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Conditions in Roncesvalles

DTCamino

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino de Madrid 2023
I’m hearing the Camino between Roncevalles and Zubiri is currently covered in snow and you have to walk on the road between the two towns.

Anyone currently walking that can give an update?
 
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I’m planning to arrive in Roncesvalles Saturday night (March 4th) from Pamplona by taxi and will begin walking to Zubiri Sunday morning.

A Spanish pilgrim just told me he called the albergue in Roncesvalles and that there are 50cm of snow and that everyone is walking on the highway.

Can anyone confirm this?

Also, how is that walk on the highway? Is it still pretty doable? From what I can tell it adds 4-5km to the day.

Any issues with taxis getting from Pamplona to Roncesvalles? I imagine it’s just the Camino that is snowed over and that the roads are clear by now.

This is my first Camino and I’m just looking for info incase it’s a better idea to start elsewhere.

Thanks!
 
Any issues with taxis getting from Pamplona to Roncesvalles? I imagine it’s just the Camino that is snowed over and that the roads are clear by now.
The road from Pamplona to Roncesvalles and to Saint Jean Pied de Port is cleared rather quickly. @Ianinam who has been a volunteer hospitalero at the Roncesvalles albergue many times confirmed this recently. Here are some photos from Twitter from a few weeks ago this year. As you can see the snowplows push the snow to the side so that it is impossible for pedestrians to step sidewards - not that there is much room anyway. The second tweet says: 60 cm of snow at 1057 m (which is the highest point of this road and close to Roncesvalles).

(Click to enlarge)
Valcarlos road.jpg
 
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I’m hearing the Camino between Roncevalles and Zubiri is currently covered in snow and you have to walk on the road between the two towns. Anyone currently walking that can give an update?
A Spanish pilgrim just told me he called the albergue in Roncesvalles and that there are 50cm of snow and that everyone is walking on the highway. Can anyone confirm this?
I understand that people are anxious to know for certain what the weather, the snow depth and the trail condition are like when they want to start walking. But what does it help to know what it is like today and what is was like the day before yesterday when you walk in four days' time or four weeks' time? You need to inform yourself about both the likely weather and the actual trail conditions on the day you walk.

It snowed heavily a few days ago at the altitude of Roncesvalles (923 m) and the Erro pass (801 m - on the road and on the trail between Roncesvalles and Zubiri) and the Ibañeta pass (1057 m - on the road and on the trail between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles). It is cold and the snow that has fallen is not likely to have vanished from the ground. It may snow tomorrow evening and through the night to Friday; the forecast has still a low predictability for Roncesvalles, for the Puerto de Ibañeta and for the Puerto de Erro - see meteoblue.com for these three locations and their visual Meteogram (scroll down).

There is a bus, run by the Artieda bus company, that leaves Roncesvalles for Zubiri and Pamplona Mondays to Saturdays at 9:20 am. Go to Roncesvalles, it is lovely. Get up to date information there when you have arrived. Then either walk as advised or take a taxi or the bus to Zubiri.
 
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I imagine it’s just the Camino that is snowed over and that the roads are clear by now.
No need to leave things to the imagination. :cool:

The wonders of the World Wide Web allow you to check in near real-time, see the traffic map for Navarra: https://administracionelectronica.navarra.es/IncCarreteras/Mapa.aspx
The map tells you whether a section of a road is closed due to snow on the road (snowflake on red background) or whether it is open with snow chains required (snowflake on yellow background).
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
here is actually a guy doing this etappe
He was already past Zubiri when the weather changed and it started to snow. The weather changed abruptly from a beautiful sunny spring day (his words in SJPP) to a winter day (his words for Zubiri-Pamplona section) where the weather was "so so bad".

He says that nothing was open and he barely stopped, only to pee or to get a new water bottle out of his backpack. He says that he tried to get through the cold rain and snow from Zubiri to Pamplona as fast as possible.

And in Pamplona he says that the sky is blue; that's it is hard to believe: that within a few hours the weather had totally changed (again).

Obviously, Pamplona is much further to the south and out of the mountains area. Pamplona's altitude is 400 meters lower than the Erro pass on the Camino near Zubiri and 600 meters lower than Roncesvalles and the nearby Ibañeta pass on the Camino. That makes a big difference in temperature and depth and duration of snow cover (if any).
 
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Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I’m hearing the Camino between Roncevalles and Zubiri is currently covered in snow and you have to walk on the road between the two towns.

Anyone currently walking that can give an update?
Just walked through that section 2 days ago, snowed all day and was very cold at -6, we were advised/instructed to use the road by the pilgrims office in SJP, good advice as treacherous conditions, this added about 6kms to the route, very hard day walking, so glad when we arrived in Roncevalles.
 
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Luggage from SJPP to Roncevalles
For safely sake, and compliance with Spanish law, wear a high visibility vest (or at least something high vis) and use it while road walking, particularly in bad weather.

Make it easier for the traffic to see you!

Walk single file, in the direction of oncoming traffic (so the left side of the road), so you can see what’s coming and perhaps you can jump if necessary.

The guys walking in the video above are just dark blobs…
 
Just walked through that section 2 days ago, snowed all day and was very cold at -6, we were advised/instructed to use the road by the pilgrims office in SJP, good advice as treacherous conditions, this added about 6kms to the route, very hard day walking, so glad when we arrived in Roncevalles.
Timk, did you end up walking on the road between Roncevalles and Zubiri as well?
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
He was already past Zubiri when the weather changed and it started to snow. The weather changed abruptly from a beautiful sunny spring day (his words in SJPP) to a winter day (his words for Zubiri-Pamplona section) where the weather was "so so bad".

He says that nothing was open and he barely stopped, only to pee or to get a new water bottle out of his backpack. He says that he tried to get through the cold rain and snow from Zubiri to Pamplona as fast as possible.

And in Pamplona he says that the sky is blue; that's it is hard to believe: that within a few hours the weather had totally changed (again).

Obviously, Pamplona is much further to the south and out of the mountains area. Pamplona's altitude is 400 meters lower than the Erro pass on the Camino near Zubiri and 600 meters lower than Roncesvalles and the nearby Ibañeta pass on the Camino. That makes a big difference in temperature and depth and duration of snow cover (if any).
I guess its about the levitation.
But wether can change . I would not be to much afraid of wether . Along the Camino you can have any wether .
 
The initial section yes as the yrack was not visible, some people did it and it was slow going, later sections had snow but were passable, best to use your judgement on the day, good luck
Thank you, Timk. That’s helpful to know.
 
Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading Abbey to Southampton, 110 kms
The YouTube videos of the guy who is currently walking (see earlier link) make a bit of a pleasant change from the usual ones: he publishes two versions, one with his commentary in German and the other one in English.

He has also published a few videos of his preparation for the Camino Frances that he planned to start at the end of February. I've learnt a new expression: "shakedown hikes". In one of the videos about such a shakedown hike, he remarks that on that day was the perfect weather for testing his winter gear for the Camino; the video shows a snow-covered trail through a forest with snow-covered trees ... ☺️
 
I understand that people are anxious to know for certain what the weather, the snow depth and the trail condition are like when they want to start walking. But what does it help to know what it is like today and what is was like the day before yesterday when you walk in four days' time or four weeks' time? You need to inform yourself about both the likely weather and the actual trail conditions on the day you walk.

It snowed heavily a few days ago at the altitude of Roncesvalles (923 m) and the Erro pass (801 m - on the road and on the trail between Roncesvalles and Zubiri) and the Ibañeta pass (1057 m - on the road and on the trail between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles). It is cold and the snow that has fallen is not likely to have vanished from the ground. It may snow tomorrow evening and through the night to Friday; the forecast has still a low predictability for Roncesvalles, for the Puerto de Ibañeta and for the Puerto de Erro - see meteoblue.com for these three locations and their visual Meteogram (scroll down).

There is a bus, run by the Artieda bus company, that leaves Roncesvalles for Zubiri and Pamplona Mondays to Saturdays at 9:20 am. Go to Roncesvalles, it is lovely. Get up to date information there when you have arrived. Then either walk as advised or take a taxi or the bus to Zubiri.
I agree, I’d start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona at this time of year.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I agree, I’d start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona at this time of year.
It really depends on a number of factors. Tomorrow, Sunday 5 March 2023, promises to be a brilliant day for walking from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles. Weather forecast is already stable, sunshine all day long, no precipitation whatsoever, a bit nippy during the morning with 2 ºC (feeling like -1 ºC) but 8 ºC by midday and 10 ºC in the early afternoon on the Ibañeta pass, and the Pilgrim Office in SJPP is likely to be able to tell you whether you can walk on the Camino trail all the way or should switch to the road now and then. I would probably not want to miss it, especially not the panoramic views from the pass ....
 
Walking from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles tomorrow is likely to be like in this recent tweet from the Navarra police in reference to today's pilgrimage to Javier (mentioned in a different thread today). The police tweeted: Today, the cold does not freeze the spirits of the people making the pilgrimage to Javier. And the road sign says: Warning. Pilgrims on foot ahead.

 
In Pamplona today, just came SJPP/ Valcarlos/ Roncesvalles / Zubiri over the last 4 days (I am a slow goer). I concur with many comments above:

1) inform yourself of current weather
2) have proper clothes and shoes for the worst weather, as it can change in 15 min
3) start the day with proper food and water. A good breakfast is important - your calorie requirements shoot up as the temp drops
4) over the last 4 days the snow at the top was firmly in place and the paths were a tough slog.
5) Still quite cold on the way down, right into Pamplona.
6) Great weather to hike, but have multiple layers with you on the trail to put on and off. I cycled through layers 1, 2, 3, 4 over the day, including down to 1 layer in clear mountain sun and back to 3 in the shadow of a ridge. Temp swung 10C in the deep shade.

Be safe, my prayers are with you all.
 
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