Monte Rosa (Italian: massiccio del Monte Rosa; German: Monte Rosa-Massiv; French: massif du Mont Rose) is a mountain massif in the eastern part of the Pennine Alps. It is between Italy's (Piedmont and Aosta Valley) and Switzerland's (Valais). Monte Rosa is the second highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe, after Mont Blanc.The group is on the watershed between central and southern Europe.
The Monte Rosa massif has four faces. Three are in Italy: the Liskamm heading above the Val de Gressoney; the Valsesian face above Alagna Valsesia at the upper part of the Valle della Sesia; and the steep, big east wall above Macugnaga in the Valle Anzasca. The Swiss north-western face has several glaciers (with one of the largest Alpine glaciers) flowing towards the Mattertal with Zermatt.Its main summit, named Dufourspitze in honor of the surveyor Guillaume-Henri Dufour and wholly located in Switzerland, culminates at 4,634 m (15,203 ft) and is followed by the five nearly equally high subsidiary summits of Dunantspitze, Grenzgipfel, Nordend, Zumsteinspitze, and Signalkuppe. Some other over 4000 m peaks such as Piramide Vincent, Punta Giordani, and Corno Nero are wholly in Italy. Monte Rosa is the highest mountain of both Switzerland and the Pennine Alps and is also the second-highest mountain of the Alps and Europe outside the Caucasus.The north-west side of the central Monte Rosa massif, with its enormous ice slopes and seracs, constitutes the boundary and upper basin of the large Gorner Glacier, which descends towards Zermatt and merges with its nowadays much larger tributary, the Grenzgletscher (English: 'Border Glacier'), right below the Monte Rosa Hut on the lower end of the visible western wing. The Grenzgletscher is an impressive glacier formation between the western wing of the mountain and Liskamm, a ridge on its southwestern side on the Swiss-Italian border. On the eastern side, in Italy, the mountain falls away in an almost vertical 2,400-metre-high (7,900 ft) wall of granite and ice, the biggest in Europe, overlooking Macugnaga and several smaller glaciers.
Monte Rosa was studied by pioneering geologists and explorers, including Leonardo da Vinci in the late-fifteenth century and Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the late-eighteenth century. Following a long series of attempts beginning in the early-nineteenth century, Monte Rosa's summit, then still called Höchste Spitze (lit. 'highest peak'), was first reached in 1855 from Zermatt by a party of eight climbers led by three guides. The great east wall was first climbed in 1872, from Macugnaga.Each summer many climbers set out from the Monte Rosa Hut on the mountain's west wing for one of its summits via the normal route or for the Margherita Hut on the Signalkuppe (Italian: 'Punta Gnifetti'), used as a research station. Many tourists and hikers also come each year to the Gornergrat on the north-west side of the massif, to see the panorama that extends over the giants of the Alps, from Monte Rosa to the Matterhorn.