Experience that is needed to complete the GR20

Updated on Jan 25, 2023 by Ella Brundle

Blog > Experience that is needed to complete the GR20

The GR20 is a tough trek and hikers should be fully prepared before starting. There are some routes in the UK that walkers can do to get an idea of the terrain they will face when on the GR20 trail.

To properly prepare for the GR20 and have the most enjoyable experience possible, you must ensure you are training on terrain and gradients like the GR20. What you think may be a suitable training hike, could surprise you. Whilst any walking you do will assist with your general fitness, the terrain on the GR20 is not like many well-known, popular hikes you may have already undertaken. Preparing fully and training hard for the GR20 trail will provide you with the most important outcome of your hike – completion! With over 30% of hikers facing this challenge being underprepared and unable to complete the stages, we want you to be ready. It is important for you to be successful, limit injury and be experienced enough to ensure you do not put yourself in unnecessary danger. 

The walks below will not provide you with enough experience to complete the GR20: 

  • Inca Trail   
  • Tour de Mont Blanc     
  • Everest Base Camp     
  • Kilimanjaro     
  • Annapurna Circuit  

These trails, whilst challenging, are not the same terrain as the GR20. They would be insufficient in giving you the experience required for the scrambling and trekking across rough, rocky, loose terrain that you will face when participating in the GR20.  

To ensure you are ready, there are routes and trails that you should complete in the UK. These include: 

  1. Snowdon by Crib Goch (Wales). Snowdon is at 1085m; therefore, it is lower than most sections of the GR20, however, by completing Snowdon by this very route, you will experience terrain that will prepare you.  
  2. Descending from Blencathra by Sharp Edge (Lake District). 
  3. Scrambling along the Aonach Eagach Ridge in Glenn Coe (Scotland)  

It is essential that during your training, you cover steep gradients but also steep descents - train walking downhill and become an expert in knowing where to place your feet. Your aim is to progress walking downhill at a reasonable pace, using two walking poles will help to reduce the shock on your legs. Whilst the route of the GR20 is well marked, you should be able to read route notes, navigate your way when necessary and locate your position on a map. There is plenty of scrambling to be done in the northern section of the route along these parts of the trail, occasionally, there will be chains and ladders to assist you on the climb.  

There is a lot of material available, so we would recommend researching fully, along with this information and any more you can gather, it should give you an idea of the type of terrain you will be undertaking during the trail.

If you are ready for the challenge, for this bucket list adventure known as the hardest trek in Europe, book your GR20 adventure today! 


Posted in Great Outdoors | Tagged Walking & Hiking


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