Hinterer Gansfels

Area: Rathen

Some peaks fail to make a strong impression. Where was it exactly? Where did the route go? When did I climb it? The Hinterer Gansfels falls in the other end of the spectrum. In fact, it is so memorable that you can often find this peak in postcards and films (including the recent Hansel & Gretel: Witch hunters!). Its whole shape is better appreciated from the Bastei bridge, where you’ll marvel at the size of this magnificent tower. Of course, this makes for long adventurous routes with great exposure.

The route grades are well spread: from easy scrambles in chimneys to impressive overhanging arêtes. However, unless you feel at ease with your chosen grade, I would not recommend it for first leads. One (of the many) highlights of the Hinterer Gansfels is the classic Arymmundweg, perhaps the best VIIa in the area. One can hardly believe it was climbed in 1908! For an “alpine” feeling, it is better to start the routes directly from the path at the bottom. The nearly 80 m of chimneys, traverses and overhangs will test the versatility of your climbing skills. On the contrary, if you want to log plenty of harder face-climbs, better hike up the steep path towards high plateau at the SW corner. This spot is also a good place for letting children play in the soft sand.

As is the standard for Rathen, the rock is sandy and, in some sections, extremely brittle. So always be careful when pulling on those seemingly solid black plaques! At the top you can make a pause for inspecting the southern faces of the Grosser Gans and its huge collection of great routes. Or why not take some time to map the difficult test-pieces of the northern faces at the Wehltürme or the Mönch? Either way, the broad and comfortable summit plateau is excellent for enjoying the views in Rathen.

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Routes

(click on the links below to go to the available route description and/or pictures)

#

Name

Grade

#

Name

Grade

1

Alter Weg II

26

Knecht 2 / IXb RP IXc

2

Emporweg VIIb

27

Stiefel 2 / VIIIa

3

Nordostkamin II

28

Arymundweg VIIa

4

Cancan VIIIa

29

Westkante VIIIb

5

Rumba VIIIc RP IXa

30

Luftiger Ausstieg VIIIb

6

Nordostwand V

31

Direkte Westkante VIIIb

7

Abendvorstellung VIIb RP VIIc

32

Reissigweg VIIb

8

Nordostweg VI

33

Grosses Einmaleins VIIIa

9

Kluftweg IV

34

Zwischenenergebnis VIIc

10

Meurerweg I

35

Blockkamin I

11

Schusterkamin I

36

Südwestriss V

12

Frühlingserwachen VIIa

37

Pfeilervariante V

13

Räkelvariante VIIa

38

Neue Südwestwand VIIIa

14

Neuer Südweg VIIa

39

Südwestwand VIIc (VIIIa)

15

Fragliche Rippe VIIa

40

EV zur Südwestwand VIIIa

16

Fit for fun VIIIb RP VIIIc

41

Henningweg VIIa (VIIb)

17

Trainingskante VIIIb RP VIIIc

42

Frühlingsvariante VIIa (VIIb)

18

Karlsbader Weg VIIIb

43

Sommervariante VIIb

19

Südweg IV

44

Variante zum Henningweg VIIb

20

Positiv VIIIa RP VIIIb

45

Nordweg IV

21

Gänsetod durch Birkenkraut VIIIb

46

Variante zum Nordweg VIIa

22

Schrottsammlung VIIc RP VIIIa

47

Nordostvariante zum Nordweg (not shown) V

23

Nur für Dich 2 / VIIIa

48

Nordpfeiler VI

24

Durchschlupf III

49

Selbstbherrschung (not shown) IXc

25

Südpfeiler VIIIa

50

So ein Theater (not shown) VIIIc

Sandlochwächter

Area: Affensteine

Hidden by deep valleys and chasms, the Sandlochwächter waits expectantly for the patient climber. The long approach gives enough time to choose from a myriad of excellent climbs. That is, if you do not get distracted by the fantastic sight of the Dom spires while crossing the narrow rock bridge toward the Sandloch group.

Unlike the majority of Affensteine peaks, the Sandlochwächter is an oasis of moderate (VII) climbs on excellent rock. Remarkably, most of them are friction climbs. Thus, it is an ideal place to gain mileage on the famous Sächsische Reibung. Protection is adequate to excellent. However, a few routes have large runouts with dangerous ground-fall potential.

The south face, with its clear view to the forest and long direct lines, is by far the most visited sector. Thanks to the long approach you will hardly find crowds here, but it is possible to see queues on the most popular routes. This face is not a good spot during the summer, when the high temperatures will greatly reduce friction at the rock. In such cases, the north face offers shade and cool temperatures. Although the north routes are not as spectacular, they are still fun and (mostly) well protected. Additionally, the belaying area is a comfortable sandy plateau ideal for families with children.

When you have had enough Reibung, you can always have a short hike towards the Insel or Sandlochturm for cracks and dihedrals. And, if one day is not enough, why not plan an overnight stay at the outstanding Sandlochboofe? If you want to start exploring Affensteine’s secrets, the Sandlochwächter is a good bet.

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Routes

(click on the links below to go to the available route description and/or pictures)

#

Name

Grade

#

Name

Grade

1

Alter Weg

III

15

Westwand

VIIc

2

Plattige Wand

VI

16

Lange Variante

VIIc

3

Ordinate

VIIa

17

Kurze Variante

VIIc

4

Saugarme

VIIIb

18

Hohe Liebe

VIIb

5

Südwand

VI

19

Nordpfeiler

VIIIa

6

Verbindungsvariante

IV

20

Variante

VIIc RP VIIIa

7

Hoffnungsschimmer

VIIc

21

Nordwestkante

V

8

Direkte Südwand

VIIa

22

Schallpatten

V

9

Glücksklee

VIIIa

23

Ü-Ei

VI

10

Kleeblatt

VIIc

24

Mittagssonne

VIIa

11

Zentraler Überhang

VIIb

25

Direkte Mittagssonne

VIIa

12

Verlorene Liebe

VIIc RP VIIIa

26

Nordostweg

III

13

Brathähnchen

VIIIa

27

Bergrutsch

V

14

Später Versuch

VIIc RP VIIIa

Bussardwand

Area: Schmilkaer Gebiet

Among the plenty south faces in Schmilka, I am sure the Bussardwand has a special place. This tall, vertical face stands out with its incredible structures, smooth, solid rock and whimsical colors. As if this were not enough, the vast forest of the Heringsgrund serves as the background for unforgettable ascents.

The meat of this tower is at the south face. The game starts at VIIc (with one VIIb which is not as popular due to an endless wide crack) and is mostly about face climbing. The moves themselves are not hard, but the routes are continuous with short overhanging sections. Most likely the crux will be your endurance. To spice things up, rings are far apart and are sometimes the only available protection.

The style of the Bussardwand attracts the the more sport-climbing-oriented visitors of Sächsische Schweiz: endurance routes with clean (but long) falls and ALMOST no cracks or chimneys. This “almost” is critical, as all of the southern routes exit via an exposed traverse within an horizontal chimney. However, if this is not your cup of tea you can still rappel down from a huge ring below the characteristic roof. By the way, this same roof will protect routes during light rain, making this a top choice for those grey, uncertain days.

The fun does not end with the south face, though. At the top there is a small tower with a couple of short routes with entertaining chimneys and impressive views. Though the grades are considerably lower (II-VI) in this upper sector, the exposure is worth a visit.

Summing it up, the Bussardwand is an incredible wall perfect to break into the VIIc grade and offers great challenges for those in the VIII range. The approach walk is (as usual) uphill but comfortable and straightforward. If you are still undecided about visiting it, think it through while sleeping in the incredible bivouac sites next to the wall.

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Routes

(click on the links below to go to the available route description and/or pictures)

#

Name

Grade

#

Name

Grade

1

Alter Weg II

14

Sockelwand VIIIc

2

Variante V

15

Direkte Sockelwand VIIIc

3

Sanddüne VIIb

16

Talweg VIIb

4

Schartenweg VIIb

17

Michael Jackson VIIIb

5

Juniorenvariante VIIb

18

Bunte Wand VIIIa RP VIIIb

6

Nordostwand VIIa

19

Lange Variante VIIIb

7

Ostweg III

20

Südwand VIIc

8

Ostkante V

21

Gerade Südwand VIIIa RP VIIIb

9

Westweg VI

22

Direkte Südwand VIIc

10

Schulterschmerzen VIIa

23

Buntmalerei VIIIa RP VIIIb

11

Zittereinlage III/2

24

Linker Flügel VIIc

12

Innere Sicherheit (not shown) III

25

Der Versteckte VIIIb

13

Goldfinger IXc RP Xa

26

Direkter Versteckter VIIIb

Kleiner Wehlturm

Area: Rathen

Since the beginning of the last century, the Kleiner Wehlturm has marvelled many generations of climbers. The fantastic bold routes of 1905-1920 (now counted among the most popular and coveted moderate classics in Elbsandstein) are evidence of the magnetism of this tower. Perhaps this is because the Kleiner Wehlturm has all the ingredients of what people call a “truly Saxonian adventure”: height, exposure, sparse protection, variety of climbing styles, and beautiful scenery.

Despite the great appeal of the climbs, many are put off by the entrance ticket: all routes have at least one chimney section. Afterwards, depending on your choice, this can lead to long off-widths, breath-taking arêtes or intimidating slabs. A well-rounded set of climbing skills will help you enjoy the Kleiner Wehlturm at its fullest. Even if you do not like chimneys, the upper sections are worth the short struggle.

The most popular routes follow smooth rock of excellent quality. However, there are also less frequented routes in the SW face that pass through sandy and/or fragile structures. The long routes (at least 2 pitches) and descent can eat up a lot of time. Therefore, to maximize your climbing, an excellent idea is to link up routes in the neighboring Grosser Wehlturm before returning to the ground. The approach walk through Rathen is short and comfortable. Perhaps the only disadvantage of the tower is the restriction due to the Felsenbuhne: climbing is forbidden 2 hours before and during plays at the open air theatre. This can be a problem during the summer weekends. The best way to avoid is starting early in the morning or (better still) during the theatre off-season.

If you are looking for adventurous routes at a moderate grade, the Kleiner Wehlturm is an excellent destination in Rathen. Rest assured that all itineraries will be a source of unique climbing memories.

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Routes

(click on the links below to go to the available route description and/or pictures)

Number

Route Grade

Number

Route Grade

1

Alter Weg VI

9

Südostwand V

2

Südeinstieg VI

10

Synthese VIIc

3

Nordwand VIIIb

11

Lange Route VIIc

4

Reibungsvariante IXa

12

Südwestwand VI

5

Unbekannte Variante VIIIb

13

Variante VIIb

6

Drudenfuss IXa

14

Westkante VIIc

7

FKV-Kante V

15

Leichter Weg IV

8

Freischützweg VIIb

Lehnkuppel

Area: Schmilkaer Gebiet

The Lehnkuppel is one of the gateways to the Schmilka area. Why? Not only the approach is short, but the area is relatively flat and friendly and the routes are relatively well protected. This is not the domain of the complex tortuous expeditions, but more of the straightforward crag-climbing route. Still, the view at the top will likely force you to stay longer.

Most of the routes have excellent rock quality. The south side is exposed to wind and sun and will dry relatively quickly after rain. The routes on this sector are mostly face climbs on the VIII range. However, if you are a VI-VII climber you’ll find a good playground to hone your crack skills with a couple of interesting dihedrals and wide cracks.

If you are still not convinced by this peak, consider that it’s right next to the Lehnriff (for those looking for lines in the VIII-X range) and the popular Lehnsteigtürme group. As if that were not enough, you’ll find a scenic and spacious bivouac site a few meters away from the south face.

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Routes

(click on the links below to go to the available route description and/or pictures)

#

Name

Grade

#

Name

Grade

1

Alter Weg

III

11

Variante

VIIa (VIIb)

2

Sommerweg

V

12

Nordwestweg

VIIb

3

Ostkante

VIIb

13

Erbschaft

VIIIa RP VIIIb

4

Wurzelblick

VIIc

14

Nordwand

VIIb

5

Gezogener Zahn

VIIIb

15

Stumpfe Kante

VIIIb

6

Paradontose

IXc

16

Lustmolch

VIIIc RP IXa

7

Südwand

VIIc (VIIIc)

17

Schartenlust

VIIa (VIIc)

8

Südweg

VI

18

Schartenlustkuss

VIIb (VIIc) RP VIIIa

9

Pfeilerkante

VIIa

19

Spontaner Sprung

3/III

10

Pfeilerriss

VI

Gartenblick, VI

Area: Papstein & Gohrisch   Peak: Papst

As usual, I suggested “let’s start with something easy”. The Gartenblick seemed to be a good warm-up choice. Once again, I forgot the maxim the warm-up is the workout. Bloody VIs! How come I always underestimate this grade? For Gartenblick, the two small overhangs looked simple enough and I swear I saw plenty of grips. Indeed, this was the case for the first few meters. Although the rock quality was exceptional, I was starting to feel a bit uneasy with the sketchy pro. But look! That is a perfect huge block with jugs for resting! A solid knot only strengthened the AHA! effect… which lasted only until I realized that: 1) the block was loose and started to wobble as soon as I shifted my weight, 2) there were no good holds near the overhang, 3) I had to get on top of the block and push down to reach the best holds. Since there are few things I dislike more than loose blocks, I leave the battle for another day and take a detour to the right, on the crack-dihedral of the neighboring III. After that it’s done: an easier slab and a short vertical section leave us at the belay. So much for an easy start. At least were warm for the next routes!

Hohler Turm

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Area: Wildensteiner Gebiet It’s near the road but away from the crowds, small but with a great view, and relatively hidden but easy to find. It’s the Hohler Turm! Probably not in your tick-list of favorites, but it’s so close … Continue reading

Fotografenspitze

Area: Schrammsteine

The rings gave it away. My first thought was that it was only a block below the walls to the north. But the strategically placed rings, and later the rappel ring and Gipfelbuch cassette, announced that I was looking at the Fotografenspitze. This peak has all the attributes that you do not normally associate with Schrammsteine: small, straightforward routes, and face climbing with pockets. To the south, a sandy clearing is the perfect spot to drop the backpacks and settle down to inspect the short lines.

The climbing is always on excellent rock and, without being particularly memorable, promises a couple of hours of entertainment. As pro is frequent and easy to place, the Fotografenspitze is an option for leaders venturing into the VI-VII grade. Unfortunately, the routes on the eastern block tend to stay humid and green after rainy days.

Overall, if you want a pause from the arduous cracks and chimneys typical of the Schrammtor group, the Fotografenspitze, with its prime location, is the perfect “active rest” destination.

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Routes

(click on the links below to go to the available route description and/or pictures)

#

Route name

Grade

1

Alter Weg

III

2

Nordwand

VIIc

3

Zoom

Ixa

4

Talkante

VI

5

Filmriss

VIIb

6

Blitzlicht

VIIIc

7

Fotografenwand

VIIb

8

Fotografenwand AV

VIIc

9

Neuer Weg

III

Andacht, VIIa

Area: Papstein & Gohrisch   Peak: Papst

Though starting to feel tired, we both wanted to finish the day with still another route. Since long time, I’d seen nice pictures and great reviews of the Andacht. Shouldn’t we give it a try?

“Won’t it be too cold?” Luckily for us, the weather played in our favor. With the low temperatures and overcast sky, this otherwise crowded route was all for ourselves! Excited by the promise of good climbing, I chose the vertical section with good holds to reach the plateau where the proper route starts. Once there, I was surprised by how the route did not look as intimidating as it did in the pictures. If only the howling wind gave us a break! Without thinking much about it, I started up a less-than-vertical wall, which promised a straightforward trip to the first ring. However, this short section with sharp small edges but no protection demanded concentration. Bigger holds and an intermediate SU led then to the second ring. This was starting to feel like a sport climb! After some failed attempts at solving this section, I managed to place the hands on the strategic pockets. I’ve reached the exit jugs! It’s hard to accept that, in reality, the route was very short. But the speed at which I recovered Xico confirmed it. Until the crux, where he struggled with some slopers before finding the key pockets.

At the top the wind continued to bite through our layers. With the traditional, but unceremonious, “Berg Heil” we quickly climbed down. We’ve logged in another short but pleasant day of climbing at Papst.