Haute-Savoie, France

Envers des Aiguilles

Ingenious routes with endless cracks and exciting slabs make the climbing at the Envers hut a true gem in the Alps.

The climbing area is situated in a wonderful location overlooking the glaciers of Mer de Glace, Glacier du Tacul and Glacier de Leschaux with a view of some 4000s east of Mont Blanc.
The area was established by Michel Piola, who has also opened up most of the routes here. The name stands for quality and anyone who has ever climbed a Piola route knows about his instinctive sense for great lines.
Whoever takes the effort of the approach will be rewarded with fantastic routes on great granite, the exposed atmosphere with magnificent views and a small but very fine Envers hut in a prominent location and close proximity to the routes. All this makes the charm of this area. It is a very privileged place and my tip for climbers who like to climb cracks.


Let’s see where it is:

Starting point:

From Chamonix by cog railway to the upper station of Montenvers. From here descend on a ladder structure for Mer de Glace. Proceed on the glacier and reach the Envers hut in 3 hours.

Note for approach to the Envers hut:

There is a new ladder access from the Mer de Glace since 2021. This is located in the glacier bend, is marked with a yellow square and joins the old ladder system in the upper part.


Envers hut (2523 m)

Best time of the year:

June usually offers still closed rimayes. Expect significantly more climbers in July due to the French holidays.

Our route highlights:

Grépon east face (3482 m):
» Grépon Mer de Glace (D, 5c obl., 850 m, 22 sections)

Aiguille de Roc east face (3406 m):
» Children of the moon (TD+, 6a obl., 320 m, 9 pitches)

Aiguille de Roc south face (3406 m):
» Subtilités Dülfériennes (TD+, 5c obl., 500 m, 18 pitches)

1./2. Pointes des Nantillons east face (2921 m):
» Amazonia (TD–, 6a+/6a obl., 370 m, 12 pitches)
» Les fleurs du mal (ED+, 6b+/5c obl., 450 m, 14 pitches)
» Bienvenue au Georges V (TD+, 6a+/6a obl., 370 m, 12 pitches)
» Guy-Anne l’insolte (TD+, 6a+/5c obl., 370 m, 12 pitches)

Tour Rouge east face (2899 m):
» Le marchand de sable (TD+, 6a+/6a obl., 330 m, 11 pitches)

Route equipment:

Most of the routes were re-equipped in the 80th and 90th. All belays and non protectable passages are bolted. However, most of the routes must be protected with Camalots and Stoppers, which is possible quite good in the excellent granite. A solid handling of your mobile protection is required.

Climbing gear:

50 m double rope, 1 set of C4-Camalots 0.1 – 3, 1 set of Link Cams 0.5 – 2, 1 set of Offset Stoppers, 12 quickdraws (as many long as possible), slings, Ice Axe for the approach

Culinary recommendation:

French vegetable soup with cheese cubes and walnut bread toasted in red wine.

» Refuge de Envers des Aiguilles (www.refugelenversdesaiguilles.ffcam.fr)