My frist trip to Corsica and GR20

KasperDK

Posted: Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 22:19

Hey Corisca.forhikers.com,

My friend and I are going to GR20 in the summer for the first time. I have searched on the internet a lot, but I think it is difficiult to find any informations about what we must have with us on the journey.

I have heard that our bags must be at least 60 liters, do you agree in that? Except for some good boots, what is essential to complete GR20. How many days is it possible to complete it in? We are both fit and 23 years. We are planning to see Monte Cinto aswell.

I am looking forward to hear from you :)

Best wishes,
Kasper



Joanna

Posted: Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 7:02

First of all, you should get yourself a guidebook. Either the Cicerone GR20, or, if you read French, the FFRandonne's "À travers la montagne corse"- the latter is better imo, as it is smaller, lighter, and has better maps, in fact the maps are good enough as to not to need other maps in addition. The books will let you choose how many days you'd need, but unless you double stages (search the forum for that), the normal speed is 15 days.

One of the other frequent posters on this forum has made a packing list, I do not remember the adress of it, but I guess some other poster will post it in this thread soon, they usually do :-) Or just try searching for it in the search window.

Anyway, the "must-haves" are:
If you want to camp (best!), you'd need a tent, a sleeping bag (there is another thread here on the forum discussing what type, just type sleeping bag in the search field and you should find it), and a sleeping mat.

You can buy food in all the refuges, so unless you plan to cook for yourself, all you'd need are snacks and lunches.

Be prepared for intense heat during the day, and cool evenings - you'd need at least a fleece, but a rain- and windproof jacket and trouses would also be a good idea. A hat and sun cream are indenspensable!

Water - you'll need to carry all you'd need during the day, 2-3 liters, so you'll need bottles for that.

There are some difficult descents on the trail, so you might consider taking telescopic poles with you - I used them and they saved my knees! But my very tall husband did not use them, so it's up to what you need and what you're used to!

Also, take sneakers or slippers to use around the camps/refuges.

Money - there are no ATM's in the mountains!

That's all I can think of right now!



Joanna

Posted: Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 7:12

Take a look at this thread, started by another Dane:
http://corsica.forhikers.com/forum/p/22789

There is the link to the packing list in the thread, as well as some general advice on backpacks and boots.



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 9:01

Kasper

Keeping the weight down is crucial to enjoying the GR20.

15kg should be your absolute maximum including water.

If you can keep to that, a 50L rocksack should be big enough but the difference in weight between a 50 and a 60 wouldn't be great.

I posted my kit list on Docstoc (listed as GR20 kit list).

You don't need to carry a great deal of food as most of the refuges are well stocked.

--

Alan



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 15:29

Kasper,

the must-have on a trek (any trek) is usually a matter of personal choice based on experience and preferences (I've seen people walk the GR20 in low-heel boots: I'd never do that!!). I don't know if you had any previous experience in long-distance hikes, but imho it would be a good idea if you and your friend organize a mini-trek to test yourselves and your kit. Speaking of which, Joanna and Alan gave you the heads up about 2 kit lists you may use as a reference.
I also made a page called the quick and dirty facts about the GR20 where you can gather some more info about this fantastic adventure.

Best luck
--Michele



dinny

Posted: Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 21:04

Hi Kasper,

As the previous posts have advised, it's really down to what you're comfortable hiking with. I took a tent, sleeping bag and extra short Thermarest, also a tiny wood stove and cook pot, water filter, and a number of home-dehydrated meals. However, I'm a light-weight freak, because I'm happier when I'm not carrying a heavy load! I took the lightest I could get or make of everything (including the pack itself), and went without second set of clothes. So my pack (without food and water) is around 9 lb / 4.5 kg. And unlike Michele I wear low hiking shoes without ankle support ;-)

One item I would urge anyone to take is a water filter/ purifier - it'll give you peace of mind and a healthy stomach. And before you go, get used to cold showers!

Happy hiking - I'm planning on revisiting the GR20 myself next year, so may see you there!
Dinny



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sun, Dec 8, 2013, 20:48

"And unlike Michele I wear low hiking shoes without ankle support ;-)"

Ouch ... ;)



dinny

Posted: Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 0:56

Hey Michele...

"(I've seen people walk the GR20 in low-heel boots: I'd never do that!!)"

Ouch right back atcha! ;-)

By the way, I enjoyed reading your 'low and dirty facts about the GR20' - thanks for posting the link.



Joanna

Posted: Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 7:25

Don't really want to start a shoe discussion again, but it's all really down to what you are used to. Are you relatively new to hiking in this kind of terrain, and with a heavy backpack, you should definately go for high boots, as those are safer for you ankles and knees.



Malte8900

Posted: Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 11:57

Hi Kasper, I almost assume you are danish from your name?? If you need some advice in danish, I can help. Did it with my brother last year as our first real hiking experience and as you can probably guess we are danish too ;) I am 22 and my brother 25 so maybe I could be helpful since your situation sounds simular to mine when I completed it last year.
på dansk: jeg brugte en 60 liters osprey rygsæk hvilket passede helt perfekt til turen. Det er en super god rygsæk og størrelsen var også helt perfekt. Min rygsæk vejede omkring 10-11 kg uden vand hvilket er meget gennemsnitligt for folk der går gr20. Vi gik den på 14 dage med to hviledage ind i mellem da min bror fik dårligt knæ. Gr20 er inddelt i 14-15 etaper så de fleste gennemfører den på to uger ligesom os. Det er muligt at dobble etaper alt afhængig af hvor god jeres form er, men vejret er kan være meget tricky på gr20 og fra juli - august er det meget almindeligt at der kommer torden og regn op ad eftermiddagen så det handler om at komme tidligt afsted hver morgen. Vil som alle andre anbefale Paddy Dillon's guide GR20-Corsica The High-Level Route, der står virkelig meget nyttig information. Vil klart anbefale at medbringe eget telt da det giver en langt større frihed end at skulle sove i refuges plus der ofte er tilfælde med bed buggs i refuges og generelt ikk specielt rart at sove. Men som sagt vil jeg meget gerne svare på flere spørgsmål hvis i har brug for det?
Mvh Malte.



dinny

Posted: Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 14:50

Hi Kasper,
To answer your original question about pack size I'd suggest you gather all the things you're taking - and remember you don't want to carry something unless it's REALLY necessary, then take it to an outdoor gear shop and find out what size pack it'll all fit in. Choose the lightest pack you can afford!
Regards,
Dinny



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 11:33

When I go back again, I'd be tempted to leave my tent behind and just use the refuges pop up tents. There seems to be an ample supply at every refuge. There were even a couple at the campsite in Vizzavona. Also consider a steripen instead of a filter. They're lighter and kill everything a filter will. Saying that, I took one and didn't need to use it.

--

Alan



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 11:57

Alan,
from my (limited) experience I can say that the pop up tents are not exactly clean (because never sanitized after use). And they are barely water-resistant. But - agreed - they are a reasonable alternative to a personal tent.

--Michele



Joanna

Posted: Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 17:54

Also, some organized groups use those tents, so you might need to book in advance, which takes away the freedom Malte prizes (see, o read Dannish too :-) ). The materasses in those tents looked quite discusting to me, but on the other hand they can't be worse then the ones in the refuges.



Malte8900

Posted: Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 21:06

Joanna it is rare to find other danes or danish speaking persons on this forum ;) Now that you linked to my previous post from before me and my brother went on the gr20 I can answer my own question: "Is it a bad idea to take on the gr20 with no real previous mountain experience?"
For me and my brother it was not a bad idea at all. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I haven't regretted one bit. However you need to be well prepared and it is a very big advantage to be in good physical shape and as I did do some long walks with a heavy bag pack before you go. I believe that most people who suffer on the gr20 is because of problem with their knees. So make sure to do a lot of work out on your knees such as running up and down hills with a heavy backpack on. Some people do actually complete it without being in the best of shape but the risk of getting knee problems is very high, and you will probably be very slow then. I think the toughest part of the gr20 is the long steep descents that tear on your knees and as Joanna suggested I would also recommend poles for these descents however on the steep ascents they are pretty useless I think. The gr20 is not technical and you don't really any climbing skills, however you must have a good head for heights. especially in the infamous "Cirque de la Solitude where you climb with the help of chains in some places. This section was pretty scary for my and brother but we made it through and when you finish it you can look back at it with a good amount of pride.
You also need to be very aware of the weather forecast every day. As is wrote previously (in danish) it is very common for the summer months to have sunny weather in the morning and then rain and thunder in the afternoon. The weather can chance VERY fast so always ask for the weather forecast in advance and make sure to go early in the morning, also to prevent walking in the hottest part of the day. Me and my brother did get caught in a couple of thunderstorms and one of them was pretty bad at lac de Nino where seven hikers were hit by lightning in the same thunderstorm and rescued by helicopter at Breche de Capitellu. So keep an eye one the weather. Also I would never recommend walking on a tight schedule. The weather might force you to stay longer at a refuge and then you will be behind schedule and some people might also walk despite of the warnings not to go because they feel they have to which can be very dangerous. You might also need a day of at some point and maybe you decide to climb a nearby mountain. So my advice is to bring your own tent! It gives you freedom and is a lot nicer then sleeping in the refuges!
So is it possible for an unexperienced hiker to complete the gr20?
yes, if your are determined, in good physical shape, well prepared and have a good head for heights! then it is possible and I will almost guarantee you that won't regret it one bit! It is an unforgettable experience and I know for sure I will go back one day :-)

Best regards
Malte



Joanna

Posted: Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 6:50

Malte, I'm not exactly Dannish, but Norwegian. So, I can read Dannish ;-)



Malte8900

Posted: Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 17:30

yes i know, thats why I wrote " or danish speaking persons" ;-)



KasperDK

Posted: Mon, Jun 2, 2014, 11:32

Hey Malte/all others :)

It's been a long time since I have looked at the forum, but all your answers are very helpful :) I have bought all the must-have kits, so I only need some small stuff.
I have been talking with a friend who has walked GR20 before. We talked about having Tangria with us on the trip, but he talked about problems to get alcohol/spirit (what is the real name?) at Korsika?. Do you know if it is possible to find spirit, so we can use a tangria at the route?

BR,
Kasper



Gaffr

Posted: Mon, Jun 2, 2014, 12:37

Hello,
In Corsica the French Camping gas is your best bet for cooking. Have been a few times and never had problems getting the gas...I use the pierceable gas cans although the clip on cans are also available. I didn't see any sign of the Methylated spirits on show anywhere?
At most of the refuges you can use the 'outside' communal gas cooking facilities if you are 'stuck'....only problem is that you may have to stand around to wait for your turn.

--

Gaffr



KasperDK

Posted: Mon, Jun 2, 2014, 14:47

Hej Malte, dejligt med lidt dansk. Jeg er ved at være klar med alt udstyret, men hvad gjorde I med at koge vand? Havde i Tangria? Jeg har hørt det kan være svært at finde sprit på Korsika, ved du noget om det?



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 8:18

Kasper

You can get denatured alcohol (called Alcool a Bruler in France) in supermarkets.

I think you can use that in a trangia stove.

The refuges all have cooking facilities for campers so you only need it for the odd occasion you're not at a refuge such as Vizzavona camp site or staying at Bergeries.

--

Alan



KasperDK

Posted: Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 17:28

Hej Alan, that sounds perfect :) I have researched and it looks like tangria can use denatured alcohol (difficult to know what the name is - in Denmark we only call them "sprit"). Do you know about electricity at the refugees? For cell-phones etc. :)

Kasper



Malte8900

Posted: Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 17:49

Hej Kasper, kan se du har fået svar på det med at koge vand, som Alan skriver kan man låne gas ved alle refugierne så mig og min bror havde ingen gas med (også for at spare vægten). Med hensyn til elektricitet, er refugierne meget primitive og basic, så der er som udgangspunkt ikke noget elektricitet. Men ved castel de verghio var der strøm ved toiletterne så man kunne få ladet telefon op ellers så jeg i hvertfald ikke nogle steder hvor der var strøm. Jeg medbragte selv en lille solcelleoplader til min iphone, men det var meget begrænset hvor meget strøm jeg kunne få ud af den så telefon var altså kun til nødsituationer :)



Tarjei

Posted: Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 20:02

KasperDK, there isn't any electricity available for the public at the usual refugees.
However, in both the refuge, gîte and hotel at Haut Asco will you be able to charge your cell-phone etc.
Same goes for the gîte and hotel at Castel de Verghio.
I noticed there were outlets at the Bergeries de l'Onda, but you should probably ask there before using those.

At Vizzavona there should be no problem if you're staying in one of the hotels there.
If you stay in the gîte at E Capanelle you should be able to charge your cell-phone etc.
The same goes for the gîte at Bavella.

Tarjei



KasperDK

Posted: Fri, Jun 6, 2014, 7:28

Ja okay, hvor fandt du sådan en soloplader? Kan godt se den nok er meget god at have med :)



Malte8900

Posted: Fri, Jun 6, 2014, 12:33

Den fandt jeg i Friluftsland i Århus, tror den kostede omkring 700 kr, fylder ingenting men skal til gengæld også ligge i meget lang tid i solen før den giver noget strøm. Der findes en del forskellige opladere med forskellige størrelse paneler, mødte også en del andre vandrere der benyttede det på gr20. Min model er godt nok ikke inde på hjemmesiden men der er lidt forskellige her :) http://www.friluftsland.dk/dk/shop/catalog/category/view/-8c5e18b64d/0/



hinkeruder

Posted: Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 18:17

Doing the gr20 this coming August bringing our own 2 persons tent. The question is: do we need to book in advance at the refuges for a place to our own brought tent? Also, is it recommended to bring water filtration equipment?

--

-hinkeruder



Tarjei

Posted: Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 22:09

No need to book in advance if you bring your own tent, but you still have to pay for pitching it.

The water you get at the refuges is quite pure, so no need if only using water from those sources. You should be a little more careful with sources alongside the trail, since there are a lot of animals around. Bring if you feel more safe with it (I had some water purifier with me, but never used it).

Tarjei



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 6:40

Actually, "quite pure" is only water that comes from a spring. The GR20 water in most cases comes from streams and/or rivers.

--Michele



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 10:04

Hello Michele,
I can think of four places, off the top of my head, marked as a source on the map where I have taken water and filled up my bottle...at Bocca di l'Agnonu, at a stone built structure above Lac Ninu, at bocca Palmento and at another source between Piobbu and Carozzu.
Do you think that all of these are spring water?

--

Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 11:47

Yes Roger, those you mention are spring water.
On the other hand, around the camping places, even if the water comes from a stone built structure the true source is suspicious and one should ask. Even tap water can be sourced from streams. Let's see (this is what I remember off the top of my head):

1. Ortu du Piobbu: water from a stream some minutes past the refuge (N-S direction).
2. Unnamed source between La Mandriaccia and Punta Pisciaghia: proper spring
3. Carrozzu: tap water: origin unknown (most likely stream water).
4. Haute-Asco: tap water: origin unknown.
5. Altore area: spring water
6. Tighjettu: most likely stream water.
7. Ballone: stream water
8. Verghio: tap water: origin unknown
9. fountain at Lac de Nino: the water is channelled though a pipe: origin unknown (probably a spring)
10.Manganu: here is an interesting one: Guardien: "don't drink water from the toilet block, use the one in the kitchen" hmmmm. However the water from the stone built structure comes definitely from the near stream.
11. Petrapiana: stream water. If you climb up behind the hut you can trace back the source: a nice poll with a little fall where people can bath... yeah, right.
12. Onda: don't know
13: Vizzavona: spring water from the real spring 50 mt down next to the riverbank. The water that comes from the tap of the wash basin is stream water: no good.
14: Bocca Palmento: spring water
15: Capannelle: stream water channeled through broken pipes from U Renosu and maybe further up.
16: proper spring called "Fontanone" between bergeries de traggette and Pont de Casaccie (low level route to Col de Verde)
17: Col de Verde: tap water. Origin unknown.
18: Prati: origin unknown (spring maybe, but may be wrong). Didn't ask.
19: tap water near a wooden hut near bocca di Laparo: unsure, I was too thirsty, drank it anyway. Origin unknown
20: Usciolu: origin unknown (didn't ask)
21: Bocca di l'Agnone: proper spring
22: Proper spring some 200 mt past Pedinelli area.
23: Asinau Refuge: don't know
24: Asinau Bergerie: tap water: no good, the owner admitted it "could" be polluted, but there is a proper spring some 50 mt off the bergerie among bushes identified by a little flag on a post.
25: another proper spring should be located before the Alpine variant junction (sorry, fuzzy memory here).
26: Col de Bavella: proper spring along the road
27: Paliri: proper spring 100 mt before the refuge.
28: trickle of water a little off the track near the ruines of Capeddu.
29: proper (?) source a few minutes before the asphalt of Conca.

And that's all I can remember. Please anybody, add the necessary corrections if needed.

--Michele



hinkeruder

Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 21:46

So, should I interpret this as not to bring a filter or should I bring one just in case?

--

-hinkeruder



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 22:03

hinkeruder,

people who had had problems (me) will tell you to use a filter, those who didn't will tell you don't.

--Michele



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 8:02

Thanks Michele, that is a very comprehensive listing for the availability of the most precious commodity on the jairvan. The water at Capanelle should Usciolu maybe read U Renosu? I do seem to recall having to take another path loop to reach the source, a wee black pipe coming out of the rock, between Piobbu and Carozzu. P Dillon shows it to be on the main path so maybe there is alternative path now to perhaps straighten out the trail? I guess the water could be missed?
I have been three times to Bocca Laparo....NS and SN and also crossing over during the Mare a Mare Central and have failed to find the source near to the wooden hut at the bocca....Maybe I was just happy to find the shade from the beech trees here.

--

Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 8:25

Thanks Roger for pointing out my mistake. Of course I meant U Renosu instead of Usciolu (what was I thinking?). I fixed it.

Between Piobbu and Carrozzu, PD is correct. The path instead of going straight up, bends to the left to reach the source, but people can always cut the bends and skip the source if they want.

Past Bocca di Laparo there is a sign pointing left and it says "water" if I remember correctly. The hut however is private (but nobody was there when I went). It briefly appears in my second video.

--Michele



hinkeruder

Posted: Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 11:28

Is it necessary to bring helmet and via ferret harness for hiking GR20?

--

-hinkeruder



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 5:37

Hello,
The sections with a bit of aid had lengths of chain but those used to easy scrambling could manage without using if so wished....must say I didn't see anyone with via ferrata stuff....as for helmets I did see folks carrying them last year. I guess that most would not have room in the rucksack.
I guess that, maybe, at the cirque stones could be knocked down by careless folks.
On the first visit when it happened to be very crowded with folks coming and going in both directions everyone appeared to be very careful and I was not aware of stones being knocked down....but it is a thought? The second time coming in the opposite direction there were three folks well ahead of me in descent and a couple coming down when I was ascending from the cirque...so very quiet of that occasion.

--

Gaffr



KasperDK

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 8:27

Where do people suggest to sleep in Bastia? My friend and I are arriving at noon, so we will stay in Bastia that night. I have been checking camping, but which one do you guys recommend?
Do anyone know what taxi from airport to Bastia city costs? What are the prices for camping at the refugees?



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 10:06

hello,
I have stayed at Les Sables Rouges....closest to Bastia... and at camping Esperanza which is a few kls walking distance, towards the sea, from the airport....however with this one you have an even longer walkout to the reach the railtrack or the bus!
There is a navette from the airport into Bastia. Around seven euros at the refuges well it was last year.

--

Gaffr



KasperDK

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 11:03

How can I book Les Sables Rouges? I have searched for their web-site, but I can't really find anything..



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 11:23

Hello, we never booked just turned up....the organised bit seems to kind-of overflow onto the grass close to the beach. It is a bit of a transit camping place with folks coming and going mainly from the ferries...but for one night o.k. If you are going on to Calinzana the halt for the train is nearrby.

--

Gaffr



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 11:25

Hello, we never booked just turned up....the organised bit seems to kind-of overflow onto the grass close to the beach. It is a bit of a transit camping place with folks coming and going mainly from the ferries...but for one night o.k. If you are going on to Calinzana the halt for the train is nearby.

--

Gaffr



KasperDK

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 12:55

Thanks Gaffr, I think we will try that. It sounds easy to then find the train for Calenzana :) Is the price at the refugees for each person (we are two), or just for one tent? How much is the price for a meal? :)

How much money do you often have with you? We are bringing tent, breakfast and food for the evening.



Gaffr

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 12:53

If you are using the navette from Poretta get off at the big Square in Bastia....head for the old port (not the Ferry Port) Old port is now a place for pleasure boats....pedestrians are not permitted to use the tunnel under the port....uphill from the port then look for some steps leading down to 'route du front de mer' and then near to the roundabout lookout for 'route de L'Arinella'...I'm sure that we went under bridge...then after a bit the Camping site...ask the folks at the camping for where the 'get on' for the train is.
Price for the camping which includes the washing/toilets/water for cooking/outside gas stove for cooking etc. is per person.
I didn't eat many meals at the refuges...at col de Vergio and at U Renosa I had a dinner maybe 20 euros? and at Usciolu I had a pasta meal 11 euros I think and of course topping up on food for cooking on my stove at refuges and at the Bergeries.
Get up on-line the French IGN map and 'blow' it up and you will find all the road names marked up etc.

--

Gaffr



KasperDK

Posted: Sun, Jun 15, 2014, 15:24

Thanks for the many usefull answers :-)
How many money is it normal to bring? We have breakfast and food for the evening with us.

Can you remember the price of Les Sables Rouges for one night?



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Mon, Jun 16, 2014, 7:41

Kasper

Les Sables Rouges was 5 Euro's per tent plus 7 Euro's per person in August last year.

See http://tips4travellers.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/day-1-getting-to-corsica

For budget, look at this thread: http://corsica.forhikers.com/forum/p/24783

--

Alan