Mountain Flying

Alps
Routes flown over the Alps

Gotthard pass

The Gotthard Pass (6,909 ft) is the most important north-south trans-Alpine route in Switzerland. The road over the pass, the rail tunnel, the motorway tunnel and the Rail Base Tunnel link northern and southern Europe.



Gotthard route
Gotthard route
Gotthard route in March, 2007
Gotthard route, March 2007

North of Gotthard near Urnersee, August 2008
Near Urnersee, August 2008
Gotthard route in September, 2007
Gotthard route in September 2007
En route to Athens, June 2011
En route to Athens, June 2011
Gotthard route in July, 2020
Gotthard route in July 2020

Gerlos pass

The Gerlos Pass (4,921 ft) lies in the Austrian Alps between the Zillertal valley in Tyrol and the Zeller valley in the Oberpinzgau region on the route Innsbruck-Gerlospass-Zell am See.

Inn valley, Ziller valley, Gerlos pass and Zeller valley
Inn valley, Ziller valley, Gerlos pass and Zeller valley
Approaching RWY 26 Innsbruck, February, 2008
Approaching RWY 26 Innsbruck
Alps SW of Zell am See, February 2008
Alps SW of Zell am See, February 2008

Saalach valley

The Saalach Valley is the name of the middle and upper reaches of the Saalach river in Austria. The main valley is about 70 km long and begins north of the Zeller See.

Salaach valley
Salaach valley
Alps SW of Salzburg, February 2008
Alps SW of Salzburg, February 2008

Pötschen pass

The Pötschen pass (3,258 ft) in Austria connects Bad Goisern in Upper Austria and Bad Aussee in Styria along the Salzkammergut Straße.

From Wells via Potschenhohe to Niederoblarn
Pötschen pass
Near Potschenpass, February 2008
Near Pötschenpass, February 2008
East of Potschenpass, May 2012
East of Pötschenpass, May 2012

Gemmi pass

The Gemmi Pass (7,448 ft) is a high mountain pass across the Bernese Alps connecting Leukerbad (on the south) with Kandersteg (on the north) in Zwitserland.



Gemmi pass
Gemmi pass
To Sion via Gemmi pass, August 2008
To Sion via Gemmi pass, August 2008

Gemmi pass
Gemmi pass

Simplon pass

The Simplon Pass (6,578 ft) links Brig in Switzerland with Domodossola in Northern Italy. The first pass road suitable for vehicular traffic dates back to the time of Napoleon, who wanted to travel southward with his cannons. The Ganter Bridge along the Simplon Pass road spans the Ganter River valley.

Simplon pass
Simplon pass
Aletsch gletscher, August 2008
Aletsch gletscher
Ganterbrucke to Simplonpass, August 2008
Ganterbrucke to Simplonpass, August 2008

Pragel pass

The Pragel pass (5,079 ft) in Switzerland links the Canton Schwyz in the west with the Canton Glarus in the east. The road is closed for motorised traffic between Klöntal and Richisau on Saturday and Sunday.

Pragel pass
Pragel pass
Pragel pass, April 2009
Pragel pass, April 2009

Saanen, Col des Mosses

The Col des Mosses (4,740 ft) is a mountain pass in the western Bernese Alps of Switzerland. It links Aigle, to the south in the valley of the Rhone, with Château-d'Œx, to the north in the valley of the Sarine.

To Saanen, April 2009
To Saanen, April 2009
From Reichenbach to Saanen, then to Ecuvillens
From Reichenbach to Saanen, then to Ecuvillens

Brenner pass

The Brenner Pass (4,495 ft) on the border of Austria and Italy has been one of the main entrances to Italy from the north and, since Roman times, the principal road between the Eastern Alps in Germany and the Po River valley of Italy. The modern Brenner Highway links Kufstein in Austria with Modena in Italy. The Wipp Valley is spanned by the Europa Bridge.



Brenner route
Brenner route
North east of Bolzano, May 2009
North east of Bolzano, May 2009

Europa Bridge
Europa Bridge, July 2011
Near the Brenner pass, July 2014
Near the Brenner pass, July 2014
Innsbruck, August 2020
Innsbruck, August 2020

Radstädter Tauern Pass , Obertauern

The Radstädter Tauern Pass (5,702 ft) in Austria connects the town of Radstadt to the north with Mauterndorf to the south.

Radstadter Tauernpass, Obertauern, July 2010
Radstädter Tauernpass, Obertauern, July 2010
Radstadter Tauern pass
Radstädter Tauern pass
Obertauern, July 2013
Obertauern, July 2013

Loibl pass

The Loibl Pass (4,485 ft) on the Austrian-Slovenian border is a mountain pass that connects Slovenia with Austria. The Loibl tunnel was constructed during World War II using forced labourers from concentration camps. The old road over the summit of the mountain pass has been closed for motorised traffic since 1967.

Loibl pass
Loibl pass
Loibl pass, July 2007
Loibl pass, July 2007

Grimsel pass

The Grimsel Pass (7,100 ft) in Switzerland connects the cantons of Bern, to the north, and Valais, to the south. The first fully documented use of the Grimsel Pass dates back to the 14th century, although it has been suggested that the pass was used in Roman times.

Grimsel pass
Grimsel pass
Grindelwald, Bernese Alps, August 2010
Grindelwald, Bernese Alps

Grimsel pass, August 2010
Grimsel pass, August 2010

Furka pass

The Furka Pass (7,969 ft) in Switzerland links Andermatt in the Canton of Uri with Gletsch in the Canton of Valais. The Rhône Glacier, located close to the Furka Pass road, is the source of the river Rhône.

Furkapass and Oberalp pass
Furkapass
Furka pass, August 2010
Furka pass, August 2010
From Aosta to Reutte, August 2012
From Aosta to Reutte, August 2012

Oberalp pass

The Oberalp Pass (6,706 ft) in Switzerland sits at Graubünden's westernmost extreme. The public road that crosses the pass is closed in winter, but the the railway line, used by the Glacier Express between St Moritz and Zermatt, is open year-round.

Oberalp pass, August 2010
Oberalp pass, August 2010
Oberalp pass
Oberalp pass

We also crossed the Oberalp pass in August 2012 on the way from Aosta to Reutte.

Julier pass

The Julier Pass (7,493 ft) in Switzerland connects the Engadin valley with the rest of Graubünden. The remains of Roman columns and coins found on the top of the pass point to an early use of this alpine traverse. Today, the Julier Pass is the most important northern access to the Engadin.

Julierpass
Julierpass
Julier pass, August 2010
Julier pass, August 2010
Julier pass, September 2013
Julier pass, September 2013

Flüela pass

The Flüela Pass (7,818 ft) in Switzerland connects Davos and Susch in the lower Engadin valley. The bronze spear tips found on the Flüela pass are proof that this pass was used in very early days.

Fluela pass, August 2010
Flüela pass, August 2010
Fluela pass
Flüela pass
Fluela pass, September 2013
Flüela pass, September 2013

Felber Tauern Pass

The Felber Tauern (8,087 ft) is a high mountain pass in the Hohe Tauern mountains in Austria. In Roman times, the route over the Felber Tauern was probably the most important pass of the Hohe Tauern mountains.



Felber Tauern route
Felber Tauern route
Grossglockner, July 2011
Grossglockner

Passing Felber Tauern pass, July 2011
Passing Felber Tauern pass, July 2011

Plöcken pass

The Plöcken Pass (4,452 ft) lies at the border between Austria and Italy. It links the market town of Kötschach-Mauthen with the Paluzza municipality in Italy. Roman forces under General Tiberius rebuilt the already existing path as a road in order to reach the newly conquered lands north of the Carnic Alps.

Plocken pass
Plöcken pass
Plocken pass. July 2011
Plöcken pass, July 2011

Penser pass (Penser Joch, Passo di Pènnes)

The Penser Joch pass (Passo di Pènnes) (7,254 ft) in South Tyrol, northern Italy, connects Bolzano via the Sarntal and with Sterzing in the Wipptal. It is the most direct road between Innsbruck and Bolzano.

Penser pass, July 2011
Penser pass, July 2011
Penser pass
Penser pass

Gran San Bernardo pass

The Great St Bernard Pass (Colle del Gran San Bernardo) (8,100 ft) in Switzerland, very close to Italy, is the third highest road pass in Switzerland. It connects Martigny in Switzerland with Aosta in Italy. It is the lowest pass lying on the ridge between the two highest mountains of the Alps, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa.

Gran San Bernardo pass, August 2012
Gran San Bernardo pass
Gran San Bernardo pass
Gran San Bernardo pass, August 2012

Bernina pass

The Bernina Pass (Passo del Bernina) (7,638 ft) in Zwitserland connects St. Moritz in the Engadin valley with Tirano in Valtellina. The pass lies a few kilometres east of Piz Bernina, and south of Val Minor. The Bernina Pass is crossed by road and rail, with a popular tourist train, the Bernina Express operating year-round between Chur and Tirano.

Bernina pass, July 2013
Bernina pass, July 2013
Bernina pass
Bernina pass

Albula pass

The Albula Pass (7,585 ft) in Switzerland links the Albula Valley with the Engadine. The pass is used since the 13th century, and a carriage road was built across it in 1865.

Albula pass, July 2013
Albula pass, July 2013
Albula pass
Albula pass

Schlappiner Joch mountain pass

The Schlappiner Joch (7,221 ft) at an old pack animal trading-route lies north of Davos on the border of Austria and Zwitzerland. The pass connects the towns of Gargellen in Vorarlberg in Austria and Schlappin in Graubünden in Switzerland. In earlier times, this was the shortest way from Lake Constance to Lake Como.

Over Schlappiner Joch pass, July 2013
Over Schlappiner Joch pass, July 2013
Schlappiner Joch mountain pass
Schlappiner Joch mountain pass

Jaufenpass (Passo di Monte Giovo)

The Jaufen Pass (Passo di Monte Giovo) (6,870 ft) in Italy connects Meran and Sterzing on the road to the Brenner Pass. It is the northernmost pass in the Alps that is completely in Italy. The Jaufenpass road was constructed shortly before the start of the First World War. Until then, the old and steep mule track was used to cross the pass.

Jaufenpass
Jaufenpass
Over Jaufenpass, July 2014
Over Jaufenpass, July 2014

Mont Blanc

The Mont Blanc (15,774 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps, and the second-highest mountain in Europe after Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains. The Mont Blanc mountain massif lies along the French-Italian border and reaches into Switzerland.

Passing the Mont Blanc, August 2016
Passing the Mont Blanc, August 2016
Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc

Mountain Flying resources

www.mountainflying.com www.mountainflying.com
FAA Mountain Flying Video Mountain Flying
1970s FAA training film
AOPA Mountain Flying course AOPA Mountain Flying course
AOPA Air Safety Foundation
Mountain flying publication from CAA New Zealand Mountain Flying
CAA New Zealand

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