Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monte Cinto

Distance: 12km, altitude at start: 1422m, altitude at end: 1422m, highest point: 2706m.

It poured down during the night. In the morning though, there are almost no clouds on the sky. Only far down in the valley below Haut Asco can I see any. My legs are itching, the wait is over and I can finally continue to walk again. That is, I only have to climb a mountain first. Monte Cinto is the highest mountain on Corsica with its 2706 meters above sea level. Those 2706 meters and the Cirque de la Solitude have stood like a buffer between me and the rest of the GR20 for some days now.

The valley up along the Ruisseau de Tighjettu. No menacing clouds over the valley. Only a green and lush valley that changes to bare rock where the mountains breaks loose from the vegetation.

The valley up along the Ruisseau de Tighjettu appears quite different now that the heavy cover of clouds has vanished. Even the sound of the water that runs through the river seems more relaxed. By the bridge over the river I can now clearly see the towering spires over me, mighty as they are. I pass a large group of Germans on my way upwards, the very same group that I met when I was at Refuge de Sega.

View back down towards the Asco-valley.

The trail is going steep upwards between La Tour Penchee, which is hanging leaning over the pass, and Capu Borba. I can see in direct line up at Monte Cinto. Haut Asco far below has hidden itself behind a spire of rock, the sun likewise. There is a lot of shade here in the start of the day. Some parts demands scrambling over stone and rocks. Looking back at yesterday's ambitious plan I think it was the right decision to turn back.

A group of wanderers on their way up to Monte Cinto beneath Capu Borba. I later climbed up on top of the little spire behind the group.

I pass the Lac d'Argentu before the trail now gets even steeper and goes up towards the ridge below the top, over scree and some big rocks. I catch up with the couple that also took a shot at Cinto yesterday. At the top of the ridge there is a great view. I can see the summit, which lies just a little bit away now, but I can also see the weather to the south that has been kept hidden from me so far. That is, I can't see anything at all. To the south of Monte Cinto is a huge cloud system that hides anything behind it.

View back towards the little valley I've climbed up from on my way up to Monte Cinto.

Instead of following the ridge to the summit, the path now descends down on the south side. And it's a little bit of an awkward path between big boulders that has to be passed, inside the layers of clouds. After a while it goes up again and I can again look over the clouds. There the summit of Monte Cinto towers over me and after a short time I'm standing on the top of Corsica. The view to the north is fantastic; the view to the south is all white. But, in between I get small glimpses of what hides behind the white horizon. I can see Calacuccia, which is an artificial lake, emerge from the veil.

On the top of Monte Cinto, 2706m.

A bird with a view. View to the north from Monte Cinto.

To the north I can point out where the trail goes over the mountains to Haut Asco. Mighty mountains in the distance, and Calvi. Yet, what I was most interested in was to look to the south and be able to see in the direction where I'm going towards. Towards Paglia Orba not the least.

View from Monte Cinto.

A small party has gathered on the top now, and while I enjoy my lunch I can hear several different languages around me. A flock of ravens lands besides me, looking for crumbs. The sun is now warming. Far below lies the little lake, Lac d'Argentu, like an eye and looks up at me. I stay at the summit for over an hour. To the north, some clouds are drifting in over the mountains.

View back towards Haut Asco, the mountains that I've passed over and the valley with the little lake Lac d'Argentu beneath the top.

On the way down again I meet the group of Germans not far away from the top. In the direction of the Cirque de la Solitude trails of clouds are reaching up between the tall spires. I pay a visit to the clear and green waters of Lac d'Argentu on my way down, but no bath this time.

Lac d'Argentu.

Below Capu Borba a small spire is standing, on the other side of the valley from the leaning La Tour Penche, which I climb on top of. From the rock you can see straight down on the landscape below. More clouds over Monte Cinto in the background now, the evening clouds have announced their arrivals.

View up towards Monte Cinto on the way down. La Tour Penche towering to the right. The trail goes up along the mountainside to the left in the picture.

I feel it's necessary to celebrate with a cold beer on the terrace when I'm back at Haut Asco. From here the summit is now partly covered by clouds. Less people around as well, most of the people that has been here waiting for better weather has now taken the opportunity to pass the Cirque de la Solitude and continued on the GR20. It awaits me tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to. This was a great day, which was crowned on the top of Corsica.

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