This was a bad day. Thick cloud, mist, rain, and slippery rock. Bocca alle Porte is where you climb, which at 2225 metres is the highest part of the GR20. I met two girls coming back down warning me about wind and rain. I decided to see it for myself because I didn’t like the idea of retreating to Manganu and climbing up there again. I was very tired.

Visibility varied, from a few metres to about twenty, for the entire day. Wind and rain is not usually a problem although it can be on difficult rock. I sheltered below a precipice where there was a path leading down to Bergeries de Grotelle. The junction is called Bocca a Soglia. I tried to establish if it was a feasible route because if you’re worried, getting down from the heights is always the best plan. You can’t take risks on the GR20 as you might do in Snowdonia or the Lake District, where you know the area and the weather. If you get drenched you are susceptible to wind. If you get cold you can die. That wasn’t going to happen because I had my tent and a little food. It could however be traumatically uncomfortable. Not a good idea.

The heavy rain stopped but the rocks were wet; light rain came and went. Most difficult was descending a nasty gully where you needed to use a chain. I heard later a chap had slipped there in good conditions causing grievous injury to his back, arm, and a finger. He was with others. I was on my own.

The girls, I think, were inexperienced and frightened. They didn’t want to proceed because they didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t expect such heavy rain but was able to shelter. I didn’t anticipate the technical difficulties but I’m familiar with light climbing and scrambling. I don’t like it, even in good conditions, but I can do it.

The path finally dips into a valley which I thought was the descent to Petra Piana. You have to climb again, up to here, where the cloud cleared for a moment and the sun shone briefly. This viewpoint is near Bocca Renosa. I was glad for this photograph and a few others, taken nearby.


Corsica GR20: Manganu to Petra Piana

Sunday November 1, 2015