Walking the GR20 trail across Corsica with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of The GR20 Corsica
16 Jun 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.8cm
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The GR20 Corsica

The High Level Route

by Paddy Dillon
Book published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook to walking the GR20 through Corsica's high mountains. A challenging trail between Calenzana and Conca that includes hands-on scrambling, the 190km trek can be completed by fit walkers in about two weeks. The guidebook includes high and low-level alternatives, plus extra mountain climbs, and all you need to know for this tough route.

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This guidebook describes the classic GR20 trek, the north to south traverse of the rugged mountains of Corsica. Starting in Corscia's north-west, in picturesque Calenzana, the route winds south-east, through the heart of Corsica, finishing on the eastern side of the island, just north of Porto Vecchio in the township of Conca. Described in 16 stages with high level/low level alternatives for relevant stages, the route is roughly 200km in length and takes approximately two weeks to complete. The GR20 climbs high into the mountains. It is demanding trek and only suitable for experienced walkers. 

Step-by-step descriptions of each stage are accompanied by 1:50,000 mapping, together with information on ascent/descent, terrain, and food, water and shelter en route. Also included is invaluable information such as path conditions, what to take, and getting to/from and around Corsica. This comprehensive guide also includes information on the history and geology of Corsica, together with notes on the local plants and wildlife.

An island of surreal beauty, Corsica showcases dramatic mountains, enchanting coastline and ethereal vistas. Bare rock and sheer cliff contrasts with black sand beaches, alpine pastures and pockets of forest. Mediterranean flair abounds, history lingers and culture is celebrated, making it the perfect destination for a trek bursting with adventure.

  • Seasons
    Possible mid-May to mid-October; June or September is ideal, with July and August being the hottest and busiest months.
  • Centres
    Calvi, Vizzavona, Porto Vecchio; limited accommodation and facilities on or near the route.
  • Difficulty
    The GR20 is a challenging walk (with scrambling) through isolated mountain terrain for experienced, fit walkers; backpacking throughout.
  • Must See
    The ascent of Monte Cinto and the ascent of Paglia Orba.

March 2016

On 25th March 2016, the Refuge d'Asinau was discovered to have been gutted by fire. No-one knows how or why this happened, but it will definitely not be available for the 2016 season. It had been earmarked for demolition and rebuilding, so this might result in a new refuge being built earlier than originally planned. The PNRC authorities indicated that they would put some kind of emergency accommodation in place, but trekkers have already reported that this hasn't happened. The nearby Bergeries d'Asinau are unable to cope with the sudden increase in the number of trekkers they normally receive, so it would be wise to restructure itineraries to avoid having to stop at Asinau. The nearest options are Bavella, Croci, or the bivouac site at Pedinieddi. Check the PNRC Randoblog for further developments... http://randoblogpnrc.blogspot.co.uk


Brief history
Getting to Corsica
Getting around Corsica
Getting to the GR20
When to trek
How to trek
Mountain weather
Path conditions
Mountain rescue
What to take
Services along the route
Food, drink and fuel
Using this guide
Plants and wildlife on Corsica
The GR20
Stage 1A Calenzana to Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu (high-level)
Stage 1B Calenzana to Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu (low-level)
Stage 2A Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu to Refuge de Carozzu (high-level)
Stage 2B Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu to Refuge de Carozzu (low-level)
Stage 3 Refuge de Carozzu to Ascu Stagnu
Stage 4 Ascu Stagnu to Auberge U Vallone
Stage 5 Auberge U Vallone to Hôtel Castel di Vergio
Excursion Ascent of Paglia Orba from Refuge de Ciottulu di I Mori
Stage 6 Hôtel Castel di Vergio to Refuge de Manganu
Link route Bergeries de Vaccaghja to Corte
Link route Refuge de Manganu to Soccia
Stage 7 Refuge de Manganu to Refuge de Petra Piana
Link route Brèche de Capitellu or Bocca a Soglia to Bergeries de Grotelle
Excursion Ascent of Monte Ritondu from Refuge de Petra Piana
Stage 8A Refuge de Petra Piana to Refuge de l’Onda (low-level)
Stage 8B Refuge de Petra Piana to Refuge de l’Onda (high-level)
Link route Bergeries de Tolla to Tattone and Vizzavona
Stage 9A Refuge de l’Onda to Vizzavona (low-level)
Stage 9B Refuge de l’Onda to Vizzavona (high-level)
Stage 10 Vizzavona to Bergeries d’ E Capanelle
Link route La Foce to Bocca Palmento
Stage 11A Bergeries d’ E Capanelle to Bocca di Verdi (low-level)
Stage 11B Bergeries d’ E Capanelle to Bocca di Verdi (high-level)
Stage 12 Bocca di Verdi to Refuge d’Usciolu
Link route Refuge d’Usciolu to Cozzano
Stage 13 Refuge d’Usciolu to Refuge de Matalza
Link route Tignosellu to Zicavo
Link route Zicavo to Refuge de Matalza
Stage 14 Refuge de Matalza to Refuge d’Asinau
Alt Stage 13/14 Refuge d’Usciolu to Refuge d’Asinau (variant)
Stage 15A Refuge d’Asinau to Village de Bavella (low-level)
Stage 15B Refuge d’Asinau to Village de Bavella (high-level)
Stage 16 Village de Bavella to Conca
Appendix A Facilities along the route (Calenzana to Conca)
Appendix B Facilities along the route (Conca to Calenzana)
Appendix C Accommodation list
Appendix D Basic language notes
Appendix E Useful contacts
Appendix F The Cirque de la Solitude
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