EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Bärenschacht, Switzerland

Session code: OE27

Oral / Exploration, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Mr Rolf Siegenthaler


The Karst system of Réseau Siebenhengste-Hohgant, situated near Interlaken (Berner Oberland) totalises over 300km and the Bärenschacht is the southernmost of the big caves in this complex. Until 1996 the cave was accessible only to cave divers who surveyed over 3 km post sump - world record at that time. Mining of a tunnel bypassing the only sump allowed non-divers the further exploration of this incredible 3D-maze and today Bärenschacht itself measures exactly 77km. Exploration in the depth of almost 1km is only possible in multi-day bivouac trips and is still limited only by time resources of the explorers.

This presentation showed some of the extraordinary decorations in the fossil passages and discussed the major findings of the multinational explorers since the opening of the tunnel, the particularities of this system of mainly three major levels of which one is the active collector of the whole area leading directly to the lake of Thun, the prospects of a potential connection to the 7H-System by diving the remaining +/-800m of the mythical ‘Nordsiphon’…that would create a cave longer than 230km.


Swiss caver for 24 years now and coordinator of exploration in Bärenschacht. From time to time active in cave rescue when it’s unavoidable and manufacturer of caving lights..


SGHB - Bernese Section of the Swiss Speleological Society
HRH – Association of Cavers of the Hohgant Region