Ali and Lay’s Mountaineering Blog

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GR20 – lessons learnt

September 30th, 2006 · 14 Comments


 We enjoyed the GR20 route enormously.  Key to our enjoyment was keeping pack weight down (we averaged around 12kg each with two people sharing a tent) – we saw many people with considerably more gear and they suffered with it.

Ali and I took approach shoes rather than boots and this worked well for us in dry conditions – however, we did split the soles on the sharp rocks by Day 4.

Taking a stove was unnecessary – we elected to eat an evening meal at each refuge – had we brought our own food (extra weight) we could have paid a small fee to use the outdoor stoves at the refuges.

Tags: GR20 Corsica

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sally in norfolk // Mar 28, 2007 at 8:57 am

    What a great read….I cannot wait to go but still have my kit to sort out and maybe new boots after getting blisters and sore feet over last 4 days of walking….

    Finding it hard to decide on a ruc-sac thinking about trying the golite jam ….any opinions ??

  • 2 Lay // Mar 28, 2007 at 9:35 am

    Alas I am not yet into the lightweight scene so I don’t have any experience to offer on sacks – but I am sure I would have found a benefit on the long walk down to Vizzavona.

    With regard to footwear we did GR20 using Mid approach shoes rather than boots. First time for me and it worked out well – except the rock killed the multi-layered sole by the end. But the nice people at Snow and Rock replaced them free of charge. Just a thought.

  • 3 Paddy Dillon // Apr 8, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    I enjoyed reading your account of the GR20. I hope you get the chance to go back and cover the southern half… or better still… the whole route in one trip. At least you know what the toughest parts are like, so there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises for you further south.

  • 4 Lay // Apr 12, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Paddy – We certainly want to go back and complete the full route in one go. Probably a three week trip to give us a chance to take in some excursions and soak up some Corsican culture along the way.

    I like the sound of the Restaurant A Merendella, so an overnight in the Village of Soccia to take advantage of this garden restaurant would be high on the list. Perhaps it would prove a welcome alternative to an overnight at Refuge Manganu (for which we now have a phobia) and we could reach Soccia with an early start from the Col de Vergio.

    As we missed out on the mountain train on this trip (due to maintenance work) I think the excursion from Vizzsvona to the Citadel town of Corte that you describe would be a good mid GR20 break. Have you walked up the Mare a Mare Nord track from the western edge of Corte to the Refuge de la Sega? I was wondering if the first couple of kilometres might afford some nice views back to Corte and the Tavignano river below.

    Then there would be the GR20 Sud which is virgin ground for us.

    How easy it is to fill even three weeks in Corsica!

  • 5 Paddy Dillon // May 10, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Walking from the Col de Vergio to Soccia is quite feasible. I’ve done it in the other direction no problem. If you want to eat at Merendella, note that they only open in the evening, and you’d be lucky to get a crust of bread anywhere else in Soccia. It’s well worth the wait!

    I’ve only walked a few miles up the Mare a Mare from Corte, then came back down to town, since it was in the middle of winter. I reckon the best view of the town, or at any rate the Citadel, is from the road running into the Restonica valley.

    When you get to the GR20 Sud, I would urge you to take the ‘Alpine Variant’ to Bavella if it’s good weather. You won’t regret it. It takes no longer than the lower ‘main’ route, and the scenery is superb.

  • 6 sally // Oct 25, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    I agree with what Paddy says about the “Alpine Variant” it was a super walk with great views and well worth doing

  • 7 simon // Oct 11, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    very useful and thank you. I will be going in June/July 2010 and and wondering if i need take insect repellent.


  • 8 Peter Gemeiner // Oct 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

    we were trekking last month on the GR20 trail and slept for 1 night in the Refuge de Petra Piana. It was the worst night in my life. I could not sleep, because I felt like a food for dozens of hungry fleas. I could not go outside, because it was raining and I had no tent.. In the next day I had about 70 stitches on my hands and head.

    If I return to GR20, then only with a tent.


  • 9 Jim Horton // Oct 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Hi I am hoping to do the GR20 South to North starting from Conca on the 12 June, am I likely to need crampons. I will ring some of the refuges before I leave the UK, but it would be good to have an idea now.

    Thanks Jim

  • 10 Bruce // Jan 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I noticed nobody seem to be actively running a facebook page for the GR20 any more, so here is a new one. Please post and share. Let me know if you would like to administer.

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