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International > Europe > Germany


Sauerland has a little more than 10 climbing areas (mostly quarries) with over 600 routes. The rock is, depending on where you're climbing, limestone and volcanic.

History and Significance

Up until 1989, Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) was a normal state of Germany where most climbers considered the tradional climbing areas Hönnetal and Bruchhauser Steine their home crags. Similar to other areas in Germany, cliffs were not climbed during breeding periods and afterwards they were re-opened.
But then the inconceivable happened: the sport of climbing in general was defined as environmentally damaging and therefore banned throughout NRW. How the State government got this idea still isn't understood. The Mountaineering Communities (similar to the Access Fund and AAC) then had to petition for "exception approvals" in order to regain access to certain areas. But these approvals weren't granted for the most important areas. At the same time, the Hönnetal cliffs were blasted, fenced and reinforced with metal anchors to "protect" the nearby road.
The climbers stood in front of a pile of shards and couldn't practice their most important hobby anymore. Some completely gave up climbing, many many more moved to other States and those who stayed in NRW had to drive hundreds of kilometers each weekend to indulge their passion. The lively core of the community - the climber scene - died and literally no longer exists.

At the turn of the millennium, the climbers were sick of this condition. A day of action was organized by the IG Klettern (a similar organization to the Access Fund) and titled "Free NRW". It took place at the Bruchhauser Steinen and many hundreds of climbers demonstrated and discussed with politicians who were invited. Following this, the Deutsche Alpenverein (DAV) created a full-time position for climbing and nature preservation. Thereupon were "climbing concepts" created for all areas to ensure the environmentally friendly practice of the sport. Many former quarries were evaluated based on their capacity for environmentally friendly climbing.
In the end, 10 new climbing areas came into existence in Sauerland which were, with intense legwork and in coordination with the nature conservation authority, appraised and climbing routes established. Among these are wonderful after-work climbing areas with easy and moderate climbing, but also fantastic areas with a large range up to some really hard stuff, such as at Unterer Elberskamp, Borghausen and Warstein.

Excerpt personally translated from

Getting There

About 1 hour drive from Cologne

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Some slab for young and ...
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