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Comparing alpinista route with StJPdP-Ronscesvalles

cathyke50

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (St Jean to Belorado; Astorga to Santiago)
I'm thinking of starting the Camino del Norte next May (all things being well!) and would like to walk the alpinista route from Irun to Pasajes, because the views sound spectacular. However, I'm a bit nervous about how tough it might be. How does it compare with the route over the Pyrenees on the Camino Frances from St Jean to Roncesvalles? I found this ok, but I did spend the night at the albergue in Orisson, so didn't do the whole thing in a day. Would be useful to know how these two routes compare. Thanks!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, cathyke50,

Welcome to the forum. I think that the “alpinista route” nomenclature is a pretty big overstatement. This ascent is nothing like the climb from SJPP. Some discussion from earlier threads — here

I think the total ascent is only about 500 m, which would put it at less than half the total ascent between SJPP and Roncesvalles (roughly 1300 m). So I think you will be fine, and fingers crossed for a sunny day, because the views are spectacular.

And though you didn’t ask about this, I will also encourage you to take the GR 121 (red and white bands of paint) when you do the ascent after Pasajes de San Juan. It hugs the coast and avoids asphalt, which is prevalent on the Norte. More info on this alternative and others that take you off the asphalt here.

Sorry, I try not to answer questions that people didn’t ask, so feel free to ignore, but just in case you are looking for better coastal walking than the arrows will give you, that’s one resource.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

cathyke50

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (St Jean to Belorado; Astorga to Santiago)
Thanks Laurie, that's very reassuring! And many thanks for recommending the GR 121 - I'd like to spend as much time near the coast as possible. Do you have other recommendations for avoiding asphalt? I'm only planning to walk for a week, so I won't get very far, but if you have any alternative routes beyond San Sebastian that would be very good to know - thanks!
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I didn't do the Alpinista route - it was raining and I was tired, but I have a tip on where to stay in Pasajes. There is a small albergue, but since I got a late start I didn't want to worry about beds being available, so I made a reservation at a guest house - Casa Txurdin, which I learned about here on the forum.
You can call/message her on WhatsApp. The number is +34685475733.
 

Joe.Iozzi

Member since 2016
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2015, Camino Portuguese 2016, Camino del Norte 2017,
The first day's climb may only be 500 meters but what makes the first week of the Notre tough is the cumulative accent and decent, over 4,000 meters in the first week. I agree with Laurie's recommendation to take the GR. You can follow the GR trail along the coast most of the way to Ribadeo. The views are great.
 
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cathyke50

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (St Jean to Belorado; Astorga to Santiago)
I didn't do the Alpinista route - it was raining and I was tired, but I have a tip on where to stay in Pasajes. There is a small albergue, but since I got a late start I didn't want to worry about beds being available, so I made a reservation at a guest house - Casa Txurdin, which I learned about here on the forum.
You can call/message her on WhatsApp. The number is +34685475733.
Thanks Trecile, that's really useful!
 

cathyke50

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (St Jean to Belorado; Astorga to Santiago)
The first day's climb may only be 500 meters but what makes the first week of the Notre tough is the cumulative accent and decent, over 4,000 meters in the first week. I agree with Laurie's recommendation to take the GR. You can follow the GR trail along the coast most of the way to Ribadeo. The views are great.
Thanks Joe
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
Agreed that the Alpinista route is just glorious. When the route splits there is an initial very very short section which is really really steep but after this it's perhaps more like the walk from Orrison to Roncesvalles... it goes up but it's gentle and easily do-able. I stopped frequently to just look at the view!

I wish wish wish we had stopped at Pasajes - it was really hot on the day we walk and we were so tired when we reached this town. By the time we reached San Sebastian we were exhausted from the heat and the hills. Although I should add that we did both come down with a coughing bug a few days later which may have added to the tiredness... we walked in 2018 and honestly we can't wait to go back and walk it again! such a beautiful walk!
 
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cathyke50

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (St Jean to Belorado; Astorga to Santiago)
Agreed that the Alpinista route is just glorious. When the route splits there is an initial very very short section which is really really steep but after this it's perhaps more like the walk from Orrison to Roncesvalles... it goes up but it's gentle and easily do-able. I stopped frequently to just look at the view!

I wish wish wish we had stopped at Pasajes - it was really hot on the day we walk and we were so tired when we reached this town. By the time we reached San Sebastian we were exhausted from the heat and the hills. Although I should add that we did both come down with a coughing bug a few days later which may have added to the tiredness... we walked in 2018 and honestly we can't wait to go back and walk it again! such a beautiful walk!
Thank you! That’s decided then - the alpinista it is! Roll on next May
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
We took the high route and it was fine. A bit of a scramble up the hill behind the Sanctuario de Guadalupe, but then it was reasonably flat along the ridge line.

But we did stop and stay at Passajes, and did not attempt to make it all the way to San Sebastian. We arrived late, because we did not set off from Irun until well after lunch. There was no room left at the albergue, so we camped out the front. Glorious view, very uncomfortable night! If I did it again, I'd definitely book with Casa Txurdin.

Compared to the climb over the Route Napoleon on the CF, I think that first climb is a piece of cake.
 

Camineiro

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
several
May be one more word to the “alpinista-route“:
I do agree to all the comments before, but ...

If you come along the Jaizkibel in wet, rainy weather, the steep slope at the beginning is as slippery as yellow soap. You do 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
In addition in rainy weather the top of the mountain is most likely covered in fog or clouds.
You won‘t see nothing up there.

So when you come to the way junction take a deep breath and ask yourself whether it is really worth the effort to crawl up the steep slope.
There is a pleasant alternative route leading to Pasajes.

To make it clear: if the weather is good, sunshine and blue skies - no doubt - take the high road.
In case it‘s rainy, foggy and muddy ... take the low road.



I‘ve done both, the high and the low road and know what I‘m talking about. 😉

Ultreya
Uwe


Way junction

Jaizkibel panorama
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
May be one more word to the “alpinista-route“:
I do agree to all the comments before, but ...

If you come along the Jaizkibel in wet, rainy weather, the steep slope at the beginning is as slippery as yellow soap. You do 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
In addition in rainy weather the top of the mountain is most likely covered in fog or clouds.
You won‘t see nothing up there.

So when you come to the way junction take a deep breath and ask yourself whether it is really worth the effort to crawl up the steep slope.
There is a pleasant alternative route leading to Pasajes.

To make it clear: if the weather is good, sunshine and blue skies - no doubt - take the high road.
In case it‘s rainy, foggy and muddy ... take the low road.



I‘ve done both, the high and the low road and know what I‘m talking about. 😉

Ultreya
Uwe


Way junction

Jaizkibel panorama
Unfortunately for me, it was rainy the day I walked.
That means that I need to do it again!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
We started the Norte in San Sabastian, spending two days enjoying the beautiful city. In addition to the wonderful tapas and lovely beaches, my very favorite thing to do was hiking to the top of Monte Urgall with its lush vegetation, glorious views below, and interesting fort at the top; it is unforgetable! Don't miss it!
20160422_142622.jpg 20160422_125801.jpg
 
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