Ali and Lay’s Mountaineering Blog

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Haut Asco to Auberge U Vallone

September 13th, 2006 · 8 Comments

After reviewing the weather forecast posted at the Refuge in the morning we have abandoned our attempt on Monte Cinto.  It looks like we have only one more day of fine weather and we want to traverse the notorious Cirque de la Solitude before the rain sets in.

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After a few hours walking we join a band of trekkers peering down into the impressive Cirque from the Col Perdu (2,183m).  The Cirque is the crux of the GR20, the hardest section – even the IGN maps show it as a dotted rather than solid red line to emphasise the difficulty.  In reality, however, its no more than a sustained scramble given the chains and ladder placed to aid the walker – to be honest it was technically less demanding than we had feared after all the hype given in our research.  Still if you want to make it more fun try to avoid using the chains.

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The level of difficulty found on the route is dependent upon the walker’s prior experience – all I can say is that it deserves respect given the exposure but I felt it was no more than a UK grade 1 scramble – if you have done a couple of those with a reasonable pack in both ascent and descent then you’re not going to have a problem with the Cirque.

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Two hours after exiting the Cirque we have negotiated the boulder fields and steep downward slopes to arrive at the Auberge U Vallone.  When we arrive there are no good camping spots left so Ali and I select one of two remaining that look like they might suffer in the forecast damp conditions.

Surprisingly the Auberge has hot water and at last I can have a hot shower.  We enjoy a bottle of wine or two with our evening meal in the refuge before returning to our tents.  Perhaps it won’t rain and we will be okay……

Tags: GR20 Corsica

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