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Napoleeon Route Alternative - Fear of Heights Issue

markss

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
An extreme fear of heights makes Napoleon Route from SJPP unthinkable for me. Are there any similar concerns on the Valcarlos Route?
 
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Arn

Veteran Member
Hi,

I'm not sure what level your phobia is: (1) distance to a drop off, (2) visual sense of wide open space with a drop off, etc.

That said, I remember no significant drop offs on the NR that place the pilgrim in actual jeopardy of falling should they misstep or slip and fall.

Arn
 

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:
I know how you feel! I too am afraid of heights, although I don't mind going up so much , its the coming down that terrifies me!
There are no cliff-hangers on the Route Napoleon. No ledges to cling to or vertical drops (as there are on the Via Francigena or the path from San Juan de la Pena!)
The road route is a switch-back type route but here you have your feet firmly planted on the tarmac the whole way. Ignore the camino signs that take you off the road on a detour cross country - just stay on the road.
Here is a profile of the two routes.
 

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crhutch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2010) March/April SJPP to Santiago and hence to Finisterre
(2016) Hospitalero Grañón 15-31 March
(2016) April Logroño to Santiago
(2017) Hospitalero Zamora 15-31 March
(2017) Hospilatero Emaus, Burgos 1-14 April
wolves? :p :shock: :shock:
 
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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:
You are more likely to see Falcons than wolves!
 
You're sure to see vultures. It's a bit disconcerting to watch one hanging in the air and realize that it's probably watching you too. I remember thinking: am I going that slow that it sees me as a potential dinner.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
All you need is determination and stamina! As long as you walk on the Valcarlos road following the switchbacks there is no problem. However it is exhausting! To walk from Valcarlos to Roncevalles last month in snow took me 6 hours, but I am 70. See mscamino.blogspot.com.
Mspath
 

MikeB

Member
You're sure to see vultures. It's a bit disconcerting to watch one hanging in the air and realize that it's probably watching you too. I remember thinking: am I going that slow that it sees me as a potential dinner.

Sometimes you swear they're ganging up on you as well !!
 

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sillydoll

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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:
Between Najera and Azofra.
 

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crackmrmac

Veteran Member
Yes, it depends on the level of your particular fear of heights. Sil's information and her personal response will guide you. You definitely will not encounter any ridge walking.
Before I embarked on the route, I wondered about the descent through the forest into Roncevalles because it is quite steep.I didn't go through the forest as it had begun to rain, and in any case the previous day I had come through it while walking the route in reverse.
Do you think any other parts of the route may pose problems?

Buen Camino.
 

markss

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
Thank you to all for the information, however my original question remains:

Due to a fear of heights I've already eliminated any possibility of taking the Napoleon Route out of SJPP. Does anyone know if there are there any areas of the Valcarlos Route with a trail and side that drops off the mountain as does a section on the Napoleon Route?

This phobia of mine, like most phobias is not rational. It is the fear of perceived danger, not the actual danger that is troublesome. I seek this information because if there are areas like this on the Valcarlos Route I will not begin the Camino in SJPP, but rather at another place.

As for heights and drop offs along other areas of the Camino - that is a different issue, I am soley concered now about the Valcarlos route from SJPP.

Thank you so much to anyone who might be able to answer with specific information on the Valcarlos Route.

Thank you again to those who took the time to post responses. As for wolves and vultures - bring them on - no fear of those things!
 

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:
The road route is a switch-back type route but here you have your feet firmly planted on the tarmac the whole way.

The road route through Val Carlos is a twisty tarred road with no ledges or edges to worry about.

Does anyone know if there are there any areas of the Valcarlos Route with a trail and side that drops off the mountain as does a section on the Napoleon Route?

No, there aren't any trails - only the tarred road which is quite steep and does, of course have a steep slope risng up on one side and a steep slope dropping down on the other as it twists up and around a mountain.

Ignore the camino signs that take you off the road on a detour cross country - just stay on the road
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Having had to retreat down from the Cruceiro via Arneguy we found the Valcalos route to be nearly but not all road. About 6 km from Valcarlos you cut down to the river at Camino and are then 'off road', barring one tiny section, on woodland track for about 5km until you reach Ibaneta before turning off for Roncevalles.
This track is bounded by wooded slopes some of which could be 40-45 degrees but you can walk on the right hand side of the track away from the slope.
We found this track preferable to the road as it's far safer (no cars or lorries) and the edges seems less acute than that of the road which 'cuts into' the mountainside.
Nell
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
MikeB said:
You're sure to see vultures. It's a bit disconcerting to watch one hanging in the air and realize that it's probably watching you too. I remember thinking: am I going that slow that it sees me as a potential dinner.

Sometimes you swear they're ganging up on you as well !!

Those aren't vultures. Vultures are very rare in Spain.
Those are eagles.

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo.
 
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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:
There are 4 species of vultures in Spain, one being prolific and the others more scattered or rare.
Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, Black vulture and Lammergeyer or Bearded vulture.
The Griffon vulture is the most common one to be seen all over Spain. On the Aragones route, the Sierra de Leyre boasts the largest colony of common vultures in the Pyrenees. Three months ago there was a report that Bulgaria intends to import vultures from Spain. One of the best places to see Griffon Vultures in Europe is at Montfrague in Extremadura (Spain).
The Black vulture is the largest raptor in Spain and Extremadura is reputed to have the largest colony in the world!
The Egyptian Vulture is a summer visitor to Sanguesa and La Rioja is home to large numbers of vultures.
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
sillydoll said:
There are 4 species of vultures in Spain, one being prolific and the others more scattered or rare.
Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, Black vulture and Lammergeyer or Bearded vulture.
The Griffon vulture is the most common one to be seen all over Spain. On the Aragones route, the Sierra de Leyre boasts the largest colony of common vultures in the Pyrenees. Three months ago there was a report that Bulgaria intends to import vultures from Spain. One of the best places to see Griffon Vultures in Europe is at Montfrague in Extremadura (Spain).
The Black vulture is the largest raptor in Spain and Extremadura is reputed to have the largest colony in the world!
The Egyptian Vulture is a summer visitor to Sanguesa and La Rioja is home to large numbers of vultures.

I stand corrected..
But I recall only eagles, with their typical wing-tips and squeeking in the air.
Carli Di Bortolo.
 

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:
Carli, it is difficult to identify birds, especially raptors, when they are soaring high above you. Our birding lecturer used to call it seeing the "AHV of the bird" (arse-hole-view of the bird!)
Many raptors make a squeaking sound, at odds with their large size.
A good website to read about raptors in the Spanish Pyrenees is:
http://www.birdingpyrenees.com/Home.html
 
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richeyboy

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdeC: Oct 2011; SJPP-Leon, Oct 14; Tomar (PO)/SJPP Oct 15
Hi Mspath,
6 hours in the snow at age 70 covering about 14 ks or so: I think that is outstanding. You are a true pilgrim. As one who is only a little younger than you I hold you up as my example and beacon for when I do the camino later this year - if you can do it so can I. Brilliant. All the best. 8)
 

vinotinto

Active Member
markss said:
An extreme fear of heights makes Napoleon Route from SJPP unthinkable for me.

If you're going all the way to Santiago, then the Pyrenees will not be the only high place that you'll encounter. The Brierley guidebook has some warnings about difficult uphill/downhill stretches that also feature a view you may find disconcerting. For example, the steep hill outside of Pamplona, the hill outside of Castrojeriz, or the Galician mountain range itself.

I don't know the extent of your phobia, so to play it safe you may wish to do some further research about these potential sticky points. I hope that the Meseta will provide some comfortable desolation for you...

VT
 
And if you have any problem telling the difference between a weasel and a stoat, as some people have in telling what's an eagle and what a vulture, remember these lines:
A weasel is weasily recognised
while a stoat is stoatally different.
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
A veritable Yeats! rotflmao
Buen Camino,
 
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