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Watch Sandstone Climbing on Towers Steeped in History

A tour through some old rock climbs and the ethics that keep them bold

The Elbsandstein sandstone towers in the Czech Republic and Germany have a lot of climbing history and offer some unique vertical experiences. Local climbers Tom Krul, Fabrizio Zampetti and Andrea Rizzi explore a few climbs and the trad ethics that keep them bold and run-out.

There strong climbing traditions were laid down in the Saxon Climbing Regulations back in 1913. The most important regulations are:

  • Artificial aids are forbidden. The climber is only allowed to use natural hand- and footholds and must use his own bodily strength to climb.
  • Ropes, slings, carabiners, etc., may only be used for protection.
  • The existing surface of the rock must not be altered (exceptions are safety rings).
  • Safety rings may only be established by the first person to climb a route. The use of subsequent rings is decided by the sub-committee of the SBB responsible.
  • The use of chalk is forbidden.
  • Nuts, friends and similar aids are banned. Only slings may be used.
  • Climbers must use their own strength to hold themselves in position and may not use other means, such as ropes, to support themselves.
  • Initial ascents of a new climbing route may only be attempted from bottom to top. The opening of new routes by driving in pitons “from above” (i.e. by hanging off a rope from the summit or ledge) common in other climbing areas, is forbidden.
  • Climbing is forbidden on wet or damp rocks, if depending on the rock, there is a risk of damage to the rock and of losing one’s footing or handholds.

Sand Rules