Mobile Phone Reception

Askasleikir

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 7:40

Planning a GR20 trek in August. Curious what the current mobile phone reception situation is like on the route. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Merci!



nmkleiner

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 8:16

The book says reception is rare. That's all I know.

Anyway I'm looking for people to join for the gr20 in August if you're interested contact me on nmkleiner@gmail.com!!



Askasleikir

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 8:19

Thanks! I have heard the same, but I know that reception has improved in remote areas in France the last year or so. Already much better in the Alps. Hoping perhaps it is the same in Corsica.

Will be doing North to South starting 13 August.



SQFP

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 10:56

It's highly variable depending on topography, weather, and carrier used... but you can usually get a working connection at least once a day. As an example, phone reception is pretty bad at the Ciuttulu refuge; just walk 10 mn up to the Col des Maures pass and voilà, perfect phone signal with two different carriers. (and the added perk of a fascinating panorama over the Cirque de la Solitude)

As a general rule, better keep your phones in airplane mode to spare battery until you reach some well-oriented ridge or crest, ideally with a village in the line of sight. Then give it a try.

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Geology in Corsica



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 10:57

How did we ever manage on the GR20 before mobile phones were invented?



Askasleikir

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 13:20

Thank you very much for the info!



SQFP

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 13:47

Well, hikers used to get lost without any possibility to call rescuers, had to resort on their own skills or else die.
(Agreed, hikers still disappear without a trace on the GR. Blame it on a lack of cell phone coverage)

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Geology in Corsica



Michele
moderator

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 20:00

List of refuges and their phone reception (to be corrected) and recharging availabilities:

Ortu du Piobbu - no reception - they will recharge your phone for free
Carrozzu - no reception - didn't ask for recharge
Haute Asco - excellent - free recharge station
Tighjettu - unknown
Ballone - no - they refuse to recharge
Ciottolu - only in some spots - don't know
Verghio - excellent - recharging station
Manganu - only where the guardian says - recharging station on payment (2 euros)
PietraPiana - no - refuse to recharge
Onda - no - recharge for 1 euro
Vizzavona - yes - free recharging station
Capannelle - unknown - they should recharge for free (unsure)
Prati - unknown - unknown
Usciolu - no reception - they recharge for free
Croci - no reception - recharge for free
Asinau - unknown - unkown
Bavella - apparently no signal - unknown
Paliri - just a tad - recharge for free
Conca - excellent - should recharge for free

Please help me update and correct the above. Thank you



GRRR 20

Posted: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 20:16

I can tell you a little more about Verghio -

They let you recharge for free in the shop, but be sure to check when the shop closes in the evening and retrieve your devices. Anything unclaimed gets unplugged, put in a box and left overnight at the reception desk in the hotel. I didn't know this and I lost a couple of hours waiting for the shop to open in the morning, only to discover that I could have collected my stuff from the hotel and left earlier.

If you ever join or leave the GR20 via Sega you can recharge things at the refuge for €1 per hour.

Life was s simpler when the only electrical item we carried was a flashlight!



Gaffr

Posted: Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 4:42

Hello,
At the times when I did the GR20 I had just a simple very early phone.....I managed to get text messages out to home when I reached the high ground after an overnight at the refuge/camping. The only place that I needed to recharge was at the dortoir in Vizzavona.
I guess that nowadays with Maps, electronic compasses etc. in the Smartphones that the power usage will be high?

--

Gaffr



Askasleikir

Posted: Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 6:10

Thank you for the info, Michele. I'll try and update the info as I go.



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 7:43

Bocca Muvrella between Carrozzu and Haut Asco. I watched an Australian group make a telephone booking from there, but I expect most other parts of that stage would have no signal.



Julija_v

Posted: Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 19:26

OMG, hikers still disappear w/o trace?? I only read about death incident in Cirque in 2015.. But no mentioning of other accidents..

Julija



GRRR 20

Posted: Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 20:20

I think the accident in the Cirque overshadowed the fact that a couple of other hikers vanished without trace the same year. I believe one of them went missing on the first stage between Calinzana and Piobbu even when there were other hikers around. One minute he was there talking to other hikers on the trail and the next minute he was gone and never seen again.



Askasleikir

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 8:37

Any links to info on those other hikers disappearing? French or English is fine.



GRRR 20

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 9:41

It is easier to search for information in French. Try 'disparu sur le GR20' and you will find several stories of hikers disappearing, from the 1980s to the present day. Follow the reports and you will see that some are later found. Searching 'deces sur le GR20' will reveal confirmed deaths. You fill find many references to the 2015 accident but the number of deaths varies according to when the reports were made. In the end it was 7 deaths but it took a long time to find the last body. That accident was widely covered in French but none of the English news sites even mentioned it. I guess that is because no English hikers were killed. The local newspaper Corse Matin regularly reports on anything related to the GR20 and it is usually more reliable than other news sources.

I hope it doesn't put you of the GR20.



Askasleikir

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 10:09

Definitely doesn't put me off the GR 20, but I'll be mindful of the risks. Thank you for the info



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 11:09

You don't risk to get lost on the trail. The only potential dangers are in those scrambling sections where losing the grasp might get you injured



SQFP

Posted: Mon, Sep 3, 2018, 22:44

The major hazard to hurried hikers remains the weather (rain/heat/cold/fog/t-storms/wildfire).

Hard to believe people manage to get lost on the GR, with its well-defined path, its inane amount of markings, and its crowd to follow... yet it happens each and every year.

09/2018: French hiker lost near the Incudine, body found after 4 weeks
06/2018: Belgian hiker lost on the GR near Vergio, rescued after 6 hours
06/2018: German hiker lost on the GR, never found.
05/2018: French hikers (x4) lost above Conca, easily rescued by phone
12/2017: French hiker lost near Manganu, rescued after 4 days
05/2017: French hiker lost near Ascu, rescued after 3 days
09/2016: French hikers (x2) lost near Bocca alle Porte, rescued after 4 hours
09/2016: German hiker lost in the Cirque de la Solitude, rescued after 24 hours
08/2016: French hikers (x2) lost above Calenzana, rescued after 2 hours
07/2016: French hiker lost above Calenzana, rescued after 36 hours
09/2015: Canadian hiker lost near Bocca alle Porte, found dead after 4 weeks
06/2015: French hiker lost above Calenzana, never found
08/2014: French hiker lost near Bocca alle Porte, rescued after 3 hours
08/2014: French hikers (x2) lost above Calenzana, rescued two times (!) within a few hours
07/2014: Swiss hiker lost on the GR, never found
07/2014: American hiker lost on the GR, never found
08/2013: French hiker lost near I Paliri, rescued after 4 hours
06/2012: French hiker lost on the GR, found dead after 4 days
...
05/1981: German hiker lost on the GR, found dead in the Cirque de la Solitude after 3 weeks
etc. etc.

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Geology in Corsica



Askasleikir

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 15:31

The number of hikers who've never been found is a bit curious, as the island isn't so large, and the route isn't terribly remote. Was foul play suspected in any of the cases?



SQFP

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 15:51

(The list is by no means complete, it's just the ones one may have read about in Corse-Matin)
Afaik, all the bodies recovered had died of "natural" causes (fall, cold...) It's not even necessary to invoke foul play: the major part of the island is remarkably wild and out of reach due to relief or vegetation. A bad fall, a broken leg or head trauma, no cell phone or no coverage or no battery, extreme heat or cold nights, and/or no water... that's all it takes.

A few months ago, a Corsican lady went for an easy walk near the Pigno mountain; it's only 4 km from her home in Bastia but the area is so rocky, full of screes, crevices, cliffs and shrubs... she hasn't been found yet.

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Geology in Corsica



Stom_slo

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 16:03

Hmm... that's a lot of lost hikers.

I was aware that people get lost up there but not in such numbers.

Anyone used/using location beacons/SOS devices etc on GR20? I'll be taking my Garmin inreach just in case. Better safe than sorry I guess.



Askasleikir

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 16:08

I suppose I'm more surprised that even after a year, or more, bodies haven't been found. I'm not sure there are even that many unrecovered missing persons in the vast US national park system in the last decade. Will certainly use proper judgement and stick to the route either way.



Michele
moderator

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 19:50

Hmmm, the number of lost hikers is impressive. If I hadn't done the trail already I surely would be somewhat scared by this notion. To me it seems really impossible to get lost (unless you stubbornly want to keep walking in thick fog .... ).



Julija_v

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 20:38

Jezz.. what a terrifying statistics!!
I hope not make part of this list in about a month!
What's rescue service phone number?
What to do if one is caught in the midst of stage by some unpredicted rain or storm? Sit and wait on some relatively plain terrain? If it only rains a bit one can start going? The guardiens warn against going in case of bad forecast, right? And than - you wait couple of hours, half day or day, right?



Julija_v

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 20:38

Jezz.. what a terrifying statistics!!
I hope not make part of this list in about a month!
What's rescue service phone number?
What to do if one is caught in the midst of stage by some unpredicted rain or storm? Sit and wait on some relatively plain terrain? If it only rains a bit one can start going? The guardiens warn against going in case of bad forecast, right? And than - you wait couple of hours, half day or day, right?



SQFP

Posted: Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 21:36

Sure, sometimes fog and rain or unexpected events were contributing factors - but not always. I mean, under clear summer skies some people manage to get lost in the shrubland a few minutes from Calenzana or Conca, despite all the landmarks and roads and cities in plain sight...

What it almost always boils down to is some inappropriate behaviour/mindset:
- lack of training (a group starts the GR, some ill-informed or over-optimistic guy gives up after a few miles, tired, frustrated, he gets lost on his way back, of course without a map or cell phone)
- lack of forethought (not caring for - or ignoring - weather alerts since you are so well-trained, well-equipped... then comes the fog/thunder, hiker runs off-path either unwillingly or panic-stricken)
- poor orientation skills (people get overwhelmed by the landscape, distracted by chit-chat with the group, they keep going for hours in the wrong direction despite the lack of red-white stripes)
- pride and stubbornness (even when tired, injured, lost, wet, dizzy... some people will keep going after their goal - a Facebook selfie in Conca - no matter the risk, so as not to lose face in front of a group; only a coward would retreat to safety, eh?)

Even hiking in a group does not prevent mishaps - imho it can be quite the opposite: once you've acknowledged your skills, limits, and shortcomings through experience, hiking alone keeps you focused, mindful of the surroundings, and thus safe. Pride, haste, panic kill. There's no shame in making mistakes, getting lost, giving up temporarily (better go back until the storm clears). There's no emergency in reaching a bland wooden panel marking the finish line (unless you're trail-running in a competition). There's no action that can't wait, when you understand you're lost (just sit, relax, eat and drink a bit, look around, and think).

As for bad weather, it never happens abruptly (there are clues and forerunners), and weather forecasts are reliable within 24-48 hrs (use your cell phone or ask around...) Getting durably caught in a snow-/thunderstorm is the price paid by hikers who can't watch the skies, read a map, or browse the Weather Channel website. What to do? go down the slopes, find any shelter (under a rock or fallen log is better than nothing), sit back and relax, wait as long as required.

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Geology in Corsica



Gaffr

Posted: Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 6:39

Hello,
On the stage of the Mare e Monti...Galeria to Girolata we ended up in the Maquis.....the dreaded tangled spikey vegetation that can make progress very difficult.
We strayed from the path taking us up to the high ground onto a path that was not unlike the one that we had walked on from the camping in Galeria. The path came to a very sudden end and instead of retracing our footsteps we elected to continue and push our way through to the high ground that on this route was up to around 700metres. There were traces of others who had taken this path....items of clothing and torn parts of anoraks etc. Possibly why the path, up to where it ended, was quite well used on account of others having made a retreat from this nightmare path to gain the correct path.
This slow progress that we made eventually had us flopping out under the shade of a tree to gather our strength. There was even a decent stretch of easy scrambling slabby red rock to escape the vegetation before having to plunge back into the vegetation again but by now we had a sighting of desired destination...the high ground.
All of this section of the stage was around the 500-700 metres range.

Possibly the toughest most strenuous and most worrying day that we have had in Corsica and we have been several times to the walking on the island.

We arrived bedraggled just in time for dinner in Girolata to have another fight with the 'full of bones' Dorade…. a fish that I had not come across before.

Since the GR20 is almost entirely above the 900 metres perhaps not too many opportunities to 'get into the maquis' on the GR20 except perhaps on the first stage up from Calenzana?

--

Gaffr



SQFP

Posted: Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 17:10

The shrubland around Galeria is indeed problematic, especially now that farmers and hunters no longer take care of the many paths...

And yes, that's why many people are rescued near Conca or Calenzana, a few kilometers from the start: first day on the island, first encounter with the maquis... Still, there have been quite a few mishaps at higher elevations, most prominently around Manganu/Bocca alle Porte/Petra Piana: the amount of crests, ridges, passes, and variants makes it all too easy to end up on the wrong side of the mountain (with e.g. GR hikers rescued down the valley near Soccia or Guagno) (btw, 3+ people died there today due to a flash flood)

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Geology in Corsica



Askasleikir

Posted: Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 17:10

Do you have a link to an article about the flash flood today?



SQFP

Posted: Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 17:32

Saw it on TV, a search and rescue is still underway. Not much info online: https://www.corsematin.com/article/soccia/corse-du-sud-la-crue-fait-troi...
https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/corse/haute-corse/centre-corse/o...
There were intense thunderstorms from ~4pm, everywhere in the mountains. The Zoicu is a popular destination for canyoning or day hikes (the MàM Nord path crosses the river)

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Geology in Corsica



Julija_v

Posted: Thu, Aug 2, 2018, 20:24

5 people, incl 7 year old :((( How very, very sad!!! Why guide/agency didn't warn them?



SQFP

Posted: Thu, Aug 2, 2018, 21:52

Actually, there were 3 groups practicing canyoning in this popular spot, this afternoon:
- one group went there at ~1pm but left early (~3:30pm) due to rainfall and thunder heard in the distance;
- two other groups (2 guides + a dozen customers) arrived at about 3pm, they ran into the earlier group who warned them of the bad weather.

These two later groups spent some time in the "easy" part of the canyon. Due to concerns about the weather, 6 people decided not to go further and a guide led them back to their cars at about 5pm; however the second guide insisted in doing the "harder" part of the canyon with 6 customers, despite the warnings by both an earlier group and the other guide, as well as obvious signs (clouds + thunder) of a t-storm nearby.

Having brought the "scared" group of customers back to their cars, the worried guide went back in the canyon to provide assistance. Meanwhile, park employees working higher in the valley had witnessed the "wave" (flash flood) and rushed down to give the alert. All these people reached the canyon just before the wave; the park employees yelled at the group of canyoners while the guide who had come back managed to rescue 2 canyoners with a rope. The 4 other canyoners (a child and her father, a young man and his girlfriend) and their 36-yr-old "daredevil" guide were killed by the wave.
By the way, the mother of the child is safe: she was part of the "scared" group of people (or should I say "cautious"?)

Investigation has just started, however some people have already uttered the word "recklessness" about the dead guide.

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Geology in Corsica



Julija_v

Posted: Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 5:14

Yes, I’ve read it too.. not in such details though. I think there should be law prohibiting agencies to give the service in case of risk. Penalties.
The mother surprised me. Being a mother myself I can’t imagine cautiousness on my personal side only, leaving the child behind.. even with the farther.



GRRR 20

Posted: Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 9:06

There are plenty of laws but people disregard both the laws and the risks when they want to. Even if I was with a fully qualified and experienced guide I wouldn't take their advice if I thought my life was at risk. I once said 'no' on a mountain when a guide wanted to do something I thought wasn't safe. Fortunately the other two people on the rope also said 'no' and the guide accepted that none of us wanted to take the risk.



SQFP

Posted: Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 12:11

Oh, what a surprise, another guy disappearing on the GR (near the Mt Incudine):
https://www.corsematin.com/article/faits-divers-justice/appel-a-temoin-d...

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Geology in Corsica



Julija_v

Posted: Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 18:44

Another one? Not found yet??



SQFP

Posted: Fri, Aug 10, 2018, 23:03

Not found yet, more than 48 hrs later. On wednesday the 41-yr-old man went for a day hike on a part of the GR near Mt Incudine; other hikers saw him there. He never made it back home in the evening, according to his wife.

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Geology in Corsica



Gaffr

Posted: Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 5:58

Is Incudine the French name for the Alcudina?

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Gaffr



GRRR 20

Posted: Sat, Aug 11, 2018, 6:08

Incudine/Alcudina are the same mountain.



byrenius

Posted: Mon, Sep 17, 2018, 12:35

I found good reception right in the campground in Petra Piana last week. Updated list:

Ortu du Piobbu - no reception - they will recharge your phone for free
Carrozzu - no reception - didn't ask for recharge
Haute Asco - excellent - free recharge station
Tighjettu - unknown
Ballone - no - they refuse to recharge
Ciottolu - only in some spots - don't know
Verghio - excellent - recharging station
Manganu - only where the guardian says - recharging station on payment (2 euros)
Petra Piana - good - refuse to recharge
Onda - no - recharge for 1 euro
Vizzavona - yes - free recharging station
Capannelle - unknown - they should recharge for free (unsure)
Prati - unknown - unknown
Usciolu - no reception - they recharge for free
Croci - no reception - recharge for free
Asinau - unknown - unkown
Bavella - apparently no signal - unknown
Paliri - just a tad - recharge for free
Conca - excellent - should recharge for free