I recently took a trip to the Czech Republic and Croatia to go climbing. Before leaving we had trouble finding good information on climbing in the Czech Republic in English so I thought I would write up a summary. This will be followed by a section on climbing in Croatia.
Before leaving we tried to do some research on climbing in the Czech Republic but we could not find an English climbing guide. This should have been our first clue that perhaps the Czech Republic wasn’t the end-all-be-all in the European climbing scene but we missed it. We flew into Prague with some limited information from czechclimbing.com with the idea of finding more when we got there. We found a climbing shop in Prague and asked asked about good areas to climb, we got a guidebook and some maps to Adršpach from them and took off. Adršpach is a beautiful place that has tons of amazing looking stone pillars but the rock is very crumbly sandstone and therefore no metal protection is allowed, instead you are supposed to use knotted slings. In case you don’t know that is a length of webbing or cord with a large knot tied in the end that is used as a nut or stopper. We thought the routes would have some bolts as knotted slings aren’t the most versatile of protection, but when we arrived we found that bolts were almost non-existent and the ones that were there were very rusty. This meant the only way to protect the routes was top rope, and you couldn’t get up to the top of many routes. I suppose you could use the bolts but they were very sparse (maybe three on a 90 ft route) so you would be very run out on very rusty bolts. Also, many of the rock towers are worn smooth so even routes that are marked as 5.8 have almost no holds, I can only figure that the routes are very old and the holds have been worn off or torn off over the years.
It is a large area and there was a lot of evidence that it used to be a very active climbing area (log books on top of many of the stone pillars and lots of rusty protection) but we were unable to find any decent routes in the 5.10-11 range or any way to protect a route besides top rope. The area is so big, many of the older routes are not climbable (worn smooth), and the guidebook was so poor we concluded that if you did want to climb there you would have to hire a guide or get a local to take you around. All in all it is a beautiful area that is fun to visit, but if you want to climb I would head elsewhere, like Croatia.