Lepontine Alps

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Lepontine Alps
Lepontinische Alpen,
Alpi Lepontine
Monte Leone
Highest point
Peak Monte Leone
Elevation 3,553 m (11,657 ft)
Coordinates 46°24′N 8°08′E / 46.400°N 8.133°E / 46.400; 8.133
Alps locator map (Alpi Lepontini).png
Lepontine Alps (red)
Countries Switzerland and Italy
Canton, Region
Range coordinates 46°25′N 8°40′E / 46.42°N 8.67°E / 46.42; 8.67Coordinates: 46°25′N 8°40′E / 46.42°N 8.67°E / 46.42; 8.67
Parent range Western Alps
Borders on
Topo map Swiss Federal Office of Topography swisstopo
Orogeny Alpine orogeny

The Lepontine Alps (German: Lepontinische Alpen, French: Alpes lépontines, Italian: Alpi Lepontine) are a mountain range in the north-western part of the Alps. They are located in Switzerland (Valais, Ticino, Uri and Graubünden) and Italy (Piedmont and Lombardy).

The Simplon rail tunnel (from Brig to Domodossola) the Gotthard rail (from Erstfeld to Bodio) and Gotthard road tunnels (from Andermatt to Airolo) and the San Bernardino road tunnel are important transport arteries.

The eastern portion of the Lepontine Alps, from the St Gotthard Pass to the Splügen Pass, is sometimes named the Adula Alps.


The designation Lepontine Alps, derived from the Latin name of the Val Leventina, has long been somewhat vaguely applied to the Alpine ranges that enclose it, before being used for the whole range.[1]


Following the line marking the division of the waters that flow into the Po from those that feed the Rhone or the Rhine, the main ridge of the Lepontine Alps describes a somewhat irregular curve, convex to the north, from the Simplon Pass to the Splugen Pass. With the single exception of the Monte Leone, overlooking the pass of the Simplon, the summits of this portion of the chain are much inferior in height to those of the neighbouring chains; but two peaks of the Adula group, culminating at the Rheinwaldhorn, exceed 11,000 feet (3,400 m) in height.[1]

The extensive region lying south of the main ridge is occupied by mountain ranges whose summits sometimes rival in height those of the dividing ridge, and which are cut through by deep valleys, three of which converge in the basins of Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, the deepest of all the lakes on the south side of the Alps. The most important of these valleys is the Val Leventina, or the Upper valley of the Ticino. This has been known from a remote antiquity because it leads to the Pass of St Gotthard, one of the easiest lines of communication between northern and southern Europe.

The Lepontine Alps are drained by the rivers Rhône in the west, Reuss in the north, Rhine (Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein) in the east and Ticino and Toce in the south.

List of peaks[edit]

St Gotthard Pass
Greina Pass
Piz Medel

The chief peaks of the Lepontine Alps are:

Name Elevation
m ft
Monte Leone 3,553 11,684
Rheinwaldhorn 3,402 11,149
Güferhorn 3,393 11,132
Blinnenhorn 3,384 11,103
Basodino 3,276 10,749
Pizzo Tambò 3,276 10,749
Helsenhorn 3,274 10,742
Wasenhorn 3,255 10,680
Ofenhorn 3,242 10,637
Scherbadung 3,213 10,542
Piz Medel 3,203 10,509
Scopi 3,200 10,499
Pizzo Rotondo 3,197 10,489
Hohsandhorn 3,182 10,440
Piz Terri 3,151 10,331
Piz Aul 3,124 10,250
Pizzo Pesciora 3,120 10,247
Witenwasserenstock 3,084 10,119
Campo Tencia 3,075 10,089
Leckihorn 3,069 10,069
Bruschghorn 3,054 10,020
Alperschällihorn 3,045 9,991
Chilchalphorn 3,040 9,974
Piz Corbet 3,025 9,925
Piz Blas 3,023 9,918
Monte Giove 3,010 9,876
Pizzo Centrale 3,003 9,853
Pizzas d'Anarosa 3,002 9,850
Piz Beverin 2,998 9,843
Weisshorn (Splugen) 2,992 9,817
Pizzo Lucendro 2,959 9,708
Piz Tomul 2,949 9,676
Piz Cavel 2,944 9,659
Barenhorn 2,932 9,620
Six Madun (Badus) 2,932 9,619
Pizzo Fiorèra 2,921 9,583
Pizzo Forno 2,907 9,537
Piz Muraun 2,899 9,512
Zervreilahorn 2,898 9,508
Punta Valgrande 2,857 9,373
Monte Cistella 2,851 9,353
Piz Lukmanier 2,778 9,115
Monte Prosa 2,738 8,983
Pizzo Columbe 2,549 8,363
Pizzo Paglia 2,594 8,510
Pizzo Cavregasco 2,535 8,317
Pizzo di Cadrèigh 2,516 8,225
Pizzo Campanile 2,458 8,064
Pizzo Bombögn 2,331 7,648
Camoghè 2,226 7,303
Piz Mundaun 2,065 6,775
Monte Generoso 1,704 5,591
Monte San Salvatore  916 3,004
Piz Riein 2,762 9,062


Main glaciers :

List of passes[edit]

The chief passes of the Lepontine Alps are:

Mountain pass location type elevation
m ft
Zapport Pass Hinterrhein to Malvaglia and Biasca snow 3,079 10,103
Guferlücke Canaltal to Lentatal (near Vals, Switzerland) snow 2,980 9,777
Lentalücke Hinterrhein to Vals snow 2,954 9,692
Hohsand Pass Binn to La Frua (Toce waterfalls) snow 2,927 9,603
Lecki Pass Realp to Oberwald VS snow 2,912 9,554
Passo Rotondo Airolo to Oberwald snow 2,880 9,449
Kaltwasser Pass Simplon Hospice to Alpe Veglia snow 2,844 9,331
Scaradra Pass Vals to Olivone foot path 2,770 9,088
Satteltelücke Vals to Vrin foot path 2,768 9,082
Ritter Pass Binn to Alpe Veglia snow 2,692 8,832
Cavanna Pass Realp to Bedretto snow 2,611 8,566
Scatta Minoja Devero to Formazza bridle path 2,597 8,521
Bocca di Cadlimo Airolo to the Lukmanier Pass foot path 2,542 8,340
Valserberg Hinterrhein to Vals bridle path 2,507 8,225
Safierberg Splügen to Safien bridle path 2,490 8,170
Nufenen Pass Ulrichen to Airolo road 2,478 8,130
Geisspfad Pass Binn to Devero foot path 2,475 8,120
Gries Pass Ulrichen to La Frua bridle path 2,468 8,098
Passo di Naret Fusio to Airolo bridle path 2,443 8,015
Passo Valtendra Alpe Veglia to Devero and Baceno bridle path 2,431 7,976
Diesrut Pass Vrin to Somvix bridle path 2,424 7,953
Albrun Pass Binn to Devero and Baceno bridle path 2,410 7,907
Greina Pass Olivone to Somvix bridle path 2,360 7,743
San Giacomo Pass Airolo to La Frua bridle path 2,308 7,573
Passo di Buffalora Mesocco to the Val Calanca foot path 2,265 7,431
Passo dell'Uomo Quinto, Switzerland to the Lukmanier Pass bridle path 2,212 7,258
Splügen Pass Thusis to Chiavenna road 2,117 6,946
St Gotthard Pass Andermatt to Airolo road 2,114 6,936
San Bernardino Pass Thusis to Bellinzona road 2,063 6,769
Lukmanier Pass Disentis to Olivone road 1,917 6,289

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ball, John (1866). The Alpine guide, Central Alps. London. p. 245.