30.7.2015: Into the Dachstein Ice Cave.

The weather is forecast to be overcast, so we opt for the bad weather program: the Dachstein ice cave near Obertraun.

The morning begins different, however: after a rainy night a few hours´ sunny spell. This is the view from my balcony. Still clouds over the Totes Gebirge ("Death mountains").

Loser and Trisselwand are free.

Dachstein is wrapped in clouds. The deep cloud basis shows that stable sunny weather cannot be expected. Before breakfast, I go up to the roof terrace of the hotel.

The outside pool is situated in the atrium - like courtyard of the house.

View from the vegetated part of the roof, ...

 ... and this time as a panoramic picture. Hierher oder ins Bild klicken für eine größere Darstellung.

We drove to Obertraun and entered the cable railway, that brings us to the Dachstein ice cave.

The sky once more is overcast as forecast by the weather report.

Leaving the cable railway at the intermediate station (the upper sections leads up to the summit of the Krippenstein, 2.108 m) we pass the lovely Schönbergalm ...

 ... and climb the steep slope via a perfectly built path ...

 ... taking about 20 minutes ...

 ... to the entrance of the cave.

At the intermediate station, we had been grouped into guided tour number 5. The first part of the cave is free of ice, with a few small dripstones.

When the cave was explored, skeletons of cave bears were found, which is symbolized by this light effect.

From the deepest point, the route goes steep up into the iced zone ...

 ... into a huge hall called "parcival dome".

Iced "waterfall" at the side wall.

The ice has been built during many spring seasons, by melting water infiltrating through the rocks into a cave that has been cooled down during the winter due to a cold vertical air flow that stops during summer.

"Ice escarpment"

The ice thickness is up to 20 m here!

Ilumination in changing colours

Back out again, we walk back to the Schönbergalm ...

 ... and once more enter the cable railway.

There are no walking routes ...

 ... in this extremely steep terrain.

Back at our hotel, the rest of the afternoon is spent in the wellness area. I have to leave the dinner for a while to catch this glorious evening light.

Last sunlight in the Totes Gebirge

Evening red over the Totes Gebirge ...

 ... and the Sarstein. Tomorrow will be a sunny day.