Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Light Side or Envers des Aiguilles

After a failed ski touring project to Grand Combin we changed plans from all to all and went climbing rock in the sun at Envers des Aiguilles. The new Piola topo was certainly worth a try - confirmation received, it is full of gems. They are long, sustained, and pure - 'Little Yosemite' or some of France's best granite - you can call it what you want, but Envers des Aiguilles climbing is superb.

Although early for the season, we found 2 other dare-devils at the Envers refuge, full of food, fuel, and even a wine and a grappa bottle. The dare-devils were nice enough to leave us their Nutella, for witch we are immensely grateful! Despite the snow on the approach and totally wet shoes, climbing prooved doable and pleasant. Some problems to start, but than the way to the top goes smoothly as long as the muscles keep it up.

Here is the Patagonian challenge - 20cm between rock and this snow cork at the start of Tout va mal - don't breathe and reduce the butt size to a minumum exercise - an interesting experience to say the least.

Routes are long, sustained and difficult. This 5c, a perfect diedre pitch on Subtilites Dulferiennes, without a bolt or anything else except some pinky flowers to match the rope in the flaring crack, is a wonderful challange for any dedicated sport climber.

If limestone is not always my favorite, crack climbing prooved as tiresome and challanging - but beautiful nevertheless. Certainly an area to go back to.

Routes done (or almost as each time we left a couple of pitches before the top, due to numerous excuses such as darkness approaching, snow storm or just the old beaten 'i'm tired' one...) - Piege, Tout va mal/Subtilites Dulferiennes mix, Guy Anne.

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