Environment

The Alpine Four-Thousanders

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation has recorded 82 peaks in the Alps with elevations of at least 4000 meters.

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, often referred to by its French name, Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA), is an organization that oversees research pertaining to mountaineering issues. It represents mountain climbers all over the world in order to ensure the safety and continued success of this sport.

What are the Alpine Four-Thousanders?

As part of its functions, the UIAA also maintains lists of mountains around the world, which include information about elevation, summit trails, records of ascents, and locations. The Alpine Four-Thousanders refers to the mountain peaks in the Alps that stand at 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) or higher. The UIAA lists 82 official Alpine Four-Thousanders. Of these, 48 are located in Switzerland, 38 in Italy, and 25 in France. This article takes a closer look at some of the tallest peaks on the Alpine Four-Thousanders list.

The Tallest Peaks of the Alpine Four-Thousanders

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, standing at 4,808.73 meters (15,774 feet) above sea level. It is located between the Haute-Savoie and Savoie regions in France and the Aosta Valley in Italy, within the Graian Alps range. The first successful summit was accomplished by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard in 1786, which was the earliest climb of any of the Alpine Four-Thousanders. In 1808, Marie Paradis became the first woman to complete the ascent. The next ascent was not accomplished until 30 years later, also by a woman. Interestingly, prior to holding the United States presidency, Theodore Roosevelt led an expedition on this mountain in 1886. Mont Blanc has the highest number of fatalities on record (over 6,000). Approximately 100 deaths per year occur here, making this the most dangerous mountain in the world.

Mont Blanc de Courmayeur

Mont Blanc de Courmayeur is the second highest of the Alpine Four-Thousanders and is recorded at 4,748 meters (15,577.43 feet) in elevation. It is located on the southeast ridge of Mont Blanc. On August 18, 1822, F. Clissold and J. M. Couttet became the first climbers to reach the top with the help of 5 guides. The Bosses ridge provides the easiest trail to the summit, while the Brouillard and Peuterey ridges are more difficult. The exact location of this mountain was previously disputed by the Italian Geographic Military Institute, which claimed it was entirely within Italian borders, while the French National Geographic Institute claimed it is directly on the border between these two countries. Both countries signed an agreement in 1861 that more clearly defined the national borders.

Dufourspitze

Dufourspitze is the third tallest of the Alpine Four-Thousanders summits. It stands at an elevation of 4,634 meters (15,203 feet) above sea level and is located within the Piedmont area and Aosta Valley of Italy and the Canton of Valais in Switzerland. It is the highest mountain in the Pennine Alps range and in Switzerland. The first successful ascent of Dufourspitze occurred in August of 1855 by a group of 8 climbers, who managed to reach the summit by hiking over the western slopes. Roughly two weeks later, the same guides took a new group over the same western ridge trail, securing its place as the most popular route to the summit. Several groups have unsuccessfully attempted to reach the summit via the northern slopes prior to this date.

The Alpine Four-Thousanders

RankSummitHeight (m)RangeCountry
1Mont Blanc4,808.73Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
2Mont Blanc de Courmayeur4,748Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
3Dufourspitze4,634Monte Rosa MassifSwitzerland
4Nordend4,609Monte Rosa MassifItaly/ Switzerland
5Zumsteinspitze4,563Monte Rosa MassifItaly/ Switzerland
6Signalkuppe4,554Monte Rosa MassifItaly/ Switzerland
7Dom4,545Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
8Liskamm (Eastern Summit)4,527Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
9Weisshorn4,505Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
10Täschhorn4,491Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
11Liskamm (Western Summit)4,479Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
12Matterhorn4,478Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
13Picco Luigi Amedeo4,469Mont Blanc GroupItaly
14Mont Maudit4,465Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
15Parrotspitze4,432Monte Rosa MassifItaly/ Switzerland
16Dent Blanche4,357Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
17Ludwigshöhe4,341Monte Rosa MassifItaly/ Switzerland
18Nadelhorn4,327Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
19Schwarzhorn (Corno Nero)4,322Monte Rosa MassifItaly
20Combin de Grafeneire4,314Grand CombinSwitzerland
21Dôme du Goûter4,304Mont Blanc GroupFrance
22Lenzspitze4,294Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
23Finsteraarhorn4,274Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
24Mont Blanc du Tacul4,248Mont Blanc GroupFrance
25Grand Pilier d’Angle4,243Mont Blanc GroupItaly
26Stecknadelhorn4,241Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
27Castor4,223Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
28Zinalrothorn4,221Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
29Hohberghorn4,219Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
30Vincent Pyramid4,215Monte Rosa MassifItaly
31Grandes Jorasses (Pointe Walker)4,208Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
32Alphubel4,206Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
33Rimpfischhorn4,199Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
34Aletschhorn4,193Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
35Strahlhorn4,190Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
36Combin de Valsoray4,183Grand CombinSwitzerland
37Grandes Jorasses (Pointe Whymper)4,184Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
38Dent d’Hérens4,171Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
39Breithorn (Western Summit)4,164Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
40Breithorn (Central Summit)4,159Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
41Jungfrau4,158Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
42Bishorn4,153Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
43Breithorn (Eastern Summit/ western Twin Peak)4,139Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
44Combin de la Tsessette4,134Grand CombinSwitzerland
45Aiguille Verte4,122Mont Blanc GroupFrance
46Aiguilles du Diable (L’Isolée)4,114Mont Blanc GroupFrance
47Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey4,112Mont Blanc GroupItaly
48Grandes Jorasses (Pointe Croz)4,110Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
49Aiguilles du Diable (Pointe Carmen)4,109Mont Blanc GroupFrance
50Mönch4,107Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
51Breithorn (Gendarm/ eastern Twin Peak)4,106Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
52Grande Rocheuse4,102Mont Blanc GroupFrance
53Barre des Écrins4,102PelvouxFrance
54Aiguilles du Diable (Pointe Médiane)4,097Mont Blanc GroupFrance
55Pollux4,092Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
56Schreckhorn4,078Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
57Breithorn (Roccia Nera)4,075Wallis AlpsItaly/ Switzerland
58Aiguilles du Diable (Pointe Chaubert)4,074Mont Blanc GroupFrance
59Mont Brouillard4,069Mont Blanc GroupFrance
60Grandes Jorasses (Pointe Marguerite)4,065Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
61Aiguilles du Diable (Corne du Diable)4,064Mont Blanc GroupFrance
62Ober Gabelhorn4,063Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
63Gran Paradiso4,061Graian AlpsItaly
64Aiguille de Bionnassay4,052Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
65Piz Bernina4,049Bernina GroupSwitzerland
66Gross Fiescherhorn4,049Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
67Vincent Pyramid (Punta Giordani/Giordanispetz)4,046Monte Rosa MassifItaly
68Grandes Jorasses (Pointe Elena)4,045Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
69Grünhorn4,044Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
70Lauteraarhorn4,042Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
71Aiguille du Jardin4,035Mont Blanc GroupFrance
72Dürrenhorn4,035Mischabel GroupSwitzerland
73Allalinhorn4,027Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
74Hinter Fiescherhorn4,025Bernese AlpsSwitzerland
75Weissmies4,017Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
76Dôme de Rochefort4,015Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
77Barre des Écrins (Dôme de Neige)4,015PelvouxFrance
78Dent du Géant4,013Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
79Punta Baretti4,013Mont Blanc GroupItaly
80Lagginhorn4,010Wallis AlpsSwitzerland
81Aiguille de Rochefort4,001Mont Blanc GroupFrance/ Italy
82Les Droites4,000Mont Blanc GroupFrance

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