GR 20 in April, May and November

I’m getting a lot of questions these days about walking the GR 20 trail in early spring or late autumn. People most often worry about weather, snow and lodging.

Lake Melo in April 2006: The GR 20 trail goes in the ridge above the frozen lake.Lake Melo in April 2006: The GR 20 trail goes in the ridge above the frozen lake.

Weather and temperatures

GR 20 is a high-level mountain path and you can predict the only thing: Weather is very unpredictable and quickly changing there in April, May or November. Be ready for temperatures around or below zero in nights. Days may be sunny and warm as well as cold and rainy. Expect dense mists and low clouds that make navigation very difficult. Strong wind is almost sure.

You can check out both up to date and historic weather conditions in many places of Corsica on the photos on Infoclimat.fr=.

Snow and ice

There is snow even in lower elevations of Corsica right now. It will probably melt soon this year, but it can lay on some places till the end of May. Some parts of the GR 20 are secured by iron chains or ladders and they are quite dangerous when covered by ice. You should not get on the route without an ice axe and crampons. Read Paddy Dillon’s advices on OutdoorsMagic.

Refuge de Prati in May 2003: The hut is already open and there is no snow around.Refuge de Prati in May 2003: The hut is already open and there is no snow around.

Refuges

PNRC refuges are open all year round for safety reasons, but they offer no services from November to May. That means you can get in to spend a night inside, but you can’t buy food and there is no heating or light there. Even the sources of drinking water may be frozen.

You can contact the Parc Naturel Regional de La Corse (PNRC) and ask them for up to date weather forecast and details about refuges.

Tel: 04 95 51 79 00
Fax: 04 95 21 88 17
E-mail: infos@parc-naturel-corse.com
Website: www.parc-naturel-corse.com (in French)

Have an alternate plan

Most of the other Corsican trails are passable in early spring or late autumn. It’s a good idea to chose one of them and have it as a backup plan when a lot of snow prevents you from walking the GR20. For instance consider Mare e Monti Nord or Mare a Mare Centre — both running through broadleaf forests that are especially beautiful in autumn — or Sentier de la Transhumance, what’s a shorter and easier version of the GR 20 trail.

Posted by Marek Prokop on Sat, 2007-03-24 13:55

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