Northern GR20 May 20-25 trip report :)


Posted: Tue, May 30, 2017, 18:35

Hi All,

We are sadly back at work after an amazing week on the GR20. Thank you to all on the forum for advice!
We ended up being limited by time due to travel logistics in Corsica on the weekends etc so we started at Calenzana on Saturday and finished in Corte on Thursday.

Day 1 - Arrived 7am into Bastia, bought camping gas, caught the train to Camp Raffali, walked about 1/3 way to Calenzana and a lovely local lady picked us up and gave us a lift to Calenzana.
Started hiking at 230pm from Calenzana (I wouldn't recommend this but I wanted to get up into the moutains as soon as possible) and camped at Ortu di u Piobbu. The refuge did not have a guardien but there were about 8 other people there, we camped. One toilet unlocked and plenty of water at streams along the trail. No snow.

Day 2 - Ortu di u Piobbu to Carozzu - lovely tough day. Great surprise was that there was a guardien at Carozzu so.....COLD BEERS! Seems prices have gone up since last year as these were 7euro (although 6 euro at a different refuge) but well worth the price. They also had some basic dried pasta, tuna, chocolate, tea, coffee, etc for sale. Cold showers, toilets open.

Day 3 - Carozzu to Haut Asco - snow only the last part of the ascent to Bocca di a Muvrella, nice and soft and easy to walk up (easier than the rocks actually) but wouldn't want to do it if icy/frozen. Saucisson, cheese, dried pasta, biscuits etc for sale at the Refuge and the Hotel as well as some fresh fruit. Meal at the restaurant was a nice break from our own dry couscous! HOT SHOWERS!

Day 4 - shuttle to Calasima - there were 2 or 3 guys who did go over Monte Cinto from what I gather (though we did not see/talk to any of them afterwards) but the guardien advised against it as the top 650m of ascent was on snow. Probably possible on a warm day with hiking poles if you are good at walking on snow but lots of snow left here still. We elected to go around so we could see more of the trail (I have also previously climbed Monte Cinto so didn't mind too much). Arrived at Calasima at about 11am and walked up to the GR20 via a short valley route joining the trail sometime not too far after Vallone. The Refuge Ciotullu di i Mori was so beautiful and quiet we decided to camp there and spent a lazy afternoon in the sunshine. No snow on the trail. Toilets were locked.

Day 5 - Ciotullu di i Mori to Castel di Verghio - coffee and croissant here and we were told no shuttles/buses/navette at all to Corte that day or other days so we then walked to Bergeries de Vaccaghja and turned off on the link route and continued to Refuge de Sega and camped here. Between Castel di Verghio and Manganu there was nothing open for food/drink. Refuge de Sega was a really nice surprise. While not on the GR20 it is a spectacular trail down a gorge with many waterfalls and lovely forest walking. The refuge was staffed by a very cheerful and friendly guardien who immediately supplied us with a beer! The evening was spent cooking another pasta and cup of soup meal while watching the other campers play bocce!

Day 6 - early start to walk from Refuge de Sega to Corte in time to catch the 10:18am train. Beautiful walking again.

Day 7 - recovery in Calvi with plenty of food, wine, and gelato!

It was in the mid-20s, hot and sunny the whole week so we feel quite lucky. We talked to a few people along the way who were continuing (our french is not great but improved over the week!) and what we heard was snow between Manganu and Pietra Piana was making things slow and tricky but passable even without crampons.


*Of note - there is a little hardward shop 1 block away from Millet sport in Bastia which sells screw on camping gas cannisters and opens at about 8 or 830am (very useful if trying to catch the 09:14 train as Millet sport only opens at 9am on saturdays).


Posted: Wed, May 31, 2017, 5:51

Thank you eegs for the useful report. Too bad you didn't take the Cinto route: I would have liked to know more about that section. But your choice was wise.



Posted: Wed, May 31, 2017, 10:22

The first time I climbed Cinto there was snow for 600m on the steep slope to the ridge. It would be really difficult when frozen, but it was OK once the sun softened it. I came back the same way. Now that the route crosses to the other side of the mountain, which is more steep and rocky, I wouldn't go there if there was snow. I was there a couple of years ago when it was dry. You probably made the right decision to get the bus round the mountain.


Posted: Wed, May 31, 2017, 17:31

Thank you so much for the update.

I am planning to do Monte Cinto as a one day trip when in Asco (up and down the same way), hopefully it is sunny than.




Posted: Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 18:00


What a great report.It's reports like this that really inform others especially new to the GR20,like me. Hopefully Cinto will have melted some what by early July but we're doing the same as Monika.
Well done Eegs!