After a short stop off in Konstanz for a friend's birthday party we headed north through Germany to an area known as Frankenjura (Franconian) located in Bavaria NE of Nurenberg.
I had heard so much about Frankenjura climbing with rich history: the origin of the 'redpoint' and home to legendary routes such as Action Direct the world's first 9a graded climb. This UKC article and DMM video give a good intro of the area.
What was not apparent before we arrived in Frankenjura was the distributed nature of the climbing. There are lots and lots of crags (over 1000 apparently with over 10,000 routes) but all crags are quite small; often with only a handful of worthwhile routes per crag. It took us a while to realise to get the best out of the climbing in Frankenjura you need to move around, lots! Most days we visited at least two different crags, often three! The crags are often very close together with short (10min max) walk-ins so this is not a big problem; it's actually a good thing since it gives time to rest in between routes and have some Kaffee and Kuchen! However, there is a fair amount of logistics and decision making trying to decide which crags to visit depending on the weather conditions each day.
Frankenjura is known for short and powerful routes on finger pockets, a style epitomised by Action Direct. While this is generally true there are actually long routes in Frankenjura, there a quite a few crags with routes over 30m long. However, there are no slabs in Frankenjura, all the crags are verticle to overhanging.
We were a bit unlucky with illness, injury, van breakdown and weather in Frankenjura: First Amy was ill, then I tweaked my finger, then the van broke :-(. To start it was almost too hot to climb then it was too wet, it rained for three days non-stop! In between all this we did manage to do some climbing and some biking. However, since there was only the two of us and the climbing was all single pitch I don't have any climbing photos, only crag shots:
|Amazing steps up to Obere Schlossbergwände|
Any discussion about Frankenjura should also include mention of Kaffee & Kuchen (coffee and cake) .....and beer! The area is famous for a culture of great homemade cake made with local fruit. The area also has the highest density of local traditional breweries in Bavaria, a high accolade indeed!
While in Frankenjura my exhaust dropped off my van. I managed to find a local garage which I reckon was the most picturesque garage I've ever seen! The garage like most buildings in Germany was totally plastered in solar PV... very inspiring. The garage welded my exhaust back together for 20 euros :-D
|Picturesque garage in Frankenjura (Richard Grüner in Obertrubach)|
|Van making strange noise....ah that would be why! DMM cam and crabs to the rescue...|
|20 Euro german welding job....back on the road :-D|
- Rock Store in Betzenstein is a well-stocked climbing shop with fast free WiFi, cheap good beer, a climbing wall, friendly staff who speak English and happy to recommend crags.
- All shops close all day on Sundays and most restaurants and cafes are also shut on Monday
- It's possible to get drinking water to refill my van 25L bottle from the public toilets in Neuhaus, pliers are needed to turn on the tap.
- We hired bikes from Pension Mühle in Egloffstein