GR 20 In 12 days (in august) - my experience


Posted: Tue, Jun 1, 2010, 1:00

I, my name is Andrea and i'm italian, from Milan.

Due to the large amount of email i received about an old topic i wrote on this forum, i chose to post my experience with gr 20 in 12 days, because i find useless reply to different people with mails on the same object ;)
so i'm copying one of my last reply and i really hope to be helpful.

if you want to do the complete trail, you need 15 days (there are 15 stages) and you have to add a couple of extra days for the trip.
But if you want to do it faster, you can "double" some stages.
I suggest you to study every stage before leaving to Corse, and, by my side, i can tell you my experience:

I walked gr 20 in the standard way, from north (Calenzana) to south (Conca), in the first 12 days of august 2008.
I brought a big backpack (85 litres), with tent and food for 15 days.
I always slept in my tent, except in Haut Asco, at the end of stages 3. In Haut Asco there's a big refuge where you can sleep in different rooms (from 2 to 6 bed, but i'm not sure about it) for 10 euro.
For the rest of the trail i slept in my tent, just placing it near the refuge (about 5 euro for the place... you can't place your tent away from the camping's strictly forbidden).
In august it's very hard to reach below zero temperatures, so i used a sleeping bed for 10 °C. In Pietra Piana (about 2000m), one of the coolest areas where you can sleep, in the night the temperature was about 5 °C.
On the food: i brought some energetic snacks for the day (and energetic powder to make isotonic drink, with minerals and carbohydrates) and in the evening i cooked my own meals with a little gas cooker.
At dinner, I used to eat pre cooked meals like pasta, rice and soup.
If you don't want to bring all the food with you (my backpack was about 25 kg), you can eat at the refuges, at every stages. it's a little expansive (about 25 euro for dinner), but you can go lighter.
Furthermore, i can tell that i was a little fed up with snacks bar, so two or three times i bought fresh cheese and bread at the refuges, in order to carry with me a little fresh food for lunch.
But in the 80% of the time, i ate my own food.
Water: it's hard to find during the trail, so i suggest you to load your bottles (i used a waterbag, it's more confortable) at the refuge in the morning. I started with 3,5 litres every morning (in august it's very hot and you need to drink a lot), and every refuge you met on the way has drinkable water.
I walked gr 20 in 12 days, so i doubled 6 stages as they were 3.
I doubled the following stages:

_ #8 + #9, PIETRA PIANA - refuge de l'onda - VIZZAVONA: from Pietra Piana i walked until "Refuge de L'Onda" (wich is the end of stage 8) and then, after a little rest, i walked until the end of stage 9: Vizzavona (this spot is the one that separate gr 20 north from gr 20 south, there is some restaurant, hotels, place for tents and the train station).

_ #10 + #11, VIZZAVONA - bergeries de capannelle - BOCCA DI VERDI: from Vizzavona i walked until Bergeries de Capannelle (wich is the end of stage 10 ) and then i walked until the end of stage 11: Bocca di Verdi.

_ #14 + #15, REFUGE d'ASINAO - refuge de paliri - CONCA: from Refuge d'Asinao i walked until Refuge de Paliri (wich is the end of stage 14) and then, after a little rest, i walked until the end of stage 15 (wich is the end of gr20 too): Conca.

For doubling up the stages i chose easy parts, where you have to walk a lot of Km but your knees can rest because theese parts are not to heavy (they're a little smoother then other, so you have to walk for a lot of hours but the vertical meters are not too much, so don't get too "up and and down").
Every doubled stage took at least 8-9 hours walking, and in the last one i walked about 10 hours.

That's all, if there's something not clear, just write here and i will be pleased to answer.