Corsica has around 50 mountains which reach more than 2000m and there are only very few which you can reach on hiking paths. Usually the final ascent up the summit block requires climbing with sections of UIAA I or II. Punta dell'Oriente is no exception. It rises above Col de Vizzavona, the road pass which cuts Corsica's mountains in two areas, a northern and southern one. Together with mighty Monte d'Oro in the north Punta dell'Oriente stands sentinel above the path and thanks to their very central location both mountains offer stunning views of the island.
Unlike its taller northern brother Punta dell'Oriente rises smoothly above the saddle. Two broad ridges lead to the base of the summit and though long the ascent is easy. But the easy terrain stops here. Suddenly scree fields and granite slabs take over in a complicated sort of maze and while the ultimate destination remains visible at all times the ways to get there appear to hide from view. Thanks to the suggestion of a fellow climber we ended up on an eastern side summit and tackled the main summit along its east ridge. A more logical route (our descent) leads along the west ridge until you reach the spot where the steep climbing section leads up the final slabs to the summit.
The summit block is formed like a shell with four highpoints. While it is only some 30m high when climbed from the north, the south face drops for several 100m to a cirque beneath. You have wonderful views across the cirque to Monte Renoso and Punta della Capella, another two of Corsica's 2000ers. Rock quality is typical for Corsica: firm granite with a rough surface, offering plenty of grip.
Trailhead for Punta dell'Oriente is Col de Vizzavona (you may take a short side road to the north until you reach a radio compound after about 1km), where you can find a huge parking lot. The saddle is one of the main road passes across the mountain backbone of Corsica. The road RN 193 connects the two main cities of the island (as well as airports). Bastia in the north and Ajaccio in the west. Thus the trailhead can't be missed.
In 1971 the Parque Naturel de la Corse was established. It comprises 2500 square km, mainly in the centre of the island and Punta dell'Oriente is part of it. The usual restrictions apply.
AccommodationIt's getting more and more easy to find accomodation on Corsica. However, most of the hotels or holiday apartments as well as campgrounds are located on the coasts. In the villages along RN 193 you'll find occasional inns and hostels and at Vizzavona there are still some big hotels which date back to the 1920s. Camping is only allowed near the huts and bergeries along the GR20 trekking trail and the rules are enforced by rangers.
Weather quickly changes on Corsica, especially in the mountains and even more especially near the passes through which fierce winds blow almost every day. Quite often a perfect morning will turn into fog around noontime but settle to calm weather in the late afternoon. Temperatures on the mountains are often less tahn what you would expect when starting from the valleys or the coast.
Maps & Books
- Monte Renoso, Bastelica
1 : 25.000
Carte de Randonnée 4252 OT
There are quite naturally quite a number of guidebooks, most of them in French. I found the following as good as could be expected:
- Corsica (Corse / Korsika)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4819-0 (English)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4907-4 (French)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4280-8 (German)