Ice Caves, the lighting comes from magnesium flares (left behind an ice wall )

The Ice Caves is a cave system in the Tennen Mountains in the province of Salzburg in Austria, near the village of Werfen.

The Ice Caves (also Posselthöhle, Erstbeschrieb Anonymous 1879, Posselt 1880; K.Nr. 1511/24 ) is valid with a total length of 42 km as the largest ice cave in the world. She was discovered in 1879 by the Salzburg naturalist Anton von Posselt Czorich. Today the cave is a popular tourist destination.

Location and description

The cave is located in the Tennen Mountains in Tennek in Austria, about 50 km south of Salzburg.

The urn of the First World War fallen, significantly concerned Alexander von Mörk standing over a cave passage inside the cave, which extends over 42 kilometers into the mountain. Only the first kilometer is iced and visit via guided tour.

The entrance portal is located in 1640m above sea level. A. After the Ice Palace, there is no coherent ice sheets more, there also ends the guide part. From the Ice Palace, a steep Bock tunnel leading to the underground tunnel. After the Midgard follows. This gear is the largest of the cave (width between 8 and 30 meters). From there, go in all directions from branches. The end of the cave is the New World in 1595 m.

The ice grows through the chimney effect in the cave which transports cold air masses up to about 1 km into the cave inside in winter. The rock stores the cold until spring and if it is then there is already warmer and the snow melt begins, water can seep through cracks and fissures in the rock in the cave and freeze into ice.

In the summer, also the cave interior heated; 5-10 cm of Bodeneisdecke melt away again. In the following spring but everything grows back. Overall, the ice is thus no less - it is even more slightly more.


Was discovered the cave in 1879 by the Salzburg naturalist Anton Posselt. He succeeded at that time to penetrate about 200 meters into the cave interior. Next he could not. The ice was too steep for him; his equipment was too bad. He marked his turning point with a black cross on the rock, the Posselt - cross. After the cave was again largely forgotten.

In 1913 it succeeded to some researchers, among them Alexander von Mörk to conquer the steepest part of the ice sheet, the Great Eiswall. Alexander von Mörk was also also the first researcher who dared the storm sea, a small passage, which was then under water to pass. Behind it he discovered a huge hall, which was later named after him. 1914 had to move into the First World War, Alexander von Mörk. There he was at the age of 27 years. His last wish was to be buried in the ice caves. This wish was granted him, and he was buried in the mid-1920s in which he discovered Alexander von Mörk Cathedral.

From 1919, the Salzburg lawyer Friedrich Oedl the research pushed forward ( 1894-1969 ), established the first property, the researchers Huttl.

Landowners of the Ice Caves are the Austrian Federal Forests. With them the Salzburg Association of Cave client had agreed a provisional lease, 1928, after founding a giant ice -Gesellschaft mbH ( its first managing director was Oedl ), passed into a long-term contract. The income serve exploration and development of the cave, the Federal Forestry (as landowners ) receive an annual percentage of the entrance fees.

Development and tourism

The first guides in the Ice Caves were held in 1920. Today a cable car takes you up to 2,500 guests per day to the vicinity of the cave entrance ( Dr.- Friedrich- Oedl House), in the year there are about 150,000 visitors. For guiding the visitors get carbide lamps. The leaders of the light about five ice figures with magnesium light.

It should be noted that little fitte visitors ( up 700 and down again 700 ) with the ascent to the lower cable car station and from the mountain station of the cable car up to the cave entrance or with the 1400 levels of the cave tour might have problems. The tour lasts about 75 minutes.

Today the Ice Caves is usually open May 1 to October 26 for visitors. During the winter months, the cave entrance is not accessible due to its high alpine location and avalanche danger. The temperature in the cave stays in the summer usually below freezing.

Cave exit the ice caves overlooking the main Alpine ridge ( Hohe Tauern )