Areas & Ranges
Page Type: Area/Range
46.63980°N / 10.29083°E
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
13284 ft / 4049 m
Mathias Zehring Created/Edited: Mar 5, 2006 / Nov 1, 2011
Object ID: 178558
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OverviewThe Rhaetian Alps (Italian name: Alpi Retiche, German name: Rätische Alpen) are a big and complex mountain area in the very centre of the alps. It's name derives from the people of the Raeter that lived here and / or from the province Raetia of the Roman Empire. Today this is the area where Austria, Italy and Switzerland meet. This means a great variety of culture, of landscapes, of mountain formations and of course of alpinistic possibilities. Though here are not the highest mountains of the Alps - the heart of the Alps is beating here.
In Switzerland the term "Raeter" or "Rhaeter" is used as a synonym for the province of Grison (German: Graubuenden) and its most common example is the famous railway company "Rhaetische Bahn".
As a mountain group the term is not common any more in German speaking area – but much more in Italy where it is the central term for naming this area
According to Marazzi the area can be divided into three sectors: Western, Eastern and Southern Rhaetian Alps and these sectors contain the more or less well-known mountain groups that already have or will have in the future their pages here on SummitPost.
overview mapthe following map is interactive: hover your mouse over the group number in the map and the name will appear. Clicking will lead to its section of the page.
A) WESTERN RHAETIAN ALPSWe are starting with the most complicated sector, covering landscapes in Switzerland, Austria and Italy.
1) Platta Group (aka Oberhalbstein Alps or Avers Mountains)The western part is covered by the page about Valle Spluga, that is about the mountains on both sides of the Spluga valley. The Eastern part of this page deals with mountains of Platta Group, while the western part belongs to the Western Alps and Tambo Group of Lepontine Alps.
And here ist the Group page for the fully Platta Group.
In Platta Group there is the highest village of the entire alps: Juf (2126m). This is also a good basis for hiking and tour skiing.
highest mountain is: Piz Platta (3392m).
upper Avers valley
2) Albula AlpsAlbula Alps (or: Albula Group) are the mountains between Davos and Engadin valley. northern border is the road of Flueela pass, southern border is the road over Julier pass.
Well-known basis is of course Davos, that is the highest town of the entire Alps.
highest mountain is Piz Kesch (3418m)
The Group offers nice possibilities for hiking and tour skiing in spring. A good basis for tour skiing in spring is Capanna Jenatsch hut with access from Julier pass road
For more please visit Digitalis' page about Albula Alps.
dominating Piz Kesch 3) Plessur GroupThese are the mountains between Davos and the Rhine valley. Well-known sites in this group are the skiing stations of Arosa and Lenzerheide. So there are many cablecars for skiing. But you will find also some unspoiled mountains for hiking and skiing.
Highest mountain: Arosa-Rothorn (2980m)
The mountains posted yet are:
Mattjisch Horn (2460m)
Matjisch Horn - a skiers paradise
4) Raetikon GroupThis is the north-western part of the Rhaetian Alps. Over the main ridge runs the Swiss - Austrian border, and the western part to the Rhine valley builds the "tax haven" of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Unlike the other groups named before and after, the mountains consist of limestone and build some sharp rocky peaks that carry some severe alpine rock-climbing routes. There is are many mountain huts connected by hiking trails so there are good possibilities for hiking trips from hut to hut.
Also tour skiing is an option. Best spot is the village of St. Antoenien on the Swiss side of the mountains.
Highest mountain: Schesaplana (2964m)
For more and to see the existing mountain pages please have a look at the Group page of Raetikon.
Sulzfluh, Drei Tuerme, Drusenfluh
5) Silvretta GroupEast of the Raetikon Group the character of mountains is very different: The mountains are higher, less sharp and glacier covered. Esp. in the northern, Austrian, part there are many huts that serve as basis for moderate alpine climbs or tour skiing. Silvretta is a classical area for tour skiing.
The highest mountain, Piz Linard (3411m), is located south of the main ridge on the Swiss side. More famous is probably Piz Buin (3312m)
More to find on the Silvretta Group page.
big and little Piz Buin 6) Ferwall GroupThough placed between the well-known ski resorts of St. Anton and Ischgl the mountains of the Ferwall Group (aka Verwall) have still remained a calm area. The main mountains are not easy to ascend and require climbing skills - only the highest, Hoher Riffler (3168m) can be reached by a hiker to the Fore-summit.
Most prominent mountain is Patteriol (3056m)
Some huts and hiking trails allow a several-day hiking trip through the group for an experienced hiker.
For detailed information please visit the Ferwall Group page!
Central Ferwall Group
7) Samnaun GroupThese mountains are much more less shaped than the ones in neighbouring Silvretta Group. The northern part of the group is well covered by the big ski arenas of Ischgl and Serfaus.
Main mountain is Muttler (3294m)
please read more on the Samnaun Group page!
Northern Samnaun Group
8) Sesvenna Group (aka Muenstertal Alps)Here the countries of Austria, Italy and Switzerland meet (just north of Piz Lad). It is a nice and mostly unspoiled area for hiking and climbing. The main mountains are not difficult to climb and offer nice views to the surrounding more prominent mountain groups.
Best spot for tour skiing from January to March is S-Charl in Switzerland
The group has its name from its highest mountain: Piz Sesvenna (3204m).
For more information please visit the Sesvenna Group page.
Muntpitschen and Piz Sesvenna
9) Livigno AlpsOrtler and Bernina, its famous neighbours are the reason that Livigno Alps are rather unknown to many climbers. The name comes from the village / ski station of Livigno in the centre of these mountains. The northern part of the group near Ofenpass / Passo dal Fuorn is the strictly protected area of the Swiss National Park.
As a basis for tour skiing in winter and spring I can warmly recommend Rifugio Saoseo with access from the south side of the Bernina pass road.
Highest mountain is impressive but rather unknown Cima dei Piazzi (3439m)
More information on the Group Page for Livigno Alps
10) Bernina GroupPiz Bernina, Piz Palue, Piz Roseg – the main mountains of the Bernina Group are famous worldwide. Piz Bernina (4049m) is the only 4000m-peak of the Eastern Alps. Most foreign climbers and tourists only know the well-known views of the Swiss side – but also the south, Italian side is worth visiting!
Please read more on the page about Bernina Group
Bernina Group panorama
11) Val Masino Alps (aka Bergell mountains)Piz Badile is surely the best known mountain in this paradise of granite rocks – one of the best spots for rock-climbing in the entire alps. Many climbers know these mountains as Bergell
On the highest mountain, beautiful Monte Disgrazia (3678m) the ice is dominating
All info and many pictures can be found on our page: Val Masino Alps
famous panorama from Soglio
B) EASTERN RHAETIAN ALPS 12) Oetztal AlpsThis is Austria's mountain group with most high mountains, and most glaciers – only single Grossglockner is higher. It offers great possibilities of hiking, climbing, ice climbing and tour skiing. But also the Italian part is worth visiting
Highest mountain is Wildspitze (3770m)
Full information can be found on our page Oetztal Alps
Weisskamm ridge seen from north from Wassertalkogel 13) Stubai AlpsStubai Alps are not as high as Oetztal Alps but there are esp. in the northern part many interesting 3000m-mountains. It's probably the best area for tour skiing in Austria
Highest mountain is Zuckerhuetl (3507m)
Please visit our page: Stubai Alps
14) Sarntal Alps / Monti SarentiniSouth of the main ridge of the Alps and fully in Italy this is an nice mountain group for easy hiking. No glaciers, no very rocky peaks, so this is a fine area for a family holiday
Highest mountain is Hirzer (2741m)
All details on the page about Sarntal Alps / Monti Sarentini
C) SOUTHERN RHAETIAN ALPS 15) Ortler-Cevedale GroupThis is a big and famous mountain group. The highest, Ortler (3905m) and its neighbours Zebru and Koenigspitze (Gran Zebru) are the famous triangle. The centre of the group around Monte Cevedale carries big glaciers, but the group has many more interesting mountains and its side ridges spread out very long and offer good opportunities for hiking, climbing and tour skiing.
Best spot for tour skiing in spring is surely Rifugio Cesare Branca hut in the centre of the group.
Quality of rocks is mostly not fine. So ambitious climbers may choose mixed
climbing routes and ski-mountaneering routes. Especially the north faces of Ortler main summit (often done) and of Gran Zebrù (because of melted ice less often done nowerdays) are classic old style routes that can easily stand comparison to the big routes on the 4000m-peaks of the Western Alps.
Please visit the group page: Ortler-Cevedale Group
Ortler-Cevedale Group main mountains
16) Nonsberg GroupThis calm mountain area fills the gap between Ortler-Cevedale Group and the valley of the river Etsch / Adige. It is more a high plain than a mountain range. Most considerable is the ridge that falls down steep to the Adige valley and the vineyards of South Tyrol. There you will find with Monte Roen (2116m), Penegal (1750m) and Gantkofel (1866m) nice viewpoints as a hikers goal.
Highest mountain is Grosse Laugenspitze (2433m) at the border to Ortler-Cevedale Group.
for everything else - please visit the Nonsberg Group page.
17) Brenta GroupThe Brenta is surrounded by the Sarca valley and Val di Sole valley. Not a big group – but its limestone towers of which Campanile Basso (aka Guglia di Brenta for Germans) is the most famous – are of equal beauty to the "real" Dolomites east of the Adige / Etsch valley. It's a paradise for an experienced alpine rock climber. Hikers and moderate climbers come her to enjoy the unique system of "ferrate" (climbing routes secured by iron cables, stifts and pegs.)
Highest mountain is Cima Tosa (3173m)
All can be found on this great page: Brenta Group
Brenta Group main ridge
18) Adamello-Presanella AlpsIn this area you can find the southernmost glaciers of the Eastern Alps. The contrast of the ice, rocks and the sun of the south is very attractive. The main mountains of the group are situated on a huge high plain of glaciers. They are frequently climbed on the normal routes along the glaciers. But the excellent quality of Tonalite rock (a kind of granite), especially in Val Salarno (Adamello group), Val Nambrone and the subvalleys running towards North from Val Genova valley (Presanella subgroup) make these mountains worth to be visited by trained rock climbers that want to find wild environment and not crowded routes.
Cima Presanella (3556m) in the northern part of the group is the highest mountain, topping Monte Adamello (3539m) just for some meters
Each of the two subgoups has a fine page: Adamello Group - Presanella Group
Adamello Group from Presanella