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How's the Pyrenees?


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Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#2
It's not easy but very worthwhile. Most people manage it. Even overweight / unfit dudes like me.........
If in doubt, check out Express Bourricot as using the Mountain Shuttle can break the journey into 2 days for you.
https://www.expressbourricot.com/persons-transport/
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
#3
Lots of people start from Pamplona or Roncesvalles, but I am so glad we started in SJPdP. The views are breathtaking and I would say there are no other views like it on the CF. I would say it was the hardest part for me, due in part that it was day 1 and day 2 of the camino, so very early on and I wasn't in the best of shape at that point and had no experience climbing over a mountain, but I did it. We went from SJPdP all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day, but if you can, and want to go slow, I would recommend booking in at Orisson and then going to Roncesvalles on day 2. Having said that, I think that people feel that they MUST start from SJPdP, but that's not necessary. We won't think any less of you if you don't. Lol.

I've attached a few pics of the views on our first morning, coming out of SJPdP. In the fourth picture, you can clearly see I am sucking wind. Lol!!

Enjoy and Buen Camino!!
 

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MhaelK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
#4
Crossing the Pyrenees was in my opinion the most beautiful part of the camino, and not to be missed.

The hardest part is from SJPP to Orrison, which is fairly steep. A good way to divide the crossing is to stay the night at Orrison. If I were to do this part again I would properly try to get into SJPP later in the day and then go straight to Orrison. Then I would have the whole mountain to myself the next morning when I got up early. From Orrison to Roncesvalles is mainly nice paved road, uphill but not too steep or difficult.

Yes it is the hardest part of the CF. But honestly I personally didn’t find the crossing that diffficult. For me it took a lot less time than expected. Of course, it depends on your fitnesslevel, but remember it is still just a walk and not a hike. If you have spend time in the mountains before, you will properly not find it difficult.

I sure whatever you choose will be the right choice for you.
 
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Suzanne S.

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) May--Camino Frances, SJPdP to Santiago; (2017) May--Caminho Portuguese, Coimbra to Santiago
#5
I found SJPP and the Pyrennes a wonderful start to a wonderful Camino. I walked to Orisson the first day. The route to Roncesvalles was difficult, but manageable, and gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment. The views are remarkable. I found the trek up to O'Cebriero more challenging and I was in way better shape by then...
 

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Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#6
Crossing the Pyenees was a highlight for me as well, yes it was hard, but worth every step. We walked from SJPDP to Roncesvalles, and I would absolutely do that again. It was spectacular (but again we had a wonderful day, if you look at recent photos the views are obscured). The alpine scenery, horses, sheep, plants etc were amazing, although it seems hard at the time, I look back and long to be back there.
We started to connect with our Camino family on that leg, so it was key for us.
 

Anniesantiago

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#7
Depending on the day you walk, the Pyrenees can be spectacular or you can't see your hand in front of you if it's foggy. The stage isn't called "Hell Day" for nothing! I'd suggest you break it up into two days OR just start from Pamplona! There will be lovely views going up to O Cebreiro and in other places. Just depends on how much time you have and what your expectations are.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hope to do one in April 2017
#8
I am great on the flats but have no up gear. The climb kicked my butt. It was tough but I did it in a reasonable time. I went from SJPDP straight to Roncesvalles. I took a lot of breaks. The down hill at the end was tough due to the rocks so, you might take the alternate road route down. The views were spectacular and I met a few people that I walked with for quite a while. It was worth doing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from León to Santiago (2017)
#9
I have the same issue but hopefully I have planned my first two days well. I arrive in Biarritz mid-day on the 21st June and have booked a taxi/minibus to take me to SJDPD. If I can get people to share it will cost about €10. Once in SJPDP, I will pick up a set of walking sticks, get some food and a good French coffee and set out in the late afternoon to Orisson (you need to book it in advance). That will take about 3 hours off the alternative of walking to Roncesvalles in one day. I felt if I was in SJDPD for my first night I would essentially be hanging around on my own waiting to start. So BC to all and wish me luck.
 

J F Gregory

Preparing for the Norte
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished
October- November 2018 to walk the Del Norte.
#10
Lots of people start from Pamplona or Roncesvalles, but I am so glad we started in SJPdP. The views are breathtaking and I would say there are no other views like it on the CF. I would say it was the hardest part for me, due in part that it was day 1 and day 2 of the camino, so very early one and I wasn't in the best of shape at that point and had no experience climbing over a mountain, but I did it. We went from SJPdP all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day, but if you can, and want to go slow, I would recommend booking in at Orisson and then going to Roncesvalles on day 2. Having said that, I think that people feel that they MUST start from SJPdP, but that's not necessary. We won't think any less of you. Lol.

I've attached a few pics of the views on our first morning, coming out of SJPdP.

Enjoy and Buen Camino!!
The pictures are great. We always walk in winter so the Pyrenees route is closed.
 

jdickson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2014, Camino Portugues 2016
#12
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
Its a very long day from SJPdP to Roncesvalles but like any difficult endeavor, it is definitely worth it. Enjoy it. No one can ever take that memory away from you!
 

wcsjms

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) ; 1st Camino ; Frances Way ; 2017 Camino Frances begins August 10,2017
#13
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
There are a few tough parts on the Camino but remember it is not a race. We are in our late 60's and trekked the entire Frances twice in 11 months. We found the second time we stayed in SJJP for a few days and it worked out much better getting over jetlag. Stay at Orisson your first day out of SJJP, make reservation way in advance, then your second day walk to Roncevalles. Becareful and do not take the steep route down from the mountain going to Roncevalles.
Buen Camino :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walking the Camino start 1st June 2014
#14
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
For me st jean de port is the best your at your fittest with training and walking in the foot steps of so many pilgrims that have gone befoe you is inspirational
 

kdespot

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés SJPP-SdC Sept-Oct 2016
#15
Ditto a thousand times everything said here. The first three days from SJPdP through the Pyrenees were by far my favorite part of the Camino. The cows, pigs, horses, sheep with bells on coming out of the fog... the beauty of the small stone Basque villages, the special feeling of being with pilgrims who are all beginning in this rugged place... It's worth every step.
 
#16
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
Hi Jeanne,

The Pyrenees can be a bit daunting, and they are definitely demanding. But the reward is unimaginable. But do not do someone else's amino. You are going to walk your own, and that its the way it must always be.

The Napoleon Route does require a climb from 70m up to the summit of 1,400m, runs 32.0 km allowing for the climb. As you know, Orisson is at the 8 km or 10 km point, (depending on whether the short cut is used or not), and leaves about 18 km to do the next day.

The Valcarlos Route is 28 km, again, ajusted for the climb, which is about 400m less than the Napoleon. Valcarols does have an albergue which is at the 12 km mark. It provides a fairly easy rise of only about 150m on the first day but will require a climb of 850m the next day.

If the second day looks impossible, a taxi can br ordered to Roncesvalles so you still get to see the area, though from the road.

So there are some other options that would still give a chance to see the scenery that no other part of the Camino can offer.

Hope this helps.
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
#17
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
Reserve in Orisson after the 1st days walk. Then Ronsesvalles. It breaks the pass into 2 stages. Have your pack transported.You will never regret the Pyrennes. Absolutely beautiful!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF011, CF012, CP013, CF014, CA015, S.Anton015, CF015, CI015
Ditch Pig016, CF017, CP017, CdN(018)
#18
I will pick up a set of walking sticks, get some food and a good French coffee and set out in the late afternoon to Orisson (you need to book it in advance).
Not too late in the afternoon, it is not as close as it seems to get Orisson.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#19
As others have said, it is difficult, but this is a usual starting point of the trip so most are well rested and not so battle worn as one becomes later. Being fresh and eager many pace themselves all the way to Roncevalles in one day.
Once there (Roncevalles) your feet will be talking to you, but as another stated it is a beautiful walk and you will feel a sense of accomplishment..........
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, fall of 2015
#20
Some folks would like to stay at Orisson after day 1, and then continue onto Roncesvalles for day 2, but this isn't always possible because the beds at Orisson are limited. One way that this can be done, however, is to walk to Orisson, then take a cab back down to SJPdP, then the next morning, take a cab back to Orisson and carry on to Roncesvalles from there. Sure it's weird and unconventional, but it's win-win!!
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#21
Nothing weird.....It’ what we do :oops:
We use EB.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,North and Fisterre
#23
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
 

Peter Fransiscus

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#26
I have the same issue but hopefully I have planned my first two days well. I arrive in Biarritz mid-day on the 21st June and have booked a taxi/minibus to take me to SJDPD. If I can get people to share it will cost about €10. Once in SJPDP, I will pick up a set of walking sticks, get some food and a good French coffee and set out in the late afternoon to Orisson (you need to book it in advance). That will take about 3 hours off the alternative of walking to Roncesvalles in one day. I felt if I was in SJDPD for my first night I would essentially be hanging around on my own waiting to start. So BC to all and wish me luck.
You have to arrive at the albergue Orisson not later as I think it was 18,30hr.

And the weather can make it a lot harder to walk up the mountain , watch the time and don’t leave to late .

Wish you well and a Buen Camino , Peter .
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2 June 2018
#27
Thanks all for your advises. Booked bus ticket and accommodation for SJPP already!:D I spare one more day there to recover from the jet lag and trying to book the Gite Kayola. If it's too late to book accommodation there then I will try the EB! Finger cross for good weather.:p
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May 2016- 14 July
Hospitalero, Zamora Dec 15-31, 2017
#28
If I recall you have to walk to Orrison to check in and then back to Kayola. We had one in our walking group the first day who had to do this. You may want to bring some food along to cook as you would need to walk back again to Orrison for the communal dinner and then back to your lodging. I just recall she had a lot of back and forth. It seemed to be more than a km. She was strong and switched reservations with an older woman who was nearly spent by the time she reached Orrison and nearly began to cry when she thought about having to walk back down to Kayola.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#30
One way that this can be done, however, is to walk to Orisson, then take a cab back down to SJPdP, then the next morning, take a cab back to Orisson and carry on to Roncesvalles from there. Sure it's weird and unconventional, but it's win-win!!
This is done very often and they enjoy the lovely village of StJPP for an extra night.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September2016
#31
Lots of people start from Pamplona or Roncesvalles, but I am so glad we started in SJPdP. The views are breathtaking and I would say there are no other views like it on the CF. I would say it was the hardest part for me, due in part that it was day 1 and day 2 of the camino, so very early on and I wasn't in the best of shape at that point and had no experience climbing over a mountain, but I did it. We went from SJPdP all the way to Roncesvalles on the first day, but if you can, and want to go slow, I would recommend booking in at Orisson and then going to Roncesvalles on day 2. Having said that, I think that people feel that they MUST start from SJPdP, but that's not necessary. We won't think any less of you if you don't. Lol.

I've attached a few pics of the views on our first morning, coming out of SJPdP. In the fourth picture, you can clearly see I am sucking wind. Lol!!

Enjoy and Buen Camino!!
Lovely photos
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015, Camino Portugues 2017, Camino Finisterre 2017, Le Puy Route (Sept. 2018)
#32
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
I enjoyed the challenge if the first day from SJPDP to Roncesvalles. I thought the worst was over but personally I found the stages near O’Cebreiro just as challenging. Maybe I was exhausted by then. A lot of the descents are just as bad as the ascents.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2 June 2018
#33
If I recall you have to walk to Orrison to check in and then back to Kayola. We had one in our walking group the first day who had to do this. You may want to bring some food along to cook as you would need to walk back again to Orrison for the communal dinner and then back to your lodging. I just recall she had a lot of back and forth. It seemed to be more than a km. She was strong and switched reservations with an older woman who was nearly spent by the time she reached Orrison and nearly began to cry when she thought about having to walk back down to Kayola.
haha I will bring food with me and make sure I have a nice dinner the next day XD
if the backpack is put down, i guess it's not that bad lol
 

vasque

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France September 2012
Planning return August 2017 - injured after 4 days
#34
I'm still thinking should I start from SJPP, Pamlona or Roncesvalles.
How is the Pyrenees? I know that I need to climb like a 1000m high.
Will you consider it the hardest part among the whole camino frances?
Is there similar view along the road apart from there?

Buen Camino
Hiking from SJPDP to Roncesvalles is not easy - especially because it's your first day. The steepness of the grade will shift your weight back onto your heel so it's critical that your boots fit properly. I completed the Camino in 2012 with few problems. In 2017, the first day killed my heel and I had to call it quits once I reached Pamplona. If you ego allows you to start at Pamplona, do it.
 

Ang nixon

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2018)
#35
Definitely a must do. Difficult but doable just take your time. Stop at Orrison. This challenge will fill you with courage and strength. Trust the Camino. The beauty of the Pyrenees are worthwhile. Currently in Sahagun and taking it slow and steady. Buen Camino
 

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