Is the GR20 for you?
The GR20 is certainly one of the hardest long distance walks out there. Several factors contribute to this, the rough rocky terrain, the unpredictable weather and micro climates. The minimalist accommodations that are not located at regular distances.
Can you evaluate your fitness?
When asked to evaluate our level of fitness, we tend to compare ourselves with the circle of friends and colleagues around us. Below are some questions you could think about to assess if it’s the right walk for you.
Do you have any relevant walking experience, in terms of stamina, ability and confidence?
You should be able to walk 3h00 steeply uphill, followed by a 3h00 descent on rocky ground, whilst carrying a rucksack of around 10+ kilos. You need to be at ease scrambling, walking on scree and large blocks. Below are some relevant uk walks.
Ascending Snowdon by Grib Gock.
Descending from Blencathra in the lakes by Sharp Edge.
Scrambling along the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glen Coe.
Are you sure footed, can you progress at a reasonable pace when going down steep hills?
This is one point people often don’t think about, the rocky downhill sections. By training to walk downhill, you get to know where to put your feet and build up ankle strength. Aim to walk downhill at a good pace whilst staying in control. Know how to use two walking poles they are absolutely essential and will reduce the shock on your legs.
Do you have the right shoes and the right gear?
Choosing the correct shoes is vital, they are the most important item of your kit. They must be properly fitted (a size bigger than your normal day shoes.) The sole mustn’t be worn, it must have excellent grip. You need either a lightweight, waterproof, supple walking boot, with ankle support. Alternatively, a fell, or trail shoe, provided you are used to them and have the necessary ankle strength. Know and wear your gear before you come, this includes the rucksack.
Are your shoes in good condition?
The life span of boots/shoes is short. Don’t come with worn soles and loose stitching. Your shoes MUST have a good grip vibram sole.
Do you presently practice an aerobic activity regularly, at least 3 times a week?
It is important to be fit and practice an aerobic activity right up to your departure date. It is preferable to be able to do 300m ascension in 1 hour comfortably ie whilst chatting.
Do you have an injury?
If you have an injury it is likely that it will get worse during your trip, don’t risk it. The trip is hard enough and you should start out pain free, without an injury.
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