A man’s will to climb is always present, even if far too often hidden underneath a thin layer of perceived professionalism and fake class. But give the man in his suit a moment alone with the mountain and you shall witness his true personality, the spirit of the mountain goat shall break free.
It is not just since the release of Assassin’s Creed games that you will catch long, thoughtful gazes from tourists at these damn climbable cathedrals, not just since Mirror’s Edge that you see people wonder if they could make the jump, it is just who we are.
Now here in Germany’s cold North the highest points are lighthouses longing to be useful again, no longer illuminating the night and guiding nothing but tourists more interested in the snapshot than the experience.
Climbing is constrained to indoor bouldering halls or concrete buildings by night and to see an actual piece of rock the avid climber has to travel far into the lonely forests of the Harz region.
After a long and perilous journey down treacherous roads I arrived in the stunningly beautiful town of Quedlinburg, exhausted by the ride as much as its sheer beauty.
But then the Harz region is hardly known as a Mekka for enthusiasts of Albert Speer’s megalomaniac architecture, nor for its glass and chrome skyscrapers. The only architecture enthusiast bound to be thrilled by modern structures is he who appreciates brutalist communist architecture, factories where happy workers worked tirelessly towards the victory of the republic over the decadent West.
The area’s real beauty lies hidden in plain sight, vast foresty regions with mountains, creeks so clear you can drink from them and cablecars so scary I almost took the two hour long ‚dangerous descend‘ instead of taking the five minute trip back down.
But luckily all that tourist-attraction bullshit is just the build-up to waste the first day so that you can catch the early dawn hours at the rocks the next morning.
Just to ease myself into the real purpose of the trip I figured I might start with the aptly dubbed „Hell Wall“ that is probably on most tourists‘ trip list still.
Despite the steps, the handrail and the friendly bearded dude I found the ascend surprisingly challenging, first through boredom and then actual exhaustion by the time the end of the stairs was followed by more stairs.
But that, coupled with the early morning hours afforded me the highly enjoyable luxury of being the very only person on the top, for almost two hours. Quite the view, I might add.
There are so many names carved into those rocks that literally not a single inch is free, yet there are signs explicitly forbidding to step over the railing or – gasp – try to climb that thing.
Which of course means I didn’t climb it, I mean I won’t be showing you pictures of me climbing it. That’s what solitude does to you, you get these weird ideas and aren’t quite able to keep your hands still or off that hard rock.
I spent the two hours well, even did my patriotic duty and removed a broken glass bottle and brought it down with me because strangely there is not a single trash can on that hill. I noticed the same pretty much everywhere I went, you had to actively search for trash cans and yet the streets were pretty much clean. It was quite the experience for someone who is used to seeing more trash than actual street here in Hamburg. It might be Germany’s harbor to the world but it sure is a trashy city.
Anyway, with my descend into madness I once more did my duty and got an ink stamp on my wrist that lasted a good ten minutes. On the way out I stopped at a beautiful spot for a good half hour just to start writing this post and dream about how awesome it would be if I could work in a spot like this each day.
After a relaxing half hour of wondering if it would get too late to check out my real destination for the day I decided I better get going before it had a chance to get too crowded. Since this was the easter weekend I knew it would be either super crowded or completely empty and luckily it turned out to be the latter.
The place is called what would roughly translate as „Hamburg’s Coat of Arms“ because it has distinct peaks that vaguely look like the city logo, but really I strongly believe that whoever named it has to have been a Hamburg citizen drunk and lost.
Still, I found it quite funny that my home city would be referenced so far South and after reading that climbing was in fact allowed there I wanted to check it out.
Which finally brings us to the last few pictures of this journey and the stunning nature that captured my attention the whole day.
From there on out though I managed to do some actual climbing and far too soon I reached the top of the peak that is climbable without some serious gear, the one in the background would have been much harder to climb if I’m honest.
If you’d like some more evening entertainment I have this secret recommendation for you that is one of our recent magnetfishing videos where we found a bicycle and a mystery item: