|Location:||A10 exit Salzburg Süd, through Grödig, turn left to Glanegg, towards Fürstenbrunn, at rightturn follow unpaved road straight ahead. From the Rosittenparkplatz use the Dopplersteig, ascent to the cave 1,000 m. Some 2 hours walk.|
|Classification:||Karst cave cave with a view.|
|Dimension:||L=16,500 m, VR=570 m, A=1,500 m asl.|
Eberhard Fugger (1888):
Beobachtungen in den Eishöhlen des Untersberges bei Salzburg,
Walter Klappacher, Karl Mais (1999): Ice Cave studies in Salzburg and the work of Eberhard Fugger 1842-1919, Slovensky Kras XXXVII, Liptovsky Mikulas 1999, pp. 115-130.
|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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|1842 or 1845||discovered by herders.|
|1846||documented by the lithographs of Beda Weinmann.|
|1849||lithograph "Gletscher in der Kolowrats-Höhle" by Georg Pezolt.|
|1866||cave accident, wooden bridge collapses, the Bavarian minister Freiherr von Lerchenfeld and other die.|
|1876||trail to the cave entrance built.|
|1913||visited by Alexander von Mörk.|
The Kolowrathhöhle is a historic cave, almost a show cave, and despite being rather strenuous the visit is not very dangerous or difficult. However, basic mountaineering skills and physical fitness are required. We would add appropriate clothes, helmet, good lamps and probably ice skates to the list.
The cave is known for a long time, the discovery happened either in 1842 or 1845 by the Sennner (herder) of the obere Rosittenalpe and the Sennerin of the Firmianalpe. The story is documented by Eberhard Fugger, who was the first to explore and document the ice caves of the Alps. The cave became almost immediately popular, visitors of the area also went to the cave, numerous sketches and engravings were created. There are fine lithographs by Beda Weinmann from 1846 and a lithography named "Gletscher in der Kolowrats-Höhle" from 1849 published by Georg Pezolt. Soon almost every guidebook to the area mentioned the cave.
The high number of visitors resulted in a spectacular accident in 1866. The cave had been developed with wooden staircases, which soon became rotten. A group of visitors used the staircase which collapsed. One of the visitors was Freiherr von Lerchenfeld, a Bavarian minister, who was badly hurt and died a few days later. As a result the cave was officially developed in 1870, financed by Franz Anton Graf Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky who was Ministerpräsident (president) of Austria at this time. The cave was named after him. In 1876 the development was completed by the creation of a path to the cave entrance, which was created using dynamite. The entrance was widened several times, but this resulted in a bad influence on the level of the ice in the cave.
The specialty of this cave is the ice inside. Like many caves in the Alps, in an area where the average temperature is around the freezing point, this cave has ice in the entrance area. The entrance is high up, then the cave goes down, a classical cold trap. The earliest lithographs show visitors with redingote, top hat, and torches, and an impressive amount of ice. Today the cave has about 2,000 m² of ice at the bottom of the entrance hall. In the second half of the 19th century this huge amount of ice was used for ice skating during summer. There were festivals organized inside the cave.
To visit the cave you best start at the Rosittenparkplatz. Here starts the Dopplersteig, a trail leading to the Dopplerwand. At the foot of the Dopplerwand the trail to the cave branches off. The height difference between the parking lot and the cave entrance is about 1,000 m, so it depends mainly on your phyiscal how fast you reach the cave. Normal visitors should plan an ascend of two hours. So actually a visit of this cave is a day trip, you need time for ascend, cave visit, and descent. Some pauses and probably time to change clothes after the visit easily sum up to aboout six hours. Take something to eat and drink with you, use sun protection, and be careful to visit the cave between
The Dopplersteig is a via ferrata up the Dopplerwand. It requires mountaineering and clibming skills and appropriate equipment. In the lower part of this cliff, right at the Dopplersteig are various cave entrances which are interconnected. They are called Gamslöcher. During the exploration of Kolowrathhöhle and Gamslöcher a connection was discovered, so they are actually two entrances of the same cave system. The whole cave systemm is more than 16 kilometers long and ery difficult. There have been several tragic accidents during the exploration. Please be very careful how far you go inside the cave. We recommend noot to leave the once developed part of the ice cave, whiich is more or less the entrance hall. The trail to the cave entrance is not maintained any more and the climatic conditions on the mountain cause a fast deterioration. So please be careful when visiting the cave. Bring warm clothes, the temperature inside is almost freezing point.