Sciora peaks, Graubünden. From left to right: Sciora Dafora, Punta Pioda, Ago di Sciora (the needle), Sciora Dadent. Credit: Samedan,  Shot on 2009-08-27 Photo taken in , Bodno, Graubunden, Switzerland.Licensed under: Public Domain.
Sciora peaks, Graubünden. From left to right: Sciora Dafora, Punta Pioda, Ago di Sciora (the needle), Sciora Dadent. Credit: Samedan, Shot on 2009-08-27 Photo taken in , Bodno, Graubunden, Switzerland.Licensed under: Public Domain.

General

Europe has many mountain ranges in various parts of the continent. However, when speaking about Europe and mountains in same sentence, most people will immediately think about the Alps a vast mountain system in the Central Europe and the birthplace and mecca of mountain climbing. Perhaps the most spectacular, and certainly the highest, peaks of the continent are not part of Alps though, as mountains of Caucasus exceed the ones in the Alps in height by quite a margin. However, Causcasus is far lesser known, a lot more remote and access is order of magnitude more complex due to political situation.

Those highest ranges aside, far lower Scandes, High Tatra, Pyrenees and mountains of British Islands have significant appeal for alpine climbers, at least to local ones. On the other hand, the highest peaks of southern Europe, such as Teide (3718m), Mulhacén (3478m) and Olympus (2917m) are not that interesting from alpinistic point of view. That being said, many lower peaks in the Southern part of the continent, most importantly Sardinia and Corsica, offer rock climbing that is full-on alpine by scale.

  • Northern Europe Iceland is an island located southwest of Greenland. Due to impact of Gulf stream, climate is not as extremely cold as the arctic location might suggest. There are several volcanic peaks with Hvannadalshnukur (2119m) being the highest. The volcanoes are generally easy one day climbs, but tend to be snow-covered and icy.
  • Alps The Alps are the dominant range of Europe. Although The Alps contain 'only' Peaks over 4000m in the Alps and are thus not very high in comparison with Himalayas or Andes, the Alps are steep and feature extensive glaciation. The Alps are a wide and convoluted crescent of ranges and peaks arching to the north of the Italian Peninsula, from the Julian Alps of Slovenia on the east to the Maritime Alps of the South of France on the west.
  • Carpathians Carpathian mountains is a long half circle rising in the eastern Europe, east of the Alps and NE of Balkan peninsula. Most of the range lie in Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania although the range extends to several other countries. By far the most famous part, and most interesting for climbers, is Tatra located in Western Carpathians (also northernmost part), where the peaks rise to above 2500m meters on or near the border between Poland and Slovakia.
  • About Iberian Peninsula Iberian Peninsula is home to several mountain ranges, in fact most of the peninsula is covered by mountains of some type. The most famous range is likely Pyrenees forming the border between Spain and France. However, the highest peaks of the range are to be found in far south at Sierra Nevada of Cordillera Penibética where Mulhacén rises to 3478m. The wildest peaks of the peninsula ar to be found in somewhat lower Cordillera Cordillera Cantábrica where peaks of Picos de Europe are steep and rugged. Perhaps the most stunning alpine climbing objective is Picu Urriellu (Naranjo de Bulnes, 2529m) is found here together with many other stunning peaks.
  • Southern Europe Greece, many of the islands both on Canary Islands as well as in Mediterranean sport numerous mountains, many of which are popular hiking destinations. The highest peak of southern Europe is Teide (3718m) located on Tenerife. Some of the lower peaks offer great potential for alpine rock climbing, as well as having host of shorter climbs. Alpine scale rock climbs are most likely to be found on Sardinia and Corsica.
  • Caucasus Caucasus range, extending 1200km between Black Sea in the west and Caspian Sea in the east, forms both geographic, ethnic and political barrier between Europe and Asia. North to south the range extends maximally 180km. Although it is the home to the highest mountains of the Europe, the area is relatively little known among western climbers, as the access was formerly difficult. There are seven peaks above 5000m. The Great Caucasus is traditionally divided into three regions - Western, Central and Eastern, with conventional borders coming through two highest peaks: Mt. Elbrus (5642m) to the west and Mt. Kazbek (5033m) to the east.

Areas

Northern Europe

Vengetindate and Romsdalshorn. Credit: Ari Paulin,  Shot on 2009-06-21 Photo taken in Åndalsnes, Møre og Romsdal, Norway.(c) Ari Paulin, licensed under: Copyrighted.
Vengetindate and Romsdalshorn. Credit: Ari Paulin, Shot on 2009-06-21 Photo taken in Åndalsnes, Møre og Romsdal, Norway.(c) Ari Paulin, licensed under: Copyrighted.
  • Iceland Iceland is an island located southwest of Greenland. Due to impact of Gulf stream, climate is not as extremely cold as the arctic location might suggest. There are several volcanic peaks with Hvannadalshnukur (2119m) being the highest. The volcanoes are generally easy one day climbs, but tend to be snow-covered and icy.
  • British Isles Considering how (relatively) flat British Islands are, Britan has certainly had a big impact in a development of climbing. Biritsh climbers played an important role in exploring the high peaks of Himalaya. Also, Lake District and Scottish mountains have had significant influence in the development of clean climbing and ice climbing respectively.
  • Nordic Countries If you are in search for a quality climbing in Scandinavia, the safe bet is to go to Norway. There are all types of good climbing from alpine climbing to long rock routes, bigwalls to sport climbing and superb waterfall ice climbing and ski mountaineering.

Iceland

Iceland is an island located southwest of Greenland. Due to impact of Gulf stream, climate is not as extremely cold as the arctic location might suggest. There are several volcanic peaks with Hvannadalshnukur (2119m) being the highest. The volcanoes are generally easy one day climbs, but tend to be snow-covered and icy.

As the name should suggest, Iceland has no shortage of ice climbing. The climbing season is from November to mid April, with February considered the best month. Currently Hvalfjordur, Glymsgil gorge, Malafjall and Paradisarheimt are probably the most climbed areas. However, there is huge scope for new routes all over.

Alps

East face of Mont Blanc massif. The statue in the foreground is the summit madonna of Tour Ronde. Credit: Ari Paulin,  Shot in Chamonix, Haute Savoie, France.(c) Ari Paulin, licensed under: Copyrighted.
East face of Mont Blanc massif. The statue in the foreground is the summit madonna of Tour Ronde. Credit: Ari Paulin, Shot in Chamonix, Haute Savoie, France.(c) Ari Paulin, licensed under: Copyrighted.

About the Alps

The Alps are the dominant range of Europe. Although The Alps contain 'only' Peaks over 4000m in the Alps and are thus not very high in comparison with Himalayas or Andes, the Alps are steep and feature extensive glaciation. The Alps are a wide and convoluted crescent of ranges and peaks arching to the north of the Italian Peninsula, from the Julian Alps of Slovenia on the east to the Maritime Alps of the South of France on the west.

Image file: ../resources/images/alps.svg
European Alps overview map generated from OpenStreetMap data with Maperitive (MapQuest OSM) to png-file. Alps division overlay created by Ari Paulin as svg. Credit: Ari Paulin Shot on 2015-06-21 Photo taken..
  • Western Alps Groups located to the east of division line is Nufenenpass - Grimselpass - Lucerne - Zürich. Essentially this means that the groups of Central Alps are counted as part of the Eastern Alps.
    • Maritime Alps Maritime Alps on the southern border between France and Italy (north of the city of Nice and southwest from Turin) are the southernmost mountain range of the Alps. Although the mountains are significantly lower than many in the north and east, the rock is generally of good quality gneiss and routes of up to 600 meters are not uncommon. Climbers will be most interested in the peaks around the village of St.Martin de Vésubie. Here locates the region's highest peak, Punta del'Argentera (3297m). The mountain locates less than 50 km from the Mediterranean and stable climate reflects this proximity. Except in the highest and most sheltered areas, most snow has melted by summer.
    • Cottian Alps Cottian Alps are located between Maritime Alps in the south, Dauphiné in the east and Graian Alps in the north. The most important mountain of the area is pyramide-shaped Monte Viso (also known as Monviso, 3843m), located in Italy and part of the Queyras Mountains SE from the city of Briancon. South of Queyras lies Ubaye valley close to city of Barcelonnette. The highest mountains of this area is Aiguille de Chambeyron. South of Ubaye lies famous canyon Gorges de Verdon, a mecca for (sport) rock climbers.
    • Dauphiné Dauphiné is a compact region of large peaks with long summit ridges, rising above long stony valleys. It is also known as Ecrins Massif. The area offers a wide selection of climbs of all grades from easy to long and serious. The crown of the area is Barre des Écrins, the only summit reaching magical 4000 meter mark (4101m). Other popular mountains are La Meije (3983m), Ailefroide (3954m) and Mont Pelvoux (3946m).
    • Graian Alps Graian Alps are located along the Italian and French border between La Grave at the southwest and Aoeste at the northeast. They are due north of the Cottian Alps, northeast of the Dauphiné and southeast of Mont Blanc. The range includes two separate massifs, Vanoise in western part and eastern Graias, sometimes referred to as Gran Paradiso Group. The approach to the range is easiest from Val d'Aosta. Turin, Italy is a nearby major center.
    • Bernese Alps The Bernese Oberland is located in the north-western part of the Swiss Alps. Apart from a eight 4000m peaks it has many challenging summits above the 3000m mark. Although Finsteraarhorn is the highest peak in the area (4274m), the Bernese Alps are dominated by the famous trilogy of Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. The area is highly heavily glaciated, in fact, around 25 km long Aletschgletscher, the longest glacier in the Alps, is found in the Bernese Alps. The center of Bernese Alps is Grindelwald (1034m). Jungfraubahn from Lauterbrunnen to Jungfraujoch (3454), the highest railway in the Europe, makes approaches to several climbs much shorter.
    • Mont Blanc massif Home of alpinism, Mont Blanc Massif offers the alpinist a superb choice of top quality routes on rock, snow and ice and of all grades of difficulty. Several of the classic routes have their firm place in the history of mountaineering. Besides Mont Blanc at 4807m there are thirteen other mountains and many more tops which reach the magic 4000m. There are several trains and telepheriques that make approaches to many mountains short and effortless. Considering this, the quality and diversity of routes, and the fact that the range is compact, it is no wonder, that overcrowding can be a problem in some areas. However, it is also possible to climb routes in relative solitude, if climbers are prepared to climb in less popular (and often also less accessible) areas.
    • Valais Alps The Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy are perhaps the most spectacular mountain chain in Europe. The range borders on the Great St. Bernard Pass and the Mont Blanc group in southwest, on the Upper Rhône Valley in the north, on the Simplon Pass and the Lepontine Alps in northeast and by the Dora Baltea River valley in south. The compact area boasts ten of the twelve highest summits in the Alps (the other two are part of the Mont Blanc Massif), most of them located in the frontier crest. The high mountains are separated by long narrow valleys.
  • Eastern Alps Groups located to the east of division line is Nufenenpass - Grimselpass - Lucerne - Zürich. Eastern Alps consist of numerous mountain groups and sub groups. Alpine Clubs made official structure back in 1984 which is used in most guidebooks and maps. The structure on this site is consistent with this division. However, areas that are less interesting for mountaineering and alpinism may be grouped together to form larger groups. Also few mountain groups, officially associated with Western Alps are grouped together with western areas of Eastern Alps under the heading Central Alps.
    • Central Alps Central Alps are located in the Eastern Switzerland to the east of Bernese and Pennine Alps and beyond Grimsel and Furka Passes. They consist of numerous smaller ranges. Whether Central Alps actually exist as a third main group of the Alps is not clear. Here however, few groups often associated with Western Alps are grouped together.
    • Bernina & Bregaglia Bernina Alps and Bregaglia are located very close together in the southeast corner of Switzerland. Outside mountaineering circles the area is more famous as the winter playground of the "jet-set", centered on the fashionable resorts of St. Moritz (1822m) and Samedan (1720m) in the upper Engadin valley, and Pontresina (1800m) in Bernina valley.
    • Northern Eastern Alps Northern part of Eastern Alps extend through Southern Germany and northern Austria from Bodensee in West to Wien in East. The area consist of many mountain groups, many of which are not too important for mountaineers and alpinists. Several limestone ranges ranges located right on the border between Austria and Germany, collectively referred to as Bavarian Alps are well suited for alpine rock climbing. Because of the relatively low altitude and approximity of major cities München, Innsbruck and Salzburg, the area is also popular among mountain walkers and hikers. Most important mountains are Zugspitze (2962m) in Wetterstein Group and Watzmann (2713m) in Berchtesgader Alps. Also, Dachtein group further to the east is important climbing area. In the following, only most important areas are introduced.
    • Central Eastern Alps West from the Bernina and Central Alps and between Northern and Southern ranges lie Central Eastern Alps, that consist of several mountain groups from. Western groups are glaciated, some of them excessively so. The area is best known for high-quality snow and ice climbing and ski-mountaineering. However, most areas feature good rock climbing, especially on the rocky towers of Zillertaler Alps. The most famous mountains of the area is Grossglockner (3798m) in Hohe Tauern. Further to the east, mountains are much lower and not glaciated.
    • Southern Eastern Alps Southern Eastern Alps are located mainly in Italy and Slovenia with northern parts reaching into southern Austria. The area consist of groups of very different character: where Ortler Group furthest to the West has high mountains with excessive glacier and mostly snow and ice climbs, Dolomites and and Julian Alps further to the east are much lower and are well known for rock climbs.

Climbing in the Alps

Because the Alps are heavily glaciated, classic mountaineering is found on all higher ranges, both in Western and Eastern Alps. Highest mountains are concentrated mainly in Mant Blanc Massif, Pennine Alps and Bernese Alps. Classic mountaineering routes are also found in abundance in Ecrins massif and in Bernina Alps. Every type of climbing is found on these areas. Besides classic mountain routes, all of these areas have also wealth of difficult ice and mixed routes. These areas are well known among the climbers and more popular routes can get crowded during the summer months.

Good quality rock climbing is found all over the Alps. Most famous area is probably Dolomites in the northern Italy. Generally speaking the southern areas profit from warmer and often more stable weather, so they are well suited for rock climbing.

Alpine ice and mixed routes are concentrated in the high mountain areas. Also Austrian Alps have several worthwhile alpine ice routes, especially in Hohe Tauern. Alps also feature very good ice fall climbing on many areas. Best-known areas are Oisans aux six Vallees in Dauphin/Graian Alps (La Grave, Cogne) and Mont Blanc area. Also Kandersteg in Bernese Alps is famous ice center and home to many of the most difficult new-style mixed routes. Eastern Alps are also well suited for ice climbing, Hohe Tauern and Pitztal are among the better known areas.

While steep faces and couloirs in the Western Alps are popular proving ground for skilled ski alpinists, Central and eastern Alps are probably better suited for less extreme skiers. Via ferratas, a form of combination of a hiking path and climbing route are found in abundance in the Dolomites (however, they do exists also elsewhere).

Information

In comparison to most other alpine areas, there's abundancy of information available about the climbs in the Alps. Especially the most popular areas of the Western Alps have great number of guidebooks available in several languages.

There's no shortage of information about Western Alps. For climbers who are limited to English, guidebooks cobvering Dauphiné (Ecrins Massif), Mount Blanc Massif, Bernese Alps and Valais Alps (Wallis), guidebooks are available by British Alpine Club. For Swiss areas, Alpine guidebooks (Alpinführer or Clubführer) are generally the best guidebooks. Because they are very thorough, one guidebook covers only small area though, so you might end up needing quite a lot of them. If you are only interested in famous high peaks (and the omission of most of the extreme routes does not disturb you), Selected guides (Auswahlführer) might be as good option. They cover much larger areas but not bnearly as thoroughly. Alpine guidebooks are available both in German and French. Some areas are covered by Rother's area guides (Gebietsführer) as well. Since I don't speak French I have no idea what kind of guidebooks are available in French. I expect though, that if you speak French, you should probably go with the French guidebooks, as the local books tend to be the most complete and most up to date.

Generally speaking there is less information available about the Eastern Alps. And mostly if you want to get up to date and thorough information, you better know German. There are few English language guidebooks, but they are typically not very thorough and sometimes also very out of date. Alpine club guides (Alpenvereinführer) published by Rother are the standard literature. If you are into ice climbing, you might want to take a look at books published by Alpinverlag Jentschl-Rabl. Furthermore, Selection series of Rother are very nice as well. For climbers not speaking local language, Julian Alps in without the doubt the most difficult area, as there is not that much information available.

  • Goedeke, Richard: The Alpine 4000m Peaks by the Classic Routes. Isbn: 1898573565. Baton Wicks Publications, 2003.
  • Vanis, Erich: Im steilen Eis, 2. Aufl. edition. Isbn: 978-3405121587. BLV Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 1980.
  • Moran, Martin: The 4000m Peaks of the Alps - Selected Climbs. Isbn: 9780900523663. Alpine Club, 2007.
  • Dumler, Helmut & Burkhardt, Willi P.: Viertausender der Alpen. Isbn: 3763374272. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 2001.
  • Dumler, Helmut & Burkhardt, Willi P.: Viertausender der Alpen. Isbn: 3763374272. Bergverlag Rudolf Rother, 2001.
  • Höfler, Horst: Die Traumgipfel der Schweiz - Auf Normalrouten zu 40 berühmten Gipfeln. Isbn: 3765437530. Bruckmann, 2002.
  • Goedeke, Richard: The Alpine 4000m Peaks: By the Classic Routes. Isbn: 1-898573-13-1. Cordee, 2000.
  • Goedeke, Richard: 4000er - 40 klassische Gipfelziele. Isbn: 3765439215. Bruckmann, 2002.
  • Donatsch, Peter: Alle 4000er der Alpen. Isbn: 3855027978. AT Verlag, 2003.
  • Goedeke, Richard: 4000er - Die Normalrouten auf alle Viertausender in den Alpen (Tourenführer). Isbn: 3765439975. Bruckmann, 2006.
  • Goedeke, Richard: 3000er in den Alpen - Die Normalwege. Südliche Alpen mit Dolomiten. Isbn: 3765436615. Bruckmann, 2004.
  • Colonel, Mario: Himmelsleitern. Die schönsten Grattouren der Alpen. Isbn: 3855029822. AT Verlag, 2004.

Carpathians

Mieguszewieckie Szczyty, Cubryna i Mnich - view from Morskie Oko, Tatra Mountains, Poland. Credit: Mariusz G,  Shot on 2013-09-03 Photo taken in Poland.Licensed under: Public Domain.
Mieguszewieckie Szczyty, Cubryna i Mnich - view from Morskie Oko, Tatra Mountains, Poland. Credit: Mariusz G, Shot on 2013-09-03 Photo taken in Poland.Licensed under: Public Domain.

Carpathian mountains is a long half circle rising in the eastern Europe, east of the Alps and NE of Balkan peninsula. Most of the range lie in Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania although the range extends to several other countries. By far the most famous part, and most interesting for climbers, is Tatra located in Western Carpathians (also northernmost part), where the peaks rise to above 2500m meters on or near the border between Poland and Slovakia.

  • Western Carpathians
    • Outer Western Carpathians
    • Inner Western Carpathians
      • Tatra The Tatras are located on Polish-Slovak border form the central, highest and most beautiful section of the Carpathian mountain range. Tatras is a small rugged massif, with the main Tatra ridge extending 51,5km from east to west and 15km from north to south. The high peaks of the Tatras, called "Smallest High Range in the World", are rugged rock peaks with a dramatic jagged crestline. They rise in a sudden cluster like an island of peaks in the surrounding valleys. The highest peak of the range is Gerlach in Slovakia (2655m) and there are dozens of other rising to over 2000m, and crags often fall over 600m into deep cirques. There are both summer and winter climbing. Skiing and especially off piste skiing in the high valleys is also popular.
  • Eastern Carpathians
    • Beskides
  • Southern Carpathians
    • Făgăraş Mountains "Transylvanian Alps", the highest range in Southern Carpathians containing most of the highest peaks of Romania. Although the height is similar to peaks of High Tatra, the peaks are generally far more rounded and don't lend themselves for alpine climbing particularly well.
    • Bucegi Mountains
    • Parâng Mountains
    • Retezat Mountains
  • Western Romanian Carpathians

Southern Europe

Galéria (Corsica) - Panorama de la Paglia Orba (2525 m - Albertacce) et du Capu Tafunatu le "sommet troué" (2335 m - Manso) à droite, d'une distance orthodromique d'environ 18 km. Source: . Credit: Pierre Bona,  Shot on 2010-11-10 Photo taken. (c) Pierre Bona, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.
Galéria (Corsica) - Panorama de la Paglia Orba (2525 m - Albertacce) et du Capu Tafunatu le "sommet troué" (2335 m - Manso) à droite, d'une distance orthodromique d'environ 18 km. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paglia_Orba_Panorama.jpg. Credit: Pierre Bona, Shot on 2010-11-10 Photo taken. (c) Pierre Bona, licensed under: CC BY-SA 3.0.

Greece, many of the islands both on Canary Islands as well as in Mediterranean sport numerous mountains, many of which are popular hiking destinations. The highest peak of southern Europe is Teide (3718m) located on Tenerife. Some of the lower peaks offer great potential for alpine rock climbing, as well as having host of shorter climbs. Alpine scale rock climbs are most likely to be found on Sardinia and Corsica.

  • Atlantic islands Lot of Atlantic islands, particularly Canary islands have plenty of mountains. The peaks are of volcanic origin and shaped accordingly. Theerfore the7y do not lend themselves particularly well for alpine climbing despite reaching significant altitude, particularly at Teide (3718m, higher than anything on mainland Spain). The islands have a lot of sport climbing though.
  • Mediterranean islands Strictly speaking not much in a way of classic mountaineering or anything icy and snowy, but there are several big rock routes in some of the islands. Corsica is likely the best bet for those who are looking for rock climbs of alpine character. Most of the climbing is bolt protected, except for Malta which is predominantly trad venue. By far the most famous peak of the islands is Sicily's Etna.
  • Southern Italy Apennines range run through most of the Italian peninsula. The peaks rise to well above 2000, but the range is not that interesting from alpine climber's point of view. Crags are different story, of course.
  • Balkan peninsula Most of Balkan peninsula is covered by mountains. By far the largest ranges is long chain formed by Dinaric Alps in the north and Pindus range further south in Albania and Greece. Another major range is is Balkan range, namesake of the peninsula. However, neither the highest (Musala, 2925m in Rila range) nor the most famous peaks (Olympus, 2919m) of the peninsula is located in either of these chains. Due to southern latitude and modest height, the peaks have no glaciers and only seasonal snow and ice climbs. The wildest peaks on Balkan peninsula are to be found in Prokletije range, mainly located in northern Albania and Kosovo. The peaks in this range are generally rugged and steep, and the climbing potential of the area is largely untapped. Aside of alpine areas, some areas in Greece and Croatia are well known hotspots for crag climbing.

Atlantic islands

Lot of Atlantic islands, particularly Canary islands have plenty of mountains. The peaks are of volcanic origin and shaped accordingly. Theerfore the7y do not lend themselves particularly well for alpine climbing despite reaching significant altitude, particularly at Teide (3718m, higher than anything on mainland Spain). The islands have a lot of sport climbing though.

  • Craggs, Chris: Rock Climbs in Mallorca (Cicerone Guide). Isbn: 9781852843199. Cicerone Press, 2001.

Mediterranean islands

Strictly speaking not much in a way of classic mountaineering or anything icy and snowy, but there are several big rock routes in some of the islands. Corsica is likely the best bet for those who are looking for rock climbs of alpine character. Most of the climbing is bolt protected, except for Malta which is predominantly trad venue. By far the most famous peak of the islands is Sicily's Etna.

  • Alamichel, Eric: Above the Sea - The Mediterranean's Finest Rock Climbs. Isbn: 9782741705093. Editions Gap, 2014.

Mallorca

Sardinia

Like Corsica, also much of Corsica is largely covered by mountains. The highest peak is Punta La Marmora (1834m), part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara (1362m) in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano (1259m) running crosswise for 40km towards the north, the Monte Albo (1057m), the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, and the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas (1236m). Apparently the islands has quite a bit of big rock routes as well as sport routes.

  • Oviglia, Maurizio: Pietra Di Luna. Isbn: 8889661054.
  • Suchergebnisse & Oviglia, Maurizio: Pietra Di Luna. Isbn: 9788889661185. Fabula Verlag, 2011.

Corsica

Corsica is the most mountaineous of Mediterranean islands. Mountains make up two-thirds of the island, forming a single chain. The highest peak is Monte Cinto (2706m) and 20 other summits of more than 2000m. The island has a stunning alpine landscape with peaks that dramatically fall away into the sea. This landscape means there is an abundance of beautiful bolted rock to climb, from coarse weathered granite rock, to sandstone or limestone rock. There is climbing all over the island, from single pitch routes to multi-pitch routes up to 300m long, plus many bouldering areas. Corsica is claimed to have more unclimbed rock than anywhere else in Europe - a truly impressive statement. Most alpine climbing is to be found in NW part of the island in Paglia Orba mountain range. It rises steeply with vertical faces on all 4 sides making Paglia Orba (2525m) the queen of Corsican Mountains. There are many routes here up to 400m long on conglomerate rock.

  • B., Maurin & T., Souchard: Falaises De Corse, 5 edition. Isbn: 9782952638869. FFME, 2015.
  • Collomb, Robin G.: Corsica Mountains, 2nd edition. Isbn: 0906227445. West Col Productions, 1990.
  • Klettern 5/2015 Klettern 5/2015

Malta

Sicily

  • Vertical #22

Balkan peninsula

Most of Balkan peninsula is covered by mountains. By far the largest ranges is long chain formed by Dinaric Alps in the north and Pindus range further south in Albania and Greece. Another major range is is Balkan range, namesake of the peninsula. However, neither the highest (Musala, 2925m in Rila range) nor the most famous peaks (Olympus, 2919m) of the peninsula is located in either of these chains. Due to southern latitude and modest height, the peaks have no glaciers and only seasonal snow and ice climbs. The wildest peaks on Balkan peninsula are to be found in Prokletije range, mainly located in northern Albania and Kosovo. The peaks in this range are generally rugged and steep, and the climbing potential of the area is largely untapped. Aside of alpine areas, some areas in Greece and Croatia are well known hotspots for crag climbing.

  • Dinaric Alps The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides is a mountain chain which spans areas of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. They extend 645km along the coast of the Adriatic Sea (northwest-southeast), from the Julian Alps in the northwest down to the Šar-Korab massif, where the mountain direction changes to north-south. Most of the highest peaks of Dinaric Alps are found in Prokletije range, mainly located in northern Albania and Kosovo. The peaks in this range are generally rugged and steep, reputebly the wildest on the Balkan peninsula.
  • Greece The Greek peninsula is comprised of several large islands, with hundreds of smaller islands rising in the surrounding seas. Greece is a mountainous country, with many of its peaks rising close to if not directly out of the water. The Greek Mountains are essentially a continuation of the Dinaric Alps. Greek mountains can be divided into following main ranges:
  • Balkans Large west-east chain located in northern Bulgaria. Highest peak of the range is Botev Peak (2376m) located in the Central section.
    • Western Balkans
    • Central Balkans
    • Eastern Balkans
  • Rila mountains of southwestern Bulgaria is the highest mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkan peninsulas, with its highest peak being Musala at 2925m.
    • Northwest Rila
    • Kapatnik Ridge SW Rila
    • Skakavets Ridge Central Rila
    • Musala Ridge East Rila
    • North Pirin
      • Mramor
      • North Central
      • South Central
      • Polezhan
      • Kamenitsa
      • Sinanitsa
      • Debeli Rid
    • Central Pirin Lower and heavily forested part of the range. Orelyak (2099m) is the only peak rising to above 2000m.
    • South Pirin Lowest part with Svesthnik (1975m).

Dinaric Alps

The Dinaric Alps or Dinarides is a mountain chain which spans areas of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. They extend 645km along the coast of the Adriatic Sea (northwest-southeast), from the Julian Alps in the northwest down to the Šar-Korab massif, where the mountain direction changes to north-south. Most of the highest peaks of Dinaric Alps are found in Prokletije range, mainly located in northern Albania and Kosovo. The peaks in this range are generally rugged and steep, reputebly the wildest on the Balkan peninsula.

  • Maritime Dinaric Alps Lower coastal range running along the coast line.
  • High Dinaric Alps Central part of Dinaric Alps with most of the highest peaks.
    • Prenj
    • Durmitor
    • Bjelasica
    • Prokletije range
  • Northeastern Dinaric Alps Further inland beyond High Dinaric Alps.

Greece

The Greek peninsula is comprised of several large islands, with hundreds of smaller islands rising in the surrounding seas. Greece is a mountainous country, with many of its peaks rising close to if not directly out of the water. The Greek Mountains are essentially a continuation of the Dinaric Alps. Greek mountains can be divided into following main ranges:

  • Rhodope Mountains NE part of Greece and southern Bulgaria
  • Pindus range The Pindus mountain range lies across the center of the country in a northwest-to-southeast direction, with a maximum elevation of 2637m. Extensions of the same mountain range stretch across the Peloponnese and underwater across the Aegean, forming many of the Aegean Islands including Crete, and joining with the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey.
    • Korab Mountains
    • Northern Pindus
      • West Vardar/Pelagonia
      • Šar Mountains
      • Ceraunian Mountains
      • Mali i Gribës
      • Tymfi
      • Gramos
      • Vasilitsa
      • Voio
      • Tzoumerka
      • Meteora
    • SE Pindus Central and western Greece contain high and steep peaks intersected by many canyons and other karstic landscapes, including the Meteora and the Vikos Gorges - the latter being one of the largest of the world and the third deepest after the Copper Canyon in Mexico and the Grand Canyon in the United States, plunging vertically for more than 1100 metres.
      • Agrafa Range
  • Eastern Greece North-South chain of mountains running from southern Albania to east coast of mainland Greece. By far the best known peak in this chain is Mount Olympos.
    • Voras Mountains
    • Olympus Range Mount Olympus is the highest point in Greece and the fourth highest in relative topographical prominence in Europe, rising to 2919 m above sea level.
  • Peloponnesos peninsula Islands
    • Taygetus
  • Islands Several of Greece's islands are filled with mountains are crags. Particularly Kalymnos and Crete are well known climbing destinations. Both are best known for sport climbing but Crete has some areas with trad climbing, particularly Mount Gigilos with routes between 600m and 1500m in length and generally trad.
    • Kalymnos
    • Corfu
    • Crete
    • Cyprus

The mountains have played important roles in the history of the Greek people. This is especially true for two of the most famous mountains, Olympus (2917m, the highest mountain of Greece) and Parnassus (2457m), both of which played important roles in Greek mythology.

Due to relatively moderate altitude and southern location, the Greek mountains are generally snow and glacier free. Among the climbers, Greece is best known for rock climbing, particularly sports climbing. Especially small island of Kalymnos is considered to be one of the best places in whole Europe.

  • Theodoropoulos, Aris: Kalymnos - rock climbing guide, 2008 Revised Edition edition. Isbn: 9789608564480. Aharnon Alpine Club, 2008.
  • Theodoropoulos, Aris: Greece Sport Climbing - The Best of Guide 2014: TER.G020. Isbn: 9789609456203. Terrain, 2014.
  • Crete - Climbing Near Chania. Isbn: 9789608195950. Anavasi Mountain Editions, 2007.
  • Bugada, Philippe: Crete - Kapetaniana Kofinas Climbing Guide Ed. La Corditelle, 1 Edition edition. Isbn: 9782952637800. La Corditelle, 2006.
  • Bugada, Phillippe: Crete From North to South (French Edition). Isbn: 9782952637817.
  • Maps, Terrain: Kalymos - TER.G050. Isbn: 9789609456197. Terrain, 2010.

Mountains

Carpathian range

Atlantic islands

Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Ponta do Pico (Montanha do Pico)38.468888889-28.3677777782351
II class 2.
Teide (Pico de Teide)28.273055556-16.6272222223718
1900-01-01
Event
Normal route. T1.
Pico Ruivo32.763888889-16.90751861
T1.
El Gigante (Los Gigantes)28.29162-16.86439450
T3.

Apennines

Massif du Monte Incudine

Monte Includine41.8494079.2071092134
T2.

Massif du Monte Rotondo

Monte Rotondu42.2158339.05752622
T3.
Monte d'Oru42.13769.0986112389
T4.

Monte Cinto

Monte Cinto (Cintu, Monti Cintu)42.388.91944444442706
The highest peak of Corsica. Normal route includes some scrambling. NW face also has some technical routes around 6a (TD).
North side
Voie N depuis le Haut-Asco. II PD-.

Paglia Orba

Paglia Orba42.34288.87712525
Widely considered to be the most beautiful peak of Corsica. Even the easiest require some easy climbing. North and east faces have technical routes. Voie Finch on the East face is probably the most famous climb in Corsica.
North face
Voie du Nid d'aigle. Rock, III TD; 6a+; 250m, 7 pitches.
East face
Voie Finch. Rock, III D-; 5a+; 400m.
West ridge
West ridge. I F; 600m.

Gennargentu Ranges

La Marmora (Punta la Marmora)39.9880555569.30916666671834
T1.
Etna (Monte Etna, Mongibello)37.751214.99423323
The tallest active volcano in Europe and the highest peak of Italy south of Alps.
T2.
Corno Grande (Gran Sasso d'Italia)42.4713.5661111112912
F.

Balkan peninsula

Dinaric Alps

Prokletije
Maja e Jezercës42.442519.7858333332694
1929-01-01
Maja e Jezercës, ,
First ascent
Sleeman, Elmslie, Ellwood

Pindus range

Olympus Range
Olympos Oros (Mytikas)40.08277777822.3488888892917
  • Mytikas (2917m40.08277777822.348888889)
  • Stefani
The highest peak in Greece, second highest in Balkan and one of the greatest prominence in whole of the Europe. It is located near the east coast, where it gazes out to the Aegean Sea. Its character is that of a massive ridge, rising in rugged precipices to a broad snow-covered summit. The mountain has 52 peaks, deep gorges, and exceptional biodiversity. Known worldwide as the "Mountain of the Gods", as the 12 Gods of the ancient Greek religion, made it their home and fortress when fighting against the Titans (based on Mount Orthri) for control of the universe. Getting to the summit requires no proper climbing.
1913-08-02
Olympos Oros, ,
First ascent
Christos Kakalos. Frederic Boissonnas & Daniel Baud-Bovy
Normal route. class 3.
Normal route. Non-technical except for the finale from Skala summit to Mytikas.
Liakoura (Mount Parnassus, Parnassos)38.53583333322.6091666672457
Parnassos is located in south central Greece, just north of the Gulf of Corinth. It is an isolated massif that is barren in summer, and a popular ski area.

Greek islands

Crete
Idi Range
Psiloritis (Timios Stavros, Mount Ida)35.22666666724.7608333332456
T2.
Dikti Mountains
Spathi (Lasithiotika, Dikti)35.11888888925.4677777782148
T3.
Peloponnese
Taygetus
Profitis Ilias (Taygetus)36.95388888922.3477777782404
T1.
Olympos34.93833333332.8388888891952
T.

Balkans

Pirin Mountains
Vikhren (Vihren)41.76777777823.3991666672914
T3.