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Alps

Range TypeMountain range with well-recognized name
Highest PointMont Blanc (4810 m/15,781 ft)
CountriesItaly (29%), Austria (24%), France (19%), Switzerland (12%), Germany (12%), Slovenia (4%), Hungary (2%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area301,558 sq km / 116,432 sq mi
Area may include lowland areas
Extent669 km / 416 mi North-South
1,014 km / 630 mi East-West
Center Lat/Long46° 1' N; 11° 11' E
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The Alps are the dominant range of Europe and one of the top five mountain areas of the world in mountain scenery and climbing challenge. Although only containing about fifty major peaks over 4000m (13,123'), the Alps rise very steeply from low bases and feature extensive glaciation on thousands of their summits. Americans used to the mountains of the western United States will be amazed at the rugged, snowy and steep faces of the Alps, which put the Rockies to shame. It has even been said that high Alpine peaks rise as high above the snowline as ones in the Himalaya and the Andes.

The Alps are a wide and convoluted crescent of ranges and peaks arcing to the north of the Italian Peninsula, from the Julian Alps of Slovenia (once part of Yugoslavia) on the east to the Maritime Alps of the South of France on the west. Within this huge area are many sub-ranges: the Dolomites of northern Italy; the Hohe Tauern of Austria; the Bavarian Alps; the Cottian Alps, and countless others. The three highest, which together contain almost all of the 4000m giants, are the Pennine Alps on the Switzerland-Italy border, the Berner Oberland of central Switzerland, and the Mont Blanc Massif, where France, Switzerland and Italy meet.

The sport of mountaineering was invented in the Alps, and the variety of peaks and routes that can be climbed is staggering, ranging from easy walk-ups to some of the hardest routes on earth. As a range in the heart of a densely settled and advanced continent, access to the Alps is good, perhaps too good: roads, trains, tunnels, cableways, and ski lifts honeycomb the range and often take casual tourists high up towards the peaks. An extensive network of huts in the Alps make backpacking in the American tradition almost unheard of.

Map of Alps
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.


Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
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Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the Alps.
EuropeLevel 1 (Parent)
         Scandinavia-European ArcticLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Northwest EuropeLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Iberian PeninsulaLevel 2 (Sibling)
         AlpsLevel 2
                 Western AlpsLevel 3 (Child)
                 Northern AlpsLevel 3 (Child)
                 Southern AlpsLevel 3 (Child)
                 Eastern AlpsLevel 3 (Child)
         Italian Peninsula and IslandsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Eastern Europe RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Balkan PeninsulaLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Ural MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Caucasus MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)



Major Peaks of the Alps

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NamemftRange3
1.Mont Blanc481015,781Western Alps
2.Monte Rosa463415,203Southern Alps
3.Dom454714,918Southern Alps
4.Liskamm453314,872Southern Alps
5.Weisshorn450614,783Southern Alps
6.Täschhorn449114,734Southern Alps
7.Matterhorn447814,692Southern Alps
8.Pic Luigi Amadeo446914,662Western Alps
9.Mont Maudit446514,649Western Alps
10.Dent Blanche435814,298Southern Alps
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NamemftRange3
1.Mont Blanc481015,781Western Alps
2.Monte Rosa463415,203Southern Alps
3.Finsteraarhorn427414,022Northern Alps
4.Großglockner379812,461Eastern Alps



Photos of Peaks in the Alps

Mont Blanc

The summit of Mont Blanc as seen from the Dome du Gouter area, on the standard ascent route (1993-08-17).
Monte Bianco di Courmayeur
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Italian topographic maps clearly show the France-Italy border passing over the summit of Mont Blanc, as specified by treaty.
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Monte Rosa

Greg Slayden contemplates the cloud-capped icy majesty of the Monte Rosa massif, high point of the Swiss Alps (1993-08-14).
Nordend
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Nordend from the Dufourspitze (2010-07-31). Photo by Robert Garneau.
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Dom

The Mischabel massif on a crystal clear day, from the slopes of the Fletschhorn. The Dom is the highest summit (1993-08-21).
Liskamm
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Happy team on Parrotspitze summit - successful acclimatization before going to Mont Blanc. The peak behind us is Liskamm (2019-06-16). Photo by Rok Podgornik.
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Weisshorn
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On the east ridge (1991-09-01). Photo by Iwan Auderset.
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Matterhorn

This unusual view of the Matterhorn showcases it’s sheer east face (1993-08).
Parrotspitze
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Happy team on Parrotspitze summit - successful acclimatization before going to Mont Blanc. The peak behind us is Liskamm (2019-06-16). Photo by Rok Podgornik.
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Dent Blanche
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View on Dent Blanche from Bricola (normal route) (2021-07-24). Photo by Ondrej Trocak.
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