GR 20 in April

ivanhong24

Posted: Fri, Jan 6, 2012, 19:39

Hello everyone,

I am planning to do the GR 20 trek in the first week of April. Does anyone know that:
1. Since there will be no service offered in April, do I still need to book it or do I need to carry a tent?
2. Do I need to carry all the food needed during the trek or is there anywhere food can be bought?
3. Do I have to bring ice axes and crampons?

Thank you

Ivan

--

Chuan Hong



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sat, Jan 7, 2012, 7:33

Hello Ivan,

1. No booking is needed. The huts are open (but probably buried in snow!)
2. You need to carry all the food yourself.
3. ABSOLUTELY! All of the highest areas will be covered in ice.

--Michele



ivanhong24

Posted: Sat, Jan 7, 2012, 9:10

Hello Michele,

Thank you so much for the precious information, since the huts are probably buried in snow, do I need to carry a tent?

Ivan

--

Chuan Hong



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sat, Jan 7, 2012, 10:46

Ivan,

Obviously a tent becomes vital. Or... you could contact the Park before your travel at:

equipemontagne@parc-corse.org

and ask them what refuges are accessible and what are not.

--Michele



ivanhong24

Posted: Sat, Jan 7, 2012, 18:03

Thank you Michele, got one last question, do I need any ropes?

--

Chuan Hong



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sat, Jan 7, 2012, 21:06

During summertime no ropes are necessary. But in wintertime, in areas with ice, a short rope "might" come in handy as a safety measure (but in general there should be no need for a rope).

--Michele



dinny

Posted: Sat, Jan 7, 2012, 21:08

Hi Ivan,

What you plan to do is way out of my experience, but to pass on advice from Cicerone guide writer and king of cool (that comment is for your amusement, Michele!!!) Paddy Dillon, many of the route markings will be buried under snow, making the route pretty hard to follow. So I imagine you will need plenty of winter navigation experience.

Good luck to you!
Dinny



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Jan 8, 2012, 7:22

Hi Dinny,

good to see you around :)
It seems there is only you and me to hold the fort during the winter "hibernation" of this forum :)

--Michele



ivanhong24

Posted: Tue, Jan 10, 2012, 21:21

Thank you so much! Michele and Dinny

--

Chuan Hong



Congre

Posted: Tue, Jan 10, 2012, 23:16

Hey guys, a noobie to the forum here:

It's very interesting to read that the snow will be for sure thick by early April. What about May? Presumably, I can choose my starting day, so I wanna go when the weather is at its best and accommodation isn't a problem (clever, huh?). Thought that was around May. Am I barking at the wrong tree here?

I love travelling light, so I wasn't planning bringing a tent or anything. Last fall, I did a 20 day hike with less than 7 kilos in my backpack. Would that mean under the premises I established that I will freeze to death or starve on my second day?

Been reading the web and the forum. Great job this is!

Thank you all.

Ricardo



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 7:49

Sorry to burst your bubble Ricardo, but May is also not ideal for the trek because deep snow could still affect the higher parts of the trail and the huts will start to be manned only around half of May. My recommendation is not to plan to start before June. However, if you are so eager to do it in May, you should check the official blog of the Park

http://randoblogpnrc.blogspot.com/

where they keep updated news about the snow situation, the huts and the trail in general.

--Michele



dinny

Posted: Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 10:27

Hey Ricardo,

My money is on freezing before starving! According to HRH Paddy Dillon, "Walking the GR20 is not recommended until the beginning of June, although sometimes it is possible to start in the middle of May....those who plan their travels well in advance are taking a big chance, and deep snow could still affect the higher parts of the route. Think about packing an ice axe and crampons..."

....and massively warm sleeping bag, all the food you'll need....hmm, scuppers your plans to go light weight!!! Anyway, I think being the only body on the route is over-rated - you might meet some lovely fellow hikers out there!
* * * * * *
Hey Michele,

Good to read your comments...seems the way to extend the memories of the route are to keep checking in on this site :-) Have you made plans for this year?

Best wishes to you,
Dinny



Congre

Posted: Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 22:46

Thank you both for helping me making it alive another year. I'll wait until June; decision made. I had read about the long winter season and the snows up there, but I couldn't help thinking that global warming would have made the guides' time window a bit out of date. Now that I know I can start dehydrating food and maybe by then I have light enough fare to face the cruise unloaded like a bottle of whisky at a gypsy wedding... :)

Ahhh, definitely crossing the sandwich from south to north. The only guide written by a Spanish dude claims that this is more convenient due to the position of the sun, the subtle increase of difficulty and other banalities. Not that I care, just letting you know about how we roll down here.

Cheers,

Ricardo



dinny

Posted: Thu, Jan 12, 2012, 14:49

Hey Ricardo,

Sounds like a good plan, whichever way you roll :-)
Have fun with your preparations and dehydrations!

I'm envious...

Dinny



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 12:32

And I'm envious of "someone else" who's been to the Kalahari Desert and didn't even show us a pic! :)



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 12:42

Dinny,

No plans for this year yet. Difficult to find something like the GR20!!! I've been checking out besthikes.wordpress.com for inspiration. Something in Europe ... I've read Rick's report about his experience on the Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route. But the 5-star type of accommodation kind of put me off.
I'll keep looking ..

What about you?

--Michele



dinny

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 13:45

Oh Michele - I'm sorry!

I haven't actually done anything 'clever' with my pictures - only get them printed off to put in my un-techno photo album. In the end I didn't take much in the way of video, then regretted it later - I had a good list of potential sound track songs in my head too, including Gillian Welch's 'Red Clay Halo', and 'Who Do You Love' by...well I don't know who wrote it, but Townes Van Zandt sung it very well (he wore a "cobra snake for a neck tie", & I saw plenty of snakes in Namibia) :-)

I will put some pictures on Facebook soon as I don't know any other way to 'share' them with long distance friends,so if you can bear to sink to that low level...
Someone else from the group posted a 2 minute youtube, which has a lovely footage of zebras fighting, and some pretty nifty bow-drill fire-starting by...um... me ;-) You'll find it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOuMRLzun-g

Dinny



daskew

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 14:18

Michele, the Haute Route Chamonix to Zermatt is wonderful, we did it a couple years back. I can't compare to the GR20 as I am just planning that for this summer. I don't think you need to go with 5 star luxury by any means. You can find pension/b&b style accommodation in most of the towns along the way. The huts on the route are pretty decent although a bit on the expensive side, especially meals. You can save a bit by bringing some of your own food while you stay in the huts and also just buying groceries for dinner when you are in the towns. Check out my husband's photos at www.gtbow.smugmug.com under "Switzerland 2010".



dinny

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 17:21

Hey again, Michele,

I know, its hard to imagine anything to compare with the GR20...

I've no plans yet, but need to get some ideas in my head to look forward to and plan for - I've even grown weary of taking cold showers now that they're not part of the GR20 preparations! :-0

I'll be interested to hear of any hiking gems you come up with...

Dinny



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 17:27

That's ok Dinny, I was actually kidding :)
If you want to share your pics, you can always open an account on Flickr.com (no need of FB).
PS
Your friend's video is well done and edited.

--Michele



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 17:59

Thanks Deborah,
You certainly can tell from experience (by the way, lovely pictures!)
My impressions were based only on gut feelings from Rick's report. Besides, such route doesn't seem to be meant for tent hikers - in fact apparently there are no campsites (but then the likelihood to get some heavy rain is higher than the GR20 so maybe a solid roof is more appropriate).
I'll think about it. Thanks for your feedback.

--Michele



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 18:24

Dinny,

Among the others, the Selvaggio Blu trek is one I definitely have on my mind. Although considerably different from the GR20, it is more in tune with my spirit of adventure into the wild :)

--Michele



dinny

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 21:03

Blimey, Michele, that looks pretty hard core!

Just been trawling the internet looking at Selvaggio Blu... new Paddy Dillon guide out on Sardinian walks - I don't think it includes SB, but found a four part youtube of the trek posted by 'weathercam' which seems to cover it well...

But how do you go lightweight enough to move with balance over that terrain, and still carry climbing rope and gear?

Makes my mind boggle!

Dinny
ps, I knew you were joking about the photos...but nice of you to remember I'd been to the Kalahari :-)



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2012, 21:58

Dinny,

The point with that trek is that you can't do it on your own. You need some kind of backup for food and water supplies that must be placed at each stage end before the trek begins (in barrels). So you can actually travel very light (some people don't even carry a tent but sleep out or in a bivvy). Each group carries 2 50 meter half-ropes and you are only required to have your harness, a descender and a couple of carabiners. The backpacks can be kept very light.

--Michele



dinny

Posted: Sun, Jan 15, 2012, 14:41

Hey Michele,

Looking back in my Northern GR20 trail diary there's an entry on my favourite day's walk to Refuge de Petra Piana where I claim to have seen Sardinia... was I mistaken?
I've been looking online for some Selvaggio Blu information, and find there is an English version of a guide book which I think I should investigate. Do you know - is it neccessary to pay to have supplies left at each stage, or does one do this prior to hiking by vehicle/boat, which would extend the duration of the trip? And what about guides...the route seems poorly marked compared to the GR20..?

Dinny



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Jan 15, 2012, 21:49

Dinny,

Between Manganu and Petra Piana you reached the highest pass of the trail: the breche du Capitellu. Chances are you might have seen the island of Elba or the smaller Pianosa. I doubt you could have seen Sardinia because that's further down south and your line of sight is somewhat blocked by the other Corsican mountains (but of course I may be wrong). Anyway, take a look at Google Earth: position yourself above the breche du Capitellu and bring down the horizon. You should be able to see those islands.

Regarding the SB ... it is usually necessary to have someone position your food and water supplies at each stage end before the beginning of the trip. There are some agencies that do that and may also provide a guide if requested. Yes, the trail is poorly marked and confusing in many locations. If you want to know more about it, I might direct you to a site (which unfortunately is only in Italian) with an impressive photo gallery of each day, lots of information, descriptions, gps tracks etc. If you are patient enough you could use googletranslate to translate those pages (yes I do know it's a pain :) but I tested it and it seems to be ok)

http://www.caiponte.com/selvaggioblu/

Should you need any help, of course, don't hesitate to ask.

--Michele



ivanhong24

Posted: Wed, Feb 1, 2012, 8:20

Hey Michele,

Got one more question to ask. What is the onward transportation from Conca? I am planning to booking a returning flight from Figari airport, do you know roughly how long does it takes to get there, or is there any chance to get a taxi from Conca to Figari airport? Thank you.

Ivan

--

Chuan Hong



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Feb 3, 2012, 12:12

Ivan,

According to this timetable, from Porto Vecchio to Figari Airpost it only takes 30 minutes. You only need to catch a ride from Conca to Porto Vecchio or, at least from Conca to St.Lucie de Porto Vecchio (and from there to Porto Vecchio). I'm sure you could get a taxi, but be prepared to fork out a lot, because taxis in Corsica are pretty expensive.

--Michele