The Envers Refuge is where climbers and guides go on vacation. It's a mellow scene, but the rock routes are huge. This year Cathy and I came to Chamonix prepared with a double rack and twin ropes. Between weather and work, we squeezed in a day and a half of climbing at the Envers. Lucky us!

It's a three-hour approach to the Envers after taking the Montenvers Railway from Chamonix. From the Montenvers we dropped down ladders, cables and moraine to the withering Mer de Glace Glacier. Each year the glacier drops, exposing more teetering moraine.  

We hiked a mile up the Mer de Glace, then climbed ladders to the Envers Refuge. Typical of the Alps, route finding wasn't hard.  

The Refuge de l'Envers is perched above the ogived Mer de Glace. Rising above the Envers are seas of granite. 

After the approach, Cathy and I dropped our packs and climbed La Piege. Two hundred meters of 6a+ granite crack climbing just five minutes from the refuge. 

The next day we climbed Amazonia, a 370-meter 6a+ on the First Point of the Nantillions. Here's Cathy leading a polished slab on the second pitch. For us the route was 13 pitches. 

A choucas stopped by, looking for handouts. 

Joe having a seriously good time near the summit of Amazonia. Photo by Marian Penso who we climbed just behind. Marian is from Cape Town, South Africa. Great company! 

Our last stuck rope of the rappels. High friction rock loves to stick ropes. 

Down just in time before the rain. 

Mid-September. Winter is coming. 

Back at the hut, a Chamoniard Guide charms the ladies. We'll be back!