The island of Corsica has a stunning alpine landscape with peaks over 2,000m that dramatically fall away into the sea. This landscape means there is an abundance of beautiful bolted rock to climb, from coarse weathered granite rock, to sandstone or limestone rock. There is climbing all over the island, from single pitch routes to multi-pitch routes up to 600m long, plus many bouldering areas. Corsica is claimed to have more unclimbed rock than anywhere else in Europe - a truly impressive statement. The rock climbing main areas within Corsica are described below:
(1) Rock climbing around Bastia and Cap Corse. Here the sports climbing ranges from sea cliffs through to inland crags up to 50m long, all on bolted limestone rock.
(2) Rock climbing around Isula Rossa in the Balagne region. High in mountains are a series of isolated buttresses that offer mainly bolted single pitch sport routes on granite rock.
(3) The northwest part of Corsica is very mountainous providing many long multi-pitch routes that range from 150m to over 400m long. The Paglia Orba mountain range rise steeply with vertical faces on all 4 sides making Paglia Orba the queen of Corsican Mountains with a height of 2,525m. There are many routes here up to 400m long on conglomerate rock, with a refuge ideally located for tackling these routes. These routes in the mountains are generally not bolted and therefore require traditional protection such as nuts and cams.
(4) Rock climbing around Corti in central Corsica. The heart of Corsican climbing is definitely at the Gorges de la Restonica. This valley stretches for nearly 10Km out of Corti, with crags both low lying and high up in the mountains giving single and multi-pitch routes. Here are 100's of sport routes on bolted granite rock offering a good mixture of climbing styles from; big slabs; technical vertical walls with cracks and corners; to overhangs and roofs. There is also a great range of grades from F4 up to F8b, with a good quantity of routes in the F5's, F6's & F7's. The sheer quantity of rock here also means there is great potential for developing new routes.
There are also many mountaineering routes at the Gorges de la Restonica, with routes up to 600m long. These routes are not bolted and therefore require traditional gear such as nuts and cams.
Around Capuralinu (only 20 minutes from Corti) there are a series of limestone bolted crags. Here the rock climbing is mainly single pitch, with the majority of the grades from F6b upwards.
(5) Rock climbing around Aiacciu. At Gozzi there is perfect balance of mountains and the cliffs, with a great diversity of climbing styles. The red granite is fully bolted with a mixture of single-pitch routes to multi-pitch routes up to 300m long - the longest bolted routes on the island. There are other granite crags around this area, all of which are bolted giving both single and multi-pitch routes (up to 5 pitches long).
To the south of Aiacciu is the Taravu valley with some great limestone rock. There are numerous crags offering single pitch sport routes, plus bolted multi-pitch routes at Col de la Tana, and bouldering at Valdu di Saltu.
(6) Rock climbing in southern Corsica. Here there is a mixture of limestone and granite rock. The limestone crags tend to be at a lower altitude and are single pitch. The granite crags are concentrated around Bavella, which is high up in the mountains and a vast area. Here there are single and multi-pitch (up to 3 pitches long) bolted sport routes. However Bavella is best known for its long multi-pitch traditional routes up to 350m long that provide a great overall adventure.
Corsica is a great place for bouldering with many established areas in the same places as the sports climbing areas. The bouldering in Corsica is generally on excellent granite rock with a wide range of grades to choose from. The 2 main bouldering areas on Corsica are; around Calvi in the northwest of the island; and the Gorges de la Restonica near Corti (Corte). "Corsica Bloc" describes 26 bouldering areas across Corsica and is available to buy from our shop.
The current rock climbing guidebook that covers the sport climbing in Corsica is called "Falaises de Corse". This guidebook was re-published in 2015, and it details 64 crags across Corsica and covers over 2,000 sports routes. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
The “Grandes voies de Corse” guidebook describes 110 of the best multi-pitch traditional routes in northwest of Corsica, Gorges de la Restonica near Conti, and also at Bavella in southern Corsica. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
The best months to go rock climbing in Corsica are from spring to early June and then September until the end of autumn. In main summer months of July and August will be just too hot and very busy.
Click on the image to view a larger photograph.
These photographs show some of the excellent rock climbing to be found in Corsica. All photographs are by Dave Pickford.
Falaises de Corse is the current guidebook detailing all the sports climbing on the island of Corsica, which has been re-published in May 2015.
Included are the popular rock climbing areas of Restonica, Gozzi & Bavella.