trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Saturday, July 2nd, 2011
I was up early, following the rush of hikers up the mountain.
By now the 670m (2200ft) climb before breakfast was ho hum. It felt quite easy.
There’s no water (aside from snow) so everyone had bottles maxed out.
Simple. Follow the ridge. Scramble the peak on the left.
From here it’s only another 300m and some tricky scrambling to get to the summit of Monte d’Oro. On this perfect day, nobody opted for the lower (easier) route.
Soon I was caching a Summit Stone.
And enjoying the big view from 2389m.
All I talked to agreed the ascent was surprisingly easy that day. All dreaded the 1469m (4800ft) descent to the train station at Vizzavona.
I managed to find the steeper, shorter route. Knees and ankles feeling strong, it was not all that bad. My motivation was high knowing that I was going to finish today.
A couple of glisadding sections saved time. That’s the famed pyramid of d’Oro directly behind.
Arriving back in civilization, I joined fellow trekkers for an overpriced glass of wine in a restaurant. They had checked in to a hotel for one night, a splurge before continuing south on the GR20.
I, instead, tried to wash up at the (crappy) campsite.
By luck a ferry was leaving that night to return me to Nice, France. I enjoyed the nightlife (VIDEO), had a few too many Gelato cones and got on the boat. …
Tomorrow I’ll post a wrap-up of the GR20 with advice for anyone who wants to test themselves on the “toughest hike in Western Europe”.