The Alps[a] are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe,[b] stretching approximately 750 mi (1,210 km) across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia.
The Alpine arch generally extends from Nice on the western Mediterranean to Trieste on the Adriatic and Vienna at the beginning of the Pannonian Basin. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,809 m (15,778 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains 128 peaks higher than 4,000 m (13,000 ft).
The altitude and size of the range affect the climate in Europe; in the mountains, precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m (11,155 ft), and plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations.
5,000 years old
Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era. A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991.
By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, and artists, in particular, the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks.
The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity. The traditional culture of farming, cheesemaking, and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded greatly after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century.
The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, Italian, Austrian and German Alps. At present, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors.
List of prominent mountains of the Alps above 3000 m
This page tabulates only the most prominent mountains of the Alps, selected for having a topographic prominence of at least 300 metres (980 ft), and all of them exceeding 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in height. Although the list contains 537 summits, some significant alpine mountains are necessarily excluded for failing to meet the stringent prominence criterion.
The list of these most prominent mountains is continued down to 2500 m elevation at List of prominent mountains of the Alps (2500–2999 m) and down to 2000 m elevation on List of prominent mountains of the Alps (2000–2499 m). All such mountains are located in either France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany or Slovenia, even in some lower regions. Together, these three lists include all 44 ultra-prominent peaks of the Alps, with 19 ultras over 3000m on this page.
For a definitive list of all 82 the highest peaks of the Alps, as identified by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), and often referred to as the ‘Alpine four-thousanders’, see List of mountains of the Alps over 4000 metres.
Tallest Peaks in the Alps Range
The Alps, located in Europe, is one of the most popular destinations in the world for a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, trekking, climbing, and skiing. This incredibly massive mountain range stretches across 8 countries: France, Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia. The Alp’s top ten tallest peaks are almost all located in Switzerland with the exception of Mont Blanc being in France and Italy, and both Monte Rosa and Liskamm being shared by Italy and Switzerland.
Many of Alpenwild’s tours allow for viewing of these peaks :
1. Mont Blanc 2. Monte Rosa 3. Dom4. Liskamm5. Weisshorn6. Matterhorn7. Dent Blanche8. Grand Combin9. Finsteraarhorn10. Zinalrothorn
Mont Blanc, Italian Monte Bianco, mountain massif and highest peak (15,771 feet [4,807 metres]) in Europe. Located in the Alps, the massif lies along the French-Italian border and reaches into Switzerland. It extends southwestward from Martigny, Switzerland, for about 25 miles (40 km) and has a maximum width of 10 miles (16 km). The summit is in French territory.
Surrounding the massif are the Graian Alps (south), the Chamonix Valley and Savoy Alps (west), the Pennine Alps (northeast), and the Valley of Courmayeur (east). Other principal peaks within the massif include Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, Aiguille (“Peak”) du Géant, Les Grandes Jorasses, Mont Dolent, and Aiguille du Midi.
Glaciers cover approximately 40 square miles (100 square km) of Mont Blanc (whence its name, meaning “white mountain”). Ice streams stretch from the central ice dome down to below 4,900 feet (1,490 metres). The Mer de Glace, the second longest glacier in the Alps, reached the elevation of 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) in 1930. At the beginning of the 17th century, glaciers advanced to the bottom of the Chamonix Valley, destroying or burying cultivated land and dwellings. Since that time, the glaciers have periodically advanced and retreated.