Is GR20 in last two weeks of Oktober still realisable?

Adamko

Posted: Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 14:43

Hello,
Im planning to humble the GR20 in late Oktober 18.10-31.10. As I read the other topics, warm sleeping bag and warm cloths are necessary, but my question...is it still makeable or shall I expect 2 meters of snow and rather replan it for next year.

Thanks for you answers!

Adamko

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Adamko



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 15:05

Adamko,

It's difficult to answer your question. It very much depends on the season: sometimes they have an early winter... other times it starts to snow in November. For your trek you have to take into account low temperatures, unstable weather, wind and of course the chances to have snow. I doubt there will be 2 meters in that time slot though, but some snow falls may happen.
Of course the huts will not be manned and you'll be on your own regarding the food.

--Michele



Adamko

Posted: Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 17:12

Hi Michele,
thanks for your reply. You think the huts will be already closed? Well, thats news for me...

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Adamko



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 17:39

Hello,
Mike did say 'not manned' but still open for shelter.:-)

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Gaffr



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 17:44

Adamko,

there is no rule of thumb but in general the huts start to close down towards the end of September. Depending on the weather and the flux of hikers, they sometimes choose to remain open some days into October. You're going the second half of October: chances are they will be closed.
If you want to be updated on this, keep an eye on the park blog (http://randoblogpnrc.blogspot.it/) where it's customary they inform readers when the huts start to get closed.

--Michele

EDIT:
I just read Gaffr's reply. To be more clear: the huts remain always accessible the rest of the year but with no personnell nor food.



Adamko

Posted: Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 9:14

Ok got it! Do you know is there any other possibility to shop some food somewhere on the track? (Vizzavona f.i.) or shall we rather pack food for all 14 days and count on it that there is no shop open in that time?

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Adamko



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 10:01

Adamko,

I'm not sure (and I personally wouldn't count on it) whether the Vizzavona shop will be open by that time. And beware that packing food for 14 days is a real challenge.



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 14:24

Possible, if you have time, to take the train from Vizzavona down to Ajaccio or to Corte to re-supply.

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Gaffr



Weebeansy

Posted: Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 20:11

Adamko,

Glad to hear we're not the only crazy ones headed to the GR20 in October. We're planning to do just the first 5 stages of the Northern route from the 18th until the 22nd October starting in Calenzana. It sounds like we may be taking the alternate route on the 4th day to avoid the Cirque even by October.

At the end we're thinking of either walking from Castel di Vergio to Evisa along the Mare a Mare Nord trail or possibly hitching/getting a taxi to Evisa and then getting a bus from Evisa to Ajaccio. Does anyone have any experience/advice on either of these options?

One question that troubles me....how will we get updates on the suitability of the trail and weather conditions if the huts are un-staffed?

Does anyone know roughly how many other trekkers are typically out on the trail at mid/end October?
Adamko, maybe we'll see you there!

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Weebeansy



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 9:04

A bit of clarification...

The PNRC refuges are left open in the winter, but there will be no guardians there. The gas and water inside will probably be disconnected, so take your own stove and use a water source outside the building. Private bergeries will be locked and you won't be able to use them. There will be nowhere to buy food, unless the hotels at Asco and Vergio are open. I have visited Vizzavona in October and found everything closed, but that's no big deal, because you can always get the train.

The Cirque is still closed, so you will have to take the variant route. The bus from Haut Asco to Calasima probably won't be running in October, but there were plenty of passengers for it last week.

You won't be able to get weather forecasts easily once you start. You are either going to need radio or mobile phone reception, which is often impossible in the valleys, and only occasionally possible from some high points. It means that you might already have climbed high before you realise bad weather is coming! Don't stay in the mountains too long. I was once there in November, and on the few parts of the route I could reach, there was very deep snow and lots of icy slopes.

There will still be a few trekkers in October. I have walked a few parts of the GR20 in October and met just a few.

The roads will be very quiet for hitching, but, you only need one car to stop!



Weebeansy

Posted: Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 21:30

Thank you very much for your tips GRRR 20 and update on the Cirque.
We were planning to bring our own stove, fuel and food as well as a water filter and tablets so that we will be self sufficient.

I'm thinking that as the bus diversion from the Cirque probably won't be running we'll attempt to hike the new route which I have read has been pretty well signposted.

We just completed the Tour du Mont Blanc last month so we feel like we're ready...and are keeping our fitness up by tackling a few munros whenever we can on weekends!!

Fingers crossed that the snow holds off and the nights don't get too too cold going into October.

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Weebeansy



GRRR 20

Posted: Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 17:08

The new variant is very well marked with paint throughout, with signposts down at Haut Asco and Tighjettu, as well as high on the ridge at Pointe des Eboulis and Bocca Crucetta. Thousands of trekkers have already used it, so in many places it looks very clear on the ground. But, if it rains, or if there is even a little snow or ice on the high parts, then it will be slippery on the rocky parts and shouldn't be used. Short chains were installed at some points between Haut Asco and Pointe des Eboulis, but there are none on the highest part, even though there is a lot of steep rock. It will be interesting to hear it you meet anyone else on the new variant route in October.



Weebeansy

Posted: Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 20:44

Interesting. Right, so the new route sounds like it may be a bit more challenging and potentially dangerous than I had originally anticipated. What would your advice be in this situation? It's one of those things where we probably won't really know how much ice if any is there until we're already up there. Is they any other alternative? Assuming the bus isn't running, what other option do we have?

My thought is that if it has in fact been wet or icy, we won't be able to cross the Spasimata Slabs either so would know quite early into the leg that day that it's best not to continue. If that happens, would you think it might be a good alternative to abandon the GR at that point and head to Bonifatu? We could then pick up the Mare e Monti path to Tuarelli and Girolata and then find a connection from there to Porto.

I'm also thinking that if things got treacherous further on into the hike and we decide it's best not to take the new alternate route, we could leave the route at Haute Asco (which I'm guessing might mean walking a solid 30km all day to the Ponte Leccia train station unless we got really lucky with a passing car) and getting a train from there.

Do you think it's a bit crazy to even think about doing the new route in October? I suppose it's one of those things where we will just have to see what the weather is like as we get closer. If the temps don't drop much and it's not too wet, it may be fine but otherwise, it's definitely wise to have a back up plan ready to go. We're definitely not wanting to take any silly risks but also don't want to be too overly cautious that we miss out on some amazing challenges and beautiful scenery.

I have moments where I'm so pumped up for this adventure and then others where I wonder just what we've gotten ourselves into! It's so difficult to know based on other people's reports as well as so much of it is subjective and based on personal experience and ability.

Thanks again for your input GRRR20. Were you just on the trail yourself?

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Weebeansy



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 22:28

October can be a "difficult" month to predict. The weather can go both ways and you are right when you say you have to be there and see for yourself. Better be ready with a plan b just in case.

Michele



Weebeansy

Posted: Wed, Sep 16, 2015, 22:29

Just found this: http://www.corsicabus.org/busPLeccia/Asco_Calasima.html

It looks like the bus (at least according to this website) from Ascu Stagnu to Calasima is due to run through until the end of October!!

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Weebeansy



Weebeansy

Posted: Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 0:03

Michele,

I just spent the night mapping out a plan A, B and C for just about every day of our trek! I've also written out the bus and train tables for every potential scenario (realizing of course that even bus and train timetables are not always reliable). I think that after tonight's research I'm feeling a bit more ready.

If we do make it to Haute Asco I think we will only do the new alternate route if the weather is absolutely ideal. If there is even a slight risk of ice/bad weather we will hopefully be able to take the new bus that appears to be running until the end of October (see my link above). If that's not running, I've read that you can reserve a bus to Ponte Leccia into October in order to catch a train and if that's not running than we'll spend a day walking (and attempting to hitch) to the train station as a worst case scenario.

I've decided to view this trip as a sort of choose your own adventure story where the unpredictability is part of the fun. I think you have to go into the hike with a flexible mindset knowing that whatever route you end up taking, it will be thrilling because it was your own.

I'll let you all know how we got on! Getting very excited again!!

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Weebeansy



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 8:33

It's great if the bus service runs to the end of October. So long as there are trekkers around, there's money to be made on bus transfers. The route is very busy, so it makes sense to keep services running while there are people there, but will they keep the refuges staffed and supplied with food? It will be interesting to see if they stay open longer this year.

I've trekked part of the GR20 in October and it's been fine. I've also trekked a few low-level parts of the GR20 in November, when it has been covered in snow and ice. The trick is to be finished before it snows!



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 8:42

Weebeansy,

The flexible mindset is the right state of mind, especially for a hike. If you guys make it to Haute Asco I hope you will meet other people coming the opposite way and ask for information and if the weather is going to be clear ... give it a go.

Best luck with your adventure and ... keep us posted if you may

--Michele



Weebeansy

Posted: Thu, Sep 17, 2015, 12:49

I've been wondering as well if perhaps everything will stay open a bit later this year. If they are saying that the bus is running, I would imagine that at least Asco would still be staffed. Although we are disappointed to miss out on the Cirque, it sounds like we may have more options and services available than normal for October as a result of the closure although we won't be counting on it. I will be sure to report back upon our return.

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Weebeansy



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Oct 6, 2015, 8:31

According to the PNRC blog, the refuges are now unstaffed and the guardians have gone home. The PNRC refuges will still provide basic shelter, but the private bergeries will be locked. Trekkers will need to carry food and fuel for long periods. I don't know if the little shops in places like Verghio and Vizzavona are still open.



Weebeansy

Posted: Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 23:38

Just back from Corsica where we enjoyed some incredibly glorious, mild weather. We were only on the GR20 for a couple of days and while the huts were void of guardians, there were workers at both Piobbhu & Carouzzu that had been helicoptered in. There was still fuel available as well. We were never able to ascertain as to whether the bus was still running from Asco to Calasima. Every other hiker that we encountered didn't know anything about the bus, even those coming from Asco. So it may have been running, but may not have. We had heard that the variant to Tiaghettu from Asco had some icy patches although people were still hiking it. However, given the time pressure with such short daylight and the fact that there was low lying cloud the day we would have hiked to Asco (and it turns out the following day as well), we went down from Carrozzu all the way to Tuarelli and then hiked the next day to Porto since we were flying out from Ajaccio and didn't want to be too reliant on transport given our short timetable. This gave us a few days to enjoy the beaches and sunshine as well. Our only other option if we went to Asco and the bus never came would have been the long 19 mile walk to the train station which we didn't fancy. So in the end we had quite a nice bit of variety....a couple of clear, sunny days in the high mountains, a walk down from the mountains all the way to the sea, and a couple of days on the beach. Such a beautiful country!!!! And October hiking was brilliant (minus the transport uncertainties). We were the only people camping although there were about 6-10 other people in the huts each night. This meant lots of privacy and space and we had the trail essentially to ourselves. Only real annoyance was lack of a close water source near to Carrozzu which meant quite a long walk into the forest and down to a stream.

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Weebeansy



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 13:28

Hello,
Good to hear about travels on the island in October.
I would have thought that the stream coming out of the area of the Spasimata slabs would have been closer for a water supply? I guess that the facilities at Bonifatu were closed for the season?
Was Tuarelli open for campers? Must have been a long days walk from Tuarelli to Porto.
And, of course, the pleasures of the route between Galeria and Girolata....were the gites still open in October?

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Gaffr



Weebeansy

Posted: Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 14:57

Hello Gaffr,

We never even considered hiking on to the slabs for water! You're probably right. And yes, Bonifatu was closed from the 11th October. In Corsica it definitely seems like each location just decides on a whim when they think they'll close up for the season. Tuarellli was very much a ghost town. Just a drunk old man who we couldn't understand at all sitting in the reception area. We just said camping and pointed to our tent and he smiled and waved us towards the sites. We didn't have to pay and there was still running water and open toilets. I'm pretty sure the man was hunting rabbits in the night right around our tent which proved interesting. The walk from Tuarelli to Porto was a breeze. There is a trail right out of Tuarelli to Serriera through the mountains that only took about 6 hours and then we walked another 1.5 hours on the road from Serriera into Porto. Piece of cake!! We didn't hike through Girolata or Galeria which we had wanted to do had we more time...we also didn't know for certain if we'd be able to get a boat from Girolata to Porto. So instead we went on a boat from Porto as a day trip through to the Scandola Nature Reserve to Girolata which was a nice bit of luxury considering it was my husband's birthday! I do regret not getting to walk to Asco but the cloud was so low that day that I doubt there would have been many views. (I keep telling myself that to make myself feel better). It just gives me another reason to go back...if I do, I'll definitely go in the low season again, loved the solitude!

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Weebeansy



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 10:01

Hello Wb,
The grand trails will always be there for walking next year and beyond.
I think that the fine thing about the GR20 is that there are, in several places, alternative trails to follow. Very useful when conditions are not so good. Tuvarelli has at least two other trails apart from the Mare e Monti trail to Galleria/Girolata etc. one of which you followed to Serriera the other which I was aware of when heading North on the GR20 when just above the bergeries Radule there was a ancient marked transhumance trail heading up to the refuge Puscaghia which if continued from the refuge Tuvarelli would be reached.
We have had the good fortune to manage to travel on the Corse trails on five occasions and always find something new and different to travel over. After our first visit to the grand trail from Calinzana to Conca we started to look at the maps beyond the narrow confines of the guide book 'corridor maps' to find much more beyond....a walking paradise!
From what you say it would appear that folks are getting through on the GR20 in October but this seems very dependent on the weather conditions at the time and of course overcoming the lack of supplies available along the route.
It will be interesting to hear what Adamko has to report back regarding his trip in late October and into early November.

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Gaffr