The Hoelloch cave - History
In contrast to many other caves in the Hoelloch cave there were no prehistoric discoveries. According to a legend the history started in 1875 when Alois Ulrich realised that the gorge called Hell sometimes brings very large amounts of water but most of the time is completely dry. When he investigated this gorge he found the entrance to a cave, the Hoelloch. Together with his sons, he was the first explorer.
Here you can find a detailed personal chronicle written by our 1st member Bruno Baur.
1888 Hoelloch cave first mentioned in a newspaper (Bote der Urschweiz).
1901 Six courageous members of the Swiss Alpine-Club (SAC) advanced for the first time quite far inside the cave.
1904 Paul Egli published in Zurich his theses on the Hoelloch cave. To date galleries with a total length of 4.3 km were known. Also other foreign explorers such as the well known Frenchman Martel became involved in research work.
1905 A Swiss-Belgian association was formed having their headquarters in Brussels. Up to Sandhalde , they completed 1070 m of the cave with pathways, stairs and electrical illumination. It was their hope to profit from tourists. However there were not many visitors and after that floodings twice destroyed all equipment the association went bankrupt.
1907 Three men reached Salle Anglaise. This was the last notice of a longer trip into the cave for nearly 40 years.
1946 A new era began. Prof. Dr. Alfred Boegli started researching the underground karst in the previously constructed area.
1948 The Swiss Speological Society (SGH/SSS) started exploration work in the cave, reporting results to Prof. Boegli.
1949 The first bivouac was established. In the same year six members of the SAC Pilatus were visiting the Hoelloch cave. Among them was Hugo Nuenlist the latter technical leader of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft (= study group). It was realised that the cave must be much larger than indicated by the map of Egli. A study group called Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hoellochforschung was founded. Prof. Boegli joined the group taking the scientific lead.
1952 The total length of surveyed galleries reached 25 km. In August a group of four people became enclosed by raised water levels and was trapped for 10 days.
1955 Discovery after discovery made the Hoelloch cave, with a length of 55 km, to the longest cave in the world.
1957 Some explorer accomplished to listen to the Swiss broadcasting station Beromuenster . With help of 300 m aerial wire it was possible to receive a medium wave signal. The weather forecast now warns the cavers in time about potential rise of water levels.
1961 A newly formed group started exact surveys in the galleries with theodolitic equipment.
1964/65 During winter a group of explorers equipped with aerial masts and applying climbing techniques discover the Goettergang system and the upper level system.
1968 The 100 km benchmark in length was reached.
1974 Due to the increasing amount of data the processing was changed to electronic data processing. This enabled the localisation of detected inaccurate or incorrect surveys and lead to revisions with up-to-date measuring equipment.
1980 A second cave entry was detected, allowing to surpass the main gallery when flooded. This entrance was a major improvement to the cavers safety.
1982 Behind a pool a new huge gallery system called Nirwana was discovered. The entry to Nirwana is only possible when dry weather conditions open a flooded gallery to allow some free space.
1985 A third entrance was opened.
1986 137 km are known.
1995 The ownership of the land around the main entrance change to the Trekking Team SA.
1997 175 km are known.
2004 190 km are known.
2012 200 km are known.