Chapel on Klimsenhorn (1864 m above sea level)

From 1856 – 1860, Kaspar Blättler from Hergiswil in Canton Nidwalden built a guest and convalescent hotel with annexe on the Klimsen saddle underneath the top of Mt. Pilatus. The facilities were crowned by an independent neo-Gothic-style chapel with highly distinctive architecture. The chapel was inaugurated on 18 August 1861 with the reflective title of «The Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor».
During the following decades, numerous guests made the journey up to the impressive vantage point – by sedan chair or pack horse – from the boat station in Hergiswil and stayed at the comfortable and stylishly furnished Hotel Klimsenhorn.
In 1889 the famous "steepest cogwheel railway in the world" made Mount Pilatus accessible from Alpnachstad. The Hotel Pilatus-Kulm opened its doors just one year later. However, the Klimsenhorn with its hotel and chapel remained a popular excursion destination until the middle of the last century.
In 1967 the Pilatus-Bahn Company took over the Hotel Klimsenhorn complete with its ancillary buildings and chapel. The hotel building, which by this time had become derelict, was demolished while the chapel, visible from afar and a distinctive landmark, was allowed to remain standing but without serving any further ecclesiastical function. In the following years, the interior was ruthlessly vandalized and the one-time sacral room remained suitable only as a shelter for mountain hikers.
In 1971 the Klimsenhorn Chapel Commission was founded under the chairmanship of the Pilatus-Bahn Company. Members included all interested parties such as the Urschweiz* Society for the Preservation of Monuments, Nidwalden Commission for Heritage Protection, Hergiswil Church Council and Ministry, Hergiswil Municipality, Hergiswil Fellowship Society, the Pro Pilatus Association and the Alpine Friends of Pilatus, Hergiswil. The commission believed the chapel should be preserved, particularly because the well-known Urschweizer* preserver of monuments, Alois Hediger, declared the preservation and repair of the Klimsenhorn Chapel to be urgently advisable.
In summer 1974 – after finances had been secured – renovation of the chapel was able to begin. The early onset of winter forced an interruption of the work, which was only able to be completed in summer 1975. The cost of the renovation was around 180,000 Swiss francs.
In 1975 the Klimsenhorn Chapel Foundation, with its domicile in Hergiswil, was set up to ensure the continued existence of the chapel. The aim of the foundation was to ensure preservation of the historic chapel on the Klimsen saddle and to enable religious services to be held there.
On Sunday, 7 September 1975, the newly renovated chapel on the Klimsen saddle was consecrated and handed over to the Klimsenhorn Chapel Foundation.

Chapel on Klimsenhorn

Chapel on Klimsenhorn

In 2002, on the initiative of PILATUS-BAHNEN, an inspection took place together with the Nidwalden Society for the Protection of Monuments. All participants were able to get an on-the-spot picture of the alarming structural state of the chapel and determine which measures were urgently needed. On the advice of experts, the foundation council concluded that total renovation of the chapel was unavoidable and in the same year decided on immediate measures to prevent further damage.
The Klimsenhorn Chapel had already been entered as a historic building of national importance on an earlier list at the Nidwalden Public Records Office. The definitive preservation order and acceptance to the list of monuments was decided on by the Nidwalden Governing Council in September 2002.
The extensive renovation of the chapel began in 2003 and the work was able to be completed before winter set in. The cost of the renovation was around 642,000 Swiss francs.
On Sunday, 8 August 2004, the newly renovated chapel on the Klimsen saddle was consecrated anew by Abbot Berchtold Müller in the presence of numerous friends of Mount Pilatus.
In summer 2006 the fencing around the chapel was extended to achieve a neat and tidy picnic spot.
* Urschweiz comprises the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden in Central Switzerland.