Brèche de Missoghiu to Bocca di Stagnu

Brèche de Missoghiu to Bocca di Stagnu

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 42.40165°N / 8.90894°E
Additional Information GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map
Additional Information Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Up to UIAA I
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 4
Sign the Climber's Log


Looking across the ridge to Punta Culaghia and Punta StranciaconeLooking across the ascent (traverse) ridge during the ascent of A Muvrella

The ridge traverse between Brèche de Missoghiu and Bocca di Stagnu is one of the most beautiful hikes / scrambles on Corsica. It is a round trip along two branches of GR20 Corsica''s reknowned trekking trail. The traverse itself runs along an old branch of the trekk, little in use nowadays, the ascent and descent follow the current track. Consequently you'll run across a lot of trekkers struggling underneath the weight of their packs during acent or descent.

The route described here can be hiked both ways. However, the section between Bocca di Stagnu and Haut Asco, while very long and steep, is the much better descent route than the ledge scramble from Brèche de Missoghiu, which is why the route is described in this direction. Along the route, or to the side of it, lie two 2000ers, both of which offer fascinating views towards the Cinto Massif. Punta Culaghia is climbed during the traverse, while A Muvrella lies a bit to the side, hovering to the east of Bocca di Stagnu. The latter summit can be easily reached within an hour from the saddle.

Getting There

Punta Culaghia (2034m), a Muvrella (2148m), Cap u a u Carrozzu (2139m), Capu Larciose (1678m)Punta Culaghia, A Muvrella, Capu a u Carrozzu, Capu Larciose

The closest village and trailhead is the former ski station of Haut-Asco
, right underneath A Muvrella. Since it is also one of the few places GR20-trekkers can get a hot shower and something to eat it is a veritable trekkers' base. Lots of tents, a hostel, two hotels and everywhere heavily laden people either preparing for or resting after the hardest of the trek's stages through Cirque de la Solitude.
  • From the airport Bastia Poretta:
    • Take N193 south, direction Corte
    • At Ponte Leccia switch to 197 north, direction L'Ile Rousse.
    • After a few km turn left onto D47, later D147, direction Asco and Haut-Asco.

  • From the airport Ajaccio
    • Take N193 north all the way across Col de Vizzavona and through Corte to Ponte Leccia
    • Here switch to 197 north, direction L'Ile Rousse.
    • After a few km turn left onto D47, later D147, direction Asco and Haut-Asco.

Route Description

The black towers of Punta StranciaconeThe black towers of Punta Stranciacone. Monte Cinto to the left, Punta Missoghiu to the right

  • General:
    • Start altitude: 1425m
    • Summit altitude: 2143m
    • Prevailing exposure: N and S
    • Type: Hike and Scramble
    • Protection: None

  • Effort: 2 - 1000m elevation on the round trip
  • Power: 2 - Steep ascent and descent to / from the ridge
  • Psyche: 2 - Tricky in the gully towards Brèche de Missoghiu
  • Difficulty: 2 / 3 - Short UIAA I section through the north face of Punta Stranciacone, UIAA II+ on the SW risge to A Muvrella
  • Orientation: 2 - Withering marks on the ridge

From the parking lot at Haut Asco follow the red and white marks for GR20. It heads up the former ski run on its south-western (left) side. As an alternative you can stay beneath the posts of the ski lift to its top, then turn left and join GR20 a bit above. Still follow the valley towards Pic von Cube in its end. GR20 will run along underneath the pic, then head up into Cirque de la Solitude, the most sprectacular and difficult part of the treck. Underneath the south face of Punta Missoghiu, however, there is an intersection (tricky to find), where a path turns off and back to the right.
Capu Larghia, Capu Rossu, Punta Minuta
Capu Larghia
Pic von Cube

The path traverses the slopes underneath Punta Missoghiu and soon vanishes in a field of dwarf pines and other smallish bushes. Once through the brushwork it heads for the steep gully coming down from Brèche de Missoghiu, a sharp col between Punta Missoghiu and Punta Stranciacone. At first you zig and zag across the gully until finally a ledge on its left hand side leads you right up to the Brèche. First views towards the north coast reward you. Stepping a bit to the south-west you can climb towards a small plateau wiith a good detailed view of the Punta Missoghiu East Face.
Punta Missoghiu and Punta Stranciacone
Pic von Cube
Monte Cinto and Punta Minuta

Return to the Brèche and descend steeply through the north face of Punta Stranciacone. After the lowest spot you'll have to negotiate a gully along ledges to its side where a bit of climbing (UIAA I) is required. After the gully the path turns the north-estern side of the Punta and finally heads for the ridge which it won't leave until it reaches Bocca di Stagnu. It pays to turn around every now and then to see the granite towers of Punta Stranciacone change shape during the traverse. Finally you'll get to the west face of Punta Culaghia. A bit of steep rock-hopping takes you to the top with its fascinating views.
Punta Stranciacone
The Cinto Massif seen from Bocca Culaghia
Punta Minuta and Punta Stranciacone

The descent route is a bit tricky to find since it is hidden by a patch of dwarf bushes. It leaves the ridge (steep drop here) and rather negotiates a scree field to the direct east of the summit, winding throgh the bushes. It is very steep and the scree underneath the bushes makes the descent kind of dangerous. You descend underneath the ridgeline but then head for the next saddle, Bocca Culaghia. A small tower is passed on the north side on passable ledges and finally you descend into Bocca di Stagnu.
A Muvrella and Punta Culaghia
Punta Culaghia
Punta Minuta rising above the ridge with Punta Culaghia and Punta Stranciacone

From the Bocca you can either descend directly back to Haut Asco (see below) or start the ascent to A Muvrella. For the latter head onto GR20, direction north for several hundred metres where a path turns of to the right, climbing the A Muvrella west slopes. It heads back and forth but then vanishes or gets ambiguous. I know there are different paths to the summit, some of them easy. We, however, ended up on the south-west ridge, which is composed of solid granite blocks. Leaving the trekking poles behind we climbed the ridge (UIAA II+), which turned out to be a beautiful and exposed but not overly difficult climb. In order to retrieve the poles we had to return the same way.
Capu Laricose
Returning to Bocca di Stagnu
Descending from Bocca di Stagnu

From Bocca di Stagnu head down north along GR20 towards the Asco Valley. The path is very steep and unfurtunately ambiguos. The route has been changed due to too much erosion but you will find the red and white GR20 marks all over the place. At most times of the season you'll find a lot of trekkers there, whom you can follow down. Once beneath the timber line the path gets unique and finally reaches the valley floor a bit to the west of Haut Asco, almost exactly where the GR20 hostel can be found. turn left onto the dirt road to Haut Asco, which will bring you back to the parking lot.

Essential Gear

Hiking gear - trekking poles are recommendable for the long descent from Bocca di Stagnu.



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