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How tough is SJPdP to Roncesvalles... Need Advice

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
 

ECLIPSEPUP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 SJPDP - BURGOS
Hi Jjin. Having done this last year in June when it was seriously hot, I would say that it is a challenge but all do able. I am short a bit overweight smoke and drink and made the walk unscathed :) No training at all. You are so ahead of the game already. There were parts were I wanted to cry but maybe being a bit of a baby :) I would recommend sending your bag with paqmochila@correos.com This is the Spanish post office service, I think. We used for all baggage transfer. About 5 euros per drop. Much cheaper than a taxi. Good luck and Buen Camino amigo :)
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
Given your training, I think you should be fine. You may need your pack - the weather could change, you might need to eat something, maybe you’ll get a blister.... at the very least carry a small pack with everything you might need during the day (or just carry your pack :) ).

It is a slow, steady, gorgeous climb for approximately two thirds of the way, then a fairly steep descent the last third of the way (also beautiful). I was not prepared for the downhill; it really hurt my toes. I would recommend doing some hill work with your pack on (you could do this on s treadmill if you don’t live near hills).

Definitely stop for lunch at Orrison and carry a snack for later.

Hope that helps! Buen Camino!
 

hfbloomer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances began May 14, 2018, ended in Logrono. Beginning again from Logrono on May7, 2019.
I'll be a couple of weeks ahead of you and have dealt with the same anxiety by booking at Orisson, as SYates suggests. It will make for a short day, but that's not a bad thing on the first day.
 

Galloglaigh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Part 1 (2017)/ Part 2 (2018), VF Part 1 (2018)
You'll likely be able to do it in one go. Against that will be

a) carrying your rucksack rather than using ExpressBouricott and
b) the weather. Cold weather will hold you back.

The secondary issue is if you do decide to do it in one, how much of your energy will you have expended on the first day at the expense of days 2 and 3. I'm a seasoned walker but it did take a day or so to get back into the game on days 2 and 3 after doing it. It's just a long, slow uphill walk.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
I think we were probably about the same level of fitness and "first day at school" doubts. We stopped at Orisson as we had no time constraints. Also it is a long long way to Santiago and it seemed prudent to ease into our Camino. It proved a wise decision as both days had atrocious weather. Bad enough and would have been worse if doing the full distance. However., the unexpected benefit of Orisson was the communal dinner with the chance to meet other pilgrims. We made some good friends from that dinner!
 

Bernie Brunino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2017)
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
I think you're freaking because you're getting close to the start date. It's a tough day but their are tougher and everyone of them worth while. I am a couple of years older than you, roughly the same weight pack when I walked it last year and I did fine - it was hard but not scary. Keep your pack and enjoy the walk. You'll love it. Have water though. I found lack of drinkable water fountains on this first day or I just missed them. Nonetheless, on the safe side, have water with you. Enjoy and Buen Camino.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day? Yes it was hard but later on walking 41 kms in a day on the Meseta (flat) in the heat, topped it. The views if its fine are worth it. We arrived at 3pm.
  2. How tough is it? The first few hours up to Orisson are steep, just shorten your stride, stop when you need, and keep going. Fuel up at the Orisson cafe. It gets a bit less steep after that. Stop and rest when you need, rather than toughing it out without stopping. Its not a race, enjoy it.
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?) , No I carried it. I'm 5'1", was 57 when I walked over, my friend was 69. my pack was 6 kgs. We were both fit, but she suffered a heart arrhythmia a few weeks before we went and tired more quickly than normal.
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? You'll need a daypack anyway, but it would lighten your load. It would definitely make the climb easier, and doesnt cost much. Carrying my pack wasn't really an issue for me, the important thing is that it fits very comfortably.
You are already training a lot, your fitness will be fine, many people dont prepare at all.
You will meet pilgrims at Roncesvalles, Orisson is quite small, many more go on to Roncesvalles, so you wont miss out on meeting other pilgrims. In fact lots of people start their Camino at Roncesvalles. The dinner at Roncesvalles is a great memory, and we met some of our pilgrim family there. I wouldn't change my first day for anything.
Take enough water, there are not too many places to refill.
Enjoy that coffee and breakfast at Orisson.
I hope you get a beautiful day like I did.
 
Last edited:

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
I think you're freaking because you're getting close to the start date. It's a tough day but their are tougher and everyone of them worth while. I am a couple of years older than you, roughly the same weight pack when I walked it last year and I did fine - it was hard but not scary. Keep your pack and enjoy the walk. You'll love it. Have water though. I found lack of drinkable water fountains on this first day or I just missed them. Nonetheless, on the safe side, have water with you. Enjoy and Buen Camino.
Yes, I might be the closeness that is freaking me out :)

Thanks for the tip on water!
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I completely concur.....

It can be done in a day as long as you have trained, you pace yourself, stop hourly for water (5 minutes), and above all start out early in the morning.
Keeping your pack with you is a "no brainer". In the event of an "issue" you would want to have it with you.
Go and enjoy yourself.
Buen Camino !
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Close? I am leaving tomorrow for Paris and will be in SJPP May 6. My pack is 5kg. You may be ok to carry 10kg but for 800 km? Over a number of days, day after day, that is my personal concern and why my pack weight was dropped to a very bare minimum.

There is always the other route out of SJPP, to Valcarlos. I am going that way as I anticipate it to be very quiet. Including distance adjustment for elevation, the Valcarlos Route of 4 km shorter than the Napoleon Route, based on Brierley. It is also a much easier climb. It can be done in two hikes of 12 km each, the first to Valcarlos and then the last 12 km to Roncesvalles, which includes the steepest climb in the last 4 km or so.

But this can also be discussed with the Volunteers in the Pilgrims' Office in SJPP. They are there, have the weather reports and are all seasoned Pilgrims / pelerin / peregrinos.

Something to consider.
 

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
Close? I am leaving tomorrow for Paris and will be in SJPP May 6. My pack is 5kg. You may be ok to carry 10kg but for 800 km? Over a number of days, day after day, that is my personal concern and why my pack weight was dropped to a very bare minimum.

There is always the other route out of SJPP, to Valcarlos. I am going that way as I anticipate it to be very quiet. Including distance adjustment for elevation, the Valcarlos Route of 4 km shorter than the Napoleon Route, based on Brierley. It is also a much easier climb. It can be done in two hikes of 12 km each, the first to Valcarlos and then the last 12 km to Roncesvalles, which includes the steepest climb in the last 4 km or so.

But this can also be discussed with the Volunteers in the Pilgrims' Office in SJPP. They are there, have the weather reports and are all seasoned Pilgrims / pelerin / peregrinos.

Something to consider.
Thanks for the advice. I didn't realize there were 2 ways...

YES... 10kg is more than I wanted :( to carry, but I have made the decision to do a daily blog and I will be carrying an iPad/camera/charger to make it happen. Altogether, the decision to blog cost me an extra ~2.5kg in weight. BUT, I know if I didn't blog on the trip, I would be kicking myself in the a$$ for not doing it:)... I just know it.

I'm still cutting out labels from my clothes to reduce weight :) plus other things. I'm hoping to get under 9kg... keep my weight in single digits.

Cheers,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
It is a long day, difficult. I stopped in Orrison, and enjoyed the people. Other advice is correct, if you are going the whole way start early. There is wisdom in starting slowly. The drop to Zubiri the following day is tough too. Decents are harder on your legs than inclines. I met a lot of injured pilgrims in Pamplona. If you dont have reservations now you probably cannot get them in Orrison now anyway. In your other thread I did mention bag transport you asked about. Super easy and cheap. Any place you are staying in SJPP can set you up.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
In Roncevalles you will find a table (I think on the 2nd floor of the Albergue) where Pilgrims have discarded many too heavy and unneeded items. Just a hunch, but you may find yourself discarding there as well.
Either way go and feel your way through. Your body will "speak" to you and let you know what to do.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
I'd suggest dumping the ipad, I took a Surface Pro in September last year because I wanted to do work emails at night. It was a waste of time, I was too tired at night to do any work and it weighed me down during the day. I'd suggest your average day will be getting up early, walking 20km, checking in, washing, relaxing, eating, chatting and sleeping. Enjoy the moment and the experience with your fellow pilgrims, write a diary if you must.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
If you really want to blog, go for it! I didn’t take my gear the first two times and felt some regret. The third time I took my iPad and full frame DSLR and was very happy I did! Keep training with your full weight in pack and be ready to take it nice and slow, it’s the speed that kills :) Worst case scenario you can always mail some of your belonging ahead to Ivar and pick them up when you arrive in SDC. Good luck and look forward to read your blog! Buen Camino. p.s. I took the Valcarlos route on my winter walks and you can break Day 1 in half if you want to make this leg much easier.
 

Monasp

I'm a manager of pilgrims office in SJPP
Camino(s) past & future
Camino in 2008.
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Hi,
Don't be so worried. When you arrive to SJPP you have to go to the pilgrims office, 39 rue de la Citadelle, and here the volunteers will give you all things and advices you need to start your Camino. They will answer all your questions. Be quiet and Buen Camino !
 

Traa

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I want to walk Camino in Sept/Oct 2017
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
You sound really fit and in great shape for this. You'll have no problems at all doing it in one day. Honestly some things I read make me wonder. The dramatization etc puts the fear of God in people. Myself included before I did it. My only advice is listen to your own head and body throughout the Camino and you will be absolutely flying it. If you could get your backpack down to 8/9kg would really benefit you so much.
Now,forgive me for asking but why oh why are you going to spend your time blogging?! Why not just enjoy it without being stuck in an iPad etc. I honestly don't get that at all,for the benefit of others not on the Camino?!
 

glenda

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2015
It is so exciting starting up the "big hill" I know I walked too fast on the first part and tired by the top, only to have to face the steep decline coming in to Roncesvalles. All that being said, I wouldn't have missed the experience of hiking the Pyrenees. I agree with taking your time, lots of rest breaks. As some have already mentioned, many complete the walk to Roncesvalles in one day, I think my experience just reminded me I am not in a race and needed to take my time.
 

dfox

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (4/2017)
CP (5/2019)
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
Cheers,
#1 & #2 - I "snail-ed" or "sloth-ed) up Pyrenees without carrying the back-pack one step and a time started around 7:30 am from SJPdP and arrived at the "monastery" around 4:30 pm. Was it tough? Even though I puffed a lot, it wasn't really.

#3 - I did send my backpack. A "courier" store was next to the Pilgrim office. The cost was eight euros. Ask a staffer in the Pilgrim office for advise/direction.

#4 - It is a judgement call on your side. I found the luggage transfer money was well spent for me.

If I were to "hike" this stage again, I would send my back-pack and walk with a light day-pack with chess strap.
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
I say start with the intention of going all the way to Roncesvalles, with your pack, and see how you feel when you get to Orrison. If you just can't go any further, and there are no rooms at Orrison, then you can cab it back down to SJPdP and sleep there, and then cab it back to Orrison the next morning and then walk to Roncesvalles. This breaks the tough first day in two, but I suspect, if you're like a lot of other pilgrims, that you will be super excited and hyped up and will want to go all the way to Roncesvalles on your first day. This is what I did, and let me tell you, I was sucking wind most of the way up the hill, out of SJPdP. So many people recommend staying at Orrison, as that is the where they meet much of their Camino family. One thing to note; if you send your pack ahead to Roncesvalles, then you're committed to going all the way.

Whatever you decide....Buen Camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
I agree with all of the above. I would add, you might want to look at what you are carrying? 22 lbs is a lot. I walked in April/May a couple of years ago, I was 67, and my pack had a few things I really didn't need, and it weighed 13 lbs.

I had no problems on that early climb.
Whatever you decide to do, Buen Camino!!
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
I would definitely say your pack is too heavy. However, after the first couple of days you will know and it will be physical knowledge...as in: my body hurts! But maybe not! Mine definitely did. I would highly advise a stop in Orisson. Why brutalize yourself on the first day? It is beautiful there, a rather unique place and a great communal dinner that felt to me like a great second send off after Beilari in Saint Jean. You are carrying food? Normally, there is no need. You can get snacks all along the way....even up on the mountain I bought a great chunk of sheep´s cheese from a guy who made it and gnawed at that for a couple of days for a snack. Carrying supplies doesn´t seem necessary. Neither is it important to carry water supplies beyond maybe a liter or so. In almost all cases, easy fill ups are constantly available.
 

Wildandfree69

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,North and Fisterre
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
Given your training, I think you should be fine. You may need your pack - the weather could change, you might need to eat something, maybe you’ll get a blister.... at the very least carry a small pack with everything you might need during the day (or just carry your pack :) ).

It is a slow, steady, gorgeous climb for approximately two thirds of the way, then a fairly steep descent the last third of the way (also beautiful). I was not prepared for the downhill; it really hurt my toes. I would recommend doing some hill work with your pack on (you could do this on s treadmill if you don’t live near hills).

Definitely stop for lunch at Orrison and carry a snack for later.

Hope that helps! Buen Camino!
JulieandPeter make a good point about the downhill. I found this portion to be the most difficult. I plan to take the longer route by road at Collado de Lepoeder this summer...Buen Camino!
 

Wildandfree69

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,North and Fisterre
You said it "Just freaking out" Why take a backpack you dont want to carry ? I met loada people paying 5Euro a day to send their bags on x 30days =€150 cost not to carry your own things. you can buy sleep bag/ shorts or whatever along way less than that!! I've just done 1st 4 days with snow on ground/fog/rain coming in sideways & sun and my favourite day was SJpdP to Ronce. I only decided at tbe junction to Nap.& ValCarlos route to go over the top. I'm a 48yr old female who walked solo did no training, broke my pelvis in 2 places 20years ago, had holes in my walking shoes & wore a bright pink poncho(NO HEAVY JACKET) so I could be found in an emergency. I met delicious French "guardians" on the way up for 6km great to bolster your spirit also the lovely Italians I kept bumping/hostelling with & still communicating daily as they continue westwards. Find your way & just do it. I arrived in Roncevalles covered in mud (I fell over on the way down )& singing "we are the champions" - amazing what you can achieve when we put one foot one foot in front of each other and keep going...... Buen Camino Deb
 

expmrw

Member
Camino(s) past & future
GR65(2008)Camino Frances(2011)both(2013

Hoping for Del Norte in 2018
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,

Hi I did it twice, once with baggage transfer, (Jacotrans) when I was 60+ and once carrying when i was older. Leave in good time, pace yourself, stop at Orisson for a beer and you should be fine. It is a terrific sense of achievement to do it ''in one''. To be honest I cannot think it is worse than any other climb on the way and by the time you get to the climb to O'Cebreiro you will be so fit you wont have a problem there either. Buen Camino
 

Buz Radican

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May / Jun 2015
Camino Frances 2016 Oct / Nov 2016
Camino Frances May June 2018
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
You have received some good advice and some I disagree with, so I will throw my nickel’s worth into the mix. I am 73, 6 feet, medium build. Don’t smoke. I crossed from Orisson yesterday, crappy weather. My pack weighs 30 pounds. I don’t train. I made it from Orisson to Roncesvalles just over 4 hours. Two years ago I did the Valcarlos route and highly recommend it. On my two previous Caminos I met far too many people who pushed too hard the first couple of days. If you cannot book Orisson, I recommend you seriously consider Valcarlos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
(Le Puy to Santiago 2018)
I walked in mid-August 2016 with a pack. Heat wave. Incredibly beautiful. With the help of many new and amazing peregrino comrades I made it up and over. Thought I was in good shape. Was 60. It definitely left me quite drained but happy. After 3 more days I had to take a rest day. Take it slow, lot of water. Buen camino
 

Bornean

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Chemin Le Puy/Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo (2018)
Hi JJ

I walked from SJPdP to Burguete on the first day and didn't find the climb at all difficult, but I love hiking up steep hills. I was not at all in shape at the time either.

The climb will definitely tax your lungs and legs, but it's the descent that's really brutal. It was not the toughest day, but I had perfect weather so had fantastic views as a distraction.
 

Calvin & Hobbes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Hi JJin,

I'll offer my perspective from a similar situation. You report you can do 15 miles/day. This leg is a little more than 15 miles, and much of it is difficult. If you are determined to do it it one day, you might want to ship your pack ahead, except for water and snacks. It is a grueling segment.

I was 65 when I did the Camino Frances in 2016. I'm 5'8" and was about 185 pounds when I started. I think I was pretty fit when I started. I played volleyball 2-3 times/week, biked (15 miles) or hiked (4.5 miles of mountain with my pack) other days leading up to the Camino. I tried to do something pretty physical 5-6 days/week in preparation.

I reserved a bed in Orisson well in advance of my Camino. The climb to Orisson is pretty tough. When I arrived at Orisson I was glad my day was over. After having something to eat and drink, I felt pretty good. I thought of continuing on to Roncesvalles. I decided against continuing and enjoyed the rest of the day at Orisson. Upon starting the next day, continuing up the Pyrenees, I thought to myself that I'm glad I didn't continue. I believe my pack was a little lighter than yours. I carried my pack.

I'll offer one other piece of advice as a "senior citizen". Use your trekking poles, especially downhill on hard surfaces. I was a little cocky about my perceived condition and didn't use my poles for several days. Eventually, I ended up with shin splints in one leg. I believe it was caused by downhill pounding on the hard surfaces (macadam and rock) you'll encounter. This caused me to cut back my daily distance and pace substantially for several days. It took about 1 1/2 weeks to fully recover.

If you don't have a tight schedule, I'd suggest trying to get a bed in Orisson. It's only 5 miles out of St. Jean, but it's a tough 5 miles. If you do that, it might be worth considering carrying your pack, but both days will give you a good workout.

I was retired and allowed 8 weeks for the Camino. I planned to continue to Finisterre and Muxia, but I was pretty tired by the time I reached Santiago. I walked for 37 days plus rest days in Burgos and Leon - in part to rest my leg. So I averaged a little over 13 miles/day, including the "short" days caused by my injury.

Whatever you decide, the first leg out of St. Jean is not a cake walk. so use some of that senior wisdom to gauge what you can handle!:D

Buen Camino!
 

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
Hi JJ

I walked from SJPdP to Burguete on the first day and didn't find the climb at all difficult, but I love hiking up steep hills. I was not at all in shape at the time either.

The climb will definitely tax your lungs and legs, but it's the descent that's really brutal. It was not the toughest day, but I had perfect weather so had fantastic views as a distraction.

Thanks for the info...

You raise a good point. I'm starting my walk on May 22. If the weather is not good... are the views worth delaying the start of my trip???
 

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
as a "senior citizen".
:) I like to think of myself as a "Seasoned Citizen" :cool:

Great tips!!!

After reading all these posts, I'm thinking I might split the difference. Walk to Roncesvalles but send my bag ahead. I have a decent sized daypack I'm taking that can carry my rain gear, sleeping bag liner, wash kit... so I will have a plan B.

Thanks for your info...

Cheers,
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
I have crossed from SJPdP twice, at ages 63 and 64 with only a moderate level of fitness. You will do it easily, but :

Consider sending your pack ahead and carrying a day bag, because:
You will need at least 2 litres of water on you if the weather is sunny. Last fillup is at Roland's fountain.
Carry a packed lunch. I always have a flask of tea. (Yes, I really am that British!)
The climb will definitely tax your lungs and legs, but it's the descent that's really brutal.
When you get to the road down to Roncesvalles, (it's the only road on the Spanish side, so you can't miss it) turn right and follow the road, not straight on down the (steep and muddy) forest path. This descent is a breeze.

Once you have passed Orisson, you have done most of the hard work. If you get decent weather, the walk will stay with you forever. (And even if you don't!)

Good luck!
 

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
I always have a flask of tea. (Yes, I really am that British!)
WHAT...No crumpets?????? :)
Thanks for the info... I think I'm going to do what you suggest.

I would hate to start out and get burned-up/out on the first day.

Cheers,
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Thanks for the advice. I didn't realize there were 2 ways...

YES... 10kg is more than I wanted :( to carry, but I have made the decision to do a daily blog and I will be carrying an iPad/camera/charger to make it happen. Altogether, the decision to blog cost me an extra ~2.5kg in weight. BUT, I know if I didn't blog on the trip, I would be kicking myself in the a$$ for not doing it:)... I just know it.

I'm still cutting out labels from my clothes to reduce weight :) plus other things. I'm hoping to get under 9kg... keep my weight in single digits.

Cheers,
I did a final cull to my pack this morning and dropped 1.5 kg. My body is already thanking me. Leaving in about 5..4..3..2..........
 

Bornean

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Chemin Le Puy/Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo (2018)
Thanks for the info...

You raise a good point. I'm starting my walk on May 22. If the weather is not good... are the views worth delaying the start of my trip???
The views are spectacular, but I wouldn't delay the start of your trip unless you've got all the time in the world to wait for the perfect day :) I did it in July and it was raining the day before and the day after I did it. The weather in the Pyrenees is unpredictable.

I actually went up twice. The first time only part way, not quite as far as Orisson. I'd given myself a full day in SJPdP before starting the Camino, so strolled up some way the day before I actually started walking proper.

If you have the time, you could get a taxi as far as Orisson (the cafe is pretty much a viewing deck) the day before you plan to start walking and explore with your camera. Part of me thinks that would be awesome fun comparing photos from two consecutive days.
 

Maria K

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2013) (2018) Camino Frances
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
The best advice we got from friends who walked before us was to spend our first night in Orisson. We walked with our packs. We had done lots of training in preparation & it was still tough. Not only the uphill to Orisson but the next day (if you do split it) on the downhill.
This is not your only tough day. There are many ups & downs along the route.. but hopefully by the time you get to them you will be stronger!
Buen Camino
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2020)
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
It's challenging but certainly doable. Many who likely have not trained as hard as you have made it to Roncesvalles in one day. As long as you take breaks and don't treat it as a competition, I don't think you risk burning yourself out on day one. I've done tougher hikes than SJPdP to Roncesvalles. I'm not even sure it's the toughest day on the CF, although coming on day one is daunting. The hike up to O'Cebreiro is another quad buster. If you need a shorter second day after Roncesvalles, stop in Zubiri. It's a nice little village. I'm thinking I'll stop there on my second day when I walk next year. In 2015 we pushed all the way to Larrasoana. Those long days caught up with me a few days later and I had to take a short stop in Viana and check in to a hotel to soak in a tub. That worked by the way. I was good as gold the next day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked part of the Camino Frances and plan to start over in April 2018.
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
I am 72 years old and I just completed the section from SJPP to Roncevaux but in two days. I took the Valcarlos Route snd stayed at a Casa Rural in Valcarlos. And yes I had my extra gear transported by CaminoFacil. Like you, I did not want to take a chance on wrecking my body. I lucked out with excellent weather so the trail was very easy (no mud). I never even used my second pole. Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@JJinWI , greetings

Your regime looks good.

As others have said your pack at 10 kg seems over the top. I see part of the explanation is taking a laptop for about 2.5 kg so you can blog en route. I agree a normal sized phone is difficult for any writing (you lose half the screen to the "keyboard"). While it is late in the day do consider a tablet that has 1) a SIM card and 2) a keyboard and cover. I write this on my 10" Samsung Tab s3 with such an arranagement. So you can ditch the smart phone. But there is still more work to be done ...

While stopping at Orisson seem attractive consider the maths. I left Saint-Jean the first Tuesday of May 2016. My estimate was about 299 others left that day as well. Orisson can accomodate 16 (or is it 20, and a similar number at Hunto). The albergue at Roncevalles can accomodate around 200 plus. Some walked on to Zubiri. And the same scenario most probably occurred the next day.

Definitely stop for lunch at Orrison
Orisson is about 8 km from Saint Jean. In the normal course under 2 hours. And not enough time to do the remaining 16 km and have a reasonable chance for a bed at Roncesvalles albergue.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

Onewithspirit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First one begins August 13 2017!
Most pilgrims walk all the way to Roncesvalles the first day. I'm sure you will have no problem doing it as well.[/QUO
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,

My advise would be to listen to your body, TRUST that you will be guided along the way. Let yourself takes risks and step into the unknown without a clue as to what it will hold for you. It doesn't matter how many pilgrims walk straight through to Roncesvalles or how many choose to carry their pack. The ONLY thing that matters is what you think will be best for YOU. If you are concerned that your pack may be a hindrance the first day or two, then at least investigate your options. What does your heart say? Try not to second guess YOUR choices. I found that the more aware and open I was to the environment around me, the more I was able to go with ease. The times I didn't listen to myself and got swept up in what others said I needed to do simply because it was what they thought was the 'right' way to do it, the harder my journey was. The most profound lesson I took away from my 7 week, 900 kms Camino was to honour my own path in life. That being said, I truly believe each of us is confronted with the exact issue/challenge that we need in order to develop.
I learned to become very comfortable in my own skin walking to the beat of my own drum and most importantly knowing how to trust myself. Tremendous freedom. May you find yours along YOUR Camino!
p.s.: Just my experience, but there are harder days ahead! ;)
 
Last edited:

PatrickM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Pamplona to SDC (05/2018)
I have been thinking about this question for some time. I'm doing the CF as a newbie arriving in SJPdP on May 22. I'm 77, and this is my first serious hike. I have been working up to it, so I have a good idea as to my level of stamina! So here's my plan for what it's worth! I am going to get a room in SJPdP for two nights, May 22 and 23 and then take the afternoon of the 22nd and explore SJPdP. The on the morning of May 23 I'm going to take a day pack and go as far as Vierge d'Orisson, where I will have booked a pick-up from Express Bourricot at 14:30 and return to my room at SJPdP for the evening. Then the following morning, having sent my backpack ahead to Roncevalles, I will return to Vierge d'Orisson with Express Bourricot at 8:30 and complete the trip over the pass. I hope to get as far as Burgete or perhaps Espinal on the 23rd.
I'm coming to a better understanding that everybody's Camino is a personal journey, but I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your collective wisdom!
Buen Camino!
 

John Demanuele

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Astorga to Santiago, 2017 Lourdes to Burgos
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
To answer your questions:
1. Yes SJPdP to Roncesvalles is the toughest day
2. Strenuous but doable - certainly with your training.
3. No I carried it, and it was raining, windy and cold last September. ( unfortunately that meant I could not enjoy the scenery)
4. Not with your training but if you do ensure you carry a day pack with essentials in case the weather changes. I hardly trained before going and never with a full pack. I was also older at 71.

Buen Camino
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
@JJinWI , greetings

Your regime looks good.

As others have said your pack at 10 kg seems over the top. I see part of the explanation is taking a laptop for about 2.5 kg so you can blog en route. I agree a normal sized phone is difficult for any writing (you lose half the screen to the "keyboard"). While it is late in the day do consider a tablet that has 1) a SIM card and 2) a keyboard and cover. I write this on my 10" Samsung Tab s3 with such an arranagement. So you can ditch the smart phone. But there is still more work to be done ...

While stopping at Orisson seem attractive consider the maths. I left Saint-Jean the first Tuesday of May 2016. My estimate was about 299 others left that day as well. Orisson can accomodate 16 (or is it 20, and a similar number at Hunto). The albergue at Roncevalles can accomodate around 200 plus. Some walked on to Zubiri. And the same scenario most probably occurred the next day.



Orisson is about 8 km from Saint Jean. In the normal course under 2 hours. And not enough time to do the remaining 16 km and have a reasonable chance for a bed at Roncesvalles albergue.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
Definitely stop for a snack at Orisson. Also definitely reserve your bed at Roncesvalles in advance. :) http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/reservas.php
 

tjb1013

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
I’m 57, reasonable shape but my feet don’t work - neuropathy. I have orthotics that hold my toes up and keep me from tripping over my own feet.

I made it to Roncesvalles, but if I were doing it again I would stay at Orisson.

I understand that you can avoid some of the rocky path on the descent into Roncesvalles by taking a parallel road, and would consider doing that as well. I was quite blistered after Day 1, despite having shoes that I had put at least 100 miles on prior to the trip. The rocky path was not my favorite part of the Camino.

I think it’s possible that my knee pain and blisters would have been reduced by shorter distances in the early going, although I don’t know the science of that.

By the way, I have a large-screen phone and I took that, a portable Bluetooth foldable keyboard, and a small plastic phone stand instead of an iPad or a laptop, and that worked well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Tough yes but the low route is tough as well. Why not walk up to Orisson,have lunch and taxiback to SJPP ( cheap ) then taxi back next morning to give yourself all day to Roncesvalles.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
T

YES... 10kg is more than I wanted :( to carry, but I have made the decision to do a daily blog and I will be carrying an iPad/camera/charger to make it happen. Altogether, the decision to blog cost me an extra ~2.5kg in weight. BUT, I know if I didn't blog on the trip, I would be kicking myself in the a$$ for not doing it:)...
I find blogging on my phone works fine....
 

leylines

New Member
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Hi there,
I would take your pack, but if you can, lighten it to 10% of your body weight. Last year, I took a little too much. I weigh around 120 pounds, and I had 17 pounds. I'm 65. I have done the San Jean to Roncesvalles 3 times, twice in heavy rain and wind. If the weather is rough, it's certainly harder, but I'm sure you'll be fine. On that first day, you will meet people, and everyone encourages each other.
 

Graham F.Quinn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept./Oct. 2017
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,[/QUO
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
I was 73 last Sept. when I walked the camino. I was 5' 10" and was probably 25 lbs over weight. I was never an athlete. SJPDP was not that tough. Take your time. I did it all in one day. So can you. Enjoy the views. Buen camino.
 

Roamer35

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2009, Camino Finisterre, 2009, Camino Portuguese, 2009, Via de La Plata, 2011. Pending: VdlP April-May 2014
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!

Cheers,
You can do the whole thing in one day. Sounds like you're well prepared and in good shape. There are a few steep sections, but there are also some rolling or even a few flat parts. The first 12 miles is in pavement or the grassy verge. The last 3 miles or so are partly a steep rocky downhill or a pleasant stroll through the forest. I did it last September and I'm not a spring chicken
 

Jen Marsden

Charging The Globe
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2016 (Walked Frances)
Sept 2019 (Planning Norte or Via De La Plata)
JjinWi - if you have been training with hills you should be fine. There is a section just before Orrison that is reasonably steep but apart from that it's not horrific. It is UP 90% of the day though. I did it in 2016 and was recovering from a ruptured Achilles so I had done heaps of walking but not many hills. I did it OK but it is a long way of up. It's mostly mental from about 18kms on. Start early and take your time. There are a few great spots to rest and if he's still doing it there is a dude almost to the top that has a little van selling cold drinks etc. Just make sure you keep drinking. It can be very cloudy and surreal for that section so you have to be careful to make sure you drink enough. It is beautiful and the cow and horse bells are amazing. I hope it is cloudy for you because its really incredible walking and hearing the bells and not being able to see where they are until you are very close. Very surreal and quite a treat.
 

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
I hope it is cloudy for you because its really incredible walking and hearing the bells and not being able to see where they are until you are very close. Very surreal and quite a treat.
WOW!!! Sounds like it's from a movie!!!!

Can't wait...

Cheers,
 

JJinWI

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May-June (2018) Camino Frances
You can do the whole thing in one day. Sounds like you're well prepared and in good shape. There are a few steep sections, but there are also some rolling or even a few flat parts. The first 12 miles is in pavement or the grassy verge. The last 3 miles or so are partly a steep rocky downhill or a pleasant stroll through the forest. I did it last September and I'm not a spring chicken
This is reassuring!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I was pretty cocky about doing this... now, I'm leaving in 2 weeks and kind of freaking out :)

Cheers,
 

Cicada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Hi we're same height and weight just7years older but who's counting walked last April / June. 10kg seems like you've got the kitchen sink I carried 5kg that was enough.
Yes the first day is tough but you seem pretty fit! We had ourv bags transported the first day and that was it! Yes we we glad we did. It's very easy to arrange just ask where ever you are stayingin S Jean, for a few euros it's worth it. Just take a small pack with you with drinks and food. Above all don't panic about the camino let it wash over you and the Camino provides have fun! Roger
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
During my planning for walking CF I heard the wise saying “Start like an old person, finish like young person... start like a young person, finish like an old person”. So, I decided there was no reason to go up and over the Pyrenees in one day. The advice was excellent and I don’t regret the decision to book Orisson in advance. I will follow the same advice next year when I return with my girlfriend.
 

Cicada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
This is reassuring!!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I was pretty cocky about doing this... now, I'm leaving in 2 weeks and kind of freaking out :)

Cheers,
Mate no point in freaking out the camino is the camino it'll be fine trust me! Paso a paso!
 

Cicada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
During my planning for walking CF I heard the wise saying “Start like an old person, finish like young person... start like a young person, finish like an old person”. So, I decided there was no reason to go up and over the Pyrenees in one day. The advice was excellent and I don’t regret the decision to book Orisson in advance. I will follow the same advice next year when I return with my girlfriend.
I started as an old person finished as a young dude! Can't wait to be a young one again Portugues from Porto in September yeah!
 

Antomuchacho

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on startting first time at e d of april start of may
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!

Cheers,
Its quite tough.... i got a blister as i went too fast too quick and got lost by going 10k too far after missing a sign at the cross before you start rambling over the grass part of the walk!!

If you decide to post youre bag forward dont feel bad about it or dwell on it!! Theres no cheat scale ime aware of... and if there was one... who has the right to calibrate the scale
 

Juspassinthrough

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May-June (2017)
Ingles-Finisterre (2018)
JJin,

I did this first stage on May 19, 2017 age 60 so we have some similarities. I did it in one day, the weather varied from partly cloudy in SJPP, we had some sleet up above Orisson and some light rain in Roncesvalles. In between all this, it was beautiful. Here are some thoughts:

1. If you’re in reasonable shape, you’ll be fine.
2. Will it be a long hard day, yes. My first day was 9.5 hours and I look forward to doing it again. The climb to Orisson is the toughest in my opinion. Take food and water.
3. Unless the weather is terrible, you need to get used to walking in the elements. The Pilgrims Office can advise on the weather. Be prepared for the weather. 6AD89185-B73E-4FA1-91E2-4FD6AF0A5710.jpeg
4. Are you over-thinking this, yes...just like most of us did.

My opinion and 1.5€ will get you a café con leche at most Camino bars. Only you can determine what’s best for you but, don’t fear the unknown, embrace it. Remember, millions of others have preceded you.

Whatever you choose...Buen Camino!
 

Richard Smith

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2015
I'd suggest dumping the ipad, I took a Surface Pro in September last year because I wanted to do work emails at night. It was a waste of time, I was too tired at night to do any work and it weighed me down during the day. I'd suggest your average day will be getting up early, walking 20km, checking in, washing, relaxing, eating, chatting and sleeping. Enjoy the moment and the experience with your fellow pilgrims, write a diary if you must.
Agree -an iPhone or equivalent Android can be your camera, blog platform, web browser for info, and a phone. Less is more.
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
My answer is it depends on the weather. When I did leaving from Orisson to Roncesvalles the rain was torrential and wind was sideways. I saw nothing but my boots. There were 7 rescues. I can imagine a closer, beautiful day would offer a radically different experience.
 

WalksInWinter

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2010, 2015)
Camino Norte (2011)
Rue de la Plata (2018/9)
I am in good shape, yet still do the lower route through Valcarlos for a number of reasons.

1. It's beautiful, relaxing and scenic and there is no stress about 'getting there'.
2. You can take your time and have a nice breakfast in SJPP while watching everyone else set out on their journeys.
2. No crowds of people to race against. (So don't tell anyone). ;)
3. I find the Albergue at Roncessvalles overwhelming and prefer to skip it altogether.
4. You have a LONG way to go, so even though a lot of people can get to Roncessvalles on the first day, they are going to be tired and setting themselves up for injuries and blisters that will take a few days to manifest. I meet a lot of people who hit a wall in Pamplona and I am sure its because they push too hard on the very first day.
5. The Albergue at Orrisson fills up quickly and there are few other amenities should you have any trouble.
Hope that helps. Buen Camino!
 

Aus_thomas

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF May 2018
I have just gone over the Napoleon route and chose to stop at Orrison first.

In Pamplona now, and have spoken to two people who have injuries for going too hard too early.

Listen to your body, if you have time - use it!
 

abraxian

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
Norte/Frances 2014

2016 October Porto to Santiago/Finisterre......planning
Looking at/reading about the Camino Frances, it seems like the first day (SJPdP to Roncesvalles) is a tough one.

So, I have a few questions for those who have done the Camino:
  1. Is SJPdP to Roncesvalles the toughest day?
  2. How tough is it?
  3. Did you send your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles? (If yes, how did that work?)
  4. Would you recommend sending your backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles?
I'm thinking about sending my backpack from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. My thinking is I would hate to get burned out, injured on the very first day.

Here is my situation:
  • I'm 5'9" (175cm), 165 pounds (75kg) and 61 years (39 metric years :)... I wish)
  • My pack weight (complete with water/food is 22 pounds (10kg)
  • I have have been doing training hikes 2x3 times a week for the past month will a fully loaded backpack.
  • I can do 15 miles (25km)
  • I start walking on May 22.
Sooooo... Should I taxi my pack to Roncesvalles? Or am I just freaking out because I'm getting close to my start date??

Thanks for your help!!!
yoCheers,
Your pack is much too heavy. I did it just fine with 13 lb pack. I was 73 at the time and have walked 3 other Caminos since with11 pound pack.
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
H Camino Frances 11
C Camino Frances 9
Pi Wakawaka Camino Frances 39
M Camino Frances 36
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