GR20 north

Winter hike on the GR20

A solitary outdoor tour in a rough higher altitude environment can be a liberating and meditative experience.

It is a calculated risk though, so it goes without saying that tours in wintry conditions in remote mountain areas demand a great deal of careful preparation.

There will no one be around when things don’t go as planned, and naturally you lack the often very needed morale support from your fellow hikers.

Impressions of the GR20

It wasn’t my first time in Corsica or on the GR20, but it was the first time in winter and on (portions of) the northern section.

I hiked only for a couple of days, for carrying over a week’s worth of food wasn’t quite realistic (you cannot buy anything anywhere, or charge your electronic devices for that matter) besides carrying the mandatory winter equipment such as a camping stove, crampons and lots of warm clothes. And not to forget a tent, the item that usually boasts the most weight.

GR20, Bocca Muratellu (2120 m. AMSL)
GR20, Bocca Muratellu (2120 m. AMSL)

There had not been much snow so far in this part of Europe at the end of 2023; nonetheless, beginning at the 1300 meters mark snow fields started to grow in size and volume, and from about 1800 meters on I had to wear my crampons and watch out for the trail attentively, since the red-white markings weren’t always clearly visible.

An apparent problem in winter are the diminished hours of sunlight. At about five p.m. the sun is gone (and doesn’t come up again until seven a.m.), so if you weren’t too enthusiastic walking with a headlamp in freezing cold conditions, you should have taken care that you already reached a proper place for pitching a tent.

And yeah it was really, really lonely. On my tour I did come across some people around Vizzavona (where the train station is located), but apart from that I had the whole GR20 for myself.

What was a little bit of a surprise, as a matter of fact, because the weather was absolutely magnificent. Virtually perfect, aside from the occasional inconvenience of crossing a snow field.

The photos below hopefully give a good impression.

Photo gallery