1902 Encyclopedia > The Alps > Lepontine Alps

The Alps
(Part 14)



(B) MAIN DIVISIONS OF THE ALPS

(h) Lepontine Alps


The portion of the Alpine Chain lying between the Simplon and Splügen passes, and forming the boundary between the tributaries of the PO and those of the Rhine, presents some peculiar orographic characteristics. The line of watershed is pretty nearly parallel to that great line of depression traced across Switzerland by the valley of the Rhone, the Urserenthal, and the valley of the Vorderrhein; and a tendency to parallelism with the same system may be traced in many parts of this group. But the dominant direction of the secondary valleys and ridges is that of the meridian; and on the south side we find a series of long valleys running from north to south, with occasional slight distortions. The most considerable of these are partly occupied by the two famous Lombard lakes- Maggiore and Como- which have from an early period attracted the admiration of strangers to this region. Ancient geographers limited the term Leopontine Alps to the portion of this group that sends its drainage on the south side to the river Ticino; but the ranges between the Splügen and Bernardino passes, and between the lakes Maggiore and Como, evidently belong to the same system, and must be united in any natural arrangement of the Alps. On considering a tolerably correct model, it is impossible not to be struck by the fact that all the valleys that contain the most considerable streams of the central Alps appear to radiate from the neighborhood of the St Gotthard Pass. If we measure from the summit of that pass to the head valleys of the Rhone, the Aar, the Reuss, the Vorderrhein, the Ticino, and the Ticcia, we find that the most distant lies within 9 English miles from that point. This fact has doubtless a significance which we are not yet able fully to appreciate, but scarcely suffices to justify the view of those who regard the St Gotthard Pass as in some special sense the central point of the whole system of the Alps. It is worth remarking that, so far from being distinguished by superior height, the neighboring peaks are surpassed by all the surrounding groups, and that the valley are much deeper than in many other districts, and especially than those of eastern Switzerland.





Chief Peaks of the Leopontine Alps

Monte Leone……………… 11,696 Piz Vial, or Gallinario……. 10,387
Wasenhorn……………….. 10,628 Piz Valrhein………………. 11,148
Ofenhorn, or Puntad’Arbola10,728 Vogelberg…………………. 10,561
Blinnenhorn……………… 10,932 Piz Terri…………………… 10,338
Monte Basodine…………. 10,748 Piz Cavel………………….. 9,659
Pizzo Rotondo…………… 10,489 Fanellahorn………………. 10,243
Pizzo di Campo Tenca….. 10,096 Lochliberg………………... 9,990
Pioda di Crana………….. 7,959 Piz Beverin……………….. 9,843
Cima di Laurasca………. 7,264 Tambohorn………………. 10,748
Badus, or Six Maduna….. 9,616 Cima di Balniscio………… 9,967
Scopi……………………... 10,499 Monte Camoghe…………. 7,304
Cima Camadra………….. 10,509


Chief Passes in the Leopontine Alps

Ritter Pass (Viesch to Isella), snow……………………………… 8,854
Albrum Pass (Viesch to Premia), bridle-path………………….. 8,005
Gries Pass (Obergestelen to Formazza), bridle-path………….. 8,050
Nufenen Pass (Obergestelen to Airolo), bridle-path…………… 8,009
Passo di San Giacomo (Formazza to Airolo), bridle-path …….. 7,572
Furka Pass (Obergestelen to Hospenthal), carriage road…….. 7,992
St Gotthard Pass (Hospenthal to Airolo), carriage road……… 6,936
Criner Furka (Locarno to Val Formazza), footpath………….. 7,631
Passo di Narret (Locarno to Airolo), footpath………………… 8,013
Passo dell’ Uomo (Dissentis to Airolo), footpath……………… 7,257
Lukmanier Pass (Dissentis to Olivone), bridle-path………….. 6,289
Greina Pass (Trons to Olivone), bridle-path………………….. 7,743
Disrut Pass (Ilanz to Olivone), footpath……………………….. 7,953
Scaradra Pass (Ilanz to Ghirone), snow……………………….. 9,088
Passo di Buffalora (Val Calanca to Mesocco), bridle-path…… 6,686
Bernardino Pass (Hinterrhein to Val Mesocco), carriage road 6,769
Valserberg Pass (Ilanz to Hinterrhein), bridle-path………….. 8,225
Lochliberg Pass (Reichenau to Splugen), footpath……………. 8,165
Splugen Pass (Splugen to Chiavenna), carriage road………… 6,945
Passo di Balniscio (Campodolcino to Mesocco), footpath……. 7,715
Passo della Forcola (Chiavenna to Roveredo), footpath……… 7,274
Passo di San Jorio (Gravedona to Bellinzona), footpath……… 6,417





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