Welcome to one of the most fantastic and popular areas of Elbsandsteingebirge! Walking around feels like travelling to a museum of climbing history… and you get to play with all the exhibitions! Rathen could well be the area with the highest density of 5-stars climbs in Sächsische Schweiz, from the thrilling classics of the 1920’s to the imposing test-pieces of the 1980’s and all within short walking distances. Therefore, the character of the routes varies widely, as you can find small family-friendly peaks, hard technical “sport-climbs”, or big (more than 70 meters) sustained lines. The best part is that you can forget about long approaches, since you can reach different peaks in as little as a 10 minutes walk. The rock is richly featured, with plenty of pockets, flakes, ledges, cracks, and jugs so expect to find routes for any type of climbing. However, all this comes at a price. The rock can be sandy at its best and extremely porous and fragile at its worst (which has its own local term: Rathen quality). It is recommendable to avoid the area after heavy periods of rain and being extremely wary of suspicious structures.
Reaching Rathen is straightforward, as it requires only a 40 minute train ride from Dresden. Therefore it is not rare to find climbing crowds in the big classics on a sunny weekend. Fear not, since the offer of climbs highly exceeds the demand. It is common to climb a peak and be greeted at the top with brightly-colored climbers dotting the hundreds of peaks in the vicinity. So even if you’re visiting only for a few days, Rathen is a great place to get a good taste of Saxonian climbing.
Currently I have topos for 9 peaks in this area: