Loučovice is set in the beautiful Šumava landscape near the largest water area in the Czech Republic, the Lipno Reservoir. This gives the area a fresh touch of beautiful nature and plenty of opportunities for nice trips. It is characteristic with hard grades of easier boulders. So be careful with the grades and don’t let them spoil your good feeling of climbing. A lot of people who came to Loučovice for the first time found out they weren’t able to climb much in their grade level, that it was too hard and specific, and they will never come again. And that’s a pity.
Loučovice is quite far from other parts of the Czech Republic, and you must get used to the local material – learn to stand on non-existent holds in slabs and pinch little slopers for the friction. An edge or holds in general are a bonus in Loučovice, but there are some nice exceptions. The temperature often determines the success rate of a climb. In winter conditions, friction on local granite is quite different than in warm weather and harder boulders can even become almost unclimbable. On the other hand, you can enjoy the peace and quiet here without a bunch of climbers, and when you do run into someone, it’s usually a very pleasant encounter.
Friction on local granite is quite different than in warm weather and harder boulders can even become almost unclimbable.
For example, it's a decent half-an-hour walk to the furthest sector, Bismarck. With mattresses on your back and a couple of vertical meters, you'll warm up nicely. But those unique treasures there are definitely worth it. Some nice lines are Bismarck 7C+ or Stairway to Heaven 7C+. The way back is down a nice ridge, and you can just pick another fun boulder in an endless sea of rock options.
The Vrchol sector is more than suitable for beginners – you can climb there all year round and everyone will find their own way. Loučovice used to be in a dense forest, but this has changed in recent years due to bark beetles and logging. A lot of the sectors are now exposed to the sun, and there are plenty of cut bare logs among the rocks. The advantage is that the rocks are not so overgrown with moss now. Other landmarks include the Zub boulder (Tooth in English), after which the whole sector is named. The Aristoteles 7B line (Aristotle in English) runs right through its centre.
But beware of the difficulty! Some boulders can even be a few notches more difficult than stated. Anyway, you don't go to Loučovice for numbers.
Nearby you can also find the “idol of South Bohemian bouldering”, Srdečné Objetí 8A/A+ (Hearty Embrace in English) by Petr Resch, made famous by a climbing video by Tomáš Pilka. Another interesting piece is Hlavolam 7B (Brain Teaser in English) by Martin Čermák. There are countless renowned boulders here. The area also offers big highballs, for example on the Lachtan (Sea Lion in English) or Concord boulders.
The area was discovered in 2003 by Miroslav Kadlec, who organized the first bouldering meeting two years later, which was then renamed to the Film Boulder Fest (FBF), where die-hard boulderers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria gather every year. The festival is open to everyone.
There are usually carefully prepared boulder races of all grades and and you can enjoy a pleasant sit-down. You can follow a Facebook page about FBF and Loučovice for more information. You can read more about the history of the area in a local guidebook, which lists other people who have been engaged in the development of the area. Theay are for example Tomáš Svišť Pilka, Vilda Chejn and local explorer Patrik Fabinger, among many others.
Loučovice is situated in the lower part of South Bohemia, in the foothills of the Bohemian Forest. The boulders are in the hillsides around the Luč mountain (933 m).
I recommend taking a new, beautifully prepared guidebook by Petr Schwarz In the book you will also find the adjacent area of Vyšší Brod, where another 160 boulders are prepared in 6 sectors and in similar style. You can buy the guidebook in climbing e-shops.
With the felled trees, the area is less suitable for climbing in summer due to direct sunlight. Spring and autumn usually offer better conditions. Winter is usually best for bouldering, and this is especially true in Loučovice.
You can sleep directly in Loučovice on a grassy area, where there used to be a campsite. For the more demanding, there are plenty of accommodation options in beautiful apartments around Lipno.
If you are coming from České Budějovice, it is best to go via Dolní Dvořiště and Vyšší Brod. The road through Český Krumlov is shorter, but too winding for my taste. You can park in a parking lot at the kindergarten and primary school on the edge of the housing estate and if you go uphill, you will find the forest with the first boulders.
Loučovice offers a range of boulders from the easiest to the most difficult ones (the most difficult is currently Z Mrtvých Vstání 8A+/B – Resurrection in English). But beware of the difficulty! Some boulders can even be a few notches more difficult than stated. Anyway, you don’t go to Loučovice for numbers.
Climbing matress, enough skin on your fingers, close-fitting climbing shoes.