Graian Alps

The Graian Alps (Italian: Alpi Graie [ˈalpi ˈɡraːje]; French: Alpes grées [alp ɡʁe]) are a mountain range in the western part of the Alps.

Graian Alps
French: Alpes grées, Italian: Alpi Graie
Graian Alps (in red) within the Alps.
The borders of the range according to
Partizione delle Alpi & SOIUSA
Highest point
PeakMont Blanc
Elevation4,810.45 m (15,782.3 ft)
Coordinates45°50′1″N 6°51′54″E
CountriesFrance, Italy and Switzerland
States/ProvincesAuvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Piedmont, Aosta Valley and Valais
Range coordinates45°30′N 7°10′E
Parent rangeAlps
Borders on
OrogenyAlpine orogeny


The name Graie comes from the Graioceli Celtic tribe, which dwelled in the area surrounding the Mont Cenis pass and the Viù valley.[1] Other sources claim that the name comes from the Celtic "Graig" meaning rock/stone, literally the Rocky Mountains[2]


The Graian Alps are located in France (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Italy (Piedmont and the Aosta Valley), and Switzerland (western Valais).

The French side of the Graian Alps is drained by the river Isère (Tarentaise valley) and its tributary Arc (Maurienne valley), and by the Arve. The Italian side is drained by the rivers Dora Baltea, Orco and Stura di Lanzo, tributaries of the Po.

The Graian Alps can also be divided into the following four groups:

  • the Mont Blanc group (north of the Little St Bernard Pass), including the Beaufortain Massif
  • the Central group (the watershed between the Little St Bernard Pass and the Col du Mont Cenis)
  • the Western or French group,
  • and the Eastern or Italian group.


The main peaks of the Graian Alps are:

Mont Blanc group

Name metres feet
Mont Blanc 4,810.45[3] 15,782
Mont Maudit 4,471 14,669
Dôme du Goûter 4,331 14,210
Grandes Jorasses 4,205 13,797
Aiguille Verte 4,127 13,541
Aiguille de Bionnassay 4,066 13,341
Dent du Géant 4,013 13,166
Aiguille de Tré la Tête 3,911 12,832
Aiguille d'Argentière 3,902 12,802
Aiguille de Triolet 3,876 12,717
Aiguille du Midi 3,843 12,609
Tour Noir 3,836 12,586
Aiguille des Glaciers 3,834 12,579
Mont Dolent 3,823 12,543
Aiguille du Chardonnet 3,822 12,540
Aiguille du Dru 3,754 12,316
Dômes de Miage 3,688 12,100
Aiguille du Tour 3,540 11,615
Aiguille du Grépon 3,502 11,489
Aiguille des Charmoz 3,442 11,293
Aiguille du Tacul 3,438 11,280
Pointe d'Orny 3,274 10,742
Mont Favre 3,259 10,693
Tour Sallière 3,227 10,588
Pointe de Léchaud 3,127 10,260
Mont Buet 3,109 10,201
Mont Ruan 3,078 10,099
Roignais 2,995 9,826
Pic de Tenneverge 2,982 9,784
Aiguille du Belvédère (Aigs Rouges) 2,966 9,731
Crammont 2,737 8,980
Pointe des Fours 2,719 8,921
Pointe du Colloney 2,692 8,832
Catogne 2,599 8,527
Mont Joly 2,527 8,291
Brevent 2,525 8,284
Pointe de Sales 2,494 8,183
Aiguille de Varan 2,488 8,163
Aiguille Croche 2,487 8,159
Mont Chetif 2,343 7,687

Central group

Pointe de Charbonnel376012,336 Grande Aiguille Rousse348211,424
Aiguille de la Grande Sassière375112,306 Granta-Parey347311,395
Uia di Ciamarella367612,061 Roc du Moulinet346911,382
Albaron363811,936 Aiguille Pers345111,323
Pointe de Ronce361811,871 Cima dell' Auille??344611,306
Levanna361911,874 Pointe de la Galise334510,975
Bec de l'Invergnan360811,838 Pointe de la Traversière334110,962
Tsanteleina360611,831 Ormelune/Pointe d'Archeboc328310,771
Bessanèse359711,801 Signal du Mont Iseran324110,634
Croce Rossa356611,703 Grand Assaly317410,413
Punta d'Arnas354011,615 Torre d'Ovarda307510,089
Rocciamelone353711,605 Dôme de Val d'Isère30339951
Punta Chalanson353011,582 Uia di Mondrone29649725
Grande Traversière349511,467 Monte Unghiasse29399643
Testa del Rutor348611,438 Monte Civrari23027553

Eastern group

Gran Paradiso406113,324 Grand Nomenon351311,444
Grivola396913,022 Mont Tout Blanc343811,280
Herbétet377812,396 Punta Sengie340811,182
Torre del Gran San Pietro369212,113 Punta Lavina330810,854
Ciarforon366512,025 Rosa dei Banchi316410,381
Roccia Viva365011,976 Becca di Nona314210,309
Becca di Gay362311,887 Punta Pousset30469994
Monte Emilius355911,677 Monte Marzo27509023
Punta Tersiva351311,526

Western group

Grande Casse385512,648 Pointe de l'Échelle342211,227
Mont Pourri377912,398 Bellecôte341711,211
Dent Parrachée369712,129 Pointes de la Gliere338611,109
Grande Motte365311,985 Pointe de Méan Martin333710,949
Dôme de l'Arpont360111,808 Roche Chevrière325210,669
Dôme de Chasseforêt358611,765 Aiguille Rouge322710,584
Aiguille de Péclet356611,700 Pointe de la Réchasse322310,575
Aiguille de Polset353811,608 Petit Mont Blanc de Pralognan26858809
Pointe de la Sana343611,273 Mont Jovet25638409


The main passes of the Graian Alps are shown in the table below. The group in which the pass is located is indicated with "MB" for Mont Blanc group, "C" for Central group, "E" for Eastern group, and "W" for Western group.

namelocationgrouptypeelevation (m/ft)
Col de la Brenva Courmayeur to ChamonixMB snow 4,333 14,217
Col de Triolet Chamonix to CourmayeurMB snow 3,691 12,110
Col d'Argentière Chamonix to OrsièresMB snow 3,516 11,536
Col de la Grande RousseRhêmes Valley to ValgrisencheCsnow350011,483
Col de Talefre Chamonix to CourmayeurMB snow 3,484 11,430
Col de GebroulazModane to MéribelWsnow347011,385
Col de MonelCogne to LocanaEsnow342811,247
Col de Miage Les Contamines to CourmayeurMB snow 3,376 11,077
Col du Géant Chamonix to CourmayeurMB snow 3,371 11,060
Col du Grand ParadisCeresole Reale to ValsavarencheEsnow334910,988
Col du CharforonCeresole Reale to ValsavarencheEsnow333110,929
Col de TeleccioCogne to LocanaEsnow332610,913
Col du Chardonnet Chamonix to OrsièresMB snow 3,325 10,909
Col de LauzonCogne to the ValsavarencheEbridle path330110,831
Col du BouquetinBonneval-sur-Arc to Val d'IsèreCsnow330010,827
Col de St GratValgrisenche to La ThuileCsnow330010,827
Col du Tour Chamonix to OrsièresMB snow 3,280 10,762
Fenêtre de Saleinaz Saleinaz Glacier to Trient GlacierMB snow 3,264 10,709
Col de l'HerbetetCogne to ValsavarencheEsnow325710,686
Col du CollerinBessans to BalmeCsnow320210,506
Col du Grand EtretCeresole Reale to ValsavarancheEsnow315810,361
Col de BassacRhêmes Valley to ValgrisencheCsnow315310,345
Col du CarroBonneval-sur-Arc to Ceresole RealeCsnow314010,302
Col d'ArboleCogne to BrissogneEsnow313710,292
Col de la GolettaVal d'Isère to the Rhêmes ValleyCsnow312010,237
Col de RhêmesVal d'Isère to the Rhêmes ValleyCsnow310110,174
Col de la Grande CassePralognan to TermignonWsnow310010,171
Col de SeaBonneval-sur-Arc to Forno Alpi GraieCsnow308310,115
Col de l'AutaretBessans to UsseglioCfootpath307010,073
Col de GirardBonneval-sur-Arc to Forno Alpi GraieCsnow30449987
Col RossetValsavarenche to the Rhêmes ValleyCbridle path30249922
Col d'ArnasBessans to BalmeCsnow30149889
Col de la GaliseCeresole Reale to Val d'IsèreCsnow29989836
Col de SortValsavarenche to the Rhêmes ValleyEbridle path29679735
Quecees de TignesVal d'Isère to TermignonWsnow29409646
Col della NouvaCogne to Pont CanaveseEbridle path29339623
Col de Breuil Bourg-Saint-Maurice to La ThuileMB snow 2,879 9,446
Col de GarinAosta to CogneEfootpath28689411
Collarin d'ArnasBalme to UsseglioCsnow28509351
Colle della FinestraRhêmes Valley to the ValgrisencheCfootpath28479341
Fenêtre de ChamporcherCogne to ChamporcherEbridle path28389311
Col VaudetSainte-Foy-Tarentaise to the ValgrisencheCfootpath28369305
Col de BardoneyCogne to Pont CanaveseEsnow28339295
Col de ChaviereModane to PralognanWfootpath28069206
Col de la LeisseTignes to TermignonWsnow27809121
Col de l'IseranBonneval-sur-Arc to Val d'IsèreCroad27699085
Ghicet di SeaBalme to Forno Alpi GraieCfootpath27358973
Col de la SachetteTignes to Bourg-Saint-MauriceWfootpath27298954
Col du PaletTignes to Moûtiers or Bourg St MauriceWbridle path26588721
Col du MontSte Foy to the ValgrisencheCbridle path26468681
Col du NivoletCeresole Reale to the ValsavarencheEroad26418665
Colle della CrocettaCeresole Reale to Forno Alpi GraieCbridle path26368649
Col de la PlatiereSaint-Jean-de-Maurienne to MoûtiersWbridle path26008531
Col du Mont Tondu Les Contamines to CourmayeurMB snow 2,590 8,498
Col Ferret Courmayeur to OrsièresMB bridle path 2,533 8,311
Col de la VanoisePralognan to TermignonWbridle path25278291
Col de la Seigne Les Chapieux to CourmayeurMB bridle path 2,512 8,242
Col de Susanfe Champéry to SalvanMB footpath 2,500 8,202
Col du Bonhomme Contamines to Les ChapieuxMB bridle path 2,483 8,147
Col de Sageroux Sixt to ChampéryMB footpath 2,413 7,917
Col des EncombresSaint-Michel-de-Maurienne to MoûtiersWbridle path23377668
Col d'Anterne Sixt to ServozMB bridle path 2,263 7,425
Col de Balme Chamonix to the Trient ValleyMB bridle path 2,201 7,221
Little St Bernard PassAosta to MoûtiersCroad21887179
Mont CenisModane to SusaCroad20836827
Col de la MadeleineLa Chambre to MoûtiersWroad19936509
Colle Checrouit Courmayeur to the Lac de CombalMB bridle path 1,960 6,431
Col de Voza Chamonix to Les ContaminesMB bridle path 1,675 5,496
Col de la Forclaz (F) Chamonix to Saint-GervaisMB bridle path 1,556 5,105
Col de la Forclaz (CH) Argentière to MartignyMB road 1,520 4,987

Nature conservation

The western group contains the Vanoise National Park, established in 1972 and covering 1250 km²;[4] the eastern group contains the Gran Paradiso National Park, the oldest Italian national park.[5] Also on the Italian side is located the Parco Regionale del Monte Avic, a nature park of 5,747 ha established by Regione Valle d'Aosta.[6]


See also


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alps". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 742–743.
  1. Il territorio piemontese nel periodo preromano, on-line text on
  2. Revue celtique de Toronto, Tome III
  3. Mont Blanc shrinks by 45cm in two years
  4. Les chiffres clés du Parc national de la Vanoise, National park official web-site Archived 2012-01-21 at the Wayback Machine (accessed on April 2012)
  5. Il parco compie 90 anni, National park official web-site (accessed on April 2012)
  6. Parco del Mont Avic, home page on (accessed on April 2012)
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