Gant-Hohtälli Bahn

Over 1,000 metres: construction of the cableway with the greatest difference in altitude

Story 94

To mark its 100th anniversary, the Gornergrat Railway opened the Gant – Hohtälli aerial cableway in 1998 and gave itself a gift of CHF 20 million. Civil engineer Willi In-Albon was the project manager responsible for the Gornergrat Railway at the time. In this interview, he recalls the ambitious project. 

Willi In-Albon, what was the aim of the aerial cableway between Gant and Hohtälli? 

Willi In-Albon : “We wanted to create a better connection between the Sunnegga-Blauherd-Rothorn and Gornergrat ski resorts. The cableway ensures a seamless experience for snow sports enthusiasts and increases the attractiveness of both ski resorts.” 

Do you remember any particular challenges? 

Willi In-Albon : “The greatest challenge was building the aerial cableway in just two years. Because at over 3,000 metres above sea level, we were only able to build between May and October. In addition, the summit station is located in the permafrost zone and we had to anchor it with a lot of concrete in order to achieve the necessary stability. Helicopters flew the concrete from Riffelboden to the construction site. Good planning and coordination were crucial.”  

What was special about the aerial cableway? 

Willi In-Albon : “The cableway has three cableway supports. The saddle height of the second column is 94 metres, the absolute height as high as 108 metres. To protect against avalanches, we reinforced the masts by using more solid steel. Until the aerial cableway to the Zugspitze was built in Germany, this was the highest cableway support in Europe.”  

Is there anything you regret? 

Willi In-Albon : “Originally, we wanted to fit the cabin suspensions with a large Swiss army knife and a corkscrew. Unfortunately, these decorative elements were not approved by the Federal Office of Cableways. I was very disappointed about that. I also wanted to use cabins with a capacity of 150 people. Unfortunately, there was some resistance, and the aerial cableway was ultimately built with cabins that can accommodate 125 people.” 

What is the special feature of the cableway today? 

Willi In-Albon : “Today, the cableway in Zermatt is the cableway that covers the greatest difference in altitude and allows skiers to ski down an altitude of over 1,000 metres. The cableway goes from Gant (2,223 metres above sea level) to the Hohtälli (3,273 metres above sea level) is 2,707 metres long and has a difference in altitude of 1,057 metres.  

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