Area 1626: Rauher - Schönberg

Within the Austrian kataster, area 1620 is the Western Totes Gebirge. Area 1623 is the Loser - Augst-Eck plateau (including CUCC's area) and 1626 is the area to the north and northwest. Starting from Rettenbachtal (the valley just beyond Blaa-Alm, at the end of the left branch at the start of the Loser Panoramastraße), everything to the north and west of the valley of Grüne Bichl, is in 1626. The boundary then follows the ridge crest of Schönberg, then a rather ill-defined line to the Wildenseehütte. To the east here is area 1627, and the eastern border of 1626 turns north.

There are a number of very significant systems within the area, only one of which has been visited by CUCC, as they tend to be difficult of access, or very much reserved to the Austrian cavers. The latter applies particularly to Raucherkarhöhle with its many entrances near the Ischler Hütte, accessible by paths from Rettenbach. This is well documented on the website of the corresponding Austrian caving club, the Landesverein für Höhlenkunde in Oberosterreich.

The other major systems lie around the high Hintergras and Feuertal valleys north of the Schönberg ridge line, and reached only by immense and steep climbs up from the north to the Ebenseer Hochkogelhütte. The oldest and most extensive cave in this area is Ahnenschacht, visited by the B.E.C. in the late sixties, and pushed by many other groups since.

Both French and Belgian cavers, associated with the GSAB explored a series of deep systems in the seventies - about the same time that CUCC first visited Austria. These include Trunkemboldschacht -854m; the four entrances of Feuertalsystem -913m; and the smaller Ufoschacht or Gouffre Ovni, -565m.

Two expeditions by LUSS in the late eighties explored caves on the 1623/1626 border, with all the significant finds lying in the 1626 area. These included Lungehöhle -375m; Sternloch -331m and Ratselhöhle -425m. Their access route was either from Grundlsee or via the Toll road - both ways around five hour walks-in.

As you might expect, CUCC has visited only the most accessible cave in the area, the resurgence of Naglsteghöhle, which is a pleasant five minute stroll from the bar at Blaa-Alm.

There are approaching two hundred caves known at present in the area, but CUCC have very few details of most of these, so, apart from those mentioned above, they are not included in these web pages at present.