With the routes ‚The face‘ and ‚Kanal im Rücken‘ climbing history was written in the Altmühltal as it were the first routes in the grades 8a+ and 8b in Germany. The Altmühltal around Essing not only known for its technical climbing but also for its beautiful landscape.

Due to the incoming cold weather, we decided to relocate our climbing team trip with the DAV Felskader BW from the Austrian Alps to the Bavarian Altmühltal. As I had heard a lot about the Altmühltal and it’s feared technical slab and face climbing, I was quite excited to see this spot in real.

The climbing crags are located around the ‚Rhein-Main-Donau‘-canal which can be quite distracting at some locations when a big cargo ship passes a few meters behind you. Whereas the crags north of the canal are in the sun and quite good on cold days, are the ones in the south of the canal the ones to choose on hot summer days.

We picked the north sided ‚Schnellneckkopf‘ for our first day as the famous route ‚The Face‘ from Jerry Moffat is located there. After a short warm-up, we slowly tested out our technical skills and limits on these small holds and compact walls. Together with the sparse protection, even routes around 7c were suddenly quite challenging.

Babara Bacher climbing the ‚The Face‘ (8a+).

As it was pretty cold on the north sided ‚Schnellneckkopf‘, we picked a crag on the other side of the canal for the second day. We checked out a well directly behind the small village ‚Prunn‘. Even though this wall was a little bit smaller, it provided routes in nearly all grades. The view from the top over the whole valley and the river is breathtaking …

The Altmühltal has one of the most beautiful landscapes for sure and the technical climbing there is unique. But I would hardly recommend these crags if you not interested in those few historic routes there. The protection there is not only rare – it’s quite stupid in most of the routes. There are even easy routes with their last bolt in the middle of the wall and deadly long run-outs. In some routes, you risk a ground fall until you reach the top anchor. In other routes, you necessarily have to trust some old, rusty rock nails which were not replaced. Essential old or missing bolts are not a matter of climbing ethics – this is simply stupid …

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