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Fear of heights and the Way from Le Puy

Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I've been reading a book which suggests there are a few spots in the first week from Le Puy which terrified the person writing because they have a fear of heights, i.e. walking between the wall of a cliff on one side and a scary, dangerous drop on the other. I'm a little bit afraid of heights myself so want to know what I am facing. Can anyone confirm or refute this impression? Thanks
 
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lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Hello @tallrobert

Are you able to say exactly where the cliff and scary drop might be or how many days the author had been walking before arriving at this point? I have walked la Voie du Puy in both directions and also La Regordane (GR 700) which passes through Le Puy and the GR 3 Gorge route to Cluny which exits Le Puy. I have no recollection on any of these trails of the place which the author mentions .

I have difficulty walking cliff ledges when there is a drop to my right. My brain panics and I have to turn to the cliff face and walk like a spider (face to cliff, hands on the wall, sideways stepping). But when the drop is to my left I don't seem to see it, so have no difficulty. In neither direction along la Voie du Puy or the other two trails exiting Le Puy did I have need to be a 'spider'. There are other GR trails in France where I have had vertigo but not on these ones.

Bon courage, Pèlerin!
-Lovingkindness
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Thank you for your reply @lovingkindness

I went back to reread the parts I was wondering about. It was actually the travelling companion (name changed) of the author who was challenged in two places. One day one from Le Puy to Montbonnet: "it was a long, hard climb out of Le Puy, then rugged and wild countryside, a narrow trail along a cliff edge...I did not know that Rolf is afraid of heights, making this a bit of a challenge for him". And on day three from Monistrol to Sauges: "In the first ninety minutes I climb out of the Allier Gorge...the cliffs are on my left, the gorge to my right. The views are spectacular, but I am more concerned about keeping my footing. After we reach the top and Rolf catches up, he tells me that he is afraid of heights and this bit scares him."

I too experience a bit of that brain panic when there is a sharp drop to the right. I don't recall having resorted to using the spider walk (haha, love that description!) but I was hoping I wouldn't have to on this trip. Your comments provide some reassurance that won't be the case. Merci!
 

TMcA

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I recall a rocky descent into Monistrol and also one before Conques but neither was beside a cliff or drop-off. I have twice walked the initial 100 kilometers of this route and I think you have nothing to worry about. There is an alternate route out of Conques that is steep and offers fine views, but that can be avoided. Ask for directions at the Tourist Office in Conques.

Bon chemin.
 
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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
I have no memory of any cliff walks on the Le Puy and I walked as far as Auvillar. I have an aversion to cliff edges, but recall nothing much bothersome at all.
 

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
I agree, I can't remember anything too frightening. It is a rocky steep climb down into Monistrol, which I found awkward, but I did not think I would fall off - more worried about falling down onto the path and hurting knees and ankles. I vaguely recall warnings about a climb out of, or into, I think, Cahors, where one there was supposed to be a choice between a rope (?) ladder or the gently longer route. But if there was I did not take any note of it.
 
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300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2015 and2016, Le Puy to Santiago 2017, Porto to Santiago 2018, Lisbon & Olvidado 2021
I, as well, have walked from Le Puy to Santiago. The only spot, which I was amazed about, was as mentioned above: the climb of the cliff face out of Cahors. It is not so much the climb itself, which is short steep climb, but that with a pack, the balancing is different and so I was concerned and felt uncomfortable. That one spot would be something you might look to avoid, perhaps by getting assist with pack up cliff or taxi to upper level road.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The only such location I have ever come across, without previously getting lost LOL (though my impression is that an easier path has been made since), was on the route up from Oloron to the Somport.

My sense though is that some people tend to use the word "cliff" for not just sharp drop-down vertical precipices, but also for any steeper decline.
 

Lee Jackson

Remotelee
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Apr-may 2017 Portugues (2018) Norte (2018) Le Puy (2019) Celtic (2019) Frances (2019)
I've been reading a book which suggests there are a few spots in the first week from Le Puy which terrified the person writing because they have a fear of heights, i.e. walking between the wall of a cliff on one side and a scary, dangerous drop on the other. I'm a little bit afraid of heights myself so want to know what I am facing. Can anyone confirm or refute this impression? Thanks
I also walked the Le Puy route and don’t remember and cliff or drop.
 

Suzanne H

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
hi @tallrobert! I agree with all others that there should be few (if any) height concerns along the Le Puy. My recollection of the first several days where the trail is off-road and footing is poor, is that there are almost always alternate paths (including the choice to stick with the road). The miam miam dodo books and maps often provide info about alternative paths (solely in French), and google maps can also give one feedback, as needed. I find that the individuals who manage the trails try to keep hikers off the roadways as often as possible as a matter of safety, often requiring more “footwork” and proper hiking vs walking — but this is a minority of spots along the route. The climb out of Cahors is the only “cliff” that I recall that might elicit such a response. Although the climb away from the Allier was steep, I don’t recall it being dangerous.
 

Katia Taam

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Every year, since 2000. Most times portuguese camino also twice the french camiño. Two time Le Puy .
I do have fear of heighs and I did feel insecure when climbing outside Cahors. I was difficult for me specially the second time as it was raining and I had to go very slowly not to slip on the mud.
 
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flickchic98

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 18,2015 - June 23,2015 El Camino Frances
May 25, 2017 - June 30th, 2017 Le Puy to Moissac
I walked half way to Moissac and do not recall any scary parts - and I suffer from really bad vertigo. But I went in 2017 - I wonder if your friend took an alternate route? I stuck with GR65 the whole way.
For me the scariest part was walking through a cow field (among the cows) and they were blocking the exit. So I had to climb a fence with the help of two French ladies (angels that showed up out of nowhere!) but I digress.
 

jsalt

Jill
Year of past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I have a fear of heights, and have walked from Le Puy, and cannot recall anywhere, until I crossed the bridge into Portomarin, where I had to walk in the road with the traffic. I would definitely remember if there had been anywhere in France.
 

Walton

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
One thing that will assist is walking poles.

You have two feet on the ground and if you have two poles, you have two more ground contact points and you have a stabilizer should your real feet slip of skid.

Pacer poles have saved me from a tumble a couple of times and I wouldn't hike without them but I think any kind of pole would be better than none.

I too hate heights but with poles feel a little more secure especially when wearing a 10 kg backpack.

Cheers

Graham
 
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Michelle_McA

Paso corto, vista larga
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
One last chime-in! I do not recall any cliffs or situations like steep drops when I walked from Le Puy to Saint Jean all alone. I would have remembered that. Now crossing the Pyrenees I remember vast views, but nothing from Le Puy to the border. Bon chemin!!
 

Trevor Ockenden

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Estella, Le Puy to Cahore, Porto to SdC
If you branch of the GR76 onto the GR36 for the last week into Cahors you travel down the Selle River which has a number of such exposed, but in my opinion, safe sections. This might be what has been referred to.

For those that do not suffer issues with height I can confirm the GR36 is very beautiful and spectacular.

Bon camino
Trevor
 

Allyson Hughes

just one more...
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances fall of 2017
Le Puy en Velay Aug-Sept 2019 and
Camino Frances Sept.-November 2019
I did the LPEV (and CF) and don't recall any scary cliffs. The hike out of Cahors after the bridge is steep but short and the hike in to Conques is rocky and steep but doable. I did much of the trail in a heat wave and it was stifling (August 2019) and I did the alternative Cele route for 3 days and there are a few cliffs but not scary; I definitely recommend it...it is beautiful. I stayed in Montbonnet and recall the vast windy sweeping valley below but don't recall it being on a steep trail....it was beautiful as the whole route. The Aubrac is gorgeous. Enjoy! PS...I am 71...not a spring chicken!
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
On my second walk from Le Puy, in spring, 2013, I took the road from Saint-Privat dÁllier to Monistrol, because I remembered the steep climb down from the chapel, which even on a dry , hot day in August 2009, was difficult but not scary.
The road was quiet, with nice view to the river, nice walk.
I also chose the road down from Aubrac to Saint-Chely dÁubrac since I remembered the path as difficult.
May that year was wet and cold, and water was a challenge some places.
 
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lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
... One day one from Le Puy to Montbonnet: "it was a long, hard climb out of Le Puy, then rugged and wild countryside, a narrow trail along a cliff edge...I did not know that Rolf is afraid of heights, making this a bit of a challenge for him". And on day three from Monistrol to Sauges: "In the first ninety minutes I climb out of the Allier Gorge...the cliffs are on my left, the gorge to my right. The views are spectacular, but I am more concerned about keeping my footing. After we reach the top and Rolf catches up, he tells me that he is afraid of heights and this bit scares him."
hi there!

Here are some terms to consider. If I were to describe my experience along la Voie du Puy using the terms below, I would say that I went for a very long hike, with some days of walking, and a need for careful footwork in several places eg the sharp stoney descents between Le Cher and St-Privat-d'Allier and between Rochegude and Monistrol. [edited]

Climbing
800px-Pictograms-nps-land-technical_rock_climbing.svg.png

Scrambling
human-hand-foot-prints-stylized-260nw-1862604016.jpg

Hiking
hiking clip art.png

Rambling
Behold_ye_Ramblers photo by Tom Stevenson 1 Jan 1935.jpg
photo by Tom Stevenson (Jan 1, 1935)

Walking
828-8286564_walking-tour-pedestrian-walkway-symbol.jpg
 
Last edited:

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
...Oh dear, it looks like I have deadened this conversation some what by speaking of terminology and using black symbols. So sorry. Being impulsive and occassionally locked into my own way of thinking, I find it helpful to ask others on the forum what they think about things. With this in mind I initiated a conversation about terminology here. The responses are wonderful!

Cheers
lovingkindness
 

Patrice C

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
On my second walk from Le Puy, in spring, 2013, I took the road from Saint-Privat dÁllier to Monistrol, because I remembered the steep climb down from the chapel, which even on a dry , hot day in August 2009, was difficult but not scary.
The road was quiet, with nice view to the river, nice walk.
I also chose the road down from Aubrac to Saint-Chely dÁubrac since I remembered the path as difficult.
May that year was wet and cold, and water was a challenge some places.
When you say you took the road, did you walk on the road the entire way? Was there any difficulty with cars?
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
When you say you took the road, did you walk on the road the entire way? Was there any difficulty with cars?
Quiet road from Saint -Privat to Monistrol, met only a couple of cars. Better view than on the camino, but you loose the little chapel , which was closed when I walked past on my first walk in 2009.
 

Synergy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy - Sept/Oct 17
I remember thinking at the time the climb out of Cahors might be a bit nerve-wracking for some, especially when wet or windy.
This came up with a google image search:
 

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