The Pennine Alps (also: Valais Alps) are a mountain range in the western part of the Alps. They are located in Switzerland (Valais) and Italy (Piedmont and the Aosta Valley). They are not to be confused with the Pennines.
The Italian side is drained by the rivers Dora Baltea, Sesia and Toce, tributaries of the Po. The Swiss side is drained by the Rhône River. The Great St Bernard Tunnel, under the Great St Bernard Pass, leads from Martigny, Switzerland to Aosta.
The Col Ferret and the Dora Baltea valley separate them from the Graian Alps; the Simplon Pass separates them from the Lepontine Alps; the Rhône valley separates them from the Bernese Alps.
The main chain (watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and Adriatic Sea) runs from west to east on the border between Italy (south) and Switzerland (north). From Mont Vélan, the first high summit east of St Bernard Pass, the chain rarely goes below 3000 metres and contains many four-thousanders such as Matterhorn or Monte Rosa. The valleys are quite similar on both side of the border, being generally oriented perpendicular to the main chain and descending progressively into the Rhône Valley on the north and the Aosta Valley on the south. Unlike many other mountain ranges, the higher peaks are often located outside the main chain and found themselves between the northern valleys (Grand Combin, Weisshorn, Mischabel, Weissmies).
Nature conservation :
- Gorner Glacier
- Corbassière Glacier
- Findel Glacier
- Zmutt Glacier
- Zinal Glacier
- Otemma Glacier
- Allalin Glacier
- Ferpècle Glacier
Some regional nature parks, like the Parco Naturale Alta Valsesia (6,511 ha - Piedmont, IT), the Riserva Naturale Mont Mars (390 ha - Aosta Valley, IT) and the Regional park of Binn valley (15,891 ha - Valais,CH), have been established on both sides of the main water divide.