The first (as most central-european tourists see it), northmost ridge of the corsican mountains stretches right behind Calvi and already reaches about 2000m elevation. It can be seen right from the coastline. Therefore the elevation gain is quite great; although the north side is majestic in appearance, most of the summits in this ridge have an easy (but long) access.
The biggest exception is Capo a Dente, cors. "Capu a u dente". It offers a variety of routes, in which the easiest borders to regular climbing but definetly is not suitable for hikers.
The fine peak arises from a ridge running approx. in SW-NE direction. Access therefore is from the NW side (Calvi, Balagne), starting either at a) Foret de Bonifatio or b) Calenzana; or c) from the SE side with Foret de Tartaigne as trailhead. Another much longer approach is possible from Asco through the Tassinetta valley and traversing Monte Corona.
All three options aim at the Bocca di Tartaigne (1852m), 1km SW from the summit. Here the normal route begins, on which I will concentrate. Half an hour below the Bocca a GR20 hut is situated, the Ref. Orto di Piobbu (1560m).
Calvi is the first objective in all three cases, here ferries (from Nizza, Savona, ...) as well as airplanes (airfrance and several charter carriers) and the small corsican railway (from Bastia or Ajaccio) stop.
a) Foret the Bonifatio is about 22kms to the south along the D251, transport only by private car. From the airport it is still about 15kms, of which the last 10kms are on a small road. Several variants to reach the Orto di Piobbo hut are possible, all about 4 hours from the parkground.
The most comfortable is marked as a variant of the GR20 and follows the paved road another 2 kms to its end. A ford to the left crosses the Spasimata river, the hut is signposted on both sides. With high water and huge rucksack care should be taken. Onwards a clear path zig-zags in NE general direction through the woods, gently sloped. At about 1400m the last black pines make place for open terrain with few birch trees and the hut sometimes becomes visible.
From the hut a marked path continues in direction SE in about 45 minutes to the Bocca di Tartaigne.
b) Calenzana is starting point of the famous GR20 trek, see Corsica main page
. 12kms from Calvi via D151. There is also a dedicated train stop "GR20", from there it takes two hours by foot.
Refuge Orto di Piobbo is the first stage of GR20, 5-6 hours from Calenzana and another 45 minutes to the Bocca di Tartaigne.
c) The Tartaigne on the SE side of the summit is accessible only by private car via D963. Do not underestimate the road conditions here, it takes about two hours drive from the north coast (Calvi).
Roadhead is at the Maison forestiere de la Tartaigne, from here the walk-in to the Bocca di Tartaigne should take 3-4 hours.
, PD-AD (20...30m UIAA III), 1-1.5 hours from Bocca di Tartaigne.
other routes, quoting from corse sauvage
- Traverse N-S, D.
- Western couloir, D (-> Guide Fabrikant).
- Voie Illusioni to the "dent", TD, seven pitches (-> Paradis de l'Escalade).
None. Several rules from the parc-naturel are not more than self-evident (no open fire etc.).
a) Bonifaio: Maison Forestiere, gite-type inn also offering dormitories and places for tents.
b) Calenzana: Gites and campgrounds.
c) Tartaigne side: None. The Maison Forestiere de la tartaigne here is only a ruin. Next village is Mausoleo, more than 10 km before the Maison Forestiere du Tartaigne; there is a gîte d'etappe at Pioggiola 14 km before the trailhead. Next to the Maison Forestiere there are quite beautiful places for a tent but no facilities.
Quite below the summit, at 1560m is the refuge Orto di Piobbo (Ortu di u Piobbu). Garded in season and partly open the rest of the year it offers two dozens of sleeping places (no blankets), gas and water. Fee is 9,50 Euros (2007). A toilet house is closed out of season. Camping near the hut possible for 4 Euros per night.
The approach to the hut at least from Foret de Bonifation should not pose any problems from late spring to late fall. The NE flank should be snow-free about May to June up to September most of the time, this can easily be verified from the coast.
Reading (Maps 'n' Books)
Best use the "top25" map: IGN OT4250 "Monte Cinto" 1:25.000. www.ign.fr
Alternatively "Corse du Nord", 1:50 000, Ed. Didier Richard, map no. 20.
Link for route description from Tartaigne: