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Great Saint Bernard Pass altitude

Billy Buell

Walking Willie
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Francis, May, 2012
Plan VdlP May 2015
Starting VF at the GSBP and wonder if I need to climatize myself for the 2000m elevation. I live at sea level.
 
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Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Typically altitude sickness doesn't kick in until 10,000 ft (3100m), unless one is a smoker or has some other lung compromising condition, so I suspect you're safe. It will always help if you can spend the preceding night at the altitude. And carry Rolaids!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Starting VF at the GSBP and wonder if I need to climatize myself for the 2000m elevation. I live at sea level.
Hi Billy,
I was there last month and it was perfectly fine. No worries. Be prepared though for some stunning views! :cool:
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
Starting VF at the GSBP and wonder if I need to climatize myself for the 2000m elevation. I live at sea level.
You hopefully know Your body better than anyone here on the forum or elsewhere.
Maybe you do give yourself some time or slower pace when up there. And then there is the jetlag if you are just flying in...

For those kind of questions are no cookie-cutter responses.
Or...if there are...it is at your own peril.

I just moved from sealevel up to much higher altitudes...and it has been taking awhile for my body to be catching up.... and not to be huffing and puffing that much.
There are other things than altitude sickness to consider....

You will have to find out... take it easy and mellow...give your body and spirit time to adjust.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
As @Amorfati says, there are no cookie-cutter answers, but unless you have pre-existing medical limitations, I wouldn't be too concerned. You'll notice, the difference, certainly. But going slower and easier than usual will probably be enough.
I just came down from being in some 'serious' mountains (5000+m passes) and found that going slowly and drinking enough were the keys to comfort. Push the pace or slack off on hydration and the body will definitely give you feedback.
Gently, gently...
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Just one thing: you don't stay at 2400m for long, it's all downhill!
The problem isn't (in my experience) getting used to the altitude but managing the steep descent, which can be quite hard on the legs and knees....
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Just one thing: you don't stay at 2400m for long, it's all downhill!
The problem isn't (in my experience) getting used to the altitude but managing the steep descent, which can be quite hard on the legs and knees....

Exactly my experience. I also live near sea level. I walked from Orsieres (887m) to GSB (2469m) in one day and only noticed a very slight shortage of breath at the col. The following day the route descends very quickly to Aosta (583m). You are most unlikely to suffer any ill effects from altitude.
 

Harington

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Typically altitude sickness doesn't kick in until 10,000 ft (3100m), unless one is a smoker or has some other lung compromising condition, so I suspect you're safe. It will always help if you can spend the preceding night at the altitude. And carry Rolaids!
I live in flat country, and until I am walking fit I find that 2000+m causes a bit of breathlessness, however fit I am.
 

Billy Buell

Walking Willie
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Francis, May, 2012
Plan VdlP May 2015
Hi Billy , no need for it.

I live below sea level and I don't do it .

Wish you well,Peter.
Thanks Peter, to my aid again. And thanks to all for the helpful replies. I'm in good shape and will take it slow and easy the first few days. Starting Sept 18. Very excited (my 4th Pilgrimage). Billy
 
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Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Year of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Thanks Peter, to my aid again. And thanks to all for the helpful replies. I'm in good shape and will take it slow and easy the first few days. Starting Sept 18. Very excited (my 4th Pilgrimage). Billy
You will do just fine,enjoy your self.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
One every year since 2007
Starting VF at the GSBP and wonder if I need to climatize myself for the 2000m elevation. I live at sea level.
The answer is: not necessarily if you are only walking down from the pass. In one day you'll be past Etroubles into Aosta, and will feel perfectly adapted to walk the successive parts of the Francigena. :cool:
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Starting VF at the GSBP and wonder if I need to climatize myself for the 2000m elevation. I live at sea level.
I've lived at sea level all my life and have twice crossed the Gr St Bernard. I also have asthma but haven't had any problems staying there or crossing there.
You'll be fine!
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Thanks Peter, to my aid again. And thanks to all for the helpful replies. I'm in good shape and will take it slow and easy the first few days. Starting Sept 18. Very excited (my 4th Pilgrimage). Billy
Hi Billy - I'm starting the VF from Aosta with my friend Sally 0n 19 September. Sally walked from Lausanne to Aosta in late June and I'm joining her to finish the pilgrimage. We're slow walkers and we don't walk more than 20kms a day so you'll probably catch up with us and pass us very quickly. Look for the tall blonde Aussie - Sally - and the shorter friend - another Aussie - me ... I'm the one with 'Spot', my wonderful hiking trailer. Sally and I are known as P1 and P2 - a pilgrim play on B1 and B2 - Bananas in Pyjamas. :)
Buona Camminata -
Jenny
 
Last edited:

Billy Buell

Walking Willie
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Francis, May, 2012
Plan VdlP May 2015
Hi Billy - I'm starting the VF from Aosta with my friend Sally 0n 19 September. Sally walked from Lausanne to Aosta in late June and I'm joining her to finish the pilgrimage. We're slow walkers and we don't walk more than 20kms a day so you'll probably catch up with us and pass us very quickly. Look for the tall blonde Aussie - Sally - and the shorter friend - another Aussie - me ... I'm the one with 'Spot', my wonderful hiking trailer. Sally and I are known as P1 and P2 - a pilgrim play on B1 and B2 - Bananas in Pyjamas. :)
Buona Camminata -
Jenny
Hi Billy - I'm starting the VF from Aosta with my friend Sally 0n 19 September. Sally walked from Lausanne to Aosta in late June and I'm joining her to finish the pilgrimage. We're slow walkers and we don't walk more than 20kms a day so you'll probably catch up with us and pass us very quickly. Look for the tall blonde Aussie - Sally - and the shorter friend - another Aussie - me ... I'm the one with 'Spot', my wonderful hiking trailer. Sally and I are known as P1 and P2 - a pilgrim play on B1 and B2 - Bananas in Pyjamas. :)
Buona Camminata -
Jenny
Jenny. Just bought my flight. I arrive in Geneva Sept 19 at 10:a.m. I'm meeting up with my Aussie friend John. Don't know where we will stay that night but I would like to get to Don Angelo Carionic hostel. About 2 k from border in Italy. Going to see if BlaBla has a ride. Yes we should meet up, we are not rushing but plan to walk 500 k this time. Very exciting. Billy
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Jenny. Just bought my flight. I arrive in Geneva Sept 19 at 10:a.m. I'm meeting up with my Aussie friend John. Don't know where we will stay that night but I would like to get to Don Angelo Carionic hostel. About 2 k from border in Italy. Going to see if BlaBla has a ride. Yes we should meet up, we are not rushing but plan to walk 500 k this time. Very exciting. Billy
Sally and I hope to see you and John on those ancient and magnificent paths as we all wend our way south. It'll be wonderful to meet you both.
Buon Camino!
 

Billy Buell

Walking Willie
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Francis, May, 2012
Plan VdlP May 2015
Sally and I hope to see you and John on those ancient and magnificent paths as we all wend our way south. It'll be wonderful to meet you both.
Buon Camino!
Thanks Jenny and Sally. Weather looks terrible this week at the Pass. Hope it warms and drys up. Best wishes for your enjoyment. Billy
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Year of past OR future Camino
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Cheers Billy, and thanks. We're hoping for warm, autumnal weather too.
Best wishes to you and John - take joy in every step.
Jenny
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Wishing you good weather at the Pass, you are not there for long.
Even on 10th July it was quite cold (5 deg. or so) and it rained so hard whilst we were having supper the hosts asked us to go and make sure our bedroom windows were tightly closed...
Fortunately it warms up quickly once you start walking ;) Oh and you'll get to see the dogs, I missed them as they were only coming back on 14th July.
Enjoy and buon caminno!
 
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sulu

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
a few since 2010
I'm afraid Billy will have had a very cold and snowy descent from the St Bernard Pass, I was up there on the 18th and descended on the 19th, it was snowing and bitterly cold but lovely down in Aosta.
 
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Corned Beef

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Can I start the italian Via Francigena from Gran St Benards pass early to mid May !

The pass usually opens at mid-June until October. The 2021 opening was delayed from 4th June due to unstable snow.


I crossed in May 2019 by local transport as the pass had "unstable" snow then too.
 

El Condor 2014

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I plan to walk El Camino (2014)
The pass usually opens at mid-June until October. The 2021 opening was delayed from 4th June due to unstable snow.


I crossed in May 2019 by local transport as the pass had "unstable" snow then too.
@Corned Beef, Thanks for the info. After researching and reading some articles on the GSBP , I think I will start the 2nd week of June . Thanks once again !
 

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