Monte Rosa - Encyclopedia

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MONTE ROSA, the name of a great glacier-clad mountain mass (the name comes from the Aostan patois word rase, meaning a glacier) which rises S.E. of Zermatt, and on the frontier between Switzerland (canton of the Valais) and Italy. Ten summits in this huge mass are distinguished by name, of which four (the Nordend, 15,132 ft., the Zumsteinspitze, 15,004 ft., the Signalkuppe or Punta Gnifetti, 14,965 ft., and the Parrotspitze, 14,643 ft.) rise on the frontier. The five lower summits are on the Italian slope, but the highest of all, the Dufourspitze, 15,217 ft. (so named by the Swiss government in honour of General Dufour, the head of the great survey which first accurately fixed the position of these points), rises W. of the frontier ridge, on a buttress, and is thus entirely in Switzerland, of which it is the culminating peak (and not, as often stated, the Dom, 14,942 ft., in the Mischabel group). The loftiest point of the Dufourspitze was first attained in 1855 by a large English party, which included Messrs G. and C. Smyth, C. Hudson, Birkbeck and Stevenson. The Zumsteinspitze was first climbed in 1820, the Signalkuppe (on top of which there is now a club hut) in 1842, the Nordend in 1861 and the Parrotspitze in 5863. The ascent of all the points named is not difficult from the Swiss side, but excessively dangerous on the east or Italian side. (W. A. B. C.)

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