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Advice: should we attempt SJPP to Roncesvalles?

Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
 
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Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I’ve now walked across the Pyrenees twice. The first time at age 65 and more recently at age 68. In both cases, I walked the full distance from SJPP to Roncesvalles in a single day. It is very doable! Yes, it is one of the toughest days on the CF, but well within the ability of most people and particularly folks like you regarding your fitness and training. Most people do the full distance as one stage. To give this some perspective, appropriately 300 pilgrims left SJPP the same day I did on my first Camino. As there are very limited accommodations in Orisson, most plan to go all the way. Some take longer than others, but make it fine over the mountains (it’s not a race). But, let me suggest these considerations. First, keep your pack light! To walk far, carry less. If you think carrying a pack across the mountsins might be too much, have it transported to Roncesvalles. Many pilgrims use the luggage transports along the Camino. Second, leave SJPP early in the morning. I left just before sunrise both times and found any numbers of pilgrims already in front of me. Plan a nice break with food in Orisson. You don’t have to walk The Way quickly. Take your time and if it’s a particularly nice day, enjoy the sights crossing over from France into Spain. Once in Roncesvalles, enjoy a celebratory drink for a great accomplishment. I would recommend having a bed reservation in Roncesvalles so as to take off any worries a out getting there at a particular time. You’ll be fine! Buen Camino!
 

jsalt

Jill
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
Sure, you can do it in one day – most people do. I never do, because I like to start slowly, and increase the mileage day by day. I just don’t want to get an injury on the first day, like tendonitis, which would completely wreck the rest of the walk. I suggest that if you have the time, take two days, whether you can do it or not.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
The majority of pilgrims do walk from SJPd to Roncesvalles in one day, so I´d say that it can be tough especially if you are particularly jet lagged, but doable.
Do make reservations in Roncesvalles in advance. You don´t want to push yourself harder because you are worried about getting a bed.
As far as your training goes - you should try to do at least 3 consecutive days of about 10 miles. This is when you will become aware of any problems that you might have with your footwear, and know which parts of your feet may develop blisters.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Sure, you can do it in one day – most people do. I never do, because I like to start slowly, and increase the mileage day by day. I just don’t want to get an injury on the first day, like tendonitis, which would completely wreck the rest of the walk. I suggest that if you have the time, take two days, whether you can do it or not.
I agree with this - if you have time spend it in the beautiful Pyrenees!
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Of course you can. Tens of thousands do every year without a hitch.
Don't let the ripping yarns of the deadly foothills of the Pyrenees from St Jean to Roncesvalles intimidate you. It's not that bad.
Keep conditioning yourself before you go. You cannot be in too good a physical condition to embark upon a 800 kilometre walk.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I’ve now walked across the Pyrenees twice. The first time at age 65 and more recently at age 68. In both cases, I walked the full distance from SJPP to Roncesvalles in a single day. It is very doable! Yes, it is one of the toughest days on the CF, but well within the ability of most people and particularly folks like you regarding your fitness and training. Most people do the full distance as one stage. To give this some perspective, appropriately 300 pilgrims left SJPP the same day I did on my first Camino. As there are very limited accommodations in Orisson, most plan to go all the way. Some take longer than others, but make it fine over the mountains (it’s not a race). But, let me suggest these considerations. First, keep your pack light! To walk far, carry less. If you think carrying a pack across the mountsins might be too much, have it transported to Roncesvalles. Many pilgrims use the luggage transports along the Camino. Second, leave SJPP early in the morning. I left just before sunrise both times and found any numbers of pilgrims already in front of me. Plan a nice break with food in Orisson. You don’t have to walk The Way quickly. Take your time and if it’s a particularly nice day, enjoy the sights crossing over from France into Spain. Once in Roncesvalles, enjoy a celebratory drink for a great accomplishment. I would recommend having a bed reservation in Roncesvalles so as to take off any worries a out getting there at a particular time. You’ll be fine! Buen Camino!
Thank you! I forgot about the pack transport — I'm going to make a note of that. This makes me feel a lot more at ease about it!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
The majority of pilgrims do walk from SJPd to Roncesvalles in one day, so I´d say that it can be tough especially if you are particularly jet lagged, but doable.
Do make reservations in Roncesvalles in advance. You don´t want to push yourself harder because you are worried about getting a bed.
As far as your training goes - you should try to do at least 3 consecutive days of about 10 miles. This is when you will become aware of any problems that you might have with your footwear, and know which parts of your feet may develop blisters.
Thank you! We'll shoot for 3 consecutive days of 10-milers soon!
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Time of past OR future Camino
2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022
I passed thru this way twice and plan to do the CF again in 2023. ( 2022 is the CP ) I loved the Pyrenees and will once again try to stay the night at Orisson so I know I can take my time enjoying this lovely pass. Twice now, the trek from Orisson to Roncesvailles were met with torrential downpours and lightening and I can't imagine what would have been if the trek was straight thru. The laundry in Roncessvailles was closed as the machines were overwhelmed and everything, everywhere was not only damp but dripping! There's no way to predict the weather, but my vote would be to take your time to do it in two days...not because you can do it in one, but because you choose to enjoy every bit of the experience.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
Sure, you can do it in one day – most people do. I never do, because I like to start slowly, and increase the mileage day by day. I just don’t want to get an injury on the first day, like tendonitis, which would completely wreck the rest of the walk. I suggest that if you have the time, take two days, whether you can do it or not.
Thank you :) We're hoping to make it all the way to Finisterre in 34 days, so I'm afraid that spending the extra day would make that nearly impossible; but I'm also trying to also remind myself, like you said, that injuring ourselves would make the whole trip impossible. I have to remember that it's not about packing in miles or even about the destination as much as it is about the journey. I appreciate your advice!
 
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I passed thru this way twice and plan to do the CF again in 2023. ( 2022 is the CP ) I loved the Pyrenees and will once again try to stay the night at Orisson so I know I can take my time enjoying this lovely pass. Twice now, the trek from Orisson to Roncesvailles were met with torrential downpours and lightening and I can't imagine what would have been if the trek was straight thru. The laundry in Roncessvailles was closed as the machines were overwhelmed and everything, everywhere was not only damp but dripping! There's no way to predict the weather, but my vote would be to take your time to do it in two days...not because you can do it in one, but because you choose to enjoy every bit of the experience.
I think that if the weather is anything less than nice, we'll definitely opt for the 2-day trip across. Thank you! :)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
Of course you can. Tens of thousands do every year without a hitch.
Don't let the ripping yarns of the deadly foothills of the Pyrenees from St Jean to Roncesvalles intimidate you. It's not that bad.
Keep conditioning yourself before you go. You cannot be in too good a physical condition to embark upon a 800 kilometre walk.
Thank you! This really does ease my mind!
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I think that if the weather is anything less than nice, we'll definitely opt for the 2-day trip across. Thank you! :)
The issue with waiting until you arrive to make that decision is that both Orisson and Auberge Borda will probably be fully booked.
But, you can use Express Bouricott´s Mountain Shuttle to walk halfway, then shuttle back to St Jean. The next morning they will take you back to where you left off.
Or, you could walk the Valcarlos route and spend the night in Valcarlos.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Thank you! I forgot about the pack transport — I'm going to make a note of that. This makes me feel a lot more at ease about it!
On my first occasion, I intended to be cautious and take 2 days on the Valcarlos route. I was 66 and only moderately fit. In SJPP, I stayed at an albergue where I succumbed to peer pressure and decided to walk the Napoleon route in 1 day.

I unloaded half of my backpack and sent it by transport to Roncesvalles, and did the walk quite comfortably. Some tips would be:
  • Don't send your good backpack and (don't) use a sub-standard day pack. Use your good well-fitted pack for the walk. You will still need layers, water, possibly rain gear, etc. Send the remainder (in a dry bag or in your sub-standard day pack) by transport.
  • In spite of the excitement, don't try to talk and walk with others on that hill up to Orisson. Stop as often as you want. That initial hill is by far the hardest and it isn't necessary to keep up a typical pace on it. You will still have time to get to Roncesvalles (assuming you have a confirmed reservation for that very busy date!)
  • The downhill part into Roncesvalles can be slippery when wet, and hazardous mainly because your knees are rubbery at the end of the day. Again, take it slowly and use walking poles.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
Early September is one of the busiest times, and literally hundreds will cross in a single day. There is not much accommodation anyway.
Just start early, take your time, you literally have all day. Dont try to keep pace with someone so you can talk, or try to walk faster than you feel you can. Book your bed and dinner at Roncesvalles before you go.
Slow and steady. Stop when you need, the worst of the climb is up to Orrisson, it is a tough couple of hours. Just ignore the pace of others and walk your own pace.
On the other side I take the road not the track and zigzag down to Roncesvalles.
I saw plenty of people pushing too hard, some with packs too large and others with really uncomfortable clothing.
If its sunny wear sunscreen, easy to over look, and I saw many sun-fried people that night.
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
The downhill part into Roncesvalles can be slippery when wet, and hazardous mainly because your knees are rubbery at the end of the day. Again, take it slowly and use walking poles.
That's why I recommend taking the gentler path to the right at Col de Lepoeder. That's what the Pilgrim's Office recommended to me the first time I went. It seems that they always have a story of a pilgrim that broke a bone the day before on the official path.

It's the dotted line in this map from Gronze
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
The issue with waiting until you arrive to make that decision is that both Orisson and Auberge Borda will probably be fully booked.
But, you can use Express Bouricott´s Mountain Shuttle to walk halfway, then shuttle back to St Jean. The next morning they will take you back to where you left off.
Or, you could walk the Valcarlos route and spend the night in Valcarlos.
Ooooh, I didn't know Express Bouricott would do that! Also putting that in my notes, thanks! :) We do have reservations for Roncesvalles right now, and were hoping they would allow us to move the reservation to the second night if necessary, and if they have space.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
On my first occasion, I intended to be cautious and take 2 days on the Valcarlos route. I was 66 and only moderately fit. In SJPP, I stayed at an albergue where I succumbed to peer pressure and decided to walk the Napoleon route in 1 day.

I unloaded half of my backpack and sent it by transport to Roncesvalles, and did the walk quite comfortably. Some tips would be:
  • Don't send your good backpack and (don't) use a sub-standard day pack. Use your good well-fitted pack for the walk. You will still need layers, water, possibly rain gear, etc. Send the remainder (in a dry bag or in your sub-standard day pack) by transport.
  • In spite of the excitement, don't try to talk and walk with others on that hill up to Orisson. Stop as often as you want. That initial hill is by far the hardest and it isn't necessary to keep up a typical pace on it. You will still have time to get to Roncesvalles (assuming you have a confirmed reservation for that very busy date!)
  • The downhill part into Roncesvalles can be slippery when wet, and hazardous mainly because your knees are rubbery at the end of the day. Again, take it slowly and use walking poles.
THANK YOU! This is very helpful!
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Ooooh, I didn't know Express Bouricott would do that! Also putting that in my notes, thanks! :) We do have reservations for Roncesvalles right now, and were hoping they would allow us to move the reservation to the second night if necessary, and if they have space.

I forgot to put the link and graphic of the Mountain Shuttle in my last post.


Mountain shuttle.png
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
Early September is one of the busiest times, and literally hundreds will cross in a single day. There is not much accommodation anyway.
Just start early, take your time, you literally have all day. Dont try to keep pace with someone so you can talk, or try to walk faster than you feel you can. Book your bed and dinner at Roncesvalles before you go.
Slow and steady. Stop when you need, the worst of the climb is up to Orrisson, it is a tough couple of hours. Just ignore the pace of others and walk your own pace.
On the other side I take the road not the track and zigzag down to Roncesvalles.
I saw plenty of people pushing too hard, some with packs too large and others with really uncomfortable clothing.
If its sunny wear sunscreen, easy to over look, and I saw many sun-fried people that night.
Thank you! Very helpful!!! :)
 
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Glenshiro

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy - A Rua, Frances, Invierno (2012 - 2022)
I, too, have crossed the Pyrenees twice in my 60s from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. The second time I carried on to Burguete which is an easy 40 minute walk from Roncesvalles.

The stiffest part of the route is the climb from Honto past Orisson. It's not much more than a mile, after which it is very easy going. Take your time and stop to catch your breath whenever you feel like it. You can reconnoitre most of the route on the French side on Google Street view, as it is a paved public road most of the way. At the point where you turn off the road, by the Virgen d' Orisson statue, it becomes very straightforward. By then you have covered two thirds of the route and can relax.

From my experience, my advice would be:

Leave St Jean no later than 9 AM.

Check with the pilgrim office the day before about the likely weather: take their advice. If you can't see the top of the hills, you will be walking in fog, which is risky once you're off the paved road and before you get onto the four-wheel-drive track which takes you across the border.. However, I have done this and survived.

Take a packed lunch and plenty of water. You can fill up again at Orisson and at Roland's spring.

Pack a set of waterproofs: the weather can change quickly.

When you get to the paved road on the Spanish side, turn right and follow the road down to Roncesvalles: the path is steep and slippery and not a good idea if you're tired.

In good weather, the views are magnificent. I plan to do it again in my 70s.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2006 to date: Over 21 Caminos. See signature line
I’ve now walked across the Pyrenees twice. The first time at age 65 and more recently at age 68. In both cases, I walked the full distance from SJPP to Roncesvalles in a single day. It is very doable! Yes, it is one of the toughest days on the CF, but well within the ability of most people and particularly folks like you regarding your fitness and training. Most people do the full distance as one stage. To give this some perspective, appropriately 300 pilgrims left SJPP the same day I did on my first Camino. As there are very limited accommodations in Orisson, most plan to go all the way. Some take longer than others, but make it fine over the mountains (it’s not a race). But, let me suggest these considerations. First, keep your pack light! To walk far, carry less. If you think carrying a pack across the mountsins might be too much, have it transported to Roncesvalles. Many pilgrims use the luggage transports along the Camino. Second, leave SJPP early in the morning. I left just before sunrise both times and found any numbers of pilgrims already in front of me. Plan a nice break with food in Orisson. You don’t have to walk The Way quickly. Take your time and if it’s a particularly nice day, enjoy the sights crossing over from France into Spain. Once in Roncesvalles, enjoy a celebratory drink for a great accomplishment. I would recommend having a bed reservation in Roncesvalles so as to take off any worries a out getting there at a particular time. You’ll be fine! Buen Camino!
Of course you "can."
The question is "do you want to?"

Sixteen years ago I was younger and in good shape and that trek almost broke me.
I ended up with shin splints and feet that felt like they'd been pounded with a hammer.

From that year forward, I've broken it up into two days and ENJOYED the walk rather than suffered through it.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Most people will do in day, I did, its tiring and you get there it’s like WOW! With that said, my question is why? Take your time, if you injured your self at the beginning you are done ( as I have learned the Camino isn’t a race)
 

darealdeal77

Member Since 2018
Time of past OR future Camino
2014 Camino Frances
You can do it in one day, we did it in 2014, and it basically kicked my butt! To me it was it mistake first day to go so hard and far. It’s not only the mileage but the elevation gain and descent. Everyone I know who has walked Camino, they stop at Orisson, and I recommend that! Our next Camino will be this way, as many pilgrims mention on this blog, it is good to enjoy the views, enjoy the company and become part of the Camino experience, but Camino is a walk that is designed by the walker, walk-your-walk, what ever feels right to you, not the books or the people pressure. BUEN CAMINO
 

BobY333

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino San Salvador/Primitivo May 2023 (planning!)
Thank you :) We're hoping to make it all the way to Finisterre in 34 days, so I'm afraid that spending the extra day would make that nearly impossible; but I'm also trying to also remind myself, like you said, that injuring ourselves would make the whole trip impossible. I have to remember that it's not about packing in miles or even about the destination as much as it is about the journey. I appreciate your advice!
Welcome to the joy of planning and worrying about your first Camino! I've loved the planning (and the worrying) each time I've set about going.

Your description of you and your husband is very similar to how I would describe my wife and I. We chose to stay in Orisson because we knew we'd be jet lagged (arrived in SJPdP late the prior night). We slept in, toured SJPdP, then tackled the climb to Orisson in the afternoon. The accommodations were not great...but the atmosphere and communal dinner made an amazing introduction to the Camino!

I would say that 34 days to Finisterre is doable but maybe aggressive. We arrived in Santiago after 34 days - 33 days walking and a rest day in Leon. Just remember to be flexible. There are so many things that can change your plans as you walk your Camino - both good and bad. One that we didn't appreciate at all until we got there was how close you can become with your "Camino family" and how that can influence your distances - in an effort to stay together :). It's now four years later and we still see a number of them!

Buen Camino!
 
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yerman'sman

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017,2018,2019,2020
I have done it several times, last time was pre-covid, aged 77. My advice is to have goretex footwear, as it might rain, and your feet will get wet and you will be burdened with serious blisters for the rest of your journey. My other advice is to train hard but stop walking 7-10 days before your trip. Buen Camino.
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
I’ve crossed the Pyrenees twice. First time: I was 54 and carried quite a heavy backpack. I was practically dying of thirst when I got to Roncesvalles. It took me 8 hours. Second time, aged 74, I booked a night at Orisson and sent my bag with Express Bouricot. This year, aged 77, my plan is to try the Valcarlos route in two stages, also using baggage transport.
 

wyattEdwards

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2022
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I originally thought to do the long trek in 1 day. I am 63 and it would be a long tiring day, but I know i could do it. But…. Am I in a hurry? No. Do I want to feel good and take in the experience? Yes.

It was an easy decision for me. I will have a short 1st day and stay at Orisson. Hopefully meet other pilgrims, drink good wine, and enjoy the walk over the mountains

Buen Camino
 

KimR

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ‘18
Portuguese(costa,cent) ‘19
Norte ‘21
I’ve now walked across the Pyrenees twice. The first time at age 65 and more recently at age 68. In both cases, I walked the full distance from SJPP to Roncesvalles in a single day. It is very doable! Yes, it is one of the toughest days on the CF, but well within the ability of most people and particularly folks like you regarding your fitness and training. Most people do the full distance as one stage. To give this some perspective, appropriately 300 pilgrims left SJPP the same day I did on my first Camino. As there are very limited accommodations in Orisson, most plan to go all the way. Some take longer than others, but make it fine over the mountains (it’s not a race). But, let me suggest these considerations. First, keep your pack light! To walk far, carry less. If you think carrying a pack across the mountsins might be too much, have it transported to Roncesvalles. Many pilgrims use the luggage transports along the Camino. Second, leave SJPP early in the morning. I left just before sunrise both times and found any numbers of pilgrims already in front of me. Plan a nice break with food in Orisson. You don’t have to walk The Way quickly. Take your time and if it’s a particularly nice day, enjoy the sights crossing over from France into Spain. Once in Roncesvalles, enjoy a celebratory drink for a great accomplishment. I would recommend having a bed reservation in Roncesvalles so as to take off any worries a out getting there at a particular time. You’ll be fine! Buen Camino!
It’s doable but just because you can, does it mean you should ? There are 2 ‘knee-challenging’ descents in that first few days- the descent into Roncevalles and then the descent into Zubiri. I saw many pilgrims limp into Pamplona because either or both wrecked their knees on these descents so why rush? Some had to drop out. Some lumped for a good while before their bodies healed. We all begin our Caminos with our spirits pumped with adrenaline from all the planning and preparation leading up to arriving at SJPDP. Our bodies, however, will take a week or 2 to catch up.
 
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NJohn

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 2022
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
Thank you for posting this question and thank you to all that responded. My husband and I are also starting our first Camino in September (@Canito6671 - we start Sep. 14, so sadly I think we’ll be too far behind to ever get to meet you both). Our plans are to do SJPDP to Roncesvalles in one day, so I love everyone’s advice and encouragement! Really appreciate this forum!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I, too, have crossed the Pyrenees twice in my 60s from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. The second time I carried on to Burguete which is an easy 40 minute walk from Roncesvalles.

The stiffest part of the route is the climb from Honto past Orisson. It's not much more than a mile, after which it is very easy going. Take your time and stop to catch your breath whenever you feel like it. You can reconnoitre most of the route on the French side on Google Street view, as it is a paved public road most of the way. At the point where you turn off the road, by the Virgen d' Orisson statue, it becomes very straightforward. By then you have covered two thirds of the route and can relax.

From my experience, my advice would be:

Leave St Jean no later than 9 AM.

Check with the pilgrim office the day before about the likely weather: take their advice. If you can't see the top of the hills, you will be walking in fog, which is risky once you're off the paved road and before you get onto the four-wheel-drive track which takes you across the border.. However, I have done this and survived.

Take a packed lunch and plenty of water. You can fill up again at Orisson and at Roland's spring.

Pack a set of waterproofs: the weather can change quickly.

When you get to the paved road on the Spanish side, turn right and follow the road down to Roncesvalles: the path is steep and slippery and not a good idea if you're tired.

In good weather, the views are magnificent. I plan to do it again in my 70s.
Wow, thank you for this! I actually "virtually" traveled the paved route from SJPdP a couple of weeks ago via Google, just to see what it would be like — I didn't realized that was already 2/3 of the trip that day. That also puts my mind at ease! (I thought I was being a little neurotic, looking for the routes in Google ahead of time 😅— maybe I'm just being cautious?)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
Of course you "can."
The question is "do you want to?"

Sixteen years ago I was younger and in good shape and that trek almost broke me.
I ended up with shin splints and feet that felt like they'd been pounded with a hammer.

From that year forward, I've broken it up into two days and ENJOYED the walk rather than suffered through it.
Thank you! :) We're definitely reminding ourselves over and over that we have to listen to our bodies and avoid injuries at any cost. I can only imagine how bad dealing with shin splints would have been for the rest of your walk, since they don't heal without rest. :(
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
It’s doable but just because you can, does it mean you should ? There are 2 ‘knee-challenging’ descents in that first few days- the descent into Roncevalles and then the descent into Zubiri. I saw many pilgrims limp into Pamplona because either or both wrecked their knees on these descents so why rush? Some had to drop out. Some lumped for a good while before their bodies healed. We all begin our Caminos with our spirits pumped with adrenaline from all the planning and preparation leading up to arriving at SJPDP. Our bodies, however, will take a week or 2 to catch up.
After I walked the Napoleon route I wondered how many people hurt themselves on this challenging first day and we never hear about it. As many on this forum have attested, you can do it in one day. And if you try to go to Roncesvalles in one day don’t be discouraged by the first 8 km or so. That part is very steep. The rest, while challenging, is not as difficult. But is it wise to make the first day one of the hardest days? Does it give you the best chance of successfully reaching Santiago? Moreover, the stage to Zubiri can put some hurting on your knees as well. However you do it go at your own pace and take your time!
 

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
I agree with this - if you have time spend it in the beautiful Pyrenees!

I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I am no spring chicken myself being that I am in my 60s and I go at the end of next month where I been told the mountain road will be closed ..the most important factor is to hike the hike in other words go at your own pace rather than try to keep up with others ..if you do decode to do it all in one day you can always have your backpacks taken ahead for you to lessen the load .... Buen Camino
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I think it is too nice of a walk to do it in one day. You can either go via Valcarllos, find a place in Orisson, or walk to Orisson with a taxi back and forth to break it up. The scenery is so good that it seems a waste to just go by it in one day.

OOOOHHHH, thank you for sharing that video! I have been searching for videos like that! Planning our camino has been so much fun and also kind of stressful — trying to decide things like this in advance. I think we really just have to be prepared to let the camino guide us and not to get too locked into our "plans" for what the camino should be. 💙💛
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2015, 2017
2019/21/22 Astorga
5/22 Portugues
No doubt that SJPP to Roncesvalles is a tough day.
I’ve done it twice. Once with family in tow, and once on my own. Both times, very “doable,”
The beauty of the path is breathtaking, with the fog and clouds in the valley as you ascend in the morning. And the mountain meadows echoing the cowbells in the afternoon. Descending through the woods late afternoon as the air cools on your way to the destination.
Your training with hills will serve you well. Not much you can do about sea level lung capacity. So here‘s how it will likely go.
Spend the day in SJPP visiting the Pilgrims office and making sure you have everything. There’s an herb shop on a corner. Get a little sache of stuff you like, as the food can be a little bland. Plan on an early start. You want to see the sunrise on the mountain, not in SJPP.
It is a steep climb in the beginning stages. You’ll wonder why you’re doing this. Coming from sea level, you’ll think you are dying. You’re not. You’re living.
Everybody equates being out of breath with being tired/exhausted. When there’s not as much air as you’re used to, you breath harder to get more. As a runner, your hubby will know that breathing hard is not dying, it’s just breathing hard. Keep doing it, but slow your pace so that it is still controlled breathing, not uncontrolled panting.
Take breaks. Take in the scenery. CHANGE YOUR SOCKS! Not only will it help avoid blisters, it gives you an excuse to sit down and catch your breath.
It will seem like you just keep going up and up and up. Well, perception can be reality. There are uphill stages. Push through the tough hill, then rest at the little flat spots. There’s a dog at a farmhouse near a rock fence that will come out for some pets.
Eventually, you’ll crest and traverse the summit, then begin your descent into Spain. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? You’ll sleep well tonight.
Maybe…
 

Marcia Shaver

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2008), Via de la Plata (2011), Portuguese (2014), Le Puy (2016-2017)
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I would suggest starting slowly. Book at Orisson, or book 2 nights in St. Jean Pied de Port . Walk to the statue of the Virgin a few kilometers above Orisson and have the Bouricott Express shuttle return you to your lodging in St.Jean for the night. That way you can walk the steepest part without your pack. The shuttle will return you to the statue in the morning to resume your walk. You get the incredible views, meet the horses on the top, and have plenty of time. Don't forget that the steep pitch down from the top is hard on the knees, and it's better to do that with less miles for the day. I also concur that reservations are a must at Roncesvalles, whether at the monestary or hotel. I have done this 3 times, and believe me, if you want to finish without injury, give yourself a break and start slowly. Make up the kilometers/ miles later if you are short on time. Good luck and Buen Camino!
 

Sherpa47

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2008 and 2017
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
Hi Folks,
I was 70 when I walked from SJPDP to Roncevalles. We did it one go but I was knackered by the time we reached Roncevalles. If you feel you could do it, why not consider pre-booking your accommodation and get your backpack transferred. Just carry some water and snack bars. I feel that would make the journey easier. It is a tough day, but it sets you up for the Alto de Pedron a few days later.
Good luck!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
No doubt that SJPP to Roncesvalles is a tough day.
I’ve done it twice. Once with family in tow, and once on my own. Both times, very “doable,”
The beauty of the path is breathtaking, with the fog and clouds in the valley as you ascend in the morning. And the mountain meadows echoing the cowbells in the afternoon. Descending through the woods late afternoon as the air cools on your way to the destination.
Your training with hills will serve you well. Not much you can do about sea level lung capacity. So here‘s how it will likely go.
Spend the day in SJPP visiting the Pilgrims office and making sure you have everything. There’s an herb shop on a corner. Get a little sache of stuff you like, as the food can be a little bland. Plan on an early start. You want to see the sunrise on the mountain, not in SJPP.
It is a steep climb in the beginning stages. You’ll wonder why you’re doing this. Coming from sea level, you’ll think you are dying. You’re not. You’re living.
Everybody equates being out of breath with being tired/exhausted. When there’s not as much air as you’re used to, you breath harder to get more. As a runner, your hubby will know that breathing hard is not dying, it’s just breathing hard. Keep doing it, but slow your pace so that it is still controlled breathing, not uncontrolled panting.
Take breaks. Take in the scenery. CHANGE YOUR SOCKS! Not only will it help avoid blisters, it gives you an excuse to sit down and catch your breath.
It will seem like you just keep going up and up and up. Well, perception can be reality. There are uphill stages. Push through the tough hill, then rest at the little flat spots. There’s a dog at a farmhouse near a rock fence that will come out for some pets.
Eventually, you’ll crest and traverse the summit, then begin your descent into Spain. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? You’ll sleep well tonight.
Maybe…
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! This is why we are looking forward to this journey so much — that was beautiful and so helpful, all at the same time! This whole camino community is so amazing. :)
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
I don't know if I'll ever get used to how kind, open and helpful everyone is in this community! I value your wisdom and insights so much and am incredibly grateful for each of you taking the time to share with us!
 
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
The best thing we ever did was stop at Orisson/Borda last year. We had much more fun and we’re more relaxed.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I passed thru this way twice and plan to do the CF again in 2023. ( 2022 is the CP ) I loved the Pyrenees and will once again try to stay the night at Orisson so I know I can take my time enjoying this lovely pass. Twice now, the trek from Orisson to Roncesvailles were met with torrential downpours and lightening and I can't imagine what would have been if the trek was straight thru. The laundry in Roncessvailles was closed as the machines were overwhelmed and everything, everywhere was not only damp but dripping! There's no way to predict the weather, but my vote would be to take your time to do it in two days...not because you can do it in one, but because you choose to enjoy every bit of the experience.
I agree with KJF Sophie it nearly killed this old guy buen Camino
 

rnwinters

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Camino Portugese
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
Best to spend the night in Orisson, then on to Roncesvalles the next day. But, good luck getting a reservation. Communication with the albergue there can be challenging and it's a popular place.
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

meazara

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Personally I had great fun in the refuge in Orrison where I met my camino family. It’s a tough enough 8-9km punt uphill to Orisson and last Sept it rained but when the afternoon opened up this amazing sight was all ours for hours enjoying the company of other pilgrims. I think you’ll have lots of other days when you may want to do long days but for me life’s too short to challenge myself on day 1.
 

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jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Norte/Primitivo 2022, VF 2023
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I personally had to break mine up last year because I knew it would be too much for me. This year, I am fairly certain I can do SJPDP to Roncesvalles in one day - but I am still stopping in Orisson for 2 reasons 1) because they uphill is hard enough that if I can split the days up, I may as well and 2) I loved the communal dinner and meeting other pilgrims. Some of whom I walked with on and off for weeks.

That said - Orisson and the new Albergue Borda cannot house that many pilgrims - therefor a majority do walk it in one day. If you think you can make the trek in one day, go for it! But continue training and when you do walk, do so at a comfortable pace.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Given you both have had issues with your lower extremities in the past, why startout with a 27km hike and a significant elevation change, when you can break up the initial section?

My experience has been we tend to press a bit more, when we know we have a long distance to go! Shortening the initial section will lessen the stress on those joints and provide some recovery time. In addition, there will be other ups and downs and another significant downhill before reaching Zubiri.

In my opinion, from SJPdP-Roncevalle and Roncevalles-Zubiri are the two consecutive sections combined that will put the most stress on your joints on the CF ( followed by Rabanal del Camino to Molineseca).

It doesn’t matter how many people do not stay overnight between SJPdP and Roncevalles.! There is not a statistic that we pilgrims can give you that tells us how how many pilgrims developed shin splints, terrible blisters or went home early or suffered for weeks walking. Anyone who has started in SJPdP has likely seen this. Start conservatively and then adjust accordingly. Do send your back ahead for the first stage.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Sure, you can do it in one day – most people do. I never do, because I like to start slowly, and increase the mileage day by day. I just don’t want to get an injury on the first day, like tendonitis, which would completely wreck the rest of the walk. I suggest that if you have the time, take two days, whether you can do it or not.
What we don't hear on this forum, or at least not very often, are the stories of those who cannot continue their pilgrimage after pushing themselves so hard doing SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day that they never recover. They do happen. One woman I walked with regularly in her preparation had to go to hospital in Pamplona, at which point her travel insurer gave her the option of being flown back to Australia or losing her cover. She came home. I don't think she would have been alone in this, but we don't hear those stories to counter balance the rabid optimism some people have here.

Yes, there are many people who do make it. I have walked twice, both times through Valcarlos, and staying there the second time. While I had contemplated walking the Napoleon Route in one day the first time I did the CF, the weather conditions were not conducive to that. Those that left SJPP around the same time as I did and walked the Route Napoleon were still coming into SJPP after 9 pm, and were pretty shattered after 13 or 14 hours walking.

Depending on how you calculate these things, this is close to a marathon distance on level ground. Sure, you don't have to do that as a competition, but you have to consider how well you are going to recover, and the level of micro (or macro) injuries you will be recovering from over the next week.
 

Scott Fraser

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 17&18; Podiensis 19, VdlP exSalamanca 22
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition.
You leave SJPdP on the first day of a 30+ day walk. Does adding a day to the first (and most difficult) stage of the Camino make a difference? The really important thing is to not hurt yourself the first day out, nor the second or the third. The adrenalin of the start may cause you to push beyond what you've prepared your body to do.

If you get through the first week injury-free, you're probably good to go the entire distance. On my first Camino I got a heel blister the second day that hurt all the way to SdC. On my fourth CaminoI pushed too hard on the third day (feeling really good I did 24 km in six hours) and had to quit in Logroño flew home with a badly inflamed knee. How much does it matter to you to walk over the Pyrenees in one day?

If you can't get a reservation at Orisson, it is possible to have a taxi meet you near the 5-6 km beyond Orisson at the end of your first day and drive you back to SJPdP for the night. The next day the taxi can take you up to where you stopped the day before and you carry on from there.
 
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cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
May I add on one more comment .
In my opinion there are three important factors when taking in a long distance walk.. first of all footwear I am going to hike the camino 8n trail running shoes a size bigger than my normal footwear as overtime your feet will start to swell up , I know that for being on my feet for 10 hours a day at work ..secondly my backback will not weigh more than 10% of my own body weight to make it more comfortable on the days and lastly as I said earlier go at your own pace you feel comfortable with ..good idea before you set of in the mornings is to put vasaline on your feet .. I already made reservations at my first few stop overs and arranged for my backpack to be collected for the first days walk being that the office is only 4 doors away from where I am staying ... oh and one more thing , what I do if for example if I have at least 15 miles to do in a day is to divide it into three sections ..stop for a comfort break after 5 miles then my lunch break being something light , then last 5 miles to my destination .. if your not sure where to find your accommodation for any part of the camino then I am sure the locals will help or go into one of the shops like I will ...
 

bbanks1217

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Way of Le Puy 2016
CF 2017
Portuguese 2019
DB0A9353-917E-46DB-8062-78FF310D5CA2.jpeg
I first walked SJPP all the way on a beautiful September day, as a 65 year old with my friends who were also 65 and 73. We left at 8;00 am, paced ourselves, rested along the way were careful going down hill at the end of the day and arrived at 5:15. I trained in Chicago along Lake Michigan and it is as flat as you can get and only 600 feet above sea level. In the end, it depends on your body but for us, we completed the Camino in 34 walking days while taking a rest day once a week. Many younger people than us had knee braces by the second week for going too fast or not being prepared. You sound like you are prepared, so go for it!
 

Wazza

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
de Frances 2017. Finisterre 2017
I don't know if I'll ever get used to how kind, open and helpful everyone is in this community! I value your wisdom and insights so much and am incredibly grateful for each of you taking the time to share with us!
The only advice I would give is to wear Arma Skin socks - these are latex type under socks that go on before your normal socks. My wife and I did the Frances Camino from SJDP to Finisterre without a blister - they are anti blister socks, comfortable and highly recommended to save the wear and tear on your feet. Get two pair each and wear a fresh pair each day. https://www.armaskin.com/
 

El Gordo

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I could have easily made it to Roncesvalles on day 1, however, a friend told me to stop for the day in Orisson and enjoy the mountains. I took his advice and arrived in Orisson by 10 am. The bar, restaurant and Albergue in Orisson was fantastic and we drank all afternoon looking out over the mountains meeting new people. I highly recommend a Orisson stop.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept–Oct 2022
The only advice I would give is to wear Arma Skin socks - these are latex type under socks that go on before your normal socks. My wife and I did the Frances Camino from SJDP to Finisterre without a blister - they are anti blister socks, comfortable and highly recommended to save the wear and tear on your feet. Get two pair each and wear a fresh pair each day. https://www.armaskin.com/
Thanks! I hadn't heard of those!
 
John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.

cardifflad52

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2015 Inglis Way , March 2022 Camino Frances
View attachment 119481
I first walked SJPP all the way on a beautiful September day, as a 65 year old with my friends who were also 65 and 73. We left at 8;00 am, paced ourselves, rested along the way were careful going down hill at the end of the day and arrived at 5:15. I trained in Chicago along Lake Michigan and it is as flat as you can get and only 600 feet above sea level. In the end, it depends on your body but for us, we completed the Camino in 34 walking days while taking a rest day once a week. Many younger people than us had knee braces by the second week for going too fast or not being prepared. You sound like you are prepared, so go for it!
That's why I believe hike the hike by going at your own pace and not trying ti keep up with others , my pace is about 5km an hour , after all why rush it only cause physical pain to the point that one may have to abandon the camino altogether..to me it's about the freedom away from daily routine and a spiritual one , enjoy , stop and see the beauty around you and be thankful for what you have ..
 

steve 217

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata
Walked over the Pyrenees from SJDPP now 3 times, sept twice ,once Oct always hard ,always long ,but not Impossible weather dependant.
Go for it its doable and if you transfer luggage will be much easier if you are worried .
Early start and pace yourself . Good luck and buen Camino
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I would try the new option, the Auberge Borda; it has good reviews. And friendly managers are welcome news for this stage.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Thanks! I hadn't heard of those!

Here is a review I did on Armaskin socks. I would highly recommend that you try them out before committing to using them.

--------------------------------------------------------------
ArmaSkin Socks for Blister Prevention

Entering Blister Discussion Season, there are a couple of reposts of what I had previously written which may be helpful. I will also post my assessment of Engo anti-blister patches later in a separate thread.

First, let me say that I have no vested interest in Armaskin Socks. I have never been in contact with the company that manufactures the product, nor do I have any wholesale or retail or stock market, etc. connections which will earn me cash if someone purchases this product. Buy them or don’t buy them, curse them or praise them, I Don’t Care.

Conclusion and Bottom Line: When used properly, Armaskin Anti-blister Socks can be effective at preventing blisters.

The Specifics

Background


A lot of forum members know that I am hired by various backpacking gear, footwear, and clothing manufacturers to test their products for quality assurance, usability, and the workability of modifications and prototypes. My reports go to the company that has hired me for their internal use; I do not publish reviews, or test stuff to provide public recommendations.

ArmaSkin did not hire me to test their product. Nor did I inform ArmaSkin of my intentions. I purchased the ArmaSkins myself from an online vendor.

I decided to post about Armaskins after recently learning of them. I was curious as to the claims made about them. As a Forum member, I know a lot of others might also be interested in the blister prevention claims, too. There are also some participants who have tried them previously and recommend them.

This post is not a recommendation for or against this product. I am providing the information based on experienced observation, and I make no specific claims that my findings will equally apply to anyone else.

Rationale and Motivation to Test Armaskins
I wanted to know if Armaskin Socks effectively implements the known and effective blister prevention strategies which it appears to incorporate. I also wanted to provide more objective information for those who interested in trying Armaskins but are hesitant to do so because of their price point. It is my hope that having additional information will make the price point less of an issue should one really want to give Armaskins a try but are concerned over cost-benefit.

As a gear tester, I felt I have the skills and objectivity to cut through the hyperbole and marketing claims and look at the individual ‘ingredients’ of these sock’s manufacture for their actual effectiveness toward blister prevention.

Armaskin socks have been around for a while. Until recently, I was not aware of them until a Forum contributor posted a bit of information about them. That post intrigued me, so I did a quick online look about the sock; specifically, what is the makeup of the sock that is special or different which functions to prevent blisters.

After a bit of research, and ignoring the glowing marketing testimonials, I felt like the Armaskins deserved a hands-on look. What got my attention was the fact that, unlike other ‘anti-blister’ socks, this sock incorporated stated and proven techniques to either prevent blisters, or to prolong the time for blister formation to occur. Prolonging the time for blisters to form is also important in preventing blister formation, because it allows more time for a person to recognize the formation of irritations and hotspots on the feet so that they can be effectively dealt with.

What is the big boogeyman of blister formation? Shear force friction. In a nutshell, you want to keep the friction causing heat of the shear force between the sock and the shoe, and away from the sock and the skin. Do this and there will be no blistering in 99.9% of all cases.

It appears that Armaskins accomplish this goal in three primary ways:
  • A snug fit of the sock.
  • A sock material which reduces the coefficient of friction.
  • Providing a material buffer between the shear friction force and the skin of the foot.
Gear Test
The socks are made of a slick feeling synthetic material, with a defined seamed area at the toes and the heel. More on the seams later. Applied to the interior of the sock is a flexible, durable, and grippy rubbery-type compound. It is a silicone-based menu of stuff, but it is inert and is said to be breathable.

There are four basic sock sizes. One picks the Armaskin sock size based on their sizing chart; the sizing chart utilizes your sock size to determine if you need a Small, Medium, Large, or Extra-Large size. As with some others whose review had stated that the Armaskin Chart guide selections were too small, I had to go with a Large, rather than the Medium that the Chart said I needed. I had purchased two pair, one in the size the Chart indicated was my size, and the other was a size larger. I ended up returning the Medium sized sock.

Each of the socks in the pair have a defined shape to them --- when looking at them, it is easy to see which sock is for the right foot and which for the left. I experimented putting them on in the dark, and it was simple for me to feel the shape of each sock, so the proper match would be made to the foot in question.

My technique for putting the sock on was to scrunch the top of the sock down to the toe. Then, once my toes were successfully ensconced, I would roll-tug them up, over the heel and up to final position. I always made additional adjustments to getting things properly aligned. With my foot size, the required sized sock which fit, had the heel location up above the back of my heel onto the lower part of my Achilles tendon. It couldn’t be helped, it was just the way it was.

Important Note: If you are a user of a lubricating medium on your feet to help prevent blisters -- like Body Glide or Vaseline, etc. – you cannot use such things with Armaskin socks; such stuff will make the socks ineffective.

Even with a larger size Armaskin, the fit is very snug. My initial reaction was concern that the amount of compression on my foot would create problems with hours of wear. For me, such turned out not to be the case. I can understand where it would be possible for some folks to find this level of snugness objectionable, and even constricting enough of blood circulation in the foot to cause cramping or other discomforts. In my case, none of those issue appeared.

Once on, the Armaskins do not slip or really move around on the foot. The snugness and the ‘grippy-ness’ keep things in place. This is one of the reasons it is important to have the sock lay smooth on the foot with no lumps or rucks of material; get the sock smooth and it will stay that way.

Here is where the Armaskin Socks are not really a liner sock, or a part of a dual sock system in the traditional sense. With the old-school technique, the traditional use of a thin liner sock is used under a thicker sock as a system to try and prevent blisters. The Armaskin does not need an outer sock to prevent blisters; it only needs the outer sock to protect the Armaskin from premature wear and tear. Thus, it is not a "double-sock liner system".

If one does not care how long their Armaskin Socks will last, you can wear the Armaskin by itself and will still do the job it was designed to do. The Armaskin, by itself, will keep the shear force’s blister-causing friction from the skin on the foot, and keep it between the Armaskin and the shoe where it belongs.

I spent over 160 miles hiking in all sorts of backpacking terrain, under all sorts of backpack weights, using the Armaskin in a variety of shoe and insole combinations, using them with and without an outer sock, and subjected to all kinds of dirt, grit, mud and wet. I never really felt at-risk of getting blisters. One caveat, though, as a full disclosure: It is unusual for me to blister.

That being said, I have gotten blisters before and I do, infrequently, deal with hotspots and recognize the conditions which put me at-risk for developing those hot spots. I took great pains to recreate those kinds of conditions with gusto.

Many users posting reviews have stated that the Armaskins didn’t make their feet warm or hot. All I can say is that my feet did get warmer, sometimes much warmer, than with my usual socks and footwear combination. I typically will wear a single, lightweight and light padded Merino wool sock. Being much warmer wearing a double sock combination with the Armaskin didn’t surprise me, though. I will note that my feet also did become a bit damp from sweat a few times; while the Armaskin may claim to be breathable, that breathability is restricted to the ability of airflow within a shoe. Wearing an outer sock and being in the confines of a shoe means that there must be an overall decrease in the ability of water vapor to escape.

The Armaskins never got ‘funky’ smelling. They washed well; the washing would ‘renew’ the 'grippy-ness’ of the sock's interior coating, probably because washing removes body oils, dirt, skin cells, etc. Just be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions. Because of the Camino application, I washed these Armaskins by hand in cool water, with just barely enough soap to get them clean. The soap I used is what I used on Camino. The socks wring out fairly well and do not take overly long to dry. To help preserve the materials and longevity in the socks, I would not dry them in the harshness of direct sunlight… that much UV radiation will affect the synthetic materials, as will the high heat of direct radiant energy. If using a dryer, I would air dry as a preference; or at most, the lowest heat setting possible.

End of the day comfort? I always enjoyed removing the socks and letting my feet out of the snugness factor of the Armaskins. While they were on, though, I never had my attention focused on my feet and I never felt that my feet were distressed at all. Even my persnickety Left Foot – who hates me with its entire being – kept quite about the socks.

Are Armaskin Socks the best method, or the surest method, for blister prevention? In my assessments, no. Armaskins are potentially just one method, among others, which can be effective. As with everything gear related, there can be some downsides, and they are a bit finicky. I don’t think that should keep potential users from trying them out, though.

If someone:
  • Uses the socks as directed
  • Takes care of them
  • Does not put absolute trust in them by ignoring the need to stay focused on potential hot-spots and other indications of blistering so they can be dealt with before a blister appears:
then I think that the Armaskins may work well.

NOTE:
The same principles which Armaskins use to prevent the shear force friction which causes blistering has existed prior to Armaskins. The materials and techniques to achieve this are cheaper to employ, more flexible and adaptable to unique situations by targeting the specific problem areas on the feet, and are easier to obtain if replacement is necessary.

So, for what it’s worth that is my assessment of Armaskins. It is my hope that this informs the group of another tool for potential blister prevention.
 

David Fletcher

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Autumn, 2015
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day.
This is a serious "it depends" question. I did the Camino in Sept 2015 and the best decision of the whole trek was to stay at Orisson on the first night. I was travel-weary (Canada, Iceland, Paris overnight, train to Biarritz, one night in SJPP, and then start the Camino). I could walk 25 k no problem, but hadn't really considered a mountain. Though it was the most expensive Auberge (still in France) on the Camino, it was worth every Euro. The hosts were lovely and facilitated interaction between all the Pilgrims, and I had enough energy for the next day that I got to Roncesvailles by about 230 in the afternoon which made for a lovely rest that day, and because supper is based on reservations, earlier is better.

Bon Camino/Buen Camino!

David in Nova Scotia
 
2023 Camino Guides
The 2023 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.

WanderlustingLawyer

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Aragones (2021); Camino Frances (2018)
Looks like you’ve gotten a lot of amazing answers. I’m just here to add that you should absolutely stay at orisson if you can because it is an amazing, unmatchable experience that will shape the rest of your Camino. I would have so regretted not staying there. (PS, I did SJPP to Santiago in 34 days, which included orisson and 3 rest days, so I think your hope to make it to Finisterre could still be possible). I have a couple of videos on my YouTube channel (Wanderlusting lawyer) about staying at orisson and describing the hike over the Pyrenees that could be extremely useful to you, if you want to check them out. Buen Camino! (Pics are at Orisson)
 

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Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
For me, that section of the Camino was the most impressive. When I did it I was 70 years old and not in amazing physical shape; nonetheless, I'm very, very glad I did it. I prepared by doing daily long walks which included some hills. My advice, go for it!
 

Plataman

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I did the SJPP to Roncevalles walk in one day in 2009 and 2013, I was 61 and 65 at the time. It is a long up, but the route is mostly paved, well signed and the scenery is spectacular. The key is to make sure you are well rested before you start, spend a couple of days in Bayonne or wherever getting over jet lag. This is also where your packing skills pay off; take the minimum, your pack should be as light as possible.... . Take water and snacks, and most of all, it is not a race, walk at a pace that is comfortable for you and ignore the walkers that fly by you.....do your own Camino always. The way down into Roncevalles has some rough sections, again take your time. You will have a great feeling of accomplishment as you stroll into Roncevalles.
 

Zordmot

3rd CF in May 2022
Time of past OR future Camino
April-May 2022
I
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I’m 66, I’ve done SJPDP all the way to R twice. I’m walking the CF again this year. I’m doing a stopover in Orisson this time. No need to do it in a day!!! A slow start is a good start! I’d also add that I found the final 1/4 of that day was the toughest. Bad combination: first day, toughest terrain, exhausted body. I remember seeing people in R that weren’t so prepared but did it in a day that were totally done-in, blistered, exhausted, almost ready to call it quits. Ive heard from people that they really enjoyed the comraderie and friendships forged at Orisson so I’m looking forward to that. I found the atmosphere in R other than at dinner, to be less conducive to getting acquainted.
 
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Wanderingfriend

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
Every person will have an opinion that is entirely based on their own experience. Personally, I would not consider going all the way to Roncesvalles. This is my reasoning. It’s steep for a first day. Generally people are tired from travel (if you are outside EU). The Orisson comradery is a lift and affirmation that there are good people in the world and you get to trek along with them. For me, a slow study start was good for my 50+ body. I met people injured on the first day that had to leave the Camino, care your feet and body is one of the beautiful gifts of respect I learned early on in the journey. My slow start was a great gift. It was beautiful and I could enjoy it knowing, although difficult, it was a short day. Ultimately you will do things you would do again and you will make decisions you wished you had not. All the best as you step out into the great unknown! It’s a beautiful ride.
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

Dennis52

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
FRENCH WAY 2016
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I was 64 when I did the mountain, never hiked before and I did it in one day.
I was glad when it was over but nonetheless rewarding.
I have done 3 Camino’s and found every time it takes about 5 days for your body to get conditioned.
In my opinion, it wold be a good idea to train with lots of hills, even if you have to do the same hills over and over again.
Also if you start early, you will have time to wash and hang dry your clothes.
Good luck
 

Derick Nichols

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2019
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
In May/June 2019 my wife and I aged 71 and 69 walked from SJPP to Santiago. Being mindful of our desired aim to reach Santiago and not to overdo it on the difficult stage from SJPP to Roncesvalles, even though we felt it was well within our compass, we opted to walk the first day to the Verge de Orrison and then used Express Bouriccot to transport us back to SJPP and return to VDO the following morning. This worked very well for us and made our second day walk to Burgete white comfortable.
 

walkinglover

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, '16 and '18; Portuguese '17; Ingles - 19
The best thing we ever did was stop at Orisson/Borda last year. We had much more fun and we’re more relaxed.
I am glad you are serious about the training part. That will be a tremendous advantage for you. I recommend that you have your pack transported from SJPP to Roncevalles. I walked it in '18, was accustomed to running long distances (13 mile runs) and I walked a lot. That trek to the top of the Pyrennes was tough. The weather was horrible (rainy), and it took us 11 hours to get to R. My husband on the other hand has done it three times, and he found it more difficult in Fall '21. He is 70. I am 74. We plan to do it again in September, and I will definitely have my pack transported. Also, do a lot of squats each day to strengthen the hamstrings and glutes.
 

Me Retiro

El Tejano
Time of past OR future Camino
I will be walking the Camino starting August 26, 2016 from St Jean.
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from Orveterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
You do know there's a newer place to stay in Orisson. I don't know the name but others on forum probably know the name.
 

dick bird

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Maybe someone has already suggested this (a lot of posts, I haven't read them all), but you really need to talk to, and be examined by, a medical professional to answer this question. Only they can tell what you what the risks and hazards are and assess what you are capable of. You have been receiving treatment so what do your doctors/physiotherapists think? I would certainly not want to have the most gruelling walk of my camino on the first day, and having worked as a hospi a few days into the camino Francés, I can assure you a lot of very fit young people go bounding over the Napoleon pass only to come to grief some days later when the impacts on their tendons and cartilages catch up on them. I suggests that at the very least, you stop overnight at Orisson, and listen to your body - if it hurts, stop doing it.
 
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C2

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2014) Frances (2015) Frances (2016) Frances (2017) Frances (2019)
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I’ve done the napoleon route 3 times - the first time stopping at Orrison which whilst lovely was so hard being there from mid morning leaving me kicking my heels and wanting to keep going. Hence the next two times I’ve gone straight to Roncevalles which i much prefer. I was in my 50s on all occasions. Provided you take it steady you should be fine.
 

John A Richard

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2017), Portuguese (2019)
I’ve now walked across the Pyrenees twice. The first time at age 65 and more recently at age 68. In both cases, I walked the full distance from SJPP to Roncesvalles in a single day. It is very doable! Yes, it is one of the toughest days on the CF, but well within the ability of most people and particularly folks like you regarding your fitness and training. Most people do the full distance as one stage. To give this some perspective, appropriately 300 pilgrims left SJPP the same day I did on my first Camino. As there are very limited accommodations in Orisson, most plan to go all the way. Some take longer than others, but make it fine over the mountains (it’s not a race). But, let me suggest these considerations. First, keep your pack light! To walk far, carry less. If you think carrying a pack across the mountsins might be too much, have it transported to Roncesvalles. Many pilgrims use the luggage transports along the Camino. Second, leave SJPP early in the morning. I left just before sunrise both times and found any numbers of pilgrims already in front of me. Plan a nice break with food in Orisson. You don’t have to walk The Way quickly. Take your time and if it’s a particularly nice day, enjoy the sights crossing over from France into Spain. Once in Roncesvalles, enjoy a celebratory drink for a great accomplishment. I would recommend having a bed reservation in Roncesvalles so as to take off any worries a out getting there at a particular time. You’ll be fine! Buen Camino!
Sound!
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
the first time stopping at Orrison which whilst lovely was so hard being there from mid morning leaving me kicking my heels and wanting to keep going
That's why I don't leave SJPDP until around 11:00 after a stroll around twin and a leisurely breakfast.
 

AnaRosario

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Pomplano to Santiago (March 29-May 6 2018)
I know the best answer to this question is dependant on our physical conditioning and the weather, but I'm hoping for some advice from veterans who may be in similar physical condition. My husband and I will start our camino in SJPP on Sept. 8, 2022 and our plan has been to make the trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day. Everything we read initially made it seem "do-able" according to our current physical conditioning — as long as we do some additional training as we get closer. However, I've heard from at least one veteran and have read/seen a few posts recently that are making me second-guess. We are in our 50s with minor to moderate arthritis in the knees (i.e. mostly an elastic knee brace and anti-inflammatories when needed, and my husband has had day surgery to clean up the cartilage in one of his knees and occasional steroid shot); we've both been fairly active — he competed in triathlons up until 6 years ago and I still run and/or walk several miles almost daily. BUT, we do live at sea level and it's very flat here. We're planning to do some hill training on forest trails with our loaded packs (15-16 lbs) every few weeks starting in a month. For now we're focusing on walking 5-10 miles every other day (without our packs) and will soon start adding some 15-milers and walking with our packs a few times a week. Assuming that we stick to the conditioning plan and we've made good choices with our gear, and taking into account the weather in early September, we'd greatly value experienced feedback on whether that trek all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day is advisable or not. Thank you!
I would believe that all of this is pertinent to yourself and only you can answer those questions. But my only question is this a race for you or are you time-limited because I would never ever try to do that in one day ever and miss out on all the beauty around me
 

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