Arbeitskreis Kluterthöhle e.V.
Association Profile

The name "Arbeitskreis Kluterthöhle (AKKH)" dates from the year of foundation 1976, when the club-activities were restricted to the "Kluterthöhle" in Ennepetal. Today we take care of more than 200 caves, most of them can be found in the western "Sauerland" and in the "Bergische Land". We are officially authorized to explore and take care of the karst areas and caves from the German federal state "Nordrhein-Westfalen" (Geological state office - GLA), the "Ennepe-Ruhr" district, the "Oberbergische" district, as well as the cities Ennepetal, Hagen, Schwelm, Wuppertal and Engelskirchen. In addition to this, we have signed many contracts with companies and private persons.

The functions of our non-profit making organization are set from scientific examinations to active contributions for our environment and to keep our caves clean and in their original state. To prevent the caves from pollution and destruction and to secure unexperienced visitors from accidents, we've locked more than 70 caves using heavy steel doors.
Several restorations of heavily polluted or damaged objects took much time since 1983. With the help of heavy machinery and logistic support from local companies we are able to manage even the biggest project. Scientific institutes and authorities are participated in many of our projects. Apart from caves we have also done several cleaning and planting actions in dolines, ponors and karst landscapes. The conservation of bats is done intensively, too. In "Nordrhein Westfalen" we entered upon the scientific exploration of three show caves ("Kluterthöhle", "Wiehler Tropfsteinhöhle", "Aggertalhöhle").

With the permission of the National Park Berchtesgaden the AKKH carries out annual expeditions to the Alps since 1984. We have found and documented more than a hundred caves there. Several of these exceed an overall length of one kilometer. Further expeditions led us to the gypsum karst of the middle Euphrat-valley in Syria. Here we found and explored the pretty big "Cater Magara" a cave with a total length of more than 7 kilometers. National offices helped us even there. With the invitation of the local government, early 1996 members of our club shared a five-week expedition to Cambodia. There we discovered, explored and documented 11.5 kilometers of cave corridors. 1998 led us to a karst-area of Romania. Because not everybody wants to share such big expeditions, our club offers yearly organized Whitsun-weekend-camps or visits to other caving clubs in Germany beeing on friendly terms with us. Futhermore several of our members participate in the annual meetings of the German Speleological Federation of Cavers (VDHK).

An important and especially interesting part of our work certainly is the discovery of unknown caves or new passages. Since 1981 members of the AKKH discovered and explored 51,488 meters of underground passages! Worth mentioning are the "Heilenbecker Höhle" (3965m) and the "Hardthöhlensystem" (4037m). In the last five years only, we discovered and explored more than 20 kilometers. The discovery of so far unknown subterranean cavities is diffcult and often combined with a high expenditure. New passages are surveyed precisely and documented with a countless number of photos. In the further process of exploration we continue our work with detailed examinations and documentation in scientific fields as speleogenesis, hydrology, ecology, biology or geology.

Other activities
In good co-operation with other local caving associations we are publishing the "Antiberg"-magazine. Meanwhile there are more than 70 issues. The "Antiberg" appears about three times a year with about 35 pages each. Three special editions with a total of 270 pages describe some specific subjects in detail. Besides some magazines on the history of the "Kluterthöhle" we also helped to release the 316 page "Klutert-Buch", published by Lutz Koch.

Exploring caves requires interaction of science and sport. Against the general opinion our work is not more risky than many kinds of sport, as long as you follow the basic rules of caving: always use proper equipment, never visit a cave if you are alone or inexperienced.

Beginners will be introduced to all the caving tasks and techniques step by step (surveying, ...). No previous experience is necessary. They will get all the required knowledge during the work in our group or by visiting seminars or conventions. A good physical fitness is useful for some activities, but not required at all.

Every second and last Wednesday we meet at the "Kluterthöhle" in Ennepetal at 7:30pm. Until about 10pm we do some work or hold a seminar.
The real work in fact is done every Saturday. We meet at 10am at Stefan Voigt's home. From there we start our trip for that day. In the evening, after all the work has been done, we go to a restaurant and talk and eat and drink.

Interested? Then please get in touch with one of our contact persons. There is no problem at all to participate in our work several times, without having to be a club member. In general, you have to be 16 years old to become a member. The annual membership dues of only € 16,- for pupils, students and sponsoring-members and € 26,- for adults should not stop anybody.

January 2002