From Cannes to the rooftop of Corsica: they climbed the Monte Cinto

15 secondary school students from the “Les Mûriers” school in Cannes La Bocca (06) had the opportunity to hike through the Corsican massif to reach the summit of Monte Cinto.

“From neighbourhoods to the top” is an educational project whose main objective is to allow students educated in priority establishments to leave their neighborhoods for a week to immerse themselves in an environment that is mostly completely unknown to them: the mountain.

Consisting of three phases, the project culminated in the great ascent of Monte Cinto in Corsica. From July 4 to 10, these young people, although unfamiliar with the mountains, followed a dense program to climb this mountain, at an altitude of 2706m:

  • Monday 4: transfer and arrival in Corsica by ferry
  • Tuesday 5: hike to reach the bivouac base camp at the Tighjettu refuge (6 kms)
  • Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7: 4 half-day workshops with a specific speaker for each group of students according to the themes:
    >> Guillaume Peretti, Corsican athlete, former record holder of the GR20 – sport in nature
    >> Berger de Ballone – agropastoralism
    >> Guardian of the Tighjettu refuge – mountain life and tourism
    >> Animator of the Regional Natural Park of Corsica – wildlife
  • Friday 8: ascent of Monte Cinto (9 km) and evening of Corsican songs
  • Saturday 9: last hike around La Bocca di Foggialle (13 kms)
  • Sunday 10: transfer and return of college students

An ascent that lasted 13 hours and a half for the fastest, 16h45 for the last but which above all was marked by a deeply human adventure and a remarkable surpassing of oneself by each of the participants.


hort story taken from the project supervisors: “They are 25 secondary schoolchildren, a mix of Saint-Denis (93) and Cannes La Bocca (06) to set off from the Tighjettu refuge in the early morning of July 8, 2022. At 4 a.m., the mines are low, the step slow, guts tight. Only the gleam of the headlamp illuminates this path along which they will all pass again 13, 14 or even 16 hours later. What they don’t know yet is that then they’ll all tread a little more grown up…

Monte Cinto, the highest peak in Corsica (2,706m) only opens its arms to the brave. First objective of the day for these budding mountaineers: to reach the Bocca Crucetta at 2,452 meters. Their slow ascent is slowed by the relentless stream of runners on La Restonica Trail, a 110 kilometer long mountain race. Each participant is encouraged by the kids impressed by so much physical strength. It takes them 3h30 of walking to achieve their first victory, their first real break of the day. Already, some want to give up. “It’s already good”, they shout. But the guide Jean-Luc keeps watch. “We’re going to take everyone up there,” he says calmly as the wind continues to chill the bodies of summit-seeking hikers.

As soon as you arrive, it’s time to leave. It is now up to them to be acclaimed. Like the riders of the Tour de France, everyone, first and last, receives bursts of encouragement. With such an audience, how not to continue? Fortunately for the less confident, Monte Cinto is now within sight. It is no longer possible to escape it. It seems so close and so far. “The further we go, the more he leaves”, annoys a young lady.

Jean-Luc, Louis and Loïc, the three mountain guides of this project, make progress through the ridges and the passes, with small steps, this cord of the popular districts. The sun finally warms the bodies but the spirits doubt. At Pointe des Éboulis (2,587m), second objective of the day, it’s too much: they won’t go any further. Wallah! Promised. Sworn. We discuss two minutes, we motivate thirty seconds and presto, everyone leaves. It’s that simple. Some hide their tears. They walk. They always moan. They still suffer. This time in silence. Because they remember why they are there.

And because they know they can’t give up anymore. For them first but also for the others, their families who rely so much on them. And then, they remember the words of Nadir Dendoune, (who accompanies them today), winner of Everest in 2008. “Show who you are to those who tell you that you are incapable”. You are the pride of working-class neighborhoods… The summit is very close but the last hectometres are painful. “We continue for our teachers,” breathes a breathless schoolgirl. “Yes, they pissed us off so much with that for a year,” laughs a student. “We are so proud of you,” sobbed a teacher when she saw them reach the highest peak in Corsica. With so much love, they couldn’t fail.”

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