Mileage in the Envers.

After whats has proved to be a pretty poor summer season for weather so far it was bloody lovely to head up to the Envers Des Aiguille hut for some fun in the sun.

The Awesome Envers Refuge.

The Awesome Envers Refuge.

The Envers is one of those really special places with awesome climbing, stunning views, a friendly (and importantly not to big) refuge.  The idyllic surroundings are enhanced by water tinkling over smooth slabs, alpine flowers and dramatic granite pillars. It is one of my “Happy Places” and I’ve always felt at home there, which is why I make a point of going up there at least once a summer when I’m here (read about my last trip up there in 2012)

Myself and Ross headed up from first train with a big rack and an open mind ready to sample some of the brilliant quality climbing the area has to offer.  We discussed tactics on what kind of routes we wanted to do and settled on two “shorter” routes (although still a few hundred meters!)  to make the most out of the time we had. We walked straight to 1er pointe des nantillions which is home to some magnificent routes around the 6a/6a+ mark. We ended up climbing the Uber classic Beinvenue au Georges V which Ross remembered he actually climbed before when we were on pitch 4.  We’ll let him off though as it was probably about 20 year ago when he was in his mid 20’s :-). The climbing is fun and never to hard although the slabs are the hardest part so be prepared for that if you go up to do it! The belays are comfortable and the in-situ protection and belays are good.  Here’s some Shots of the climbing (click one to see in gallery for full effect!):

After a pretty good nights sleep in the hut we woke up with out sights set on the  Pyramid on the Pyramid Pillar.  Given ED, 6a+ obligatory we knew we’d be able to get up the thing but we had the added challenge and option of harder climbing.  The second pitch gets 7a and despite my best intentions to free it I pretty soon found myself “french freeing” (pulling on bolts) past the crux section. I wasn’t that psyched to be taking whippers before 8am…. that’s not very civilized! The climbing was awesome and the rock was immaculate with some of the best granite climbing I have done in a long while.  Defiantly one to look at if your heading up that way. Here’s some shots from that day:

Hopefully this good weather stick around for a while so we can get some more alpine action in! Ciao for now!

Hunting Chickens in Amazonia.

Johnny V on the 2nd Pitch of Amazonia in the Envers Des Aiguilles.

The unusually high temperatures we have been experiencing this month have really drained me. I’m much more of a cold weather person so finding psyched to trudge about on a falling apart glacier in the baking heat is difficult. Luckily Chamonix provides ample opportunities to find perfect granite with minimal glacial faff and a fine place to look is the Envers Des Aiguilles. This past trip with kayaking legend and general cool guy Johnny Vincent is the third time that I’ve been to the Envers this summer and this short trip provided us with a great route and an opportunity to hunt the elusive chickens that can often be found stuck in up to there necks in the granite.

We chose the route Amazonia on the first point of the Nantillons which is a stunning 370m 6a on pristine granite with a mixture of cracks and slabs (Michel Piola waz ‘ere but must have been having an off day as the slab pitches aren’t sandbags for a change!).

We started at about 8pm and with all told made it back to the train in good time so this route is a good day route to do at the end of a trip to the Envers if your reasonably efficient (which we weren’t as I got us lost at one point, dropped my belay plate and generally was a little spaced out due to the heat and having just finished work in time to get the last lift the day before, hense not feeling like much of a winner).  Here’s some photo’s….

In the Envers refuge wondering why I can’t make head nor tail of the guidebook I brought.

Super fun Climbing.

John Vincent dodging belay plates.

Poser.

We found the chickens. They were amazing.

Team summit shot.

Thanks John for a great day. Sorry for all my screw ups but at least we made it back down to the train on time.

The weather is getting cooler now and it feels a lot more like autumn which is very good in my opinion.  Getting pretty motivated for  some big face action and the Himalaya’s…..

Rocking out in the Envers.

Just got back from a super fun trip in the Envers des Aiguilles.  Despite being shut down by the weather on both our climbing days spirits ran high and many fun pitches of granite climbing was experienced.  I’m a big fan of this zone and i’ll be back soon for sure.  Maybe with a lighter pack, warmer weather, less snow and a more stable weather forecast!!

Still pretty snowy on the walk in but not too bad.

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