1902 Encyclopedia > The Alps > Bernese Alps

The Alps
(Part 12)



(B) MAIN DIVISIONS OF THE ALPS

(f) Bernese Alps


There is no considerable mass of Alpine summits whose boundaries are better defined than that which is generally known as the group of the Bernese Alps. By the number and height of the peaks, that rise far above the limits of perpetual snow; it ranks next in importance to the Pennine group; and its position with reference to that group has largely contributed to the fame of the region which they occupy for a marvelous and almost unique combination of grandeur and variety. The most characteristic feature in the orography of Switzerland is the great valley system that extends in a nearly direct line from Martigny to Coire – interrupted; it is true, by two passes (the Furka and Oberalp) of small elevation compared to the surrounding heights. On the opposite sides of this great trench the chief groups of the central Alps are arranged in masses that, amid much apparent irregularity, approach to parallelism with the direction of the central valley. Hence the traveler who attains any considerable height on either side sees over against him the dominant summits of the opposite group in constantly varying combination. The highest groups (the Pennine and Bernese) are so placed that the chief peaks on the one side are rarely more than 20 miles apart from their rivals in the opposite chain, and the projecting summits of the secondary ridges between them afford panoramic views of wonderful beauty and grandeur. What may be called the main chain of the Bernese Alps, forming the boundary between the Swiss cantons of Bern and Valais, extends parallel to the course of the Rhone, from the glacier which is the main source of that river, to Martigny, a distance of about 70 miles; and we must regard as a dependency of that chain the mountain district that lies on its northern side, between the upper course of the Aar and the head of the Lake of Geneva. Desiring to adhere to the divisions of the Alps admitted by ancient geographers, many modern writers have included the Bernese group among the Lepontine Alps; but this arrangement is not consistent with any rational criterion that can be applied. The only question admitting of doubt is as to the eastern limit of this group. The Aars issues from its parent glaciers at a point very near to the chief source of the Rhone, and separated only by a comparatively deep and broad depression, the Grimsel Pass; and it might appear that the Bernese Alps should be defined as the group enclosed between those rivers. But some ten miles east of the Grimsel Pass the range lying north of the great valley of Switzerland is completely cut through by the valley of the Reuss, where that stream descends towards the Lake of Lucerne through the famous defile of the Devil’s Bridge; and as it would be inconvenient to recon the comparatively small group that lies between the head waters of the reuss and those of that Aar as a separate division, we prefer to include this as a portion of the Bernese Alps.





Chief Peaks of the Bernese Alps

Grand Moveran…………... 10,043 Aletschhorn………………. 13,803
Diablerets…………………. 10,666 Jungfrau………………….. 13,671
Wild horn…………………. 10,722 Monch…………………….. 13,438
Wildstrubel……………….. 10,715 Eiger………………………. 13,045
Balmhorn…………………. 12,100 Finsteraathorn……………. 14,026
Doldenhorn………………. 11,965 Schreckhorn………………. 13,394
Blumlis Alp (Blumlisalp- Wetterhorn (Mittelhorn)…. 12,166
horn)……………… 12,041 Rizlihorn……………………10,774
Bietschhorn………………. 12,969 Eggischhorn………………. 9,649
Loffelhorn………………… 10,138 Titlis……………………….. 10,627
Galenstock………………… 11,956 Uri Rothstock……………... 9,620
Dammastock………………. 11,920 Niesen ……………………… 7,763
Sustenhorn………………… 11,519 Brienzer Rothhorn………... 7,917
Gross Spannort…………….10,515 Pilatus (Oberhaupt)……….. 7,290

Chief Passes in the Bernese Alps

Col de Cheville (Bex to Sion), bridle-path……………………… 6,680
Sanetsch Pass (Sion to Saanen), bridle-path…………………… 7,369
Rawyl Pass (Sion to Zweisimmen), bridle-path……………….. 7,943
Gemmi pass (Kandersteg to Leuk), bridle-path………………. 7,553
Lotschen Pass (kandersteg to Turtman), glacier……………… 8,796
Tschingel pass (Kandersteg to Lauterbrunnen), glacier……… 9,252
Petersgrat (lauterbrunnen to Kippel), glacier…………………. 10,550
Lotschen Lucke (Kippel to the Æggischhorn), glacier………… 10,512
Kleine Scheidegg (Lauterbrunnen to Grindelwald), bridle-path 6,768
Grosse Scheidegg (Grindelwald to Meyringen), bridle-path….. 6,910
Monch Joch (Grindelwald to Viesch), glacier……………about. 11,600
Strahleck Pass (Grindelwald to the Grimsel), glacier………….. 10,994
Brunig Pass (Brienz to Sarnen), carriage road…………………. 3,648
Engelberger joch (Meyringen to Engelberg), bridle-path ……… 7,244
Susten pass (Meyringen to Wasen), Carriage road (?)…………. 7,440
Triftlimmi (trift Glacier to Grimsel), glacier…………… about 10,200
Geschenenlimmi (Greschenen to Stein Alp), glacier…… about 10,170
Surenen Pass (Engelberg to Altdorf), bridle-path……………… 7,562





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