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Napoleon route October 4th?

rabtacoma

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Leon to Santiago October 2019
If we leave SJPDP October 4th, is it in your experience that the Napoleon route will be open with ok weather? I guess I define OK weather as not dangerous winds and snow. I realize weather is a wildcard even on a good day. We can leave September 18th but we save about $200 on airfare if we wait until October 1st to fly Seattle-Paris.

Also I have walked from Leon to Santiago and did fine with the heights but are there parts of the Napoleon route that made people with a fear of heights uncomfortable.

Thank you for sharing any of your experiences.
 
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Deleted member 67185

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It should be open. I've walked over it twice in the last three years, at that same time of year. Of course, if the unlikely and unusual happens, and Napoleon is too dangerous and closed for more than a day or two, you could always travel via the Valcarlos Route.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Hi Rabtacoma.

For a few year, the route has been closed from 1 November to 31 March, but unless the weather is terrible, it should be open in October.

I have not walked it, so I cannot speak for heights. It is the Pyrenees though, and one of the hardest parts of the Camino Frances.

Maybe you can just go there, see how the weather looks like, how you feel once you see the mountains, and decide if you will go Napoleon or Valcarlos? People have great things to say about both routes :)
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
It has beautiful mountain vistas, but you are generally walking on a roadway that does not come near any sheer drop offs. Unless your fear is quite severe, it should not be a problem.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
If you were okay with the walk up to O Cebreiro, and the bridge at Portomarin, the Napoleon crossing will be fine.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
If I were you, I'd pick October. In fact, even not being you, I have picked later October twice for that section and both times were great. Once was very windy and chilly, but clear and absolutely walkable.

No, there are not any real height issues, unless you walk off the path.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Also I have walked from Leon to Santiago and did fine with the heights but are there parts of the Napoleon route that made people with a fear of heights uncomfortable.
It has beautiful mountain vistas, but you are generally walking on a roadway that does not come near any sheer drop offs. Unless your fear is quite severe, it should not be a problem.
What @Vacajoe said. Search out some YouTube videos of this section, and you will see that there is nothing scary.
 

rabtacoma

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Leon to Santiago October 2019
Thank you everyone so much. I learned so much reading all the posts on my first Camino and am very grateful for your experience and wisdom.
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Portugués (2015 - 2019)
de Madrid (2019)
Argentino/Inglés (2020)
If we leave SJPDP October 4th, is it in your experience that the Napoleon route will be open with ok weather? I guess I define OK weather as not dangerous winds and snow. I realize weather is a wildcard even on a good day. We can leave September 18th but we save about $200 on airfare if we wait until October 1st to fly Seattle-Paris.

Also I have walked from Leon to Santiago and did fine with the heights but are there parts of the Napoleon route that made people with a fear of heights uncomfortable.

Thank you for sharing any of your experiences.

It closes every year on November 1st, so you are fine.
There are no cliffs and the Cruz de Ferro at Foncebadón, which you have walked is higher up. Think: beautiful foothills with stunning views and rolling hills, and not dramatic rugged mountains.
Buen Camino
jeff
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I have not walked it, so I cannot speak for heights. It is the Pyrenees though, and one of the hardest parts of the Camino Frances.
It is not what sometimes comes to mind for the Pyrenees - those higher craggy mountains are farther East. These are more foothills, and hardly precipitous, especially along the CF route, which is basically along a road.

Not to worry, @rabtacoma . October is generally OK. And you can always walk the beautiful Valcarlos route, if the weather is iffy. It is a walk up a valley, and then a quite steep couple of kms before the way flattens out near Puerto de Ibañeta. So it's not much easier than the Napoleon, though not as high.
 
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steve 217

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata
I crossed from SJPP to roncevailles on the 13th of Oct this year and apart from the very strong winds , the weather was good this was the third time .
Twice i have crossed in Oct on both occasions fine but windy , once in Sept when the weather was perfect but i guess in the mountains the weather as we know can change very quickly , be prepared for four seasons in one day.
The pilgrim office will have an up to date forecast and the Valcarlos route is a safer poor weather route, use your common sense and you will be fine ,good luck and Buen Camino .
 
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Deleted member 67185

Guest
Here is a YouTube video that I recorded and John Sikora edited showing the entire Napoleon Route from St Jean to Roncesvalles, step by step, in a hyperlapsed time frame. This will let you see that you have nothing to fear :)
 

Donjek

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 SJPdP - Fisterra
If we leave SJPDP October 4th, is it in your experience that the Napoleon route will be open with ok weather? I guess I define OK weather as not dangerous winds and snow. I realize weather is a wildcard even on a good day. We can leave September 18th but we save about $200 on airfare if we wait until October 1st to fly Seattle-Paris.

Also I have walked from Leon to Santiago and did fine with the heights but are there parts of the Napoleon route that made people with a fear of heights uncomfortable.

Thank you for sharing any of your experiences.

The big risk is hypothermia (and most people who walk the route don't have an event). Its people's first day on the camino and they're overdoing it. At long last they get to the point where they can see the albergue at Roncesvalle (or not if the weather is adverse). Relief; we're almost there. Except they're still several kilometers out, tired, out of energy, de-hydrated; conditions that are ripe for hypothermia. Then the route splits giving several choices, only two of which get you to Roncesvalles. Then the pace changes from grinding uphill to grinding downhill; just as hard but using tired muscles. If weather conditions are cool and wet its a recipe for trouble.

Hypothermia is easy to avoid. Try to get enough rest before starting. Bring energy snacks and drink enough water. Wear your raincoat if it rains or if the wind blows cold.

Be careful of picking your route down the hill.

Otherwise, if not for the distance, its an easy route to walk. There are no technical sections where heights are an issue. One of the routes down the hill is a bit steep and people sometimes slip on it but otherwise its pretty safe.

If I went again I'd consider to bring something to sit on; I didn't take enough breaks because much of the ground is fouled with sheep dung.
 
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