Mountains of W. Europe

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Last update:  27-Feb-2003

When we talk about climbs we also talk about mountains. In my cycling carreer I've cycled in all of Europe mountains and I discovered that each mountain system has his own character and charm. There is a lot to tell about all these mountains. I also discovered that you can perform some nice statistics: which system has the highest/steepest/heaviest climbs.

 

Overview main systems

In Western Europe there exists 7 main mountain systems with climbs higher than 1000m.


Source: Encarta

 

  1. Alps (Alpen,Alpi)
    the central backbone of Europa
  2. Iberian Plateau / -Peninsula (Spain+Portugal)
    in fact we talk about 4 subsystems (Sistema)
  3. Massif Central
    in the centre of France
  4. Pyrenees (Pyrenées,Pirineos)
    on the border of Spain and France
  5. Apennines (Appennini)
    the spine of Italy
  6. Jura
    on the French / Swiss border
  7. Vosges & Black Forrest (Vogesen & Schwarzwald)
    sister systems along the border of the Rhine river

 

Beside these sytems there are a couple of European Islands with climbs:
The Canary Islands /Islas Canarias: Gran Canaria, la Gomera, la Palma, Tenerife (Spain), Majora / Mallorca (Spain), Sardinia / Sardegna (Italy) and Sicily / Sicilia (Italy), Corsica / Corse (France) and Madeira, Azores (Portugal)
The Canary Islands and Madeira belong politically to Europa but are in fact part of the African continent.

The Alps form the most important system of Europa. In fact it consists of more than 40 subsystems of which some of them are bigger than the other systems. These subsystems can differ a lot from each other having there own characteristics like the Dolomites in NE Italy. In area the Iberean Plateau is bigger but the Alps have the most mountain peaks and also the highest (.. peaks higher than 4000). The Mont Blanc / Monte Bianco is the highest of Europe (4807m) if you don't count the Elbrus in the Caucasus (5633m)

The Alps and the Pyrenees are the only ranges with reasonable snowcaps which can be seen on satellite images in wintertime.

 

Statistics

 System Area 
(km2)
Highest Point (m) Highest paved road (m) Highest paved pass (m)
Alps   Mont Blanc / Monte Bianco (4810)
(French - Italian border)
Ötztaler gletscherstrasse (2822)
(Austria - Sölden)
Col d'Iseran (2770)
(France)
Apennines  

Monte Corno (2914)
(Abruzzi)

Blockhaus (2142)
(Abruzzi)
Garezzo,Colle (del) (1801) ?
Massif Central 85470 Puy de Sancy (1886)
(Mont-Dore)
Pas de Peyrol / Mary,Puy (1587)
(Cantal)
Col de Finiels (1541)
Iberian Plateau 596740 Mulhacén (3481)
(Andalucia - Sierra Nevada)
Veleta,Pico (del) (3398)
(Andalucia - Sierra Nevada, 1-way)
Veleta,Col de Pico (del) (3250)
(Andalucia - Sierra Nevada, 1-way)
Islands   Pico del Teide (3718)
(Canary Islands - Tenerife)
Roque de los Muchachos (2426)
(Canary Islands - las Palmas)
Puerto de las Cañadas (2300)
(Canary Islands - Tenerife, near cable lift to Teide)
Jura   Crêt de la Neige (1723)
(France)
Châlet du Mont Tendre (1615)?
Col du Chasseral (1502)
(Switserland)
Pyrenees 21380 Pico de Aneto (3404)
(Spain)
Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2650)
(France - from Tourmalet, paved?)
Port d'Envalira (2407)
(Andorra)
Vosges+Black Forrest   Feldberg (1493m)
(Black Forrest)
Feldberg (1493)
(Black Forrest)

Feldbergpass (1230)
(Black Forrest)

Total   Mont Blanc / Monte Bianco (4810)
(French - Italian border)
Veleta,Pico (del) (3398)
(Andalucia - Sierra Nevada, 1-way)
Veleta,Col de Pico (del) (3250)
(Andalucia - Sierra Nevada, 1-way)

The next table is derived from my database of climbs.

Verdeling in Passes / Other Through / Other - no through?

  Summits Climbs
 System #Summits Altitude
(m)
#Routes #Climbs H_start
(m)
Length
(km)
Avg% Alti.gain
(m)
Own Diff. Diff.
'Fiets'
Alps 877 1611 2.34 1241 651 17 5.9 905 1455 55
Apennines 88 1318 3.34 127 441 16 5.6 892 1404 51
Massif Central 99 1235 4.28 165 606 16 4.3 646 924 28
Iberian Plateau 135 1449 2.29 162 772 15 4.9 691 1042 35
Islands 51 1422 2.57 64 426 21 5.3 1002 1579 58
Jura 46 1247 3.80 90 623 12 5.3 599 953 34
Pyrenees 199 1536 2.38 237 683 17 5.3 859 1332 47
Vosges+Black Forrest 47 1159 3.57 93 465 16 4.9 677 1029 34
Total                    

 

Satellite Images

On the web I found some very nice satellite images with good views to the mountains of Europe.


Pyrenees and Iberian Plateau

Pyrenees, Massif Central

Vosges, Black Forrest, Alps, Apennines
 

Links

Nat. parken, hutten (CAF, CAI), fotos, webcams