As a result of the long climbing tradition, rigorous climbing ethics with a strict climbing code combined with soft sand stone, some very unique protection techniques emerged out of Saxon Switzerland in the east of Germany. To foreigners these techniques often seem nothing but terrifying. But somehow it seems to work – there are still climbers in Saxony. You will hardly get up anywhere in Saxony without Saxon Knots because metal tools are strictly prohibited to protect the soft rock. Saxon Knots are mostly simple pieces of rope with an overhand knot that are placed in cracks like nuts. In case of a fall, the load put on the knot leads to its expansion, so that it can stop the fall. For wider cracks one has to use more complex knots called Affenfäuste (“monkey fists”) – these are ball-shaped knots with smelly, used socks as core of the knot (fresh socks cause bad luck!). Alternatively you can use thick ship-ropes with an overhand knot.
Another Saxon peculiarity are the Fusselschlingen (translation impossible!). These are extra rough slings that are placed over rock structures that are only slightly sticking out. A bit like the velcro principle they are supposed to stick to the rock. No wonder that the leading attitude of the Saxons is legendary and the rest of the world just a bunch of wimps.
How to use?
It is probably the best to take part in a special course or at least buy a book on the topic: the book „Kinderkopf und Affenfaust (2010)“ by Gerald Krug in the publishing house Geoquest Verlag in Halle (ISBN 978-3000149528) is also worth reading for Non-Saxons!