The Monte Rosa is a huge ice covered mountain in the Alps, located on the watershed between northern and southern Europe. Its main summit, named Dufourspitze in honor of the surveyor Guillaume-Henri Dufour, culminates at 4,634 metres (15,203 ft) above sea level and is followed by the three nearly equally high subsidiary summits of Nordend,Zumsteinspitze and Signalkuppe. 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. As a massif, Monte Rosa straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy, although its main summit, unlike the three lower ones, lies on the Swiss side, within the canton of Valais.
Along with the Lyskamm to the south, the west side of Monte Rosa, with its enormous ice slopes and seracs, forms the boundary and upper basin of the large Gorner Glacier, which descends towards Zermatt. On the east side, the mountain forms an almost vertical 2,400 metre-high wall of granite and ice, the biggest in Europe, overlooking Macugnag.
The Ayas/Champoluc and Gressoney valleys climb up towards the huge Monte Rosa massif, leading the visitor on a voyage of discovery through the culture of the Walser people, villages boasting typical local architecture and vast ski areas.