Srbsko is a small town located along the Berounka river, about 30 minutes south-west of Prague by train. The town itself is quite small but has a few nice spots to have a beer after a day of climbing. Srbsko is a well loved climbing area by Czech folks and for good reason. This area has a plethora of limestone sport routes ranging from easy bolt ladder 5.4 to 5.15 (YDS) overhang. It is easy to get from wall to wall via the bike trail that runs along the base of the crags and is my preferred mode of transport. Limestone climbing is my jam, although you rarely actually get to jam on limestone, so I spend a lot of time here. My climbing partner, Squirrel from Colorado, said, “It looks like cragging heaven.”
There are some challenges when it comes to climbing in Srbsko. First of all, it can be a challenge to find out what and where you are climbing. While Mountain Project is far from perfect, I did not realize how useful it was until I did not have it anymore. There are several Czech websites that have climbs listed, but they often lack detailed descriptions or photos to help identify the climbs. I often use www.czechclimbing.com. It is helpful to get a climbing guide book for the location you are planning to climb, but they are in Czech language, so it is only so helpful for us English speakers. The climbing guide book for this area in particular was produced in 2000, so it is quite dated.
Due to the fact that this is a well loved and used climbing area, some of the classic climbs are polished to an impressive level. I thought Rifle Canyon in Colorado was polished, but the routes here take the cake; most footholds have the friction level of a bar of soap. Learning to climb on this kind of limestone has helped me to refocus on my footwork, and I have probably improved my finger strength from overgripping. That being said, there are plenty of routes with good friction if you know where to look.
Czechs are known for their bold climbing, and if you didn’t know that, now you do. Runouts are the name of the game here. I have been on several climbs where the first bolt is 15 ft or higher. Quite often, you find yourself a little higher above your bolt than you would like to be. It is not uncommon to place two quickdraws opposite and opposed in a crucial bolt placement to ensure safety. I have found it prudent to bring my rack to the sport crag if I am climbing an unknown route or in an unknown area. Keep in mind you can use metal protection on granite and limestone, but do not use it on sandstone in the Czech Republic. If you talk to any of my partners, you will find out that my head game is not the strongest facet in my climbing arsenal, but it is something that has improved since climbing on the rock here.
This is a great area to spend a few days climbing. There are hundreds of routes in this area, and you could easily spend a full day at various different walls. It is nicest to take a bike and ride to the different crags and through the Czech towns. Many Czech folks in small towns like to be as self sufficient as possible. I often ride past small gardens and chickens, and you can usually catch the homey smell of wood-burning stoves. Karlštejn is 2.5 miles away and is home to the second most famous castle in the Czech Republic. It is one stop away on the train or an easy bike ride on a country road. This spot is a little built up for tourists, but it is not the kind of place where people hassle you. The castle is awesome, and there are nice spots to grab a drink or get some Czech-style food. The bike trail that goes along the climbing areas in Srbsko connects with the town of Beroun. This is the biggest town in the area and has a great brewery and several nice restaurants. Both of these options are a good way to end your day of climbing. Taking the train to this area is quite easy. Trains leave Prague every 30 minutes, and you don’t even need to purchase a ticket in advance. You can just pop on the train and purchase a ticket from the ticket checker on the train. This works for this train line in particular, but not all train lines. It is pretty easy to take your bikes on the train to either return them to their place of rental or to take them back home. It will cost you 30 czk, and you should load your bike on either the first or last train car.
Srbsko area is a great place to climb and certainly worth a visit if you are into the peaceful countryside terrain. I am looking forward to warmer weather and my continued exploration of this area.
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I am a climbing instructor who moved from the United States to the Czech Republic. Here is where I share some of my adventures and talk about what it is like to climb in the Czech Republic and Europe.