The GR20 is undoubtedly one of those adventures that cannot be recounted. These expeditions that can’t easily be put into writing. These sensations that you have to live in order to have a hope of understanding them. The GR20 has shaped its own legend because it is difficult to imagine it until you really do it. A legend comprised of myths and realities. An aura fed with sometimes conflicting advice, divergent points of view, contradictory recommendations ...
A mystical dimension built on anything and everything. So that we do not really know which way the wind is blowing. Without lifting all the mysteries that make up the magic of the GR20, Brice Sarti, the mountain artisan with sixty treks as a guide under his belt, and Guillaume Peretti, the local record holder of the trek in 32h, help us unravel the true from the false and shed light, with their headlamp, on all the grey areas and debated tips that can generate doubt in the hiker who is preparing to set off on the GR.
"There is an ideal pair of shoes, but this is unique to each person," says Brice Sarti. He continues: "You must find one that is the most adapted according to several criteria: your physical condition; the formula you have chosen to carry out the GR, i.e. the number of days planned and the choice to sleep in a tent or in a shelter; as well as the weight of your bag." Once these parameters have been established, it is a question of finding the best compromise between the durability of the shoe and comfort whilst hiking. The coach then destroys the preconceived idea that the walker must necessarily leave equipped with heavy and rigid clogs, going high up the ankle: "You can find many models halfway between the trail trainer and the hiking boot. The main thing is to maintain a certain flexibility and muscular tone, for a better feeling and above all, not to withstand all the impacts caused by the descent only with your knees... "
With this in mind, Brice recalls: "We must not be mistaken about the aim. The goal is to finish the GR20 in good conditions, enjoying it. And if for that, you must throw away your shoe after 180 km, then too bad ... It will have served its purpose, it will have suffered for you!"
We have developed a range of insoles in perfect harmony with this philosophy. Indeed, these insoles ensuring comfort and stability allow to opt for shoes more flexible and light but without compromising on safety: product link
Our mountain artisan is categorical: "There is not one precise period that is better than all the others. Each has a charm of its own, with its advantages and disadvantages! In the month of June for example, you will meet less people but there is more snow. He concedes, however, "a soft spot for the first half of July." Why? "Because the days are long and the temperatures are optimal, it is neither too hot nor too cold; the snow has melted; the blooming of spring continues with some brooms resistant at altitude; and it's an off-peak time that makes you feel more comfortable on the trails and in the shelters... "
This is a claim subject to many contradictory speeches, a theory that polarizes lively debates, since two schools oppose each other. On the one hand, that of Brice Sarti, adept of a"fairly free approach with a preference for the South-North sense since it offers a progressive difficulty". To be understand by that, that starting from Conca allows you to acclimatize to your equipment and to experience a walking technique at the whim of a course whose complexity rises crescendo.
On the other hand, the school of Guillaume Peretti, fervent defender of traditions: "The GR20 goes from North to South. It's like that. And that's all! enthuses the athlete. To invert it would be like doing Paris-Roubaix starting from Roubaix, or running the UTMB starting from Vallorcine... You can do it if you want. But it is not the true itinerary, the authentic, the historical one! " Note, however, that the dropout rate is much higher in the traditional sense than the more gradual rate recommended by Brice.
This is not a myth but a reality. The northern part is ruthless, uncompromising. Guillaume Peretti outlines telling figures in this regard: "From Calenzana to the Col de Vergio, you accumulate nearly 4800 metres of positive elevation over only just over forty kilometres travelled. It is a huge ratio, especially since the path is particularly technical and uneven! After that, you’ve got it!" However, it would be a mistake to believe that the GR20 will be a recreational walk once this first stretch has been crossed. The South indeed reserves its share of difficulties, amplified by stored fatigue. "The very challenging ridge line between the Prati and Usciolu shelters, during the stage 12" should be noted.
This is certainly the most widely shared misconception but still the most inaccurate. "People often panic taking note of the elevation gain except that in reality the negative elevation is the most traumatic." says Brice Sarti. A speech corroborated by that of Guillaume Peretti: "It's a good idea not to underestimate the harshness of climbing, the most frightening beings trekking downhill!"
To help you go downhill and reduce the trauma associated with it, we have developed a complete range of 3feet Outdoor insoles with the objective of ensuring a perfect support of your foot and thus avoid chafing, blisters and black nails.
To find our downhill tips: it's here
"I can’t count the number of times I've seen hikers walking for the first time with sticks from Calenzana. They quiz each other to know how to properly adjust them to their height... " laughs Brice Sarti. Indeed, there is a technique for walking with sticks. A real technique, efficient and economical, which allows an optimal use of these. The same goes for adjusting your backpack, which must be done to the nearest millimetre, the straps being perfectly tight.
These habits have to go through a diligent learning process upstream of the adventure. Our guide invents his own saying: "Difficult training, easy GR20! Or almost!"
Finishing the GR20 with success, regardless of the goal in number of days, regardless of physical condition, necessarily requires coming out of one’s comfort zone at some point. Yet, going beyond one's self does not necessarily mean going headstrong and advancing whatever the cost. Thus, Brice and Guillaume, with the same voice, recommend an upmost vigilance in relation to the condition of the feet of each hiker: "At the slightest warning, whether it is a throbbing pain, a warm sensation or even a small pebble unfortunately stuck, it is essential to stop at the edge of the path and solve the problem straight away. Even if the shelter is not far away. Because when you arrive, it will be too late!"
To prevent all these inconveniences and to better protect your feet, we have conceived an easily transportable footcare kit.
In order to find out the 9 things to do first and foremost when arriving at the shelter: discover