A1 exit Ybbs, B25 south through Scheibbs, Neubrück. Turn left at Kienberg, signposted. 8 km up the valley to the Schindlhütte. 1 hour walk to the cave, marked red-white-red and number 05.
Alternative: 2 h walk from Lachenhof, signposted.
|Open:||MAY-JUN Sat, Sun, Hol 9-16. JUL-AUG Wed 13-16, Sat, Sun, Hol 9-16. SEP-OCT Sat, Sun, Hol 9-16. |
|Fee:||Adults ATS 45, Children ATS 30, Naturfreunde ATS 30. |
|Light:||carbide lamps provided.|
|Dimension:||L=575 m, A=710 m asl|
|Address:||TV Naturfreunde, Ortsgruppe Gaming, Engelbert Oberegger, Erlaufttalstr. 35, Tel: +43-7485-97577.|
|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.
|1920||discovered by two lumbermen.|
|1926||opened to the public by the TV Naturfreunde.|
|1934||TV Naturfreunde forbidden by the NAZIs, but cave still open.|
The Ötscher Tropfsteinhöhle is one of those Austrian caves, which include some walking. The closest you can get is at the Schindlhütte. A nice hut, somewhere between an alpinist hut and a restaurant. From here a trail starts, marked red-white-red and with the number 05. The signs tell its 3 km walk, about 45 min. But the height difference is rather big, and if you are not used to walk in the mountains, you should plan at least a hour. And by the way, the view justifies some stops.
The cave is named after the mountain Ötscher, which is nearby. There is also a famous cave inside the Ötscher mountain, but this cave is not open to the public. This cave is on the other side of the valley, and you will have several views to the mount Ötscher on your way up to the cave.
This area is a tourist area, and the mountains are full of trails. There are numerous walks to the cave. The ascend from the Schindlhütte is the shortes, but there are mostly horizontal walks, which are a bit longer, too.
The cave is maintained by the Touristenverein Die Naturfreunde. This organization was founded at the end of the 19th century to allow people to enjoy the nature. The goals of this club are both, nature protection and nature development. They built cheap hotels, called Naturfreundehaus, all over central Europe. So it seems logical for them to maintain a show cave.
The cave itself is more or less a sloping shaft. The upper end is open, and is the place where the cave was discovered. You can see this entrance, a hole in the ground, uphill from the ticket office. For security reasons it is fenced.
This cave is visited with carbide lamps. The hand lamps are provided by the cave guides and rather easy to handle. The more difficult part, to clean and fill the lamps, is done by the guides. However, you need one hand to hold it and you will see, that people with physical problems do better not to take a lamp.
The cave is entered through an artificial adit, about in the middle of the shaft. When you enter the cave you can see the daylight above and the shaft below. The path goes down to the bottom of the shaft on narrow wooden stairs. This stairs are perfectly save and much more comfortable than a ladder would be. But they are made of wood, which becomes black and a little slippery in the wet cavern air. Also the stairs vibrate when people walk on them and they make creaking sounds. Together with the mysic light from above and from the carbide lamps, this cave visit is a phantastic experience.
At the bottom of the shaft is the begin of a river passage. The passage winds and meanders, is rather narrow and sometimes a little low. Most impressive is a section of the passage, where the cave river was split in two. A thin wall of limestone, about 1.20 m high and only 10 or 20 cm wide runs in the middle of the passage for about 6 m.
This passage is really impressive. It has only few speleothems, but many signs of erosion. Nevertheless it follows an S-like bended crack in the rock, the first path of the water, formed by the tectonic forces of the formation of the Alps.
The passage ends at an 100m² subterranean lake. So does the tour. The visitors return the way they came in.
The whole area is heavily karstified, and there are numerous caves. Some intersting geologic features may even be seen fromthe car. When driving to the Schindlhütte, about 5 km from the turnoff, and 3 km from the Schindlhütte the road is cut through an impressing fault. And if you follow the road, you will see numerous small caves and karst springs along the river in a marvelous gorge.