Corsica is named La Montagne dans la Mer / The mountain in the sea, thanks to its s-shaped granite backbone, a mountain range which winds down the centre of the island and which contains around 50 mountains exceeding 2000m. While the highest and most important mountains can be found in the north the range gradually lowers as you follow it southward with Monte Incudine at 2136m the southernmost bulwark. A bit to the north, topping its own smaller subrange you'll find Punta della Cappella (Also Punta Cappella or Punta di a Cappella), a typical mountain of the island.
Made up from granite Punta della Cappella is the culmination point of a long picturesque ridge, the ridge of statues. Named after the bizzare granite formations and domes, which from afar resemble statues, the ridge is famed for its views over the southern parts of the island. Also, one of the stages of the long distance trail GR20 ends in nearby Refuge de Prati and leads by Punta della Cappella at a distance of little more than 300m. Nevertheless,, hardly any of the trekkers climb to the top of the mountain, but rather make hast to reach the refuge to obtain a place to pitch their tents early on. Still, the trails to Punta della Cappella can be crowded, especially during the end of a day.
The shortest route to Punta della Cappella starts at Col de Verde, one of the few road passes, which pass Corsica's mountains. While easy for most of its length, the path gets tricky close to our mountain. The hike along slopes and meadows suddenly evolves into a serious scrambe, mainly due to the ambiguity of the path. Depending on the route you take you might end up in a short unprotected slab climbing section or a chimney climb, both heading for a ledge several metres beneath the summit ridge. The summit itself is a jumble of granite blocks, which require UIAA II climbing to get there. Again, there is more than one possible route, all varying in difficulty.
Since we were fogged out on the summit we can't confirm the reputedly wonderful views from the top.
As mentioned above, the most reasonable trailhead is Col de Verde, unless you are trekking on GR20 and pass by Punta della Cappella anyway.
- From either Bastia or Ajaccio
- follow RN193 to Vivario.
- Switch to RD89 through Ghisoni to Col de Verde.
- From Bonifacio, Porto Vecchio, Solenzara, Aleria
- Take RN198 to Ghisonaccia
- Switch to RD344 to Ghisoni
- Switch to RD89 south to Col de Verde
There's no red tape here. Wild camping is permitted nowhere on the island and rangers will enforce this. Nearest hut is Refuge de Prati, where you can pitch a tent.
The south of Corsica is infested by catarpillars of the Pine Processionary (Thaumetopoea pityocampa). The hairs of the caterpillars cause allergic reactions (rashes), which I can tell from own sorry experience itch and hurt like hell. Long pants should be obligatory in all kinds of weather.
CampingAccommodation has changed a lot during the last ten years. Today it is possible to book holiday homes, hotel rooms or apartments from any travel office. Also, there are a number of sites on the internet dedicated to Corsica accommodation. You can get apartments and holiday homes in any of the villages nearby but in the summer season most of them will be booked. There are inns (Gites d'Étape) in virtually all of the villages along RD89, the departmental road which runs across Col de Verde where you can find the closest inn. Camping is allowed at Refuge de Prati.
Maps & Books
- Aiguilles de Bavella - Solenzara
1 : 25.000
Carte de Randonnée 4253 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)