Last week I went climbing in Ettringen, an old basalt-quarry located in the Eifel, which is a volcanic park in the Southwest of Germany. The climbing area itself is quite big with plenty of routes in all grades, and although the majority of the routes are bolted, most people go there to test their trad-climbing skills.


After a very rainy trip to the Peak District (post still coming up) at the beginning of this month I was keen to grind the rust off those borrowed camalots. So together with Thomas and Tim from my home-gym we got on some of those basalt-cracks.

Basalt is a kind of solidified lava and for me it was the first time that I climbed on it. It’s very compact and poor on holds, resulting in most of the climbing being on arêtes and cracks. I always find it enjoyable to get my hands on a new type of rock. Learning how to move on it and adjusting your technique can be a very satisfying process.


The conditions weren’t exactly on our side. It was warm, quite wet and loads of tree-pollen in the air, but somehow we all had a fun day of nice and relaxed climbing. Sometimes that’s more than enough!

I went home with some easy trad-climbs including a beautiful line called “Seepferdchen” and the (slightly over-graded) compression route “Merlin”, which is actually bolted.


I’m happy to have discovered this area so close to home (1h30 drive). There’s also a North-facing cave in Ettringen with some hard routes from Daniel Jung. I guess now I know where to go this Summer to get strong for my own projects!

Pictures from Thomas Schermer