|Location:||A8 unnamed exit between exits Merklingen and Mühlhausen, Follow signs to Westerheim, at the city limits turn right. 4 km NW Westerheim, parking 400 m from the entrance. Follow signs to Schertelshöhle, at cave entrance Steinernes Haus is signposted, 200 m more. (74,Kd57)|
|Open:||First hall no restrictions, rest only after appointment.|
|Classification:||Karst cave Malm, cold trap.|
|Light:||bring electric torch|
Höhlenverein e.V., 72589 Westerheim, Tel: +49-7333-7845
Leader: Klaus Rauschmaier, Siedlungsstraße 7, 72589 Westerheim, Tel: +49-7333-6406.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Steinernes Haus is located on the opposite side of the valley, a little lower than the Schertelshöhle. It is reached by a well prepared trail from the Schertelshöhle, about 300 m or 15 minutes walk. There is a legend, that this cave is the continuation of the left branch of the Schertelshöhle, which was cut off by the valley. This is rather unlikely, but it may nevertheles be another branch of the same cave system.
The Steinernes Haus is mainly a huge hall, which has caved in, thus providing access for man and animals. From the entrance a steep slope of debris leads to the ground of the chamber. This is the niveau of the whole cave.
There is a continuation, but this passage is very narrow and low. It is necessary to crawl and old clothes are a very good idea if you want to do so. The cave is used by many animals in winter, especially bats hibernate in the low passage. This part of the cave is closed by a gate during the winter months, to protect the bats. Some cases of vandalism and pollution made it necessary to keep the gate shut in summer too. The key is available from the leader of the Westerheimer Höhlenverein for a deposit.
The Steinernes Haus is a cave of the typus cold trap or ice cellar. The sack like shape of the entrance hall keeps cold air the whole summer. In winter the cave shows ice stalactites and in summer the tempratur never reaches more than 3-5 °C.
Of course there is a legend about this cave too. The area is called Hohbuch, but the locals call it Nonnenwald (nuns' forest). The area once belonged to the Franziskanerinnenkloster Wiesensteig (Franziscan Nuns Monastery Wiesensteig), which was abolished 1808. The nuns are said to have used the cave as a hideout.