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For more than 300 years, the permanent hole in the middle of the Giessen glacier has kept the people of Lauterbrunnen guessing.
The so-called war hole is a common black spot, a gap in the ice mantle of the Giessen Glacier on the north-west flank of the Jungfrau massif . It can be seen from Wengen.
Whenever the spot is covered with ice, it is said that a major war will break out somewhere in the world. That was the case in the War of the Spanish Succession , in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 , 1914 and 1939 , but also earlier. The hole was also covered with ice during the Gulf War and the Six Day War .
An old valley myth claimed that a climber once reached the hole and reported that warm water flowed from the inside of the mountain. No one can say whether this is true.
Then on June 7, 2000 the Austrian mountaineer and researcher Rudi Mayr, accompanied by the Stechelberg mountain guide Jürg Abegglen, was the first recorded person ever to climb up the war hole after Air-Glaciers' helicopter pilot Sepp Galliker dropped him off.
Rudi Mayr also measured the radioactivity and cosmic radiation over a period of half an hour – all of this from the upper lip of the hanging glacier, where large boulders broke off non-stop, with the greatest risk of icefall. Mayr's comments on his findings of the same radiation exposures measured here as in Lauterbrunnen were: "possibly be resulting from thermally induced emissions of radon from the crystalline rock of the war hole." Maybe that is a glimmer of reason for the myth of warm water.
The mountains hold tight to their many mysteries and secrets and at the moment there is still too much winter snow to know if the war hole has iced over with the current world wars.
Foto: Bgvr - Eigenes Werk Giessengletscher von der Grütschalp aus gesehen
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