Day 1 – Calanzana to Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu

The first day is a stark introduction to the Corsican alps. A continual climb for some 5000ft it soon makes you realise whether you’ve got too much in your pack. And Dave and I did have a fair bit of weight on board. The culprit was our climbing rack which proabably boosted our pack to around the 20 kilo mark.

This made it hard and sweaty work and with the weather being a touch humid Dave and I changed our waterproofs half a dozen times during the course of the ascent. With clouds shrouding the ridges and peaks there was little on offer to view but the wooded hillside had its charms even in this weather.

Up into the clouds

There are a couple of scrambling sections but these arent difficult. The switchbacks up the steep hillsides are more daunting as they keep on coming and coming. The ridge top is very welcome and precursors and fairly straight forward section leading to the refuge. If you’re expecting a nice flat campsite and lade out pitches think again!

This type of broken ground was typical of the whole route

Now for a number of reasons I ended up doing this section twice: once with Dave and once without. For a number of reasons I completed the route without Dave which I found gutting and I’m sure Dave found even more traumatic. Sometimes things just dont go according to plan and this was one of those times.

About as level as it gets.

On the second attempt the weather was significantly better. On this occasion the mountains opened up and the views were staggering. Once again the 7 hours of ascent were arduous, but I made good time and what a diffence the clear sky made on the approach to Piobbu.

Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu

And so ended the first day (twice) with clouds cascading into the valley below Piobbu and every sign that the following day would be a scourcher.

Clouds cascade over the foothills East of Refuge d'Ortu di u Piobbu

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