Lepontine Alps

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 46.41706°N / 8.69294°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer
Additional Information Elevation: 11656 ft / 3553 m
Sign the Climber's Log


between Simplon pass and Splugen pass

The name come after the old people of "Leponzi" , an ancient Celtic people living in this area and whose found inscriptions are dated from about 300 BC.

this is a wide range oriented W-E that is the main watershed of Europe, on its northern side the Rhein river basin, on its southern side the Po river basin.
Mountains in this range are not as high as its W neighbours ((Pennine Alps where the ridge is often over the 4000m) nor as its E neighbour (Retiche Alps where the ridge is often over 3600m)
on the other side, this range is normally deep and the distances between N and S main valleys are normally big.

Wide variety of rocks .. starting with the fantastic granite near the St. Gotthard and ending with the crumbly rocks in its eastern part, somewhere, especially in the eastern part some dolomite or limestone banks come out in the main ridge ...

A great variety of climbing difficulties ... extreme climbing on granite, fine alpine climb on most of its summits, a large choice of fine hiking routes, the best range to start mountaneering without big risks.
These summits are sometimes busy, full of Lombardic and Ticinesi climbers or hikers that, starting from home, can climb almost all these summits without having to spend the night in refuge or elsewhere but home ...
... few come from abroad, unknowing what they lose :)

As for geographic and orographic structure we can define here these groups :
Leone group
Blinnenhorn (Corno Cieco) group
Basodino and Ticino
Rotondo group (San Gottardo)
Blas group
Medel group
Adula (Rheinwaldhorn) group
Tambò group

Getting There

from Italy (South)
  • Val Formazza
  • Valle Spluga

    from Switzerland - south access - from West to East
    Ticino valley - starting from Locarno
  • Val Maggia
    Ticino valley - starting from Bellinzona
  • Val Bedretto
  • Val di Lucomagno
  • Val Calanca
  • Val san Bernardino

    from Switzerland - north access - from West to East
  • Goschenen
  • Val Medel
  • Val Lumnezia
  • Splugental

    Leone group

    after the Simplon pass the main ridge goes toward north with the important group of Monte Leone hosting some remarkable summits (from S to N) :
  • Hübschhorn (3192m)
  • Monte Leone (3553m)
  • Bortelhorn (3193m)
  • Pizzo Diei (2916m)
  • Monte Cervandone (3211m)
  • Punta della Rossa (2887m)

    Monte Leone from Alpe Veglia
    Monte Leone - NE side
    Monte Cervandone
    Monte Cervandone - E side
    Punta della Rossa - seen...
    Punta della Rossa

    Main valleys and accesses
    from Switzerland (W side) : the Rhon valley
  • the road of Simplon Pass
  • Berisal : the Steinenback
  • Binn : the Langtal, the Kriegalptal, the Binnental
    from Italy (E side) : valle del Toce
  • Varzo : Alpe Veglia, vallone di Sòlcio; valle e Alpe Dévero


    Few km North of this group another fine one, the Blinnenhorn with its fine (few summits)
  • Ofenhorn (Punta d'Arbola) (3285m) wherefrom, toward East, starts the fine ridge of Nefelgiù
  • Hohsandhorn (Punta dei Sabbioni) (3155m)
  • Blinnenhorn (Corno Cieco) (3375m)
  • Rothhorn (Corno Rosso) (3287m)
  • Ritzhorner (3047m)
    the group ends, to the N with the Nufenenpass and to the East with the Passo di S.Giacomo that joins the Val Formazza (Piemonte-Italy) with the Val Bedretto (Canton Ticino-Switzerland)
    Sabbioni lake and Punta...
    Sabbioni lake and the range from Nefelgiù to Sabbioni
    Blinnenhorn  group
    Punta dei Camosci, Blinnenhorn, Fülhorn

    Main valleys and accesses
    from Switzerland (W side) : the Rhon valley
  • Binn : the Binnental
  • Fiesch : the Rappental
  • Gluringen : the Blinnental
    from Switzerland (N side) : val Bedretto
  • Airolo : the road of Nufenenpass
    from Italy (E side) : valle del Toce (Formazza)
  • Valdo : valle del Vannino
  • Riale : val del Sabbione; val di Morasco

    Basodino and Ticino

    from P.so S.Giacomo, toward East, a secondary, but important, ridge that divides Italy (S) from Switzerland (N) and is surrounded, first on its N side, then on its SE side by the Ticino river :
    the Basodino and Ticino group with some remarkable summits
  • Basodino (3273m)
  • Cristallina (2912m)
  • Piz Prevat (2558m)
    and many more ..
  • the group of Campo Tencia (3071m),
  • the high ridge surrounding the Val Maggia and
  • the wide prealpine area descending toward the Lago Maggiore (correct name Verbano lake)

    Punta dei Castei (left),...
    Basodino from W
    a wonderful ski descend
    Cristallina fron NW
    Piz Prevat - from near the Capanna Leit
    Piz Prevat

    Main valleys and accesses
    from Italy (W side)
  • the road of val Formazza
  • Riale : the val Toggia
    from Switzerland (S side)
  • Locarno : val Maggia - val Bavona; val Lavizzara
  • Locarno : val Verzasca
    from Switzerland (N side)
  • the road of the val Leventina
  • the road of val Bedretto


    North of Nufenen pass the main ridge makes the San Gottardo group aka Rotondo group hosting some very interesting mountains
  • Pizzo Gallina (3061m),
  • Poncione di Maniò (2924m),
  • Poncione di Cascina Baggio (2860m)
  • Pizzo Rotondo (3192m)
  • Poncione di Pesciora (3122m)
  • Lucendro (2962m)
    the group ends at the S.Gottard pass.

    from Poncione di Pesciora, toward N, the ridge, passing through the summits of Leckihorn (3065m) and the Mutterhorn (3067m), goes down to the Furka Pass where the Uri alps start

    Pizzo Rotondo
    Pizzo Rotondo
    Rotondo Group
    Pizzo Rotondo and Poncione di Pesciora from Airolo

    Main valleys and accesses
  • from S - the val Bedretto and the road of Nufenenpass
  • from W - the road of Furkapass
  • from M - the Ursental
  • from E - the road of Gotthardpass


    East of S.Gottardo and till the Lucomagno Pass we have the northern border of Ticino river and, in background, toward north a small ridge of little importance delimited by the valley descending from Oberalp pass toward west (Andermatt) and East (Disentis), on this ridge some minor but fine summits ... the Pizzo Centrale (Rotstock (3001m), the Badus (2928m). the Piz Blas (3018m) and the Piz Gannaretsch (3039m) - this range is also known as Blas group

    Main valleys and accesses
    from S - val Leventina (Ticino river)
  • Airolo - the Val Canaria
  • Piotta - the val Piora
    from E - valle del Lucomagno
  • S.Maria - the val Cadlimo
  • the road of val Medels
    from N - the road of Oberalppass
  • Sedrum - the val Nalps
  • Tschamut - the val Curnera
  • Andermatt - the Unteralp
    from W - the road of Gotthardpass

    Medel group

    East of Passo di Lucomagno the ridge rises with the
    Medel group starting with the
  • Scopì (3199m),
  • Cima Camadra (3172m),
  • Piz Medel (3210m) and the
  • Piz Vial (3158m)
  • Piz Vallatscha (3109m)
    coming down again to the Passo di Greina.
    Medel Group
    the Medel Group from North
    Piz Vallatscha
    Piz Vallatscha
    il Sosto
    il Sosto

    Main valleys and accesses
    from W - the road of Lucomagno pass
  • Acia - val Cristallina
    from S
  • Olivone : val di Campo; val Camadra
    from E
  • Llanz : val Lumnezia; Valsertal
    from N - Surselva
  • Surrhein : val Sumvitg
  • Disentis : val Plattas

    Adula - Rheinwaldhorn

    Now the main ridge goes toward S creating the Adula group that starts with the
  • Piz Terri (3149m),
  • Pizzo Cassimoi (3129m)
    then becomes the massif of
    Adula (Rheinwaldhorn) (3402m)

    from this summit a ridge toward NE host, in sequence, the
  • Lentahorn (3237m)
  • Guferhorn (3381m)
  • Lorenzhorn (3048m)
  • Chilchalphorn (3040m)
    and goes on with the ridge that is the northern border of Rhein river, till the
  • Bruschghorn group (3054m) and its minor summits, almost unknown even if fine in all the seasons,
  • the Pizzas d'Anarosa (3000m) and the
  • Piz Beverin (2997m)

    Adula (and Grauhorn), seen...
    Adula (and Grauhorn), seen from the summit of Pizzo Cassimoi
    the ridge from Lorenzhorn to Beverin
    the ridge from Lorenzhorn to Beverin seen from Splugenpass
    Pizzas d Anarosas
    pizzas d'Anarosa

    ... more, from the Adula to SE another important ridge, dividing the Val Calanca (W) from the val S.Bernardino (E) host some fine mountains :
  • Vogelberg (3218m)
  • Zapporthorn (3180m)
  • Pizzo Muccia (2968m) ...
    then the ridge goes down toward Bellinzona with a sequence on minor summit, some very fine for Ski-mountaneering.

    Main valleys and accesses
    from W - val Blènio
  • Dandrio - val Malvagl
    from S - val Calanca
  • Rossa
    from E - San Bernardino pass road
  • Hinterrhein - Rheinwald
    from N
  • Llanz : val Lumnezia; Valsertal

    Tambò group

    The S.Bernardino Pass (2065m) is the western border of the
    Tambò group
    that is the western border of the Vallespluga where the Western Alps end.
    main summits of this range are :
    on its western (between the Val S.Bernardino and the Val Curciusa)
  • Einshorn (2862m)
  • Pizzo Uccello (2719m)
  • Piz Lumbreda (2982m)
    on the main ridge
  • Guggernüll (2886m)
  • Pizzo Tambò (3279m)
  • Pizzo Zoccone (3029m)
  • Pizzo Ferrè (3103m)
  • Pizzi dei Piani (3151m)
  • Pizzo Quadro (3013m)
  • Pizzo Sevino (3026m)
  • Pizzo Forato (2957m)
    this range ends at the Forcola Pass (2675m) wherefrom, to the South, starts the not famous range named Muncech (Forcola-Marmontana group)
    Tambò group
    Tambò Group from the slopes of Pizzo Spadolazzo

    Main valleys and accesses
    from Switzerland ( W)
  • San Bernardino pass road
    from Switzerland (N)
  • Rheinwald - Nufenen : val Curciusa
    from E
  • the road of Splugenpass (both Switzerland and Italy)
    see the page of Vallespluga for more detailed info

    When To Climb

    depending on summits and ranges
    many good areas for ski-mountaneering

  • Parents 


    Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

    Alps - Western PartAreas & Ranges