Conturines Cave

In the cave at the slopes of the 3,064 m high Mt. Piz Cunturines the remains of the cave bear Ursus ladinicus were found.

More than 50,000 years ago, a species of cave bear lived in Alta Badia’s mountains: it was smaller than the cave bears living at lower elevations, weighed about 1.5 tons and fed on berries and herbaceous plants. Its habitat were the (no longer existing) mountain meadows around Mt. Piz Cunturines. Nowadays a museum in San Cassiano is dedicated to this rare cave bear known as Ursus ladinicus: the Museum Ladin - Ursus ladinicus.

Its bones were found on September 23, 1987, in the Conturines Cave at more than 2,800 m a.s.l. on the way to the top of Mt. Piz Cunturines. At first, they were assigned to the Ursus spelaeus, the cave bear of the Pleistocene, but more detailed analyses have revealed that a new species was found: the Ursus ladinicus.

Nowadays a moderately difficult mountain tour leads to the Conturines Cave. It starts at the Capanna Alpina mountain hut (1,725 m a.s.l.) and overcomes in about 5 hours more than 1,000 metres of altitude difference. The inside of the stalagmite cave is closed off by a gate and is only accessible on a guided tour. Guided hikes to the cave are offered on a regular basis.

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