Landscape: Envers des Aiguilles

Tour Verte La PiegeI’m back in Vail, Colorado now after spending the summer in Chamonix, France. Overall, it was a good and productive summer of writing, collaborating with others, climbing, biking, exploring, etc. I spent four days during my last week in the Alps climbing from the Envers des Aiguilles hut with Kristy, Mark, and Cedric. Kristy had been planning this trip all summer, and I must say that it was more than a fantastic way to spend a final week in the place I love. Cedric and I sport climbed a bit below the hut after our hike in on the first day, and then we all set out together the next day to climb a route called La Piège, on the Tour Verte (2670m)—pictured at right. Kristy and I climbed together with the guys ahead of us, but both teams had difficulty route finding, and Kristy and I ended up on the summit with them just a pitch behind. Here’s Kristy, relaxing on top:

Kristy on Summit

The needle peaks and glaciers all around are what make this place so special. Aiguille means “needle” in French, so “Envers des Aigulles” means something like “in the area of the aiguilles (needles).” From the summit of the Tour Verte, the view looks like this:

Piege summit View

The standout, superstar-looking peak on the right is the Dent du Geant. While up in this area, it’s the peak that I find myself looking at the most. I’d glance over my shoulder while belaying or look up while hiking just to take it in.

Dent du Geant

Later in the evenings, while we were cooking dinner out on the hut’s deck, the Dent du Geant dominated the skyline and became even more beautiful in the alpenglow.

Dent du Geant in Mist

Even when the mist covered everything, I’d look across the glacier towards the Dent du Geant and see it’s distinctive summit sticking out of the clouds.

Kristy on Rap

On the third day, Kristy and I spent a long day out climbing a route called Guy-Anne on the Nantillons, premier pointe, (2921 m). I managed to get us off route, and we decided to climb our way back on…four super-difficult pitches and a big roof later. I took the above photo of Kristy rappelling down the final pitch that day, full of thanks that we had made it safely back on solid ground. That sensation of relief was similar to what I felt upon returning to Vail last week. Vail may not be the place I love most in the world, but it’s the closest thing to a “home” I have, for now.

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