Swiss Alps

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Alps (highlighted in dark brown)
The natural division of Switzerland

The Swiss Alps ( French Alpes suisses , Italian Alpi svizzere , Rhaeto-Romanic Alps svizras ? / I ) are part of the European mountain range called the Alps and the high mountains of Switzerland . The Swiss Alps extend from the Little St. Bernhard , including the Montblanc , Dents du Midi and Chablais groups in the west to the Reschen Pass in the east. This fixation goes back to a suggestion by Christoph Bernoulli in 1811 . The Rhaetian Alps are since then from a Swiss perspective to the old free Rätien limited and now rank among the Swiss Alps. Audio file / audio sample


In Switzerland, it is common to divide the Alps into three along the Alpine arc, so that Switzerland lies entirely in the Central Alps (also obsolete the Middle Alps ) - the division into Eastern and Western Alps is not of great importance in Switzerland. Geographically, this division does not reflect the Swiss reception of the Alps. In addition, the Splügen Pass , higher than the San Bernardino Pass , is not perceived as separating the mountains and geologically - a slate zone between the Tambo and Suretta nappes within the Penninic - only plays a subordinate role. The geological east-west border runs along the contact zone between the Penninic and Eastern Alps. It follows the flexure Chur-Lenzerheide-Tiefencastel-Septimer-Maloja-Val Fex.

The use of canton names in the subdivisions has been criticized again and again (because the political boundaries naturally run primarily on the ridges, which is not very much in line with today's usage of the subdivision in the valley lines). However, alternative names could not establish themselves.

Traditional division

Map from 1811 «Fig. 1.… Instead of the indicated rhomboid a small geognostically divided map has been drawn in which the following mountains are named with letters: d. The Dole in the Jura. m. The Môle. b. the buet. o. The Oldenhorn. j. The Virgin. M. The Montblanc. B. The great Bernhardt. r. The pink. s. The Simplon. G. The semolina. k. The Grimsel. G. The Gotthardt. x. The Tödi. t. The Sentis. p. The Splügen. i. The Bernina. "

In the spirit of the Enlightenment, the first classification according to scientific criteria was made according to the age of the geological formations (prevailing doctrine at the time) into

  • Uralpen formation
  • Alpine limestone formation
  • Nagelflue formation
  • Sandstone formation
  • Jurassic formation

This classification was gradually transferred to the geological classification based on the state of geology.

Orographic classification

Since Claudius Ptolemy , the Swiss Central Alps, the headwaters of the Rhine , Reuss , Aare , Rhone , ( Toce ) and Ticino have played a major role in the geographical perception of the Alps. The two main Alpine ridges running in east-west direction meet here for a short stretch . Ptolemy referred to this area, which at that time was still the highest alpine mountain range, from which all water runs off, the Adula Alps (Latin: ad aqua "water", or Rhaeto-Roman: ad aual "brook"). The four main orographic groups are grouped around this autochthonous massif , separated by the flowing rivers:

  1. Northern Alps
    1. Northwestern part: Bernese Alps in the broader sense
      1. Dents du Midi group
      2. Wildhorn Group
      3. Finsteraarhorn group
      4. Dammagruppe (B. Studer), Urner and Unterwaldner Alps (A. Wäber and v. Bülow 1874), Urner and Engelberg Alps (v. Sonklar), Vierwaldstätter Alps (C. Ritter)
      5. Chablais group
      6. Saane and Simmegruppe (B. Studer and v. Bülow) → Freiburg Alps (v. Sonklar)
      7. Emmengruppe → Emmental Alps (by Sonklar), Lucerne Prealps (O. Allgäuer)
      8. Aagruppe, Unterwaldner and Engelberg Alps (B. Studer),
    2. North-eastern part : Glarus Alps in the broader sense
      1. Tödigruppe (B. Studer) → Glarus Alps
      2. Sardonna group
      3. Sihl group
      4. Thur group → Appenzeller Alps , Thuralpen (by Klöden and A. Wäber 1874), Säntis group (G. and B. Studer)
        1. Alpstein, Säntis Mountains (B. Studer)
        2. Churfirsten Group
  1. Southern alps
    1. Southwestern part: Valais Alps in the broader sense , western Alps (B. Studer)
      1. Mont Blanc group
      2. Sesia group
      3. Maggia group → Ticino Alps
    2. South-eastern part: Bündner Alps in the broader sense
      1. Adula group → Adula Alps
        1. Medel group
        2. Rheinwaldgruppe
      2. Lugano Alps , Seegruppe (B.Studer), Southern Alps (Albert Heim)
      3. North Gadin Alps , North Ratian Alps (v. Sonklar), northern Engadine Alps (HA Berlepsch)
        1. Albula Group → Albula Alps
        2. Silvretta group
        3. Fervall Group → Verwall
      4. Southern Gadine Alps , Southern Ratian Alps (by Sonklar and A. Wäber 1874), Bernina Alps (A. Wäber), southern Engadine Alps (HA Berlepsch)
      5. Plessurgruppe (B. Studer v. Sonklar) → Plessur-Alpen , Schiefer-Alpen (Böhm)
      6. Rhätikon group (B. Studer and v. Sonklar) → Rätikon , Kalk-Alpen (Böhm)
  • In order to be able to distinguish these main groups from the actual groups, "in the broader sense" is added to each.
  • The Dammagruppe and Aagruppe form the Urner Alps .
  • In the Romance-speaking area, the Monte Lone group and the Maggia group are combined to form the Lepontine Alps .
  • Savoy Alps (A. Wäber): Mont Blanc, Dents du Midi and Chablais groups

Biogeographical breakdown

Biogeographically, the Alps in the state are also divided into the northern flank of the Alps , the western and eastern central Alps and the southern flank of the Alps .

Geological breakdown

Classification of the alpine clubs

The table in the comparison of the divisions of the Swiss Alps provides a comparison of the categorizations according to Swiss Alpine Club , SOIUSA and AVE .

View of the Swiss Alps from the Jura
The Finsteraarhorn in the Bernese Alps

The division of the Swiss Alps according to SAC

The Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) provides for a classification in which an alpine guide / club guide is issued for each group : The structure of the SAC is very much based on political-regional criteria, i.e. cantonal boundaries . This implies that the structure does not run primarily along the valleys, as in other orographic systems, but rather along the ridges, which usually represent typical political and also cultural borders. In this sense, the SAC structure follows the traditional custom of naming mountain groups after the most important valley leading into them, since the Swiss Alpine cantons mostly represent more or less connected valley areas. In the SAC structure, the mountain areas of the large valleys remain connected to the left and right, which is convenient for mountain tourists, and numerous important peaks belong to two groups as the border between two valley areas. The sub-groups themselves are only partially given names, for the others there is a brief list of prominent locations.

Central Alps after the Partizione delle Alpi 1926

Partizione delle Alpi

The division of the Italian-French Partizione delle Alpi from 1926 divides the Central Alps from Col Ferret to the Brenner Pass  - of which fall in the Swiss Alps:

3 Graian Alps
3c Mont Blanc group
9 Pennine Alps
9a Valais Alps
10 Lepontine Alps
10a  Monte Leone group
10b Adula group
10c Ticino Alps
11 Rhaetian Alps
11a Albula Alps and Silvretta
11b plural pen
11c Rätikon
11e Bernina group
11f umbrail group
12 Bernese Alps
12a  Finsteraarhorn massif
12b Wildhorn Group
12c Urner Alps
13 Glarus Alps
13a death group
13b Surenstock
14 Swiss Prealps
14a Simmental Alps
14b Emmental Alps
14c Linth Alps
16 Lombard Alps
16a Lugano Prealps

Western Alps to SOIUSA

The Western Alps to SOIUSA

The SOIUSA categorization tries to overcome the division into cantons by grouping together orographically connected mountains. The canton-specific names are largely retained as subgroups.

Eastern Alps to AVE

The mountain groups that are wholly or partly in Switzerland according to AVE

The eastern part of the Swiss Alps is assigned to different groups of the Eastern Alps according to the Alpine Club division of the Eastern Alps (AVE) :

Swiss Alps in times of climate change

The Swiss Alps are now massively affected by the effects of climate change . In 2019, only 1,463 Swiss glaciers were counted, which corresponds to a loss of 700 glaciers since the 1970s due to melting. Climate scientists are currently assuming that the majority of Alpine glaciers will have disappeared in the 21st century. Instead, numerous new lakes will be created. Also can be explained by the geomorphology demonstrate that the potential risk for humans and animals in the Alpine valleys has risen sharply since mountainsides by the massive ice melting of permafrost are increasingly losing stability, resulting in landslides and rockslides. The Swiss photographer Daniel Schwartz , who caused a sensation in 2017 with a series about the extent of the destruction of the glaciers by climate change, described it as follows: “It's no longer a mountain. That's an animal. One that has been peeled of fur and skin. His skeleton is now stuck in the rock. "

See also


Web links

Commons : Swiss Alps  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Similar systematics are still common in the French Alps, such as the Montagne de l'Ubaye around the Ubaye Valley. Naming mountain groups after the central valleys is one of the most original concepts of mountain structuring, which has led to the fact that many established mountain groups in the other Alpine regions still have different names from the other side, as is customary in the area.
  2. Christoph Bernoulli : Geognostic overview of Switzerland, together with a systematic index of all mineral bodies occurring in this country and their locations. Basel 1811
  3. Nature and Landscape Switzerland ( Memento of March 21, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved on September 26, 2015.
  4. Club leader of the SAC , overview
  5. Préalpes de la chaine franco-suisse. Guide Club Alpin Suisse
  6. Guide des Alpes et Préalpes vaudoises. Guide Club Alpin Suisse
  7. Willy on the Maur: Central Switzerland Prealps. Schwyz Prealps. Unterwaldner Voralpen. Pilatus-Schrattenflue chain. Alpine guide / club guide, ISBN 3-85902-146-X
  8. ^ Oskar Allgaeuer: The pre-Alps between Bruenigpass and Thunersee. Lucerne Prealps. Bucher, Lucerne 1932, Edition Swiss Alpine Club
  9. ^ Oskar Allgaeuer: The pre-Alps between Bruenigpass and Thunersee. Unterwaldner Voralpen. Bucher, Lucerne 1930, Edition Swiss Alpine Club
  10. Säntis - Churfirsten. From Appenzell to the Walensee
  11. Martin Gerber: Berner Voralpen. From Gstaad to Meiringen. ISBN 3-85902-165-6
  12. SAC Club Guide Bernese Alps , overview
  13. Jürg Müller: Gemmi to Petersgrat Alpine guide / club guide. Bernese Alps 2nd 8th edition, SAC, 1993, ISBN 978-3-85902-132-7
  14. ^ Karl Hausmann: Tschingelhorn to Finsteraarhorn. Alpine guide / club guide. Bernese Alps 2nd 9th edition, Bergverlag Rother , 1997, ISBN 978-3-85902-162-4
  15. Ueli Mosimann: Grindelwald to the Grimsel. Alpine guide / club guide. Bernese Alps 5th 6th edition, Bergverlag Rother, 1996, ISBN 978-3-85902-155-6
  16. Maurice Brandt: From Trient to Gr. St. Bernhard. Club guide Valais Alps 1st SAC, 1999.
  17. SAC Club Guide Uri Alps Overview
  18. ^ Bernard Condrau: Tamina and Plessur Mountains. 1988, ISBN 978-3-85902-092-4
  19. Manfred Hunziker: Bündner Oberland and the Rhine forest area. 1996, ISBN 978-3-85902-154-9
  20. ^ Manfred Hunziker: Obverse - Misox - Calanca. 1994, ISBN 978-3-85902-140-2
  21. Bündner Alpen 3 map
  22. ^ Ruedi Meier: Southern Bergellerberge and Monte Disgrazia. 1990, 2006, ISBN 978-3-85902-252-2
  23. ^ Pierino Giuliani: Bernina Group. 1993, 2007, ISBN 978-3-85902-212-6
  24. ^ Manfred Hunziker: Albula (Septimer - Flüela). 1986, 2000, ISBN 978-3-85902-187-7
  25. Paul My Heart: Rätikon. 1989, ISBN 978-3-85902-099-3
  26. ^ Bernard Condrau: Silvretta and Samnaun. 1985, ISBN 978-3-85902-048-1
  27. Martin Perret: Engiadina Bassa / Val Müstair. Münstertal Alps and Umbrail Group. 1986, ISBN 978-3-85902-058-0
  28. ^ Bernard Condrau, Walter Candinas: Mittleres Engadin and Puschlav. Spöl to Bernina Pass and Puschlav on both sides 1984, ISBN 978-3-85902-068-9
  29. SAC Club Guide Ticino Alps. Overview
  30. a b c d
  31. The glacier initiative wants to anchor the CO2 reduction in the constitution - the climate strikers are doing this too slowly. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, January 31, 2019, accessed on January 31, 2019 (Swiss Standard German).
  32. sucht/!5560240 /

Coordinates: 45 ° 56 '  N , 7 ° 52'  E ; CH1903:  six hundred and thirty-three thousand two hundred and twenty  /  87352