Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
@Olivares , I was in low cloud from Orisson where the temperature was 2 C, below freezing on the highest stretch, a miserable day's walking, I couldn't get down from the Col quick enough, was wearing shorts and started to get slightly hypothermic so slow jog from Col de Lepoeder down to the road at Ibaneta to drop height quickly as the snow melt made the forest descent into Roncesvalles a dodgy proposition. Heard that the following day a Brazilian peregrino took a bad fall on the forest descent and broke her arm on her 2nd day on the Camino. Ended up in a small hotel in Burguete so I could have a warming bath rather than a shower if I'd stopped overnight in Roncesvalle. I envy you having had sun and a view on your crossing.
WOW! I always advice people that, if they can, wait for good weather to crossed from SJPDP. The difference could, as your experience related, be a matter or life/death/not finishing the Camino. Glad you came out allright.
@Olivares , Have good experience of hill walking in winter in Ireland so was prepared to turn around at Thibault Cross if conditions were worsening but as weather was miserable for walking but not worsening, was happy that 80 minutes to the Col was doable and then I'd be dropping height rapidly but easy to see how less experienced people could get into problems beyond their capabilities very quickly. Still hoping to return in a few years to the Route Napoleon and get the weather you had for your crossing.
I took this route on 17 May 2013. The fog and snow and wind forced us back after a 5 hours. Two guys kept going and one had to be rescued the other is still missing. Please follow the advice of the pilgrim's office regarding whether you should take the Route Napoleon or the low road.
Colin, took me 7 hours from St Jean to Roncesvalles including a 45 minute breakfast stop in Orisson but carried on into Burgeuete to finish my 1st day, I found the hardest part was through the Beech woods before Col de Lepoeder, the depth of fallen leaves meant you had no idea of what my boots were going to land on. Glad I just had wet, very cold conditions and not the conditions you had.
@Olivares May 2013 was reportedly the coldest May in Spain for 40 years. I recall watching a TV with the bullfights from Madrid and the crowd was wrapped in their winter hats/coats/gloves & I think at times it was snowing. So I can fully believe this picture (when applied to May 2013). Cheers