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Access issues inherited from Sächsische Schweiz
Most parts right of the Elbe are located within the Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz with all the rules you'd expect associated with this, but climbing is generally allowed. Left of the Elbe, the area is mostly covered by a lesser degree protection area (Landschaftsschutzgebiet), also with a well marked network of hiking trails. Some few summits are located on private property, see the guidebook. During spring and early summer, selected summits may be closed because of nesting falcons or owls - check at http://dav-felsinfo.de .
Ethic inherited from Sächsische Schweiz
You want ethics? This is the home of ethics. Most of these are peculiar for outsiders, but have a long history. Although every few years eagerly debated, they are still valid and even legally binding by being referenced by the Nationalpark regulations. They can be summarized as:
- Climbing is only allowed on free standing rock towers. With only a handful of exceptions, all other rock walls are off limits
- No climbing on wet rock - for your safety and the soft rock's sake.
- No hardware protection (friends, rocks, pitons). The gaps between the sparse ring bolts may only be filled with slings (jammed knots, V-threads, lassoed chickenheads). A wooden or plastic "dagger" may be used for better placements.
- no chalk, no pof
- Sign the summit register.
- Jumping is an accepted way of reaching a summit. This can range from slightly more than a stepover to completely insane kamikaze operations. The respective grade system (1-easy to 4-hard) is currently extended to 6 or even 7.
- Boosting a climber ("unterstützt", i.e. supporting his progress by providing "human holds") is accepted or even necessary on some routes. "Ausgiebig unterstützt" goes as far as building multistory human ladders.
- Toproping is frowned upon. For first ascends only ground-up ascents are accepted; minimum bolt distance is enforced. Be sure to contact a local, as there may be restrictions on certain cliffs.