Questions re starting GR20 in June

Danton

Posted: Wed, May 25, 2016, 21:25

Hello all,

I've been reading here for the past couple of weeks and obviously a lot of you have considerable experience doing the GR20. I will be starting the GR20 on 6 June from Conca and have about 17-18 days to complete it, so plenty of time I hope. I have done a lot of hiking around the world but it is my first time in Corsica. I have a few questions that some of you may be able to help with . . .

1. I will not be carrying a tent (to save weight), but I am wondering if booking the refuges is really necessary? As I say, I am starting on 6 June, surely it will not be too busy at this time? I am a little worried about the last couple of stages in the north, when there will be more people around. I guess that I'll be arriving at these about the 16-17 June. However as these are at the end of walk, they are also the hardest to predict as to when I will arrive.

2. What type of sleeping bag is required in the huts? Will a light bag be sufficient? I imagine that the cold will not be a problem in the huts?

3. I have read a lot about bed bugs! I have a bug sheet for a single mattress. Do you think I should bring it? Will it be any good for the beds in the huts?

4. I am hoping to climb some of the peaks, e.g. Monte Ritondu, Monte Cinto and Paglia Orba. From my reading Paglia Orba seems to be the most challenging of these. Has anyone climbed it, and does it require being roped up? I will not be carrying a rope.

5. I will be getting a ferry from Nice to Porto Vecchio. However there are two ferry departure points in Nice! Does anyone know from which the Porto Vecchio ferry leaves?! East or west pier?

6. And finally! Can I get a bus from Porto Vecchio to Conca? I will be arriving in Porto Vecchio at 7am approximately. If possible I would like to start walking this day and get as far as the Refuge de Paliri.

Thank you very much in advance for any replies, advice and suggestions!



Tarjei

Posted: Wed, May 25, 2016, 21:59

First off, relying on getting a place in the refuges without a booking could be a little bit risky. You may arrive tired at a refuge only to be rejected a place....what then do you do? Though, I cannot tell how adamant the gardiens at the refuges are regarding this, I suppose they will try to help you out in some way, but there is always a but.

Paglia Orba was the most challenging of them, but you don't need to carry a rope to get to the top. There are several ways to the top of it, one scrambling up using already attached ropes (of what origin you may ask) when going up from Bocca de Foggiale.
There is another route, as described in Paddy Dillon's book, going up over Col de Maures and starting straight from the Refuge de Ciottulu di I Mori. This was the one I used. I actually found this route more challenging than the Cirque de la Solitude, but with caution it went fine. The routes are not marked, only by cairns, and could be a little difficult to find at times, so pay attention.
You can read about my ascent here: http://tarjeinskrede.blogspot.no/2012/09/paglia-orba.html.

There is a navette going between Porto Vecchio and Conca, you'll probably find an url to a page with the timetables on by searching this site.

Tarjei



Backstroke

Posted: Wed, May 25, 2016, 23:32

The Corsica Ferries are shown on the Google map as the Quai du Commerce.
I will be there, J'espere.



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Thu, May 26, 2016, 19:51

Danton

There have been numerous attempts to eradicate the bed bugs in the GR20 refuges, which have certainly had some impact but I'm not sure it will have been totally effective as they tend to hitch hike from refuge to refuge. The only certain way to stop them is to use a full enclosed net. I'm sure there was a thread on here about them but cant find it.

You might encounter some very cold weather or you might be lucky and have hot temperatures along the whole route. If you're in a refuge, you will be warmer and might have access to blankets but irrespective of this, a fairly decent down bag would be the best option. I have been twice in August and sweated on one trip but shivered on the other, particularly in the shelter on Monte Ritondu, which was bitterly cold.

Monte Ritondu is straightforward but you need to know where you are going (see my blog https://tips4travellers.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/how-to-get-to-the-summi... )as is the scramble up to the window on Paglia Orba from the refuge (It zig zags across the face a bit) I didn't climb all the way to the summit. Also don't forget the high level options via Monte d'Ora and Monte Renoso.

Enjoy your trip.

--

Alan



Danton

Posted: Thu, May 26, 2016, 21:16

Thanks for the tips Alan, very useful blog too, particularly for the ascent of Monte Ritondu.
As for the bed bugs, I'll bring my net. Although it's not a guarantee it might help. I'll probably have to fumigate myself when I get home anyway . . .

Quai du Commerce it is then for the ferry, at least that's sorted. Some fantastic photos on your website backstroke btw.

And as for Paglia Orba, Tarjei, it certainly looks like a nerve-tester. I'll see how I'm feeling at the time. After all, it's always better to arrive alive.

Plan B at the refuges would be to hire a tent, but of course I might need a heavier sleeping bag. I'll have a think about this one before I decide.

Thank you all for your replies and advice



Danton

Posted: Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 22:22

Hello all,

I've done out an itinerary for myself travelling from south to north and I wonder if anyone thinks there's any major flaws in it? I don't expect anyone to go through it in detail. Just point out anything that looks ridiculous. I am aware that climbing any of the peaks is weather dependant. But apart from that . . .
I am reasonably confident that I can achieve what I'm setting out to do. However on the penultimate day I am aiming to go from Haut Asco to Ortu di i Piobbu, and skipping Carozzu. Is this reasonable, especially after a very hard day the previous day?

Here's the plan

Day No. / Destination / Via?
1 Paliri
2 Asinau
3 Usciolu (via Monte Incudine)
4 Col de Verde
5 Capanelle
6 Vizzavona
7 Vizzavona (Day trip via train to Corte)
8 Onda (via Monte d'Oro)
9 Petra Piana (climb Monte Ritondu)
10 Manganu - poss snow on route?
11 Castellu di Vergio
12 Ciotullu di I Mori
13 Tighettu (climb Paglia Orba in the morning)
14 Haut Asco (climb Monte Cinto)
15 Ortu di i Piobbu (skip Carozzu)
16 Calenzana (bus to Calvi?)

Merci beaucoup!



obrobinson

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 4:46

This is a very relaxed/non-demanding schedule. Day 12 to Mori is very short (3hrs by the book) and I suggest that you climb Paglia Orba that afternoon. Day 13 is similarly short and I suggest you pay a visit to Bocca Minuta to view the cirque de la Solitude. Lastly unless you know something I don't, you can't bypass Carozzu. You can, however, avoid Piobbu by following the the low level route via Bonifatu.

Oliver



Backstroke

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 6:19

I arrive the same day and my basic loose plan is almost the same as you Danton. I am ready to vary things as they happen. Here some comments/questions about your itinerary about which someone knowledgable might want to offer an opinion:

-Might Bavella be preferable to Paliri the first day?
-I have a tarp and might be tempted to shoot past Asinau to Pedinielli day 2. ??
-I would hesitate taking a trip to Corte, it does not appear particularly exceptional. Besides I have read that sometimes bad weather may impede progress one or two days, and the loss of one day could prove to be a problem later down the trail.
-I was advised that Manganu is a s**thole and going on to Vaccaghja might be preferable.
-Monte Corona is at the end, but I wonder if after Cinto, Rotondo and Paglia Orba it might not be worth the time and effort?



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 6:23

Vaccaghja has more space for pitching tents than Manganu, but there are no toilets. They tell you to go on the mountainside, 100m from the tents. People don't. They just poop everywhere, including around the tiny water source. Watch where you are putting your feet!



Tarjei

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 6:55

Oliver, I think Danton thinks about going straight from Haut Asco to Ortu di i Piobbu, not stopping in Carozzu, combining the two stages (not going around it so to speak). It's perfectly doable, Danton, but it will be a hard day, especially since this is as you say after the hard walk from Tighjettu including Monte Cinto, and at the end of your walk.

GRRR 20, I'm a little bit disgusted hearing about the conditions at Vaccaghja. Regarding Manganu, I cannot say why it's considered a bad place? There was this issue with the fox and in the night when I was there a horse ran through the campsite (I did not feel comfortable lying inside my small tent with it running around in the dark). Other than that, I thought it was a nice place.

Backstroke, Corte is a really nice town, well worth the visit. Though, I do agree with you that having a day extra comes in handy. If I would come with a suggestion, I would hint about trying to do the GR20 a little quicker (if up to it and time). Then go to Corte afterwards instead, and then do the A Boucle Des Deux Vallees hike, hiking up and down the beautiful valleys of Tavignanu and Restonica. And looking up at the mighty GR20 from below. You can read about my short walk of it here:

http://tarjeinskrede.blogspot.no/2012/09/intermission-corte-og-boucle-des-deux.html.

Both day 12 and 13 is as mentioned very short, you will have more than enough time to walk directly to Ciottulu di I Mori from Manganu for instance. If you include an ascent of Paglia Orba in one of these days, that will make up for a full day.

Monte Corona might not feel as grand if you have done the other mountains, like Cinto, Paglia Orba, etc. But it's still a nice hike and with good views from the top.

Tarjei



Backstroke

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 18:12

Thanks for the comments. Tarjei, the toilet situation at Vaccaghja does sound dégoûtant. My source on Manganu thought the animal stench unbearable, but perhaps this was because he was there during a heat wave?
Your suggestion on Corte is indeed my plan; if I have time at the end, I will stop off at Corte on the way to my departure point Ajaccio. I mean, I have to have time to see the home of Napolean, Corte comes in second on that one! Thanks for the link on your hike.



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 18:52

I've been to Manganu twice and thought it was lovely.
We had no issues with toilets there but the fox did pinch my cheese.
Leave anything smelly like that outside the tent or it may try to rip its way in.
Just pile rocks over it or hang it from the trees.
I've also walked down Restonica and walked up Tavingnanu gorges.
Tavingnanu is superb. Restonica not quite so good as you have to walk down the road.

Alan

NB Corte is the birthplace of Joseph Boneapart, Napoleon's big brother.

--

Alan



Tarjei

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 19:06

Alan, there is supposedly a trail going down the Restonica and not on the road as well. When I was in Corte I saw a overview of the route, and it indicated a trail not on the road. But as I wrote in my blogpost, I missed the beginning of it and ended up walking on the road as well. Anyway, it's the upper part of Restonica that is the best part of it.

Tarjei



Backstroke

Posted: Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 19:50

Thanks Alan. I always take 50 ft of line, so hanging food sounds like a wise plan.
History has not been kind to Joseph, but as it was the home of the Corsican patriot Paoli and the short-lived Corsican government, Corte seems historically notable enough to warrant a visit, and the valley walks sound great.



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 5:29

I think that I would be right in saying that Pascal Paoli did more for Corsica that did the Boneparte family?
What is it now nearly 3 centuries ago that James Boswell a Scottish lawyer and companion of Dr. Johnson during a famous tour around the highlands of our country. JB was attracted to Corse when Paoli began the very short lived Republic by wrestling control from the Genoa folks....soon after the French took over. After ending up in London Paoli for the rest of his days apparently both he and Johnson lie in some place for the noteworthy in the city?
I recall a statue of Paoli in the fine old square in Corte.

--

Gaffr



Danton

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 10:38

Thanks for all the replies . . .

Backstroke, I was thinking that it might be a little late starting on day one as there is the matter of getting the bus that morning from Porto Vecchio to Conca. So rather than be too ambitious I'll aim for Paliri. I am constrained to staying the refuges so it's Asinau for me on day two.

As for Mori and Tighettu, I think I'll take Oliver's advice and climb Paglia Orba on the afternoon of the day I arrive in Mori, and go to the Bocca Minuta from Tighiettu, just to have a look at the famous (infamous?) CDS.

And indeed Tarjei I did mean doubling up on the penultimate day and going from Haut Asco to Ortu di i Piobbu. However looking at the map again I think I might stay in Carozzu after all. If on the last day I feel strong I'll go for Ortu di i Piobbu and straight down to Calenzana. If I feel tired or lazy, I can go straight from Carozzu to Calenzana via Bonifatu.

I was thinking as well that if I do walk to Ortu di i Piobbu I might leave the trail before I reach Bocca Piccaia to climb Capu Ladroncellu, and then walk the ridge across to Monte Corona and from there descend to Ortu di i Piobbu. Has anyone tried this?



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 13:09

Danton - I've looked at that ridge walk from the top of Monte Corona, and I got the impression that was possible, but I haven't actually walked it. If you walk it, let us know what it was like afterwards.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 14:09

Some time ago I remember I read somewhere on the randoblog that the park rangers were complaining because some people not only were doing some unofficial ridge detours but were also leaving trailmarks (and just to be clear, I like such detours :) ) and I think it was about the Capu Ladruncellu-Monte Corona section. Yes on the map it seems easy.

--Michele



Caro

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 14:24

Hi Danton,
Are you aware that refuge Asinau burned down completely a couple of months ago?
According to the parc site they are planning to offer some alternative for summer, but it doesn't seem to be ready yet.
http://randoblogpnrc.blogspot.nl/2016/03/refuge-dasinau-ravage-par-un-in...

I'll start walking next week from North to south, might pass you on the way :)

Caro

--

Calenzana -> Conca From June 10th 2016 - June 26th 2016



Turnertactics
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 15:53

Tarjei

I must have missed the Restonica trail as well. It is lovely with plenty of roadside pools to cool off in and there's always the possibility of hitching. We caught a lift for about 5 miles down to the campsite.

Corte is pretty good too between the square and the castle. The museum and Mr Bonepart's house is in that vicinity. Plenty of comfortable accommodation too where you get a whole bed all to yourself!

--

Alan



Backstroke

Posted: Fri, Jun 3, 2016, 15:54

Danton I was looking at a possible Capu Ladruncellu-Monte Corona variente as well. Both my digital maps don't show anything, however the satellite view and my paper map show tracks leading north starting at Col D'Avartoli. On vera.

Grr20, it is my understanding that the Napolean family was essentially minor Corsican nobility, but Paoli is The Man for sure. This website read is interesting:
http://www.napoleon.org/en/history-of-the-two-empires/articles/napoleon-...
I also highly recommend "Napolean: A Life" by Andrew Roberts. Great read.



Danton

Posted: Sat, Jun 4, 2016, 0:17

Yes Caro, I was hoping to stay in the Bergeries d'Asinau. However I don't know if they take bookings?

I have booked all my refuges, or at least the ones that I can on the PNRC website. I got the last available bed for Ascu and Tighettu. Hard to believe that they are already booked out?

I missed out on Onda, they were all gone, so I'm hiring a tent instead. I hope it's not a cold night that night . . .

Backstroke, my map shows a dotted line from Col d'Avartoli. However this is a district boundary (limite de commune), so be careful that you don't confuse this line for a path. Not saying it isn't one, just it might not be.



Backstroke

Posted: Sat, Jun 4, 2016, 16:38

"Los Angeles hiker goes missing in Corsica. It is thought that he might have mistakenly followed a district boundary line shown on a map and went over a cliff to his death. At home his wife was reported to have said "I told him that the map legend print was too small and to not go off to that damnable island without some reading glasses." Apparently arrogance and vanity was his undoing."



Danton

Posted: Sun, Jun 5, 2016, 12:21

I sincerely hope that doesn't happen Backstroke!

I have contacted / booked accommodation for each stage, apart from Bergeries d'Asinau, whom I have telephoned on a number of occasions but have recevied no reply. I am just hoping they have a space when I arrive.

Bon voyage everyone, and I hope I'll be back here in about a month giving an update on my experiences.



Caro

Posted: Sun, Jun 5, 2016, 12:30

Danton,
Asinau was completely destroyed by a fire. It is not there anymore. That's why it doesn't take bookings.
There were plans to offer an alternative, but there has been no news about this, which makes me thjink that there is no alternative at the moment. So I really wouldn't count on there being any place to sleep were Asinau once stood.

Good luck and happy hiking.
Caro

--

Calenzana -> Conca From June 10th 2016 - June 26th 2016



Tarjei

Posted: Sun, Jun 5, 2016, 21:44

Caro, as I recall it is the refuge d'Asinau that's burned down, not the bergeries d'Asinau.

Tarjei



Caro

Posted: Mon, Jun 6, 2016, 6:18

Tarjei,
Thanks, I thought they were the same thing.
Caro

--

Calenzana -> Conca From June 10th 2016 - June 26th 2016