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Monte Bianco di Courmayeur, Italy


Prominence: 18 m, 59 ft

Elevation: 4748 meters, 15,577 feet


Approx. Isolation: 0.61 km, 0.38 mi
Peak TypeSub-Peak, subsidiary to Mont Blanc
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)45° 49' 43'' N; 6° 52' 12'' E
45.828667, 6.870062 (Dec Deg)
334567E 5077218N Zone 32 (UTM)
CountryItaly
State/ProvinceValle d’Aosta
County/Second Level RegionHaute-Savoie
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Lists that contain Monte Bianco di Courmayeur:
     Europe 4500-meter Peaks (Unranked)
     Alpine 4000-meter Peaks (Unranked)
     Europe High Points - Comprehensive List (Rank #5)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Europe's High Points (McKeating, Crolla)

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Description:

French maps show the summit area of Mont Blanc as 100% French territory, and if this is correct, then Mont Blanc de Courmayeur could be the highest point in Italy. But the Italians maintain that the boundary crosses the summit of Mont Blanc, a view this web site shares, leaving Mont Blanc de Courmayeur as a southern sub-peak that is totally within Italy.

If the border that jogs south is the true border, though, the highest point in Italy becomes somewhat problematical. Mont Blanc de Courmayeur (15,577'/4748m), just 625m southeast from the very top of Mont Blanc, would become the highest named summit in Italy. However, 250m northwest of Mont Blanc, the "French jog" of the France-Italy border rejoins the main ridge at possibly 15,617'/4760m, maybe less, depending on the map you use and the snow cover in a given year. Thus, this unnamed spot on the ridge would then be the highest mathematical point in one of the world's most important countries.

Mont Blanc de Courmayeur is in some ways a more impressive summit than the true summit of Mont Blanc, since it sits directly atop the massive Brenva Face of the massif. From the summit of this sub-peak, icy cliffs drop thousands of meters to the Italian valleys below.

Many Italians will claim that Gran Paradiso (13,323'/4061m) is the country's highest mountain, since it is the only 4000m peak located, base and all, entirely within Italy. Gran Paradiso is an isolated Alpine massif south of the Valle d'Aosta, and a worthy objective for those who want a simple answer to the highest peak question without the distractions of the boundary issue.

In 1993 Sri Chimnoy, a noted Indian guru and peace activist, declared the highest peaks in the seven countries that share the Alps to be special "peace mountains" of some sort. Apparently if one climbs all seven, one can even apply for a special Sri Chimnoy peace medal. I saw special plaques at or near the high points of Slovenia, Germany, and Switzerland, but I don't know which peak in Italy is being used in this list. If it is Point 4760 or Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, then Italy's "peace mountain" is awfully close to Mont Blanc itself and hardly worthy of special designation. Perhaps it is Gran Paradiso--I don't know.

Climbing Notes:

The massive hordes of climbers who ascend Mont Blanc every summer generally trudge right over point 4760 on their way up from the Gouter Hut or Chamonix. From Mont Blanc I attempted to climb over to the top of Mont Blanc de Courmayeur, but I got spooked by the massive overhanging cornices on its crest, the late hour of the day, and the lack of footprints or tracks leading there combined with my status as a solo climber. For a confident and fit team that has summited Mont Blanc, though, strolling over to Mont Blanc de Courmayeur and back in an hour is an easy way to make sure that you have indeed climbed Italy's high point.

Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Italian topographic maps clearly show the France-Italy border passing over the summit of Mont Blanc, as specified by treaty.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Web Map LinksBing Maps   MSN/Encarta   Google Maps
ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 18 m/59 ft
  Optimistic Prominence: 18 m/59 ft
  Key Col: Col Major    4730 m/15,518 ft
Isolation0.61 km/0.38 mi
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Mont Blanc  (NW)
Isolation distance is based on NHN and is slightly overstated.
RangesContinent: Europe
Range2: Alps
Range3: Western Alps
Range4: Savoy Alps
Range5: Mont Blanc Massif
Drainage BasinsPo
Adriatic Sea
Mediterranean Sea
Atlantic Ocean
Google Maps Dynamic Map

 Monte Bianco di Courmayeur    Other Peaks
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Other Photos


Mont Blanc de Courmayeur from just below the summit of Mont Blanc (1993-08-17).



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