Frankenjura Rock Climbing
Kurt Albert free soloing Devil's Crack on Röthelf...
Home to the legend Wolfgang Güllich and his über famous Action Directe
(9a). Also the birthplace of the Redpoint
(Rotpunkt) by Kurt Albert. Because of this, it's not surprising that this place is best known for hard sport climbing (there are currently 173 routes graded 5.14a or harder here). It's sort of the anti-Elbsandstein; not that that's a bad thing!
There are over 8,000 known routes in this gigantic area, and some crags are very secluded, so you'll want to plan ahead before just cruising over. You have a choice of over 1500 crags to visit spread over an area of 2,723.5 square miles. To clarify, this is not a system of crags but rather a collection of cliffs and free-standing towers spread over a large area.
Also, the type of stone is limestone, and it is characterized as being very pocketed. The rock is anywhere from slabby (though often with sections which could be overhanging), to overhanging. Routes here are typically between 8 and 30 meters (~24-100 ft.), but some can be up to 40m long! The vast majority are 25m or less.
Bouldering is also possible in the Frankenjura (pronounced with long a like in "watch" and the j is said like a "y", thus: Frahnkinyurah) and there are many many boulder problems here. To accomodate (and spur) the growing popularity of bouldering, 3 new bouldering gyms have opened in the past 2 years in just the area around Nürnberg, and one of the gyms has already been expanded to become the largest bouldering gym in Germany. Nevertheless, you won't find a bouldering guidebook for the region because it's verbotten! (forbidden)
Beer gardens abound and there is never a shortage of good food to be found in any of the villages or small cities within the Frankenjura. Climbing is very popular here, so expect to meet other climbers at the crag, and don't be too surprised if some of the popular routes at the popular crags are a bit polished. You may even have to stand in line if you're projecting a particularly popular route.
Here's a fantastic website with lots of information: climb.frankenjura.com/deutsch/...
(EDIT: This website is still usefull for some information, but now requires paid membership to access the topos.) Here's the UKClimbing write-up of the area, and of particular interest is the section at the very end titled "Anything else I should know": ukclimbing.com/articles/page.p...
Here's DMM's write-up of their visit to the Frankenjura in 2012: dmmclimbing.com/knowledge/dest...
and from 2011: dmmclimbing.com/news/tag/felix... Finally, please, if you're going to toprope a route here, hang 2 quickdraws or a locking carabiner at the top and let your rope travel through that rather than the fixed protection. Many routes also only have a single bolt at the top and continually wearing this bolt down by top-roping is DANGEROUS!!! Not just for you but also for others who climb after you. Please be mindful and courteous.
Northern Frankenjura lies in southern Germany, specifically in Franconia (the northern part of Bavaria), and thus in the middle of Central Europe. The area is limited in the west by the city of Bamberg and the region Nuernberg-Fuerth-Erlangen. At its eastern edge are the cities Bayreuth and Amberg-Sulzbach.
There are a lot of motorways coming in from all directions: From north or south you will reach Frankenjura by using the A9, from Frankfurt is the A3, & from Heidelberg the A6. Coming from Tschechien (east), take the A6.
Relying on trains and buses here is difficult, despite Germany's otherwise fantastic infrastructure. The areas East of Nürnberg are the most accessible with the train (from Velden down to Etzlwang). Look at the map of train tracks below and compare it to the map of the crags to the left.
I highly recommend you rent a car for your visit. Not only will it be easier to reach the crags since you can follow the given directions, but you'll also be able to reach camping areas and you have the freedom to go do something else on rest days. Having said that, driving in Germany is a little different. Many, but not all, rentals are automatic, so request one if you can't drive a stick. In general, stay concentrated while driving, pay extra special care in towns and drive like you see others driving and you'll be okay. But if you really want to know the differences, here's a detailed description: bfgnet.de/hive-europe/files/BF...
Climbing Terms in German
Spring - often wonderful weather and not much rain. This season (from late March to early June) lends itself best to climbing in the Frankenjura. In the early part, you may suffer through steep hikes through dead leaves and it may be very cold, especially in the morning, and it may even still snow on you. Also, rock may be wet due to melting snow. However, there is surely another exposed area which is dry. Mid to late Spring is perfect.
Summer - In the early parts (early June through mid July) and then again near the beginning of Fall (September) you can have great conditions in the shade and under tree canopies. However, during the middle of Summer (mostly August) you can enjoy climbing easy and moderate routes and enjoying great beer gardens, but ticking off hard projects is made practically impossible because the humidity causes you to just grease right off the holds. This period typically only lasts 2 or 3 weeks.
Fall - Through most of Fall you can expect good climbing conditions. November, however, is notorious for being a rainy month. There are tons of overhanging crags which shelter you from the rain, but after weeks of it, even the most water resistant crags can get sopping wet.
Winter - Climbing in the Frankenjura during Winter is truly an art. It can be done, but dedicating a climbing trip to the Frankenjura during Winter is for the foolhardy. If you're naturally extremely lucky, please come visit and bring good weather with you. If not, fly to Turkey, Greece, Spain or Italy, or one of the Mediterranean islands.
I created this area page to house a quick-link listing of crags to help you decide where to go depending on when you're here and what the weather's like: 1 - So much to do, where do I go?
For those rainy days where you just can't find any dry rock (or can't climb the dry routes), there are an assortment of Gyms in the area: magnesia-klettern.de/
Arguably the best sport climbing gym, and also one of the only ones! cafekraft.de/
Nürnberg's premier bouldering gym which started a bouldering revolution here. blockhelden.de/
Located in a village south of Forchheim and north of Erlangen. Bigger than Cafe Kraft but lacking a "cool factor". boulderhalle-e4.de/
ANOTHER bouldering gym! The newest one, also in Nürnberg. climbing-factory.de/preise.htm...
In my opinion not nice at all, but they do offer sport climbing instead of just bouldering. sportcentrum-nbg.de/
Another climbing gym which is pretty small because it has lots of other sport possibilities. Has both climbing and bouldering. boulderhalle-frankenjura.de/
The only bouldering gym I'm aware of that's actually in the Frankenjura.
Here's a list of campgrounds available in the Frankenjura, along with their location. The 3 most popular climber campgrounds where you'll most likely be able to jump into another group if you're solo are "Bärenschlucht", "Eichler", and "Zur guten Einkehr".
Camping Waldmühle: Guest house with camping. Two cabins and a mobile home are also available to book. Address: Freienfels 31, 96142 Hollfeld
Camping auf dem Kormershof: Camping with showers. Address: Allersdorf 10, 91327 Gößweinstein
Campingplatz Betzenstein: Camping, rooms, imbiss, sauna, steamroom. Address: Hauptstr. 69, 91282 Betzenstein
Camping "Eichler": Camping with showers, rooms, food, and supplies. Haselstauden and Untertrubach (Oma Eichler's Campground)
Address: Wolfsberg 43, 91286 Obertrubach
": Address: Weidmannsgesees 12, 91278 Pottenstein
Camping "Bieger": Address: Rothenbühl 3, 91320 Ebermannstadt
Frankenalb-Camping: Address: Nürnberger Straße 5, 92268 Etzelwang
Camping Moritz: Address: Moritz 14, 91327 Moritz
Camping "Steinerner Beutel": Address: Hauptstr. 146, 91344 Waischenfeld
Gasthof "Alte Post": Address: Hausnummer 7, 91282 Leupoldstein
Gasthof "Kroder": Address: Hausnummer 43, 91327 Schlaifhausen
Gasthof "Zur guten Einkehr": Address: 91327 Morschreuth
Heuhotel "Fischbeck": The most interesting offers of all here. Here you can sleep on hay, and a large "farmer's breakfast" is served the following morning. After hiking, climbing, nordic walking, whatever, you can come back for grilled food and great beer. Address: Hauptstraße 27, 91247 Vorra / Pegnitz
A note on the organization of the Frankenjura page: each of the areas listed on the left of this page are parking areas from which you can reach your desired crag. Sometimes a crag/area has its own parking lot, but many times several crags may be reached from one parking area. Therefore, if you don't see what you're looking for right away, do a quick search on it in the search field at the top right of this page. If you don't find it, it may be because it has a special character in the name. Search for a route at that crag and you may then find it. However, as of 2015, approximately 10% of the routes in the Frankenjura are documented here.
Weather station 19.3 miles from here
1,035 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',82],['3 Stars',241],['2 Stars',349],['1 Star',333],['Bomb',19]
Classic Climbing Routes in Frankenjura
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Frankenjura
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Frankenjura:
Featured Route For Frankenjura
Volk. Heckmann Ged.-Weg 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Europe
: ... : Mittelbergwand
Classic route, start is 5.8 to the first actual bolt, then it immediately steps up. Follow the crack over the lip then go to the anchors to the left. Crux is after the overhang. Save the anchors, do not lower off them if you don't have to, rappel if possible please! For top rope there is a lot of rope drag so use slings to extend the anchor to save your rope....[more] Browse More Classics in International
Great climbing in the Frankenjura!
A view of the steepness of Eldorado with the playg...
Climbing in the Frankenjura, Germany, photo: Bob H...
Bob Horan bouldering in the Frankenjura.
A salamander found in the Frankenjura
The Frankenjura, Germany, home of the great Wolfg...
BETA PHOTO: A layout of the train services throughout the Fran...
By Owen Darrow
Feb 24, 2011
How many areas or crags are in the area surrounding Frankenjura?
By Mark J Gain
May 24, 2011
The Frankenjura is a spectacular place to climb but you want a car to get around. The crags are spread out much like Fountainbleu (France) and/or Arco (Italy). Although I prefer Arco and Finale in Italy the Frankenjura has a tremendous amount of s;ightly shorter and forested climbing than Italy. A must to Visit if climbing in Europe along with Spain, France/Dolomites Italy etc...
By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
Jun 13, 2011
There are TONS of great routes 5.10 and under here. Even if you're not a rock star, come check out the Frankenjura! You'll have a great time climbing on great rock and eating great food and drinking great beer. Not to mention, the people are also great!
If you're visiting, let me know if you're interested in buying my used but in very good condition guidebook. It's in English and is perfect for somebody visiting and who is interested in checking out all the Frankenjura has to offer. Here's the book: panico.de/de/panico_buecher/mi... I'll sell you mine for 5 and let you choose between shipping it to you or giving it to you personally if you're in the area.
By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
Mar 25, 2014
Black Diamond athlete Sarah Seeger.
And although he won't provide proof for having sent it, Rich Simpsons video is really inspiring for the area's most famous route and also serves as a brilliant description of the area (though his German is terrible).
By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
May 8, 2014
Thanks Adam! I've updated the section Sheltered Crags with your entries.
By Jason Albino
From: San Francisco, CA
Aug 13, 2015
Visited the Franken for about a week in June 2015. Some impressions and thoughts:
- Franken 1 and Franken 2 are terrific guidebooks in English, covering the Northern and Southern crags of the region, respectively:
We found the guidebooks available for purchase in a few smaller climbing shops in the region (one near Betzenstein, a good area to camp near for access to the Southern crags)
- In retrospect after our trip, we climbed almost exclusively in the Southern crags due to a higher abundance of crags with longer routes and more quality ratings. So I'd recommend just purchasing the Franken 2 (Southern region) book if you don't plan to climb there for multiple weeks.
- As per the above, it's really mandatory to have a car to get around here. Better yet, something you can sleep in, as roadside pull-outs are plentiful and seemingly unrestricted. The alternative is 20-30 Euro/day campsites for nothing more than a semi-private parking space, which didn't seem particularly high-value to us in comparison to American campsites (which typically offer firepits, camping tables, etc., and are significantly cheaper).
- If you're an American climber, the bolting may surprise you in that there are typically longer runouts on easier terrain, and that almost all the anchors are one-bolt only (the locals assured us that the single-piece anchors were solid and well-maintained, but just FYI). It's thus a good place to climb if you're comfortable leading 5.10C or higher, as otherwise the easier sections that are not as well protected may present troubles. Note that this differs depending on when the crag was put up, as there is a very wide range of bolting styles from crag to crag based on that factor.
- On a similar note, the most popular (read: crags with <10 min approaches and tons of moderate routes) were developed decades ago and can be VERY polished, especially with footholds up through the first few bolts. If you prefer stickier rock, seek out crags with slightly longer approaches and you'll be rewarded.
- A single 60m rope is appropriate for almost all the crags, though in a few instances, a 70m (or tagline) was necessary to lower off. The aforementioned books list the wall heights for reference.
- Services can be few-and-far between especially in the earlier summer in terms of opening hours - seek out the largest towns in the region when you need groceries or supplies, as most of the towns in between the crags will offer nothing but a few houses and a sometimes-open restaurant. As usual in Europe, avoid the ~12-3:30PM period, when most businesses are closed.
- If you're concerned about sun exposure on hot days, this is generally a non-issue, as most crags are well tree-shaded.