Challenge yourself to a rewarding climb to the peak of one of the highest mountains in Europe and earn some bragging rights into the bargain!
Mont Blanc, France and Italy
Europe’s highest mountain is Mont Blanc, aka ‘White Mountain’ and lies within the Alps of both France and Italy (pictured above). Rising to a dizzying 15,781 feet (4,810 meters) tall, Mont Blanc’s resorts are popular with skiiers and snowboarders, as well as hikers and mountaineers. The very first ascent was in 1786, which gave way to the start of modern mountaineering as we know it today. And 20,000 people set out to tackle Mont Blanc each year, with the Voie Des Cristalliers route the most popular.
Monte Rosa, Switzerland
Within the Swiss Pennine Alps lies Monte Rosa, which is the second tallest mountain range in Europe. With an elevation of 15,203 feet (4,634 meters), it’s thought that Rosa made an appearance in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, as ‘Monte Bosa’. The first ascent was made in August 1855 by a team of eight determined adventurers.
Zumsteinspitze, Italy and Switzerland
Again located within the Pennine Alps is Zumsteinspitze, which is actually classed as a sub-peak of Monte Rosa (see above). The first ascent was in August 1820 when the small tea climbed the 14,970 feet (4,563 meters) summit. Keen climbers can tackle Zumsteinspitze from either Piedmont in Italy or from Valais in Switzerland.
Signalkuppe, Italy and Switzerland
The Pennine Alps is also home to the 14,941 feet (4,554 m) peak Signalkuppe. A small team, led by a parish priest, first tackled Punta Gnifetti (named after the priest Giovanni Gnifetti) in August 1842. The summit is also home to the highest hut within Europe: the Margherita hut was opened by the Queen in 1893.
Mighty Mount Dom rises to 14,911 feet (4,545 m) and lies in the Pennine Alps within Switzerland. Generally considered to be a fairly easy climb, there are cable cars are climb facilities at Saas Fee. Many opt to start at Randa and as the climb requires an overnight stay, stop off at Dom Hut, which must be pre-booked. Keen mountaineers have been ascending Dom since the first party to reach the top in September 1858 by Reverend J L Davies.
Liskamm, Italy and Switzerland
Liskamm presents more of a challenge as the mountain is set around a 5 km long ridge. The principle peak is 14,888 feet (4,538 m) and its parent is Monte Rosa (see above). Today’s route follows the original route that was taken more than 150 years ago. The first ascent was made by a largely British team in 1861. Watch the fascinating YouTube video below which captures the thrill and excitement.
The most famous peak in Europe is the Matterhorn but Weisshorn actually towers over the peak by a full 30 meters! At a total elevation of 14,783 feet (4,506 m), Weisshorn was first ascended in August 1861. All routes up Weisshorn are considered difficult, not least because the mountain face is incredibly exposed.