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Calenzana to Asco-Stagnu, GR20 E1/2/3

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A solid start to the GR20: these first 3 stages combine a lot of elevation gain in a short distance, with very rocky, rugged terrain. Progress is slow and demanding, and the weight of the pack makes itself felt in the thighs, particularly on the 910m descent to the Carrozu hut. Perhaps it's best not to overdo it, as this is only the beginning of the adventure. The tone is also set from a technical point of view: numerous passages to negotiate on the rock with the help of your hands, and some very exposed sections. After 3 hard days, we find ourselves at the Asco station for a short break before the next 2 stages, which tackle the main dish of the northern section: the Cirque de la Solitude, the Pablia Orba and the Capo Tafunatu.

Juste après la Bocca Muvrella, 1980m (Étape 3)

Technical summary

Type ✦ Alpine touring hike
Location ✦ Calenzana to Asco-Stagnu refuge
Region ✦ Corsica
Country ✦ France
Max altitude ✦ 2003 m
Distance ✦ 23.4 km
Vertical rise ✦ 2855 m
Negative vertical drop ✦ 1665 m
Difficulty ✦ E4 / T4 / R4
Duration ✦ 14h in 3 days
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

To Calenzana in northern Corsica, below Calvi. For further information, see the post The GR20 and its variants

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start

In the village of Calenzana, follow the signs to the start of the GR20. Cross and exit to the south to find the path and the red and white markings.

Course

These first 3 stages are difficult, with steep, uneven terrain, with long stretches on rock or in granite scree, slowing progress enormously. Crampons may be required to reach the Bocca Muvrella (stage 3), with the ascent of a névé in the final couloir. Although stages 2 and 3 seem to be easy to link together due to their short distance, the difficulty of the terrain should not be underestimated and, unless you're exhausted at the start of the route, it seems preferable to stick to these 3 stages to save yourself for the rest.

Stage 1
Calenzana to refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu (11.1 km, 1440 m d+, 135 m d-, alt max 1615 m, 5 hours)

Sun-drenched ascent above Calenzana to the Bocca di u Ravalente. On the other side, we cross level then gently ascending, then steeper and steeper, until we pass the Bocca u Saltu. We switch to a new valley, cross over and then climb a rocky section with a few short III steps to reach the Bocca u Bassiguellu. We then head east on a long, more or less flat traverse to the refuge.

Stage 2
Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu to refuge de Carrozu (7.4 km, 640 m d+, 910 m d-, alt max 2025 m, 5 hours)

Climb a little, pass a ridge and then climb up a splendid granite wall of slabs and boulders. Cross a stream and climb steeply up the opposite slope to reach the Bocca di Pisciaghja, which offers a superb view of the summits further south. From here, climb to the left towards Capu Landroncellu, but well before the summit, cross to the south to pass through a steep section weaving in and out of needles. It then descends into a gully before rising again to cross a small gap. Continue along the rocky ridge, one way or the other, with a few passages to climb (III). Eventually you reach the Bocca di L'Innominata. There remain over 900m of strenuous descent along a steep, rocky path to the refuge at the bottom.

Stage 3
Refuge de Carrozu to refuge d'Asco-Stagnu (4.9 km, 775 m d+, 620 m d-, alt max 1980 m, 4 hours)

Climb a little as you leave the refuge, then descend to cross a torrent on the Spasimata footbridge. The trail then climbs along the left bank of the torrent (to the right as you climb), over large granite slabs (a few chains help in places). Higher up, it climbs away from the torrent, returning to it further on and ending up on an upper basin where the Lac de Muvrella lies beneath the summit ridges. From here, aim for the Bocca Muvrella (1980m), a narrow gap that you can reach by winding your way up a long névé, possibly with the help of crampons.

From the Bocca, it's downhill to cross and then gently climb back up to the Bocca Stagnu (2003m). This time we're just above the Asco resort. The descent is fairly long, but less strenuous than the one from Carrozu. There are a few unclimbed passages, some very rocky sections and a steady slope down to the refuge.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran

Photos

Étape 1 : Calenzana au refuge d'Ortu Di u Piobbu



 

Étape 2 : Refuge d'Ortu Di u Piobbu au refuge de Carrozu



 

Étape 3 : Refuge de Carrozu au refuge d'Asco-Stagnu

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