Sarah of the Charpoua

refuge de la charpoua, in Chamonix, view on the Mer de Glace. Glacier Optics, made in the alps.
At the end of August, we hiked up to see the Refuge de la Charpoua in Chamonix one last time, since it will be dismantled and rebuilt next summer. After crossing the remnants of the Mer de Glace, we took a path equipped with 100 meters vertical ladders, then joined the moraine, heading for the hut. After a few hours of walking, we were welcomed by our friend Sarah, the captain of the place.
refuge de la charpoua, charlet, chamonix, glacier optics, les drus, sarah cartier, les alpes, the alps
118 years of history

The hut, built in 1904, is both the oldest and the smallest in the valley. Perched like a sentinel on a piece of rock, it is surrounded by two glaciers. This mythical hut of the Mont-Blanc massif is guarded by another local legend:
Sarah Cartier.
sarah cartier, refuge charpoua, chamonix, levent des cimes, barlette, mer de glace, les drus
Sarah is the only hut keeper of this 14-person refuge throughout the summer. She mainly welcomes climbers who come to rub shoulders with the Drus.

With her sharp eye and good sense of humor, she will yell at you if you leave your socks out, smelling of camembert. But she will also serve you delicious dishes, in portions that would make your grandmother look stingy. Then, after putting her children to bed, she'll share the best Chamonix stories of the last century, with an extra piece of chocolate cake & local genepi liqueur.
guides de chamonix, apero, table, refuge, les alpes, chamonix, refuge charpoua
Here, even though we are at an altitude of nearly 3000 meters, there is no chance of eating soup in bags and freeze-dried pasta in metal bowls.

At the refuge de la Charpoua, everything is real and made with love. You warm up with an herbal tea from the garden, and you enjoy a soup with fresh vegetables that Noé, Sarah's friend, brings up every weekend. Even the bowls in which the soup is served are made by the hut keeper.
refuge de la charpoua, vue, mer de glace, mont-blanc, chamonix, sarah cartier, optique chaussin
We're being coddled and we're taking advantage of the opportunity to immortalise this mythical place, which, as you read these lines, has now disappeared to give life to its new incarnation. Same place, same concept, for next year: still no electricity or running water, but freshly waterproofed with also new windows.

Luckily, we still had some battery left on our phone to show you some small fragments of life in this legendary 24 square meters & thousand star refuge.
Sarah is now back in the valley working in her pottery workshop. There, she produces the dishes for the new refuge, where she is looking forward to welcoming you from June 2023.
poterie sarah cartier orsières

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