old route cirque solitude

robertotinti

Posted: Sun, Jun 5, 2016, 21:36

has anyone done the old cirque? do they have already removed chains and ladders?



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, Jun 6, 2016, 6:17

They've removed the paint marks showing the way to the Cirque. They plan to take out the chains later. I think it's a problem for them because they will need to work below hundreds of tonnes of debris that could collapse.



robertotinti

Posted: Mon, Jun 6, 2016, 6:56

So it s possible to walk trough it obviously considering the risk of collapse.
I would like to know if someone had done it this year. The new record has been taken trough the cirque?



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, Jun 6, 2016, 16:39

You can go through but it's at your own risk. It will be more difficult when they remove the chains. When they remove the ladder, you need to be able to rock-climb. I've been through three times, and the chains aren't really essential. I wouldn't go through if they remove the ladder. Anyway, I don't like the idea of another landslide, which is bound to happen some time.



robertotinti

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 5:53

And coming from South the ladder at what point is?



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 8:06

Hello,
Coming from the South the ladder is at the bottom of the descent from Bocca Minuta ( the area from which the rock-fall began last June).....some lengths of chain took you down over some nice slabs above where the ladder is or was?
Having read the report from the geologists most would agree that it would need more that a year to settle down....if at all. There will probably be images of the area on line somewhere....I have an image with wife on the short ladder section on a Scottish Forum.
I would doubt if the 'gazelle' took that route on his traverse?

--

Gaffr



Joanna

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 8:27

Francois d'Haene followed the same route as the previous record takers, through the Cirque:
http://www.corsematin.com/article/article/gr-20-le-parcours-du-record-re...



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 8:31

Hello Joanna,
Thanks for the info......what some folks will do for a shortcut. :-)

I seem to recall that some years ago you were on the GR20 when one of the earlier 'Gazelles' went though in record time.

--

Gaffr



robertotinti

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 8:54

thanks for the information. i'll decide on the way.



Joanna

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 9:37

Yes, I was there when Kilian Jornet run it. Btw, for those reading french (or google-translating) here is an interview with Francois d'Haene about the run:
http://www.trails-endurance.com/actus/trail/record-gr20-interview-de-fra...



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 16:29

I was told that one of the chains above the ladder was broken during the landslide last summer.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 16:52

So I heard. We actually don't know the current status (after the accident) of the various chains in the Cirque. But it's a moot point since what remains will be removed in the next few days or so.



Harley1965

Posted: Tue, Jun 7, 2016, 21:15

Why would anyone even contemplate going through the Cirque, after it has been declared too dangerous and unstable. If people want to risk there own lives fine, but think about the rescue teams who risk there lives on a regular basis trying to save people. If I was in a rescue team going into the Cirque to rescue someone after all the warnings, I would be mighty P----- Off.

--

Neil



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 4:04

I totally agree with you Neil. In fact I don't understand the decision to lift the ban from crossing the Cirque. Or even more the "endorsement" of the Park to go through it for those racers. What? Don't they risk the same?



Gaffr

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 7:08

Hello,
Having thought about this. I am a disappointed that the 'fast runner' chose to go by the old route.
After all he could have set his record time for the reorganised route. I guess that this could have been the first attempted at this?
Having gone the 'old way' this now sows the seeds in perhaps many others to think about going by way the Cirque. With the instability in the area maybe one person travelling alone? would be less likely to disturb rocks.....a different story when several folks were in the same area?
This could well lead to some wasted time for them while walking the GR20. Those going to have 'a look' would waste the best part of a day going up to Bocca Tumascinesca (Col Perdu) and finding that they don't like what they see. I don't know, haven't been in the area since 2013, but you just will perhaps not see all of what you might not like from there....coming from the North the changes that took place after the rockslide might only be visible from lower down and that would waste even more time having to climb back up again.

--

Gaffr



Tarjei

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 10:00

Gaffr, I agree with you that it is not a good sign to others that he used the old route, regarding the safety of the section. It could encourage others to choose to take the Cirque, both daredevils and the usual hikers.

Is the decision to lift the ban from crossing the Cirque real, Michele?

Travelling alone might not be a problem for the person doing it (or groups actually for that matter), but it might cause severe problems for any one following after. You never know if the person or persons going before has upset the ground or disturbed rocks as you say. So what felt stable for the one before you (not saying it was actually stable), might not be stable when you go.

Tarjei



robertotinti

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 10:27

I think mountain is always dangerous. I think but not sure that cirque is dangerous like walking under a cliff in all the mountains we trek. When it happens it happens
Have you read about dolomiti? They usually go down. If you are walking in that moment bye bye.
I'm not saying we have to cross the cirque whistling but it's the same dangerous like elsewhere.
Authority close down to be out of responsibility in case of. They close to be serene.
Anyway when I'll be there I'll see with my eyes and I really don't want to risk my life more than trekking 15 days in mountain alone, under thunderstorm, rain, slippery rocks, animals, ecc ecc



Joanna

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 11:19

Roberto is right, mountains are dangerous, and if you wanted to avoid accidents, you would have to close them totally. If they closed the Cirque, who would police this ban? I think the way they do it, diverting the route, and making people aware of the dangers, is the best, and only, option.
As for the record, it does not follow the official route in 100 % anyway (f.ex. it bypasses Asco) so it's not exactly the GR20. I understand why they want to continue the same route for the record bids, and anyway it's probably safer for those guys, travelling light and fast. You cannot forbid them to go there as long as the place is not oficially closed.



Kevski

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 19:50

The Cirque now reverts to being a mountaineering route....with a level of danger just like so many others including popular routes like Mont Blanc or the Matterhorn, both of which experience regular injuries or even fatalities from falling rock. Effectively it is no longer part of the normal GR20 route. So be it.

There are always arguments about whether additional safety should be added to routes in the mountains (like the chains etc installed on the Cirque in the first place) but of course once it is there, pretty much everyone will use it. Equally, arguments are often put forward to ban or close particular routes due to perceived unacceptable levels of risk.

Personally, while I would not carry a rope and other gear purely to overcome one short section in an almost 200Km trail, I would like the option of traversing the Cirque. Therefore I would hope that steps will not be taken to remove the one point of aid (or perhaps few, like the ladder) that will make the difference between being able to traverse the Cirque in a manner in keeping with the character of the rest of the trail, or having to carry climbing gear to use once in two weeks...

--

Kevin



Michele
moderator

Posted: Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 21:24

Even if mountains may at times be dangerous, there is always the problem of responsibilities involved and I think the municipality related with the Cirque could not overlook the terrible death of seven people. And I personally think they did the right things: forbid for a time the entrance, ask geologists to evaluate the situation and finally return the Cirque to its natural state and lift the ban (yes Tarjei, as far as I know once the chains and waymarks are removed everybody will be allowed to traverse the Cirque if they want). So nobody will complain because the "bad guys" stopped them from doing what they want!!!
But that is not a GR20 section anymore. By reducing the number of people crossing the Cirque, the chances of other hikers getting killed drops dramatically.



Kevski

Posted: Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 8:37

Hi Michele
I agree with most of your comments but I don't agree that removing the ladder (and maybe one or two other critical items) is a good idea. Dissuading people from going there will certainly reduce the risk of another accident but since the Cirque is historically such a key feature of the GR20, some people will go there and, for those, the commune should not remove the few key aids.

By way of comparison, the normal route up to the Gouter Hut on Mont Blanc involves crossing a couloir that suffers from ongoing rockfall. Deaths and injuries have resulted but the authorities have not removed the cables across the gully. The same is true on mountain routes all over the alps...people can be educated as to the risk but mountain guides, the PGHM and others will still install safety fixtures at key points. Some will argue for more safety, others for less. Many people will be familiar with the Everest debate...the merits or otherwise of Sherpas fixing ropes to the summit so that wealthy but relatively inexperienced (or less able) clients can get to the summit.

So I hope that sense will prevail....by all means persuade people to use the alternative route, but if a few want to persist with the Cirque, then leave the few critical aid points in place for them.

--

Kevin



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 9:23

Without removing those aids I'm positive people would steadily keep going through the Cirque, no matter what. And every day it's hundreds of them (who would probably enjoy the additional challenge = staying alive!!)
Why would you think the municipality asked for a geological survey? The chances of another big landslide is real and it may happen anytime soon. By removing ladder and chains they sent us a clear message: "you are on your own, we don't want to feel responsible of other deaths now that we've been told it's going to happen ... plus jeopardize AGAIN the life of our rescuers".

--Michele



robertotinti

Posted: Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 11:50

sorry but we're talking about this ladder?

https://www.google.it/search?q=ladder+gr20&biw=1680&bih=920&source=lnms&...

cause it's seems not really necessary from this picture.



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 13:12

Hello,
Some of those images do show the ladder at the foot of the slabs leading up to Bocca Minuta.
I think for most folks travelling with a full rucksack....tent, camping kit etc.....most folks will find the ladder very necessary.
I was travelling behind my wife and as soon as we reached the slabs I found that I was able to ascend without using the Chains. That was on a day when the rock was very dry.
The area of the ladder has 'jugs' so anyone used to moving on rock pitches would probably have no trouble pulling over onto the slabs.....big, full rucksack?
Coming from the south, descending from Bocca Minuta a few years later, there was still a bit of snow around at the cols and on some slopes and with a big snow slope leading to the chained area up to Tumasginesca...13th, June...the slabs were running with cold water caused by the snow melt....a different proposition.

--

Gaffr



Harley1965

Posted: Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 16:58

Michele is correct the municipality asked for a geological survey? and they deemed the route unsafe due to a REAL risk of landslides.

I totally get it about all mountains being dangerous and the risks involved and respect everyone's views (Joanna, Gaffr, Robertotinti and Michele etc). Each individual will see the situation from a different perspective. My view is simple and it is only my view, the authorities have deemed it unsafe, so I will not do that route again, although it is tempting, and to tell truth I found that the Cirque was not that hard anyway.

I found much harder sections on the GR20, such as a little detour up Monte Cinto that we did in 2013, with regards to the ladder, if it is not in place it is a very easy climb to get over, even with a Bergan on. The chains are a good aid, but as long as the surface is dry you really do not need them, however that said under foot now maybe a different situation after last years tragic accident.

I must also say that when I did the route in 2013 I did it with the Army so going through the Cirque was a bit of a blur due to the relentless pace. Unfortunately the Cirque was closed a week or so before I arrived last year so I dipped out.

--

Neil



grcotedazur20

Posted: Mon, Jun 13, 2016, 7:54

Michele is right. Leaving the chains up after deeming the route unsafe would be a contradiction. In addition, the chains would need to be inspected to make sure that they are safe.

If somebody wants to go on that route, they should do it at their own risk. If you have skill on rock, it's not so hard to climb and down climb this section. And it helps if you have a light pack. I would say that the cirque wasn't that great. I'm interested in the Monte Cinto variation.

Interesting that the record holder took the old route.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Mon, Jun 13, 2016, 9:43

I agree with you grcotedazur20, the Cirque is not so great (same dull landscape) and it was an anomaly in the logic of a hiking trail (but necessary - at the time - because it was the only way to go through).

In this respect I hear the new trail is much more interesting, better views at 360°(but definitely tougher).

The record holder had to take the old route because taking a variant (any variant), would have changed the result. The point is: will all the next record breakers keep going through the cirque for the same reason? And with the chains and ladder removed, wouldn't this somehow alter the result as well?

--Michele



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 6:29

I agree that the new route is tougher and more scenic than the Cirque, but they're two different things. The whole point of the Cirque was to keep the route moving, even if it meant being in a very scary place. I saw people crying in the Cirque, or freezing to the spot and refusing to move, even when they had lots of trekkers behind them. Taking the ladder away will make it too difficult for some trekkers to get through, and if they tried to find another way, it would only get more difficult. The new route is just a very hard walk, with no real technical difficulties. They put in some chains, but none of them are really essential.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Fri, Jun 17, 2016, 7:46

I really look forward to hearing this year's reports from stage 4 (now that everyone will do it). I bet people will end up enjoying this ... upgrade more than the Cirque. After all the Cirque was - like you rightfully say - a scary place for many hikers (and there must be some records of past accidents somewhere).

--Michele



manac

Posted: Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 6:50

Mountains are mountains, inherently risky, bit like life really. Experienced mountaineers will know that there are always alternatives and weigh up the pros and cons. Unfortunately due to its notoriety and à la mode nature there are many inexperienced people on this trek who should be advised.
I'd check your mountain rescue / life insurance before you attempt to contradict Park authority advice! I believe Helicopter rescue in France is free as long as the incident is a genuine accident, defying authorised recommendations would probably invalidate that.

Some up-to-date images taken from our Day 13 S-N trip of the GR20 stage between Ref Tighjettu and Haut Asco to give you an idea of what to expect.
https://www.flickr.com/gp/manac/2V3736

--

MnM



Michele
moderator

Posted: Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 7:29

Thanks manac for your very interesting photos and for sharing them.



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 9:19

Thanks for the images of the route from Tighettu and Ascu.
I have only been to Cintu summit from Ascu as a separate day out after coming over the first three stages coming from Calinzana.
Maybe you did not have enough time to reach the top of Cintu?
I agree with you regarding the situation with the Cirque....if problems occurred in there now I don't think that anyone would be in a hurry to assist you.

--

Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 13:22

Good pictures, but looking at the snow, I'm glad I walked it when there was no snow last year. Both the ascent and descent were long and hard, but the ridge was very enjoyable. I made the detour to summit Cinto, and that really did make it a very long and hard day.



robertotinti

Posted: Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 18:10

Sorry I'm not impressed by your pics. They seem normal in mountain.
I'll try to see how is the cirque. With rain or snow I won't do that. If I die doing it
I will not need any helicopter. If I injured I promise I won't call anyone:)



manac

Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 5:52

By the way there will probably be no cell phone coverage anyway so nobody will hear your plea for help.

--

MnM



manac

Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 5:51

**

--

MnM



manac

Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 5:56

I'm sorry that my photos do not impress you; was it the photos or what you saw? If it's what you saw then not sure that the GR20 is quite right for you. The Dolomites, it certainly isn't. If the appeal of the GR20 was/is the excitement of the Cirque and its aid, but not the boulder field and scree slopes that some of it is, then better off sticking to the Alte Vie and vie ferrate.

--

MnM



GRRR 20

Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 8:26

The PNRC Randoblog wasn't updated all the way through June. All of a sudden there is a brief entry. All it says is that ice axes and crampons are no longer needed, and the Cirque has been stripped of aids.



robertotinti

Posted: Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 8:48

i have to say that i was wrong about your pics. i've seen now it from computer and not from cell phone(too small to understand) it seems hard. nice.
anyway just to put and end my first question was to have some information and not to suggest people to do the cirque now. i respect your opinion, mine is different. i don't know what i'll do but peace and love :)



Kevski

Posted: Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 13:56

Hi Roberto

Whatever you do make sure to report back and tell us about your experience.

This thread is an interesting discussion on risk and what it the "correct" approach. Of course there is no single 'correct' approach. So much depends on your personal attitude to risk, your judgement regarding the level of risk etc. There is almost always a greater risk of being killed in a motor accident than on the hills but yet, as a society, we don't do very much to limit the speed of cars (mandatory speed limiters could be fitted to every car, bike, lorry etc). Signage is just making drivers aware of the risks.

A few months after the sad accident in the Cirque, seven mountaineers were killed in an avalanche on the Barre des Ecrins (4,000m peak). Not a lot of publicity ensued and there was no question of closing the route. Similarly there has been serious loss of life on Mont Blanc de Tacul above Chamonix in recent years but again, no attempt to close the route. Education and information, yes, but control, no.

Mountaineers will make their own judgements. Let them continue to do so...even on popular routes like the GR20. Most rescuers are volunteers who put themselves forward for a variety of reasons. Hopefully that too will continue and there will be no question of refusing to go to the assistance of someone who has an accident regardless of whether they contributed to it. In many cases, it is the victims who cause the accidents but that does not prevent us helping them.

Good luck Roberto. I hope you have a great trip.

--

Kevin



robertotinti

Posted: Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 14:45

I ll do surely. Thanks.



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 8:27

Looking very closely at manac's photos, the paint markers along the highest parts are still two yellow stripes - the same as they were last summer. On the uphill and downhill the yellow stripes have been painted over in red and white earlier this year. It's my guess that some time this summer the rangers will paint over the one on the highest part, making the whole stage red and white.