Corsican Rock ClimbingFriday 28 December 2007: France, Corsica, Castellu d'Ornucciu, ‘Allegria’
It was partly cloudy and cold as we were climbing during late December and the temperature hovered around 0 C or 32 F that morning. There was also a gentle wind every few minutes, which helped edge us up the route, but of course at the same time stealing valuable warmth from our fingers.
The challenge of the climb, that morning was more in keeping our hands warm, than in the actual difficulty of the ascent. Hand and foot holds were ample. On many French websites it’s graded D, 300m 5c. In my opinion, there are 3 moves of 5.7, other than that, it’s a 5.4 scramble, but oh so enjoyable.
The quality of the granite is excellent with beautiful abstract formations along most of the climb. The surface was not flat, nor fluid, it was ‘circus-like’ serving as a constantly reminder that nature is creative and has a great sense of humor!
The views of the surroundings were magnificent. There was absolutely not a soul to be found for miles in every direction. It was like an invitation to dinner that one could just not refuse. At the beginning of the climb I found myself frustrated by the lack of warmth in my hands. By pitch 3, I had completely forgotten my numb fingers and found myself increasing pausing to admire the natural beauty of Corsica. By pitch 5, I was contemplating my insignificance on the back of nature’s creativity. By Pitch 7, I was handing in my letter of resignation and upon reaching the summit I had already purchased one-way airfare…
A perfect introduction to Corsican rock climbing, with fun moves, beautiful views coupled with winter-time peace and quiet. On the way up be careful of the plants on the route with the green spines, they prick!! And on the way down don’t forget to admire the stone prison/garrison which was constructed near the summit almost 500 years ago.
Length: 9 pitches totaling approximately 280 meters of rock climbing.
Protection: Only two bolts situated on the first 10 meters of the climb, other than that, bring plenty of slings, mid-sized friends and a rope of at least 40 meters.
Directions: approximately 18 km South West of Solenzara and North East from the Col de Bavella you will find a rather windy road with a small area to park which fits about 6 cars. Fortunately or unfortunately there are no sign postings, but the local guide a chap called Jean-Paul Quilici has authored several guides on the area (Published in French, mais oui!). The trail head begins on the side of the road and ascends for a little while and then descends. All-in it’s about a 30 minute approach to the bottom of the route at a moderate pace.