will not be bored, as there is always another peak just around the corner. In any case, although there are some easy climbs, most “starred” routes begin in the moderate range (VII-VIII), making this area less suitable for beginners. On the other hand, it is the extreme climber (IX-XII) who will feel at home with the vast amount of now classic testpieces. During early spring, the southern towers are among the first to be in good climbing conditions. In the peak of summer, head towards the central or northern rocks for cool and shady routes. All these advantages come at a cost: the approach, specially for towers at the southern high plateau, is long and steep. Then again, you’ll get a perfect warm-up 🙂
When you get tired, walk around and get lost in the multiple paths, ravines and caves that crisscross the Pfaffenstein. For many, the hike itself and the extraordinary views at the top are worth the visit. Do not forget to have glimpse of the Barbarine, one of the most popular free-standing towers in Elbsandstein. Sadly, due to the instability of the “head”, climbing was forbidden some decades ago.
Currently I have 1 peak in this area: