The wilderness surrounded by a vivid blue sea, the rough granite with its incredible “tafoni”, the forest of pino laricio: the superb beauty of the Bavella Massif landscape, regarded as one of the finest amongst the Mediterranean countries, is out of discussion. The admittance to this magnificent stone’s microcosm, quite a wonderful natural museum, is Col de Bavella, dominated by the stunning Aiguilles de Bavella, erected above the pine forest and drawing the eye of the climbers. At the Western end of Bavella massif, in the immediate vicinity (just below) of Punta di l'Acellu, the first one amongst the Aiguilles, it's situated Punta Caracutu, a little-known wild summit, but quite easily accessible from the Col de Bavella. This slim pillar offers two very interesting climbs on good quality granite with the advantage of being often sheltered from the eastern winds, that sometimes blow violently in the Aiguilles sector.
Coming from the village of Zonza in the direction of Col de Bavella, just a couple of kilometers before getting the pass, amongst the buttresses and crags located at the foot of Acellu it's clearly visible a beautiful characteristic pillar ending from the left towards a horizontal ridge that leads to the foot of the Arête de Zonza on Acellu: it's Punta di Caracutu.
Access to the island
The magnificent island of Corsica, l'Ile de Beauté (the Island of Beauty) belonging to France but much closer to Italy, can be easily approached by plane (airports both in Bastia on the Eastern coast and Ajaccio on the Western coast)and by ferry-boat from Livorno and Savona italian ports. The most convenient destination in Corsica to visit the Bavella area, one of the wildest region of the island, is the airport of Bastia if you’re getting there by plane; the same Bastia port if you’re getting there by ferry-boat.
Main entrance into Bavella group is Col de Bavella m. 1211.
Road approach to Col de Bavella
- From Bastia (Corsica Eastern coast) follow the road RN 198 towards Solenzara; a few kilometers before getting there, turn to right following D268 to Col de Bavella (km. 130 from Bastia).
- From Aiaccio (Corsica Western coast) follow the road RN 196 to Petreto, then N852 to Aullene, Quenza and Zonza (km. 90 from Aiaccio). From Zonza follow the road D268 to Col de Bavella.
Tyrrenian Sea from Col de Bavella
Col de Bavella
Col de Bavella, start of the approach path
The starting point to reach Punta di Caracutu is Col de Bavella m. 1211. Wide parking area. It's possible to spend the night at the pass or getting there directly from Zonza, a small typical village situated in the South side of Col de Bavella (9 km. from the pass).
From Col de Bavella cross the meadows in the direction of the Aguilles de Bavella (West direction), ignore the GR20 “Alpine Variant” (yellow marks) and take instead the GR20, following the well-worn trail - descending - for about 20 minutes. When the main trail turns sharply right (towards th e NW), leave the main trail, exiting righward and following a not well worn path (cairns), rising along moderately steep slopes with sparse vegetation and heading to to a rounded rock ridge. Getting the second one of two collars along the trail, head to the left of the rock structure and traverse on the left slopes below the rock in the direction of the well visible pillar. Once reached a wide gully, climb it for about 50 meters of vertical gain to get a a big tree of "pino laricio". Traverse left the ravine, to get a terrace above the pedestal of the pillar (1 h and 15 min, from Col de Bavella).
Les chemins du vent route report
Les chemins du vent - French scale
Difficulty: Alpine TD-, max 6a+ (5c obbl) - French scale Route length: 250 m Equipment: the first tower is partially fix equipped, while the second tower is very sparingly equipped - bring a set of friends and some slings Exposure: East First ascent: A. Dupaquis, J. Louis Fenouil august 2005 Starting point: Col de Bavella
A worthwile fine climb and certainly satisfying, on good granite, consisting of two distinct parts. The first pillar (5 pitches) is climbed on the right edge and is sufficiently equipped with fix. After a 40 m rappel, the route runs on a second pillar and become very sparingly equipped. Fast parties can eventually combine "Les chemins du vent" with the "Arête de Zonza" on Punta di l'Acellu, that can be quickly approached from the summit of Caracutu second pillar. Be careful because this second option involves a long day of climbing...
Traverse along the first pitch
Abseiling from the I tower
Airy climb on the II tower
The I tower from the exit of the route
L1 - Starting below a small roof. Climb a brief red wall just below the roof, then traverse left (crux) reaching the slabs. Climb the slabs slanting right to a dihedral chimney. Up the dihedral-chimney, then take a slabs again and climb it leftward to reach an overhanging tafone. Overcome it obliquely to the left to belay at the base of a compact slab, 6a+.
L2 - Climb the beautiful compact slab slightly to the right, then directly, and finally slightly to the left. Superb technical pitch, 5c.
L3 - Slanting left climb an overhanging "tafone", then continue on a spur and head to left to belay under another overhang, 6a.
L4 - From the stance climb slanting left, turn an edge, then up a dihedral-crack. On easier terrain reach a small fore-summit. A 10 meter abseil leads to a small saddle with a Corsican pine.
L5 - A short dihedral-crack, then a small crest leading to the top of the first pillar, 4b. From the top with an equipped abseil 40 meters long to a slope from which you will soon reach the base of the second pillar, where it runs the second part of the route, poorly equipped.
L6 - Start to climb the second pillar on the wall cut by thin cracks just in front of the abseil line, along the edge, then climb a short chimney and some "tafoni" to get an equipped belay on "tafoni", 6a.
L7 - Traverse right few meters and climb directly the "tafoni", then slanting left to another belay, 6a.
L8 - Slanting right on fine "tafoni", then climb a vertical outcrop, overcome a small red wall and to the right to a stance again on "tafoni", 5c
L9 - Climb directly a dihedral with lichens, exiting on the ridge, and follow this latter to belay on blocks on the left of the summit ridge, 4c. Continue along the ridge and descent briefly to a Corsican pine, in perfect sight of the Acellu and Arête de Zonza.
Punta di l'Acellu seen from the exit of the route
Scenery along the descent route
Crossing the descent slopes to Col de Bavella
Descent - There are different options, anyhow the shortest and quickest way to come back to Col de Bavella is the following: from the exit of the route "Les Chemins du vent" reach a Corsican pine, from where on poor traces rise to a saddle. From here start to traverse eastward - more or less horizontally - in the direction of Col de Bavella, becoming early well visible. After the traverse (poor traces but cairns) you will reach the GR20 “Alpine Variant” (yellow marks), descending to the pass.
Bavella is really a fantastic world, a preserved milieu situated inside the Parc Naturel Régional de Corse - Parcu di Corsica. Free camping and bivouac are not allowed. Fires are strictly forbidden. Maximum care is required to keep for the future this extraordinary environment.
Pino Laricio forest
Blooming of Cyclamen
Light and shadows on Bavella Massif
Climate and Nature
Climate in the Bavella Group is the typical one of the mediterranean middle-mountain areas situated at these latitudes: often very hot in summer and with cold and snowy winters; Spring, early summer and early Fall are the better seasons to climb. Due to Bavella closeness to the sea, winds are often stronger how much they are at the same height in the Alps. Rainfall sometimes are important and dangerous when joined with strong winds. On the contrary, sometimes we can find some long periods of drought.
Couple of autoctonous lezards
Blooming of Aquilegia Bernardii (Columbine)
Light and shadows on Bavella Massif
Nature is wild and peculiar; in Corsica we can find more than the 5% of authoctonous kinds of flower and plants, in addition to authoctonous fauna. On the contrary, several kinds of animal current inside Mediterranean countries are away from Corsica, like squirrels and vipers.
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