GR20 Corsica

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GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Tue 02 May, 2017 2:14 pm

Hi, I am about to embark on the GR20 at the end of May - aiming to do the whole lot from south to north. I have read everything i can find, including blogs, websites, books etc. Has enayone on this site done this walk and if so, briefly is there anything that you can share which may not be in the books etc?

Cheers
Ben
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby biggbird » Tue 02 May, 2017 8:14 pm

Hey Ben,

Hope you enjoy it! Partner and I did it a couple of years ago. Great walk :) Very different feel from walking in Tas like we're used to, people everywhere, you can buy food/drinks at the end of the day/often at lunch too. We did North-South, the southern sections felt significantly longer, though there wasn't so much up and down. Pizza in Vizzavona was great. Vizzavona is not a big place, and doesn't have an ATM, so don't rely on getting cash out there! We thought we would be able to. Ended up not being a huge deal, but did cause us a little concern.

Anyway, if you have any specific questions, fire away! Otherwise, hope you have an awesome trip :)
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Wed 03 May, 2017 3:20 pm

Thanks, what sort of food? I hear I can buy dinners but they are pasta with Tuna or sardines - breakfast I hear is only toast and coffee. I am taking backcountry freeze dried meals for dinners but I can't stomach their breakfasts so was going to take muesli and powdered milk.

How long did it take you? I have allowed 15 days but hoping to do it in 12 to give me some time in Bastia at the end.

Cheers
Ben
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Fri 05 May, 2017 7:13 pm

Hi Ben,

I did the GR a few years ago, I did a journal here https://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/?o=1mr ... 12702&v=G0 with a lot of photos in it.

We ate at the refuges or hotels each night, in my opinion the main meals are a lot better than the breakfasts. A lot of the refuges made the breakfasts up after everybody had gone to bed and then left them in the refuge to be collected in the morning - the problem with that is it required honesty from the people sleeping in the refuge, not something that was always evident, after losing some of my breakfast a couple of times I decided making my own brekky would be preferable.

You can buy crusty bread (along with cheese and dried meats) in a lot of the refuges, the locals almost live on this stuff and I quickly came to appreciate this style of walking.

You can easily double up some sections but I think if you've travelled to the other side of the world to do the walk you may as well kick back a bit and enjoy it, the afternoons on the decks of the refuges talking to new friends from around the world was one of the highlights for me.

Cheers Kevin
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Mon 08 May, 2017 11:57 am

Thanks, that is very much appreciated. I have dinners mostly sorted but not breakfasts - guess it will be muelsi!

Cheers
Ben
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Mon 08 May, 2017 1:55 pm

Thanks again, I just finished reading your blog. In your blog you refer to maps - did you have proper 1:25000 maps and if so where did you purchase them from?

Cheers
Ben

bigkev wrote:Hi Ben,

I did the GR a few years ago, I did a journal here https://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/?o=1mr ... 12702&v=G0 with a lot of photos in it.

We ate at the refuges or hotels each night, in my opinion the main meals are a lot better than the breakfasts. A lot of the refuges made the breakfasts up after everybody had gone to bed and then left them in the refuge to be collected in the morning - the problem with that is it required honesty from the people sleeping in the refuge, not something that was always evident, after losing some of my breakfast a couple of times I decided making my own brekky would be preferable.

You can buy crusty bread (along with cheese and dried meats) in a lot of the refuges, the locals almost live on this stuff and I quickly came to appreciate this style of walking.

You can easily double up some sections but I think if you've travelled to the other side of the world to do the walk you may as well kick back a bit and enjoy it, the afternoons on the decks of the refuges talking to new friends from around the world was one of the highlights for me.

Cheers Kevin
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby rolfex » Mon 08 May, 2017 3:58 pm

Hi Ben,

It's a wonderful hike, I did it in 2015. For maps, I printed a set of 1:25K maps off the French geoportail site. PM me and I'll send you a link to the resulting 250MB 18 page file. But mostly I used a cached version of the maps loaded into the Gaia iPhone app so I could easily show the relevant part of the map, the trail, and my location on the phone's screen. The link to the maps is

https://wxs.ign.fr/an7nvfzojv5wa96dsga5nk8w/geoportail/
wmts?layer=GEOGRAPHICALGRIDSYSTEMS.MAPS.SCAN-EXPRESS.STANDARD&style=normal&tilematrixset=PM&Service=WMTS&
Request=GetTile&Version=1.0.0&Format=image/jpeg&TileMatrix={z}&TileRow={y}&TileCol={x}

with the {z}, {y} and {x} notation changed slightly for Gaia (I've forgotten the details).
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Mon 08 May, 2017 6:51 pm

MrFaulty wrote:Thanks again, I just finished reading your blog. In your blog you refer to maps - did you have proper 1:25000 maps and if so where did you purchase them from?

Cheers
Ben

bigkev wrote:Hi Ben,

I did the GR a few years ago, I did a journal here https://hiking.topicwise.com/doc/?o=1mr ... 12702&v=G0 with a lot of photos in it.

We ate at the refuges or hotels each night, in my opinion the main meals are a lot better than the breakfasts. A lot of the refuges made the breakfasts up after everybody had gone to bed and then left them in the refuge to be collected in the morning - the problem with that is it required honesty from the people sleeping in the refuge, not something that was always evident, after losing some of my breakfast a couple of times I decided making my own brekky would be preferable.

You can buy crusty bread (along with cheese and dried meats) in a lot of the refuges, the locals almost live on this stuff and I quickly came to appreciate this style of walking.

You can easily double up some sections but I think if you've travelled to the other side of the world to do the walk you may as well kick back a bit and enjoy it, the afternoons on the decks of the refuges talking to new friends from around the world was one of the highlights for me.

Cheers Kevin



Hi Ben,

The GR is very well marked, I only needed topo maps when I had to leave the track for a short section because of snow.

On the actual route I used the walking mud maps out of the Trailblazer guide book. https://trailblazer-guides.com/book/corsica-trekking These guides not only feature excellent maps but also a lot of information about the refuges and hotels as wells the surrounding towns and cities - I highly recommend this guide book.

Cheers Kevin
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Thu 11 May, 2017 9:28 am

Thanks, yes, I have that book - and Paddy Dillons. Also, with regard to your swimming spots off the beaten track, are these easy to locate?

Cheers
Ben
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Fri 12 May, 2017 7:31 pm

MrFaulty wrote:Thanks, yes, I have that book - and Paddy Dillons. Also, with regard to your swimming spots off the beaten track, are these easy to locate?

Cheers
Ben


There are a lot of opportunities for swimming and most of them are pretty obvious, although they are never warm!

One of the better ones in the Ravine De Volpajola just out of Bavella requires a bit of detective work to find it. As you leave Bavella heading towards Refuge de Palari you follow an old dirt road, when the road bottoms out and crosses a concrete ford head up stream for a few minutes and you'll find one of the best swimming spots on the GR.

Cheers
Kevin
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Mon 15 May, 2017 8:47 am

Cheers, very much appreciated
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby Mark F » Fri 19 May, 2017 4:48 pm

A useful site for the weather. Meteo.fr http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/cinto-rotondo/OPP40 for updates on snow conditions and mountain weather. Snowline currently at 1800m on N slopes and 1900m on S slopes.
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Tue 23 May, 2017 1:20 pm

bigkev wrote:
MrFaulty wrote:Thanks, yes, I have that book - and Paddy Dillons. Also, with regard to your swimming spots off the beaten track, are these easy to locate?

Sorry, is this heading north or south?

Cheers
Ben


Cheers
Ben


There are a lot of opportunities for swimming and most of them are pretty obvious, although they are never warm!

One of the better ones in the Ravine De Volpajola just out of Bavella requires a bit of detective work to find it. As you leave Bavella heading towards Refuge de Palari you follow an old dirt road, when the road bottoms out and crosses a concrete ford head up stream for a few minutes and you'll find one of the best swimming spots on the GR.

Cheers
Kevin
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Wed 24 May, 2017 3:12 pm

For people who have done this walk, do you think I should be taking my PLB along? I assume it will work O/S?
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Thu 25 May, 2017 11:59 pm

MrFaulty wrote:For people who have done this walk, do you think I should be taking my PLB along? I assume it will work O/S?


I didn't take mine. I stand to be proved wrong but I don't think our ones work outside Australia and New Zealand.

Unless you go seriously off track you won't be lonely on the GR so help is normally close at hand. Most of the alternative routes are well marked, although Mt Renosu will need a bit of navigation work, especially if there is still a bit of snow around.

Cheers Kevin
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby Suz » Sat 27 May, 2017 7:18 pm

They DO work outside of Australia and so you should take it.

See http://beacons.amsa.gov.au/activation/
(Scroll in particular down to 'overseas use' section)

Note your beacon must be registered with AMSA...with up to date trip details and emergency contact details. Also you should look at the French rescue orgs and figure out how they will respond if you activate your plb.
E.g. Will they get in touch with AMSA to contact your emergency person? Should you notify any authorities in France of your hike? Etc.

Also worth finding out is whether they would charge you for rescue. If yes, then consider getting rescue insurance. The Austrian Alpine Club offers this for a reasonable fee (included with membership at no extra cost - with rescue up to about $25000euro (vague memory of that cap) (with one years coverage - but I think it's calendar year (rather than dated from purchase). Rescue is valid worldwide. There is a 'sektion britannica' which as an Australian you would join to (yay saves you deciphering German!) and you pay in GBP. Purchase of membership also entitles you to reduced fees in many hut systems across continental Europe with a 'reciprocal rights' agreement and France generally is included - but you know the Corsicans are famed for doing everything their own way on their own terms - so I would check on that specific inclusion in Corsica before assuming anything. Note that the pn discount is about €10 and joining can therefore SAVE you money on an extended trip regardless of whether you need rescue or not. See here for slightly outdated info (sorry): https://www.alpenverein.at/portal_wAsse ... _ebook.pdf
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby Suz » Sat 27 May, 2017 7:20 pm

Forgot to say...there is something about their batteries that you have to check with your airline if they are allowed on the plane. I flew Thai and Singapore air on my two trips and had no probs either time.
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Sun 28 May, 2017 7:44 pm

Thanks Suz, I stand corrected :oops:
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby Mark F » Sun 28 May, 2017 9:11 pm

Rescue costs in France so membership of one of the european alpine clubs is highly recommended. The FFRP (Federation Francaise de la Randonnee Pedestre) who produce the guide books to most of the GR routes also have an insurance scheme which used to be called (still is?) RandoCarte. These memberships also give discounts if using the refuges.

Devices with Lithium batteries must be in your hand luggage, not checked baggage.
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby Suz » Mon 29 May, 2017 9:22 am

well Kev - just remember to take your own PLB to Europe next time :)
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Thu 29 Jun, 2017 10:19 am

Done and dusted. Re rescues O/S, from my investigations, they do NOT charge for rescue on the proviso that they determine that you have not been careless or reckless.

The walk was great but very difficult, but I was carrying a smidge under 26kg!
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Thu 29 Jun, 2017 7:24 pm

MrFaulty wrote:Done and dusted. Re rescues O/S, from my investigations, they do NOT charge for rescue on the proviso that they determine that you have not been careless or reckless.

The walk was great but very difficult, but I was carrying a smidge under 26kg!


Congratulations on finishing the GR, I carried over 20 kgs too and would have to agree with you, it's a pretty hard walk.

Any photos or blog?
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Fri 30 Jun, 2017 9:28 am

Cheers, no blog, about 2000 photos! Just a few attached for interest
Attachments
P1000474.JPG
P1000508.JPG
P1010222.JPG
P1010393.JPG
P1010442.JPG
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby bigkev » Fri 30 Jun, 2017 7:09 pm

Nice Photo's, are the last two from the day you passed over the Breche de Capitellu? That was a particularly stunning days walking when I went through. :D
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Re: GR20 Corsica

Postby MrFaulty » Mon 03 Jul, 2017 8:57 am

Cheers, the last two are over Mount Cinto
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