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Slopes above the Hochscharte pass, ph. K. Dubiel Slopes above the Hochscharte pass, photo K. Dubiel

The Göll massif

Zbigniew Rysiecki
Katowicki Klub Speleologiczny

The eastern arm of the Göll massif is one of those areas in the Salzburger Calcareous Alps where Polish cavers have significantly contributed to the exploration.

The area is an east-west elongated crest, some 8 km long and about 3 km wide at its base. Deeply carved valleys on its sides descend to an altitude of 500 m, reaching the Salzach river's first-order valley, while the highest peaks attain 2300 m in altitude. About 95 percent of the area are very steep slopes, difficult for access. The massif is built mainly of thick-bedded Triassic limestones of enormous thickness. The massif is densely fractured, its tectonics are complex, with a plenty of faults.
The massif is drained of water generally along its length, parallel to the surrounding valleys, and most of the waters pour out at the Schwarzbachfall resurgence at the altitude of 560 m. The resurgence lies at the northeast termination of the massif and it discharges 500 litters per second on average, and up to 17 cubic meters per second during flood. The steep slopes of the massif for many years were the reason of the low degree of its exploration by cavers. Only 20 caves situated in easily accessible places were known here before 1960. The breakthrough occurred in the early 1960s when Austrian cavers, inspired and led by the legendary figure of Walter Klappacher, started the exploration of Gruberhomh6hle. The difficulties of this cave, especially the exceptionally lofty access route, were the experience which determined the new possibilities of the exploration in the massif. It was Gruberhornhöhle, one of the world's deepest caves of the time, that attracted Polish cavers. Since 1970 Polish expeditions participated in the exploration in the massif, most of them led by Christian Parma since 1981.
Map of the explored area, click for bigger one
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