Crampons in june?

hijk

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 7:43

Hi,

I plan to thru hike GR20 starting in Conza June 8th. I've heard that you don't need crampons if you don't ascend the higher mountains like monte cinto. Is it possible to hike GR20 and not ascend the higher mountains or is the trail going through them all?

Cheers
Erik



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 8:22

Hello,
I don't know if you aware of the redirection of stage four on the trail?
If you look back over the posts of June+ for 2015 you will see why.
The new trail takes you very close to the summit of Monte Cintu. Gaining the summit would be very tempting! You are unlikely to find snow at the summit but the slopes up the summit area coming up from Ascu are where the snow is likely to linger. For you in descent when coming from the South.
I went this way at the end of May 2008 and there was snow on these slopes....I didn't have crampons and didn't need them....I was happy with my poles for making my way. The rocky summit area was clear of snow.
By the time you reach this area towards the 20th, June I would be surprised if you will find any snow.

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Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 10:49

You now have to climb to 2600m, because of the new route. It's high enough to carry snow and ice in June. You will have to check before you attempt that part.



spacecadet

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 14:24

Whats the most reliably way to check the snow conditions if you're on the trail? The refuge-wardens? Or do you guys rely on internet information by smartphone? What is the best source (in the best case in english, google translator on randoblog is horrible :D ) before even starting? Only the very bad snow-height on meteofrance?



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 15:00

When on the trail, just ask the wardens or other fellow hikers coming the opposite direction.



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 17:04

Hello,
I think that you are worrying too much about the possible snow cover.
The fact that you are starting in the South from Conca is very much in your favour if the snow lingers.
In 2013, coming from the South, the first big snowfield that I encountered was before the Muratello col on the seventh day of My trip (June 11th) prior to camping overnight at l'Onda.
On the following day, l'Onda to Petra Piana, just a few patches on the high level Cretes route.
From above Petra Piana through to Manganu was delightfully alpine but the snow was softening and presented no problems....Poles were sufficient. A couple of days later on the old route through the Cirque most of the snow had gone with just one snowfield prior to ascending to the bocca Tumasginesca leaving just one soft snowfield part of the way down to Ascu. This section is now replaced by the route up to col at 2600 mtrs. close to the top of Cintu.
The final three stages down to Calinzana were in true summer conditions.

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Gaffr



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 20:04

You can check the National Park blog before you start. They don't update it very often but when they do you can see what the real conditions are like. It's quite snowy at the moment: http://randoblogpnrc.blogspot.co.uk

or you could always ask them via their email: adminblogpnrc@gmail.com

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Alan



obrobinson

Posted: Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 10:25

Hi,

At 140g I always carry a pair of Grivel Spiders microspikes for any eventuality of icy slopes that require descending when on the continent at altitudes over 2700m. In late June 2013 the descent from Bocca a e Porte at 07:00 involved a 30 degree descending traverse of a frozen 50 degree snow slope. With just poles and kicking steps it was a 'scary' 10 minutes. The chains I'd seen on previous visits were either buried or absent. Later that afternoon someone apparently took a slip at this point and was fortunate to just break both their ankles! At 2600m etape 4 to Tighjettu via a Bocca below Monte Cintu is likely to hold snow on some N/NE facing slope, although on 20th June 2015 there was no snow during this stage. La Scala on descent to Vizzavona from Monte d'Oro still possessed an ice wedge.

Oliver



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 12:52

La Scala was full of hard ice the first time I ever saw it, and that was early in June some years ago. Getting down it was very scary, even with an ice axe.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 13:10

For sections like Bocca alle Porte or the north face of M. Cinto in case of ice, I wouldn't recommend nothing short of **proper** crampons. Microspikes are not good for the GR20 slopes. They give a false sense of security.
Here are some comments about them:
http://www.livefortheoutdoors.com/Answers/Search-results/Walking/How-goo...



hijk

Posted: Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 13:34

Thanks for fast and informative feedback.

I've now rescheduled and starting in Conca one week later June 14th.

I'd gladly skip crampons if possible. I'm looking at these "lightweight" ones:

http://www.edelrid.de/sports/eisausruestung/steigeisen/spiderpick-icemin...

But they weigh almost half a kilo and I don't know if they are enough when it's very steep without front spikes. What do you think?

I'm considering using low trail shoes.

.Erik



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Apr 22, 2016, 13:41

Hello,
When I made my comments to hijk I was anticipating an arrival at the high point between Petra Piana and Manganu I was thinking of an arrival at the slope if snow were present of around Midday...although I would think that 50 degrees is debatable.
A very different situation when arriving at 0700hrs after an overnight frost! It may be possible to wait for the snow to soften.:-)
Apart from the debate around crampons/mini-spikes maybe the type of boots being worn does need thinking about when the range of boots worn on the route ranges from trainers through to mountain boots especially relevant when snow is around on the slopes. The floppy/bendy ones are less than useful on snow slopes. No snow present you will probably be fine with the floppy ones.
Me, I have always gone to the GR20 with my Scarpa SL Activ boots and up till now have gone without crampons. The edging from the boot sole of a good boot can be very comforting when the snow has not softened.
With a little bit of prior looking at conditions in 2013 I decided to start out from Conca in the South and by the time I arrived on the stage between Petra Piana and Manganu (the section being discussed earlier) with an arrival at the high point before dropping down to Manganu the snow had softened after a few hours of Corsican sun. 13th, June 2013.
In 2007 when travelling N-S I hardly ever put a boot into snow on the entire journey and at a similar time of the month of June.
What I am trying to say...if conditions prior to going suggest that winter is still around then put in the flexi crampons if your boots will take them? After all they are not so heavy to carry.:-) I am sure that most of us could turf out a possibly unneeded item for the rucksack. Oh, and consider starting from the South.

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Gaffr