It's now a 16-stage trek!
Readers of my GR20 guidebook reported a re-routing to me in summer 2011. A note about this was included in the 2012 update of my book, but most walkers weren't taking much notice of the re-routing, preferring to stay on the old trail. However, an OM reader recently told me that trees had been deliberately felled across the old route, and a footbridge had been attacked with a chainsaw, apparently in order to 'encourage' trekkers to use the new route. This wasn't done by the PNRC authorities, who quickly repaired the footbridge. Anyway, I have posted a more comprehensive note on the Cicerone website, and when the book comes round for its next reprint in a year or so, it looks like the 'official' GR20 will be a 16-stage route instead of a 15-stage route.
Here's what's posted on the Cicerone site...
A re-routing of part of the GR20 was reported in 2011, and notes about this were included in the 2012 reprint of the guidebook. Basically, the long 'Stage 13' from the Refuge d'Usciolu to the Refuge d'Asinau has been split into two shorter stages, following the opening of the Refuge Matalza. At the time, most walkers weren't bothering with the new route, preferring to stay on the old route. However, in 2012, it was reported that trees had been deliberately felled across the old route, and a footbridge had been destroyed by someone wielding a chainsaw. The footbridge has since been repaired, but more walkers are now following the new route. In addition, the PNRC are building another refuge at Matalza, and it is likely that almost everyone will switch to the new route in due course. The net result is that the GR20 is now a 16-day trek, instead of a 15-day trek. The 'stats' for the old 'Stage 13' are as follows...
Refuge d'Usciolu to Refuge d'Asinau
Distance – 17km / 10½ miles
Ascent – 1010m / 3315ft
Descent – 1225m / 4020ft
Time – 7¼ hours
Walkers who break this long stage by staying at the Refuge Matalza will walk two shorter stages, and the map on page 189 should be referred to, in addition to the maps on pages 182 and 184 in the guidebook.
Refuge d'Usciolu to Refuge Matalza
Distance – 10.5km / 6½ miles
Ascent – 330m / 1080ft
Descent – 670m / 2200ft
Time – 4½ hours
Refuge Matalza to Refuge d'Asinau
Distance – 11km / 6¾ miles
Ascent – 835m / 2740ft
Descent – 710m / 2330ft
There is an advantage in staying overnight at Matalza, as it allows Monte Alcudina to be climbed a few hours earlier in the day. The mountain is often clear in the mornings, but clouds over later in the day, and it can be a dangerous place to be during afternoon thunderstorms. Climbing early from Matalza should mean that views can be enjoyed from the mountain, and the Refuge d'Asinau should be reached before thunderstorms build up later.
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