Useful Information

Location: In the Tennengebirge. Start ascend to Dr.-Heinrich-Hackel-Hütte from Wengerau.
Kat.Nr.: 1511/101
(47.495, 13.289444)
Open: MAY to OCT once a week, after appointment.
Fee: yes
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Speleologyice cave.
Light: Carbide lamps provided by the guide. Or bring electric headlamps.
Dimension: L=4,600 m, VR=420 m, A=2,100 m asl., T=6-8 °C, colder in the ice filled parts.
Guided tours: D=5 h (cave only), two days in total.
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility: Definitely not, physical fitness and surefootedness required.
Bibliography: Walter Klappacher, Harald Haseke-Knapczyk (1985): Salzburger Höhlenbuch Band 4, Landesverein für Höhlenkunde in Salzburg, Salzburg 1985.
Yeter Göksu (1992): Umgebungsradioaktivitätsmessungen in der Eiskogelhöhle, Der Schlaz 68-1992, S. 57ff.
Address: Eiskogelhöhle, Herbert Burian, Geprüfter Höhlenführer, Markt 19, A-5450 Werfen, Tel/Fax: +43-6468-7554. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1877 discovered by Eduard Richter while climbing the southern wall of the Eiskogel.
1924 first exploration of the western part by members of the Salzburger Höhlenverein.
1931 tries to reach the cave entrance fail.
1942 Gustave Abel discovers the east entrance, exploration and survey of the cave from east entrance.
1947 protected as a National Monument.
1949 opened as a show cave by the Landesverein für Höhlenkunde in Salzburg.
1968 cave accident.
1974 cave accident.
1980 cave tours restarted by Knapczyk and Klappacher.
199? exploration and survey by Steffen Pohlenz and other members of the VHM.
1999 visited by a group of cave photographer (HÖPHO) which produced exceptional pictures.


Eiskogelhöhle. © Gaspard Magarinos, with kind permission.

This cave is said to be the highest show cave of Europe, at 2,100 m asl. The Eiskogelhöhle, as the word Eis (=ice) in the name suggests: this is an Speleologyice cave. Some parts of this cave are filled with huge amounts of ice, forming icicles, stalactites and stalagmite built of ice. However, other parts are ice free and show fine speleothems.

The Eiskogelhöhle was discovered in 1877 by the mountaineer Eduard Richter while climbing the southern wall of the Eiskogel (2,321 m asl). He did not enter the cave though, he just mentioned his discovery later, so members of the Salzburger Höhlenverein went to this cave in 1924 and explored what we now call western part. For some reason the cave could not be reached again during the next years. The caver, mountaineer, and scientist Gustave Abel from Salzburg made an solo attempt for the Eiskogel in 1942 and discovered the east entrance to the cave. And just if everbody had been waiting for this, the cave was completely explored and surveyed in the same year.

The Eiskogelhöhle was named after the mountain it is located inside, the Eiskogel. It is a through cave and actually crosses the summit. But the entrances had already been named Eduard-Richter-Eishöhle for Eduard Richter. So the official full name of the cave is now Eiskogel-Richter-Höhle, a name which is seldom used.

Obviously all the limestone around is karstified and since the early days numerous other caves have been discovered. A nearby cave system named Eiskogel-Tropfsteinhöhle (HK 1511/160) overlaps on the map with the Eiskogelhöhle, and so many cavers believe, both might be connected. So far the connection has not been found.

The development as a show cave was started by the Landesverein für Höhlenkunde in Salzburg in the year 1949. They leased the cave, which was protected as a National Monument only two years before, from the owner, the Österreichische Bundesforste AG (actually the government). They organized the cave tours and the guide, promoted it, but did not do any cave development. Their agrument was, the location requires to be a mountaineer to get there, the cave does not require more. This cave is listed as a show cave for 65 years now, but until today it has neither trails nor electric light.

A cave visit starts with a two hours ascend to the "base camp" at the Dr.-Heinrich-Hackel-Hütte. Here you meet the cave guide, and then ascend to the cave entrance through the Tauernscharte, which is again two to three hours. The cave visit is not dangerous or diffucult, but it is strenuous and cold, and takes about five hours. The way back to the valley takes another three hours, plus some resting and some time for changing clothes. The whole cave visit means 1,100 m of height difference both up and down, and takes a total of at least 12 hours. which is very strenuous for a single day. It is better to stay at least for one night at the Dr.-Heinrich-Hackel-Hütte.

When going on a cave visit, good walking shoes, warm jacket, and windbreaker are sufficient. And be aware that the temperature in the cave is around 0 °C (the keyword is warm underwear). This is actually normal mountaineering equipment, any cave specific equipment is provided by the guide. The guide provides carbide lamps for the visitors, which are ideal for those huge alpine caves. They are bright enough and the production of grime is absolutely irrelevant because of the good ventilation. Nevertheless, feel free to bring modern LED cave lights instead. The participants have to be at least 14 years old.

The tour shows four different parts of the cave. Two of them are ice filled, one shows huge halls and passages which are 30 to 50 meters wide and high. The fourth part is smaller but full of impressive speleothems.

If you are fit enough for this trip, this is definitely one of the most impressive cave trips you can make in Austria.