Corsica in April is mainly hot - but high in the mountains there's usually deep snow still lying and while most days are cloud free about a third are cloudy with some rain. On these cloudy days at altitude the temperature can be suprisingly low.
I had a window of opportunity to do a short training walk and even though the guidebook said it was too early to attempt the GR20 - I thought I'd go and have a look. It was too early - the deep snow on the approach to the GR20 passes was melting and very unstable - making following the route difficult and ultimately - too dangerous. However I did have a halcyon few days getting up there with virtually no other soul to bother me - a marked contrast to this trail in the summer months.
Packing for hot weather, cold weather, summer trails and tramping across snow fields was tricky - especially when trying to keep it lightweight - here are the conundrums which wouldn't apply in the summer.
Insulation: I wanted synthetic insulation just in case it was cold during the day and take advantage of down in the evening - knowing also that I could wear both if needbe. My choices worked very well - Montane Nitro jacket as the down piece and Fireball smock as a synthetic piece that would just provide enough insulation for a cold day while working hard.
Hardware: I knew if there was too much ice I'd be retreating - it wasn't a climb - but I needed to be able to cross moderate snow/ice covered pathway in safety - but since the majority of the route would be snaw and ice free I wanted to take lightwieght boots. My compromise was to use Hillsound trail crampons teamed with inov-8 Roclite 400GTXs. The combo was very successful on the terrain I did cross - when the snow was hardpacked they gave extremely positive grip - making me feel very secure even on steepish slopes.
An ice-axe was a difficult decision - I was using trekking poles for balance and did not expect to be cutting steps - but having the facility to at least attempt to self arrest seemed sensible. Even a shallow slope could be treacherous if there's a long runout. I took the lightest - the Camp Corsa Nanotech - rubbish for cutting steps but with the key bits for use as a self arrest tool.