little yosemite in cham

For the last two days of climbing in Cham I teamed up with our newbie Charlie 🙂 Initially we wanted to do a route on Dent du Geant  and then famous Rochefort ridge on the next day. Unfortunately weather forecast wasn’t good – a very strong wind basically made any high altitude activity impossible. Climbing a needle as tall as Dent du Geant would be a bit of Patagonia experience. Feeling not so ready for this we decided to change our decision and we chose an area called Envers des Aiguilles. In French it means ‘the other side of the needles’ which is quite funny cause I always thought that Courmayeur was on the other side of Cham… 😉

no need to rope up on this flat and not-so-cracky part of mer de glace

Envers is often called ‘little yosemite’ as the quality of granite is excellent. Many lines follow beautiful cracks and corners quite often separated by funky slabs. Climbing requires using various techniques such as e.g. hand jamming and proper footwork in the first place. There is not much in situ gear (apart from the slabs of course) which makes it also mentally demanding.

a cloud of dust caused by a huge stonefall on aiguille du moine – thankfully our needles were perfectly solid!

Moreover Envers offers literally tons of climbing and you’d probably need a second life to lead all the routes there. Well, we picked only two routes – Le Piege and Guy Anne – but they were definitely worth it. Both were really nice especially that they were opened by Piola. Those who climbed some of his lines probably know what I mean. Swiss was a real visionary when it comes to the ability of finding good lines on the wall. For example a slanting crack on pitch 4 of Guy Anne is a real must! Seriously, go and check it 🙂

charlie leading a classic slanting crack on pitch 4 of guy anne

But climbing itself – as cool as it was – is not enough to make these two days an unforgetable memory. It is also great company and guiding of Manu, nice (although quite long) hike up and down Mer de Glace and – last but not least – a huge and delicious dinner in Envers hut. I’m sure I’m gonna get back there to climb more routes – probably sooner than in my second life 😉

just before negotiating the offwidth crack of le piege


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