GR20 North - North to South or South to North? | Corsica.forHikers.com

GR20 North - North to South or South to North?

crownharemeadow

Posted: Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 12:47

Hi I've wanted to do the GR20 for years and after a recent change in circumstances have booked it on impulse, for 2 and a half weeks time. I now feel woefully unprepared!

I'm flying in Sunday, flying out Sunday (to Bastia) so only have a 6 day window for the walk

Is 6 days just too short for the Northern section? Where would you recommend doubling up? I'm a strong walker but not that experienced over mountainous terrain - am comfortable with 10-12 hour days, but over that would be unrealistic I feel. It looks just about possible based on the timings on this website.

And given that, I was then thinking which direction would be better if I'm running out of time - so if after 5 days I'm not going to make it, there's an alternative route to get back to Bastia.

Also - do I need to book the huts? I'll be in a tent

Thanks,
Steve



Gaffr

Posted: Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 7:33

Hello,
Not the best of times this early season for a flying visit....usually nine days for the Northern section. Since you say that you will be in a tent this will mean a fairly heavy sack containing all for camping and cooking.
The snow has hung around late this year in the North and there are two stages that usually present difficulties for walkers. If you look around the Forum you will find posts from those thinking of going early to the GR20 .....since then I don't think that anyone has sent in reports from the GR20 via the smart phone stuff.
There has been a silent spell from the PNRC folks who usually post the state of the route on their PNRC blogspot however nothing has been reported since April the 21st. On top of that the 'spamming idiots' have been messing up the date sequence of the forum in recent times so not easy to get at forum reports of those talking of going early. I did hear that there was a navette available to get folks around the stage Asco to Vallone involving a bit of walking to connect with the route.
For camping turn up, see the folks at the refuge and pay your fee and pick a spot to pitch.

Two and a half weeks time....last week of June... 27th? Conditions on the trail could be different then.

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Gaffr



crownharemeadow

Posted: Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 11:52

Thanks Gaffr - I was thinking the last week of June would be pretty safe for snow to have cleared, but will keep a close eye on it. I'd be starting walking on the 25th, I could always do the Southern section, that seems much more reasonable in 6 days, so I wouldn't need escape options. Not sure why that clearly more sensible option doesn't appeal to me.. maybe masochism!

I'll be in a tent to have privacy - I don't sleep well in dorms and anyone anywhere near me also doesn't sleep well! It's worth the weight for me in practise - not sleeping is worse. I wasn't intending to take any cooking equipment, I was going to use the facilities at the refuges. I packed my bag last night (very organised for me, but I needed to check whether my 30L bag was big enough - it is) and without water I'm 10kg so not too heavy. Weight looks critical for this walk, I've carried a 25kg pack before but don't fancy it over this, I'm aiming for 12.5kg max

Will have a look around the forum - if everything's out of date I've probably missed loads. Unless the spammers are selling cheap tents/sleeping bags that weigh 200g I'm not sure what they hope to achieve here!

Thanks,
Steve



SQFP

Posted: Thu, Jun 7, 2018, 14:27

Late June + lightweight (yay!) + 6 days = you have your chances on the GR20 North (the pretty half, but I'm partial)... if physically fit and under clear skies.

As for which refuges to bypass: I'd have lunch at e.g. Carrozzu, Ciuttulu/Vergio, and Petra Piana. Once you reach Petra Piana, you can easily decide whether to reach Vizzavona on the next morning, or go down to Vivario to catch the afternoon train to Bastia/Lucciana.

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Geology in Corsica



crownharemeadow

Posted: Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 9:31

Thanks for your help SQFP, that's very useful.

Am I understanding it right that you can get from Manganu to Vivario in 1 day (in time to get the last train)? It looks a similar distance on the map to Vizzavona so is it a much easier route? If that's realistic, I'm much more comfortable with the Northern section, I'd only need to double up once before that (I'd probably miss Carrozzu).

Of course, this depends on the snow clearing - if it's still the same way in 2 weeks time I'll settle for the Southern half - too risky for me on my own.

I spent £100 last night reducing my pack weight by about 200g! (to be fair, my warmth went up too) - am currently debating on sleeping bag requirements. Does it get below freezing?

Cheers, S



SQFP

Posted: Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 10:02

After Manganu, the major difficulties are two episodes of steep slopes/screes to cross the Bocca alle Porte and Capitello passes, then you reach Petra Piana - on time for lunch if conditions allow. From Petra Piana, two options to catch a train: the fast and easy way, go down on a good path then a forestry road to Tattone /Vivario in about 3 hours, or keep hiking on difficult terrain for 6-7 hours to reach Vizzavona.

Something to keep in mind when deciding on what to wear and what sleeping gear you need: June 15th, 2015 around midnight, +2°C at the Aitone weather station near Vergio (1000m elev.)

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Geology in Corsica



crownharemeadow

Posted: Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 19:55

Thanks, brilliant information, that's helped me a lot. Just need to hope the snow clears by then.

By the way, I was exaggerating before - my pack weighs nowhere near 10 kilo! 7.2kg with just food and water to add. And maybe a fleece after what you've just said. Am pleased with that (although I must be getting weaker if I thought it was 10 before!)