Frankenjura I – 8th edition – a guidebook review

Frankenjura Band 1

(c) Panico Verlag

There are advantages for staying right in the middle between the Alps and Frankenjura. It’s either an hour up or an hour down. Tiny groups of crags from 8 -15 m, infested with finger pockets settled in the midst of shady green and leafy woods are what you will be expecting to find when you come here for sustained sports climbing.

But there are exceptions: Schwarzer Wand (30m), erlanger Felsentor (40m), Zehnerstein (30m) or the Rabenfels (35m) with it’s famous highEnd Route – Ghettoblaster, a  UIAA 10,  are some places where a 70 – 80 m rope is a must.  The best time to come is perhaps in late spring or early autumn when it is still warm enough to climb while its shady from the leafy trees. Why? Because it’s cool it can be cool on hot days.

There are lots of routes suitable for beginners too.To get a good overview of what fits you best you will need a good guidebook that lists all information of what you need. And I opted for the Frankenjura 1 & 2 from ,,Sebastian Schwertner, published by the Panico Verlag.

The Guide Book

The 8th edition is out. I was hesitant to purchase another edition to replace the the older one. But given the chance, I jumped. And I was surprised. New crags, new routes, all clearly listed in a graphical. With more than 10.000 routes to choose from to date, these two editions will keep you busy for a lifetime. The guidebook is broken down in different regions, which is then again divided by the different subregions or valleys of the area. You will find an overview of the crags in the beginning of each subregion so that you can orientate to your whereabouts. Something that needs getting used to in a thick book.

Access to the crags is well researched and described and many of them are revised. It was easy to follow the access to find the crag. Even GPS coordinates are implemented to ease off finding the location. Most smartphones today are equipped with Apps that can show your whereabouts and the location of the crag via GPS. This makes searching an easier game when the navigation runs and gets you to the right parking lot.

The routes are all listed from either left to right or vice versa. Small legends indicate if the route is especially unworthy and dangerous, or beautiful with stars. Also if a route needs extra attention (because falling before the first bolt can lead to dangerous injuries, or some are bolted in a manner you can make a ground fall , etc) are marked. Some users (in some forums) remarked that there was so much information in a route, it almost spoils their onsight. But this is not a problem for me.  I loved how in detail the guidebook is and I think, its always better to have much more than nothing. I was also quite surprised to find them downgrading  all routes at the Lichtenfelser Dach in this edition. Sigh.

Frankenjura Band I

This version covers the northern region of Frankenjura. Thats e.g. Leinleitertal, Frankendorfer Klettergarten, Wiesenttal, Gößweinstein, Püttlachtal, Weihersbachtal, Klumpertal, Ailsbachtal, Paradiestal, Kaiserbachtal, Scheßlitzer Gebiet, Staffelberg, Kleinziegenfelder Tal, Bärental, Zillertal.

With such an array of crags, its difficult to decide where to start. I usually use the dice, and do plenty of reading the day before.

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Digitally speaking

1 kg is a heavy book to lugg around, and it’s plenty of literature to read on the way. I missed a good functional App where searches and filters work well. Digital and print should go hand in hand. There’s a first generation App, available in both apple and android stores. It needs an urgent makeover and personally, I found purchasing 4 digital guides to cover what you have in a book isn’t a solution. There’s much space for improvement to the integration in the digital segment.
Update 07.2016: With the newest edition (10th) that came out in April this year, each book comes now with a free download code that gives you access to the Topos on your Smartphones (IOS /Android). Yayy! Check out the Vertical-Life App

The Bottom Line

The book in its eighth edition has improved a lot. It is loaded with lots of useful information for the climber heading in to Frankenjura. Even international climbers would find tips for accommodation, food, and beer in the book. (lots of useful advertisement)  The most important factor of a climbing guidebook is to make finding the access an easy game. The author, Sebastian Schwertner did a good job out of this. The description is precise and easy to understand. Colours are a good thing to get around in a book with 550 pages. Inspiring photos that are contributed by some of the locals climbers and photographer makes it fun to browse through new photos. The biggest shame for this printed work, is that it’s only available in german.

I would definitely recommend a copy. This edition has plenty of routes, with an improved layout and design. Updates and an excerpt of this edition can be found here.

Frankenjura Band 1,
by Sebastian Schwertner
Publisher: Panico Verlag
552 Pages, Soft Cover, 29,80 €

ISBN-10: 3956110153,  ISBN-13: 978-3956110153

Do try the Beer in one of the private Beer breweries once in Frankenjura and keep them alive!

Read also the review for Frankenjura Band 2

[Disclosure: I have received product samples for my time and efforts in reviewing this product and creating this article, thanks to Bergfreunde.de. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ]

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