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Orisson Open?

Streetfood

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Does anyone know if the bar at Refuge Orisson will be open for lunch on Thursday 6 April 2022?
 
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Does anyone know if the bar at Refuge Orisson will be open for lunch on Thursday 6 April 2022?
I don't think Orisson has taken reservations for the first days of April yet. Wanted to sleep there in 2020, at that time reservations only after 10.04., who wanted to sleep there before, under the assumption that the pass is open, should call.
 

Rick M

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I think the first night they were taking reservations this year was 11 April. That doesn't mean they WON'T open earlier than that, it means that they are calling it day by day, based on the weather, until then. As for the restaurant, who knows? Well they do, you can call them. The Pilgrim Office will know too. This time of year, they open when the pass becomes.....passable. I have a reservation on the 12th, but all that means is that I can walk to Orisson with the expectation of a meal and a bed. Whether the pass is open won't be certain until I get there, and I may get bussed over to Valcarlos in the morning. It won't be certain for you either.
 
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Dramalama

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At the moment the pass is closed. Friend of mine startet the Camino today. Too much snow. At the pilgrims office they told us to take the valcarlos route. Two Pilgrims had to be rescued yesterday. You have to call ahead on the sixth to know for sure. Weather is unstable at the moment.
 
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Marc S.

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I think the first night they were taking reservations this year was 11 April. That doesn't mean they WON'T open earlier than that, it means that they are calling it day by day, based on the weather, until then.

That's right. In fact, the Orisson website says: "Until 11 April, reservations only by phone 2 days before your arrival, depending on the weather. Thank you for your understanding".

The site does not say anything about current opening hours of the bar/restaurant.
 
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jsalt

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Does anyone know if the bar at Refuge Orisson will be open for lunch on Thursday 6 April 2022?

I checked to see if this is an old thread.

Are you in a different time zone?

Do you mean Wednesday 6 April or Thursday 7 April?

Either way, if Orisson is open then their bar/restaurant will be open.

If Orisson is closed then their bar/restaurant will be closed.

Enjoy your lunch wherever you may be!
 

Copper Image

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So when they say « too much snow », how much is that? Just curious what that means — like 3 cm? 10cm? More? I respect 100% the decision to close the pass, just (as a Canadian) wondering about what amount of snow draws the decision to say « nope, pass closed ».
 
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Peacemaker

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My wife and I, per info from Laurent at Borda, are walking to Orisson tomorrow. Laurent says the way there is open, but continuing on from there is too dangerous. We already had reservations there, so we will make the trek tomorrow, then on Tuesday Laurent will arrange for a taxi to take us (and two other pilgrims we met today) to Valcarlos and we’ll continue our walk from there to Roncesvalles. The taxi will be about 10 euros each.
 

huima

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Drove with today (3th April) through Pyrenees. Max 30cm snow = very heavy to walk and downhills must be dangerous.

I gave pictures but could not get them uploaded here.

Decided not to go through mountains and opted for street.
 

henrythedog

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So when they say « too much snow », how much is that? Just curious what that means — like 3 cm? 10cm? More? I respect 100% the decision to close the pass, just (as a Canadian) wondering about what amount of snow draws the decision to say « nope, pass closed ».
Rather less than you will be accustomed to. The decision is clearly made assuming the capability of an inexperienced overloaded winter walker who’s not done much research and expects to be rescued to be pretty marginal.
 
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too much snow », how much is that
The part of the trail in question is exposed to strong winds and there are drifts. A word that is defined in English as deceptively deep piles of snow. In such conditions, people who would be already cold and tired and not appropriately equipped anyway as very few will bring snowshoes will get even colder and more tired. At the Lepoeder pass which is part of this section and of the Camino trail, it was that much yesterday (click on video in second frame):

 
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Copper Image

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The part of the trail in question is exposed to strong winds and there are drifts. A word that is defined in English as deceptively deep piles of snow. In such conditions, people who would be already cold and tired and not appropriately equipped anyway as very few will bring snowshoes will get even colder and more tired. At the Lepoeder pass which is part of this section and of the Camino trail, it was that much yesterday:

Well, that looks like fun, but I’m leaving my gaiters and snowshoes at home.

That was very informative, muchas graçias.
 
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Well, that looks like fun, but I’m leaving my gaiters and snowshoes at home. That was very informative, muchas graçias.
Many pilgrims have no concept of what it is like to walk under such conditions. Plus, it is not always brilliant sunshine and clear views up there. There is fog, there are clouds, there is hail, there is snow, there is rain, and there is no path that has been cleared by the town or park services after heavy snowfall; pilgrims loose their way and get disoriented or they get so exhausted that they can neither walk forwards nor back to where they came from; it gets dark and even colder and they had not expected that to happen while they are still at high altitude on the trail.

There have been dead pilgrims up there in earlier years in the winter months. If you know where to look, you will see their memorials along the Route Napoleon. One of them had lived in Canada, btw. This happened when it was still allowed to walk all year round which is now no longer the case.

Whether Orisson is open or not is irrelevant. Guests can stay for a meal or the night and get transported back down to the valley the next morning while the conditions further up are too treacherous. The pilgrims office will know. Follow their advice.
 
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So when they say « too much snow », how much is that? Just curious what that means — like 3 cm? 10cm? More? I respect 100% the decision to close the pass, just (as a Canadian) wondering about what amount of snow draws the decision to say « nope, pass closed ».
I saw a post elsewhere with people walking up to their thighs in snow, and the route markers weren't easily visible
 
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maureen.gypsy

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Rather less than you will be accustomed to. The decision is clearly made assuming the capability of an inexperienced overloaded winter walker who’s not done much research and expects to be rescued to be pretty marginal.
That's a very judgemental and arrogant statement: "assuming the capability of an inexperienced and overloaded winter walker who's not done much research and expects to be rescued". How about "the conditions and expected weather over the mountains are such that even the most experienced deep snow walkers may be at risk through lack of visibility and high winds where the trail is exposed and subject to steep dropoffs. Rescues in this case may not be possible and significant fines will be imposed for walkers who attempt the path when the trail is marked as closed." No need to make derogatory comments of those lacking your apparent vast and superior experience.
 

maureen.gypsy

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I don't think Orisson has taken reservations for the first days of April yet. Wanted to sleep there in 2020, at that time reservations only after 10.04., who wanted to sleep there before, under the assumption that the pass is open, should call.
Some reservations have been cancelled as Orisson has suffered some damage. Not sure if this is just the accommodation or the bar as well.
 

henrythedog

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That's a very judgemental and arrogant statement: "assuming the capability of an inexperienced and overloaded winter walker who's not done much research and expects to be rescued". How about "the conditions and expected weather over the mountains are such that even the most experienced deep snow walkers may be at risk through lack of visibility and high winds where the trail is exposed and subject to steep dropoffs. Rescues in this case may not be possible and significant fines will be imposed for walkers who attempt the path when the trail is marked as closed." No need to make derogatory comments of those lacking your apparent vast and superior experience.
You’re entitled to your opinion, which I respect even if apparently not reciprocated. I make no claim as to my experience. My last three Scottish winter climbing companions; who indisputably had world- class experience in hostile environments all died in climbing accidents.

I stand by my comment.
 
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That's a very judgemental and arrogant statement: "assuming the capability of an inexperienced and overloaded winter walker who's not done much research and expects to be rescued".
Not sure what "very judgemental" means in this context. Perhaps you mean unjust and unfair but it is not. Judging the preparation and level of knowledge of numerous pilgrims as poor is a fair assessment. Watching The Way and reading blogs raving about the Route Napoleon is a poor preparation for walking in adverse conditions in the air and on the ground, especially for those from far away who have never done "anything like this before", whether in summer, spring, autumn or winter.

I don't know any official wording in the current context but I do know the official wording for the annual winter closure. @henrythedog has merely paraphrased the fair judgment of the Spanish authorities. I quote from the decree that they publish every year:

[...] pilgrims who wish to tackle this stage must have adequate physical preparation, a situation that has been found not to be present in a high percentage of them. To this situation must be added the significant increase in effort required when there is snow or when the weather conditions are adverse, in addition to the material equipment that should be carried in these situations, which has also been found not to be carried on many occasions.

It so happens that the Route Napoleon enters Navarre at a high altitude, 1288 m above sea level, and that in the Navarre section there are no escape options until the Lepoeder pass, 5 km after entering Navarre. The signposting has been continuously improved and its validity periodically checked. At present, it is meticulous and only in blizzard conditions can it be difficult not to follow. However, there are still interventions in this area by rescue personnel, both professional and voluntary, often due to the pilgrims' lack of information and preparation, given the harshness of this route. The situation is particularly serious in the winter season, with very difficult conditions for rescues, including life-threatening situations for the rescue teams, given the orography and climatology of the area, and the serious difficulties of access, location and evacuation.
It is "the inexperienced and overloaded winter walkers who've not done much research" who are the reason for the annual official winter closure although many of them may well consider themselves to be nothing of the sort and who, like lemmings, are driven by the idea that they must absolutely walk on the Route Napoleon over the Lepoeder pass, nothing else will do.
 
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Some reservations have been cancelled as Orisson has suffered some damage. Not sure if this is just the accommodation or the bar as well.
Huh? At first I read this to mean that some reservations have been cancelled by them and this caused Orisson financial damage because they could not provide their services as booked and only in this case they are obliged by law to do a refund. You mean material damage??? Did you read this on social media?
 
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On the lower route, namely the Valcarlos route, over the weekend, pilgrims needed police assistance, according to a regional Spanish newspaper. Totally predictable but then some advise pilgrims, on this forum, to just look out of the window in the morning to guess today's weather instead of informing themselves properly and staying put for a day when it would be wise to do so.

Although, it could also be the case that the police were on routine patrols along the Roncesvalles-Valcarlos road to pick up those pilgrims who were not able to assess their capabilities appropriately beforehand. Because the police knows that it's better to pick them up one by one during daylight when the weather is severe and the ground not safe for those in light walking shoes instead of searching and trying to find them after nightfall when they have become too exhausted or have lost their way or can no longer find it.

Agents of the National Police in Valcarlos have assisted 10 pilgrims who walked the first stage of the Camino Frances from SJPP to Roncesvalles over the past weekend. The difficulties of walking in such conditions made the pilgrims request assistance from the National Police, who, using 4x4 vehicles, retrieved the walkers and transferred them to their destination albergues.
Valcarlos Rpute.jpg
 
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You’re right of course @Kathar1na in poor conditions even Valcarlos route is not always a safe option. The weather at the moment is very cold and snowy in parts. We walked against strong icy winds andsnow showers for the last 3 days on the Piémont from Carcassonne. Warmer today.

I will delete my earlier well intentioned post in case it is read as Valcarlos being always possible / safe 🥶
 
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I will delete my earlier well intentioned post in case it is read as Valcarlos being always possible / safe 🥶
You should leave it and not delete it. It was a good and helpful post, based on your own Camino experience and other walking experience in mountainous areas which many of those who get themselves into trouble don't have.

The past weekend was an exceptional weather situation for this time of the year but it had been expected and forecast for days. It should not have come as a surprise to anyone, especially not in the area of the Pyrenees.
 
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You should leave it. It was a good and helpful post, based on your own Camino experience which many of those who get themselves into trouble don't have.
I was quick off the mark. Already deleted. But the same message has been given so many times on so many threads, hopefully pilgrims will seek and heed advice from the pilgrims office in SJPP 😎
 
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henrythedog

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I’m going to try again.

There are regular posters on here who have served in the Norwegian armed forces; there are others who work in offices and live in tropical climes.

I have seen Peregrinos turn up in St Jean looking fit, prepared and lightly loaded. I have seen others who appear to have evaded their carer and raided a large dressing-up box en-route. The vast majority are between those extremes

The local authorities do not have the time or capability to make graduated decisions. It’s OK for you, but you’re looking a bit fat you can’t go? That can’t work; so they have to make a go/nogo decision on a daily basis. One day everyone can set off, the next day nobody.

It then seems not unreasonable to suggest that a Canadian might consider conditions comparable to a normal day in the office at a time when someone from a hot arid climate would be in totally unaccustomed and apparently hostile circumstances.

What are the authorities going to say? It’s getting risky and you shouldn’t set off if you’re inexperienced. No. They’re going to close the route, very sensibly and accompany it with warnings to underline the potential risk.

My later clarification that my good friends messers Cartwright (aspirant guide in his mid 20’s. Climbed with him in Wales) Nisbet (an icon of Scottish winter mountaineering; every year for a decade) and Moran (a Guide of three decades experience; twice in awful conditions) all died in extreme winter conditions is to say that incidents (I nearly said shit there, must be careful) happen to the most capable.

My experience which I have not referred to in any case is wholly irrelevant and insignificant compared to the ex-Hæren on here, and others. And I’m rather older than I was.

The route in question is an improved track. Whilst it is closed countless winter climbers are making their own decisions a couple of KM away and getting on with their recreation pretty much at their own risk.

It’s not simple.

What is simple is that the route is either open or closed and that should be respected.
 
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Sofia Hughes

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Hello,
I am one of those inexperienced hikers doing the Camino for the first time.
I am starting next week and I would appreciate your feedback, considering the current weather context. Of course I would have liked to cross the Pyrenees, but I understand there's nothing that says my Camino experience will be any less meaningful if I begin the route later. Would those of you who are more experienced or local recommend starting in Roncesvalles or Pamplona?
Since I am returning home from Barcelona, I can always come back to the Pyrenees at the end of May when I finish my trip to Spain and enjoy the experience as a final treat.
I appreciate the input.
 

Tincatinker

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Hello,
I am one of those inexperienced hikers doing the Camino for the first time.
I am starting next week and I would appreciate your feedback, considering the current weather context. Of course I would have liked to cross the Pyrenees, but I understand there's nothing that says my Camino experience will be any less meaningful if I begin the route later. Would those of you who are more experienced or local recommend starting in Roncesvalles or Pamplona?
Since I am returning home from Barcelona, I can always come back to the Pyrenees at the end of May when I finish my trip to Spain and enjoy the experience as a final treat.
I appreciate the input.
Start in Pamplona and have a wonderful Camino
 

henrythedog

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Hello,
I am one of those inexperienced hikers doing the Camino for the first time.
I am starting next week and I would appreciate your feedback, considering the current weather context. Of course I would have liked to cross the Pyrenees, but I understand there's nothing that says my Camino experience will be any less meaningful if I begin the route later. Would those of you who are more experienced or local recommend starting in Roncesvalles or Pamplona?
Since I am returning home from Barcelona, I can always come back to the Pyrenees at the end of May when I finish my trip to Spain and enjoy the experience as a final treat.
I appreciate the input.
Many years ago one’s Camino would start at the door of your house. The arbitrary decision to have a starting point which would only be relevant to only a few French residents is just that, arbitrary.

Pamplona is a wonderful place to start; still a very long way from Santiago and- for many - much more accessible.

The award of a compostella entirely disregards whatever you may have done more than 100km from Santiago.

The routes which cross the Pyrenees are not - in any way - mountainous but they are; to many; strenuous. And one of them is shut in winter conditions because of objective risk.

I’ve started in St Jean twice, and done both routes. Since then I’ve started twice in Pamplona which would be my recommendation.
 

estorildon

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I see a post on FB from two pilgrims who walked the pass and found out by the end of the day they had walked more than 33k becauuse they got lost. I have walked this pass numerous times just for fun and I "think" I know my way but in deep snow and the possibly of verging off into some deep crevasse. No way! The pilgrim who posted the photos has since thanked everyone for their comments and apologized for her actions.
 
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I see a post on FB from two pilgrims who walked the pass and found out by the end of the day they had walked more than 33k becauuse they got lost. I have walked this pass numerous times just for fun and I "think" I know my way but in deep snow and the possibly of verging off into some deep crevasse. No way! The pilgrim who posted the photos has since thanked everyone for their comments and apologized for her actions.
Too right!
 

Streetfood

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Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. As always my knowledge (maybe even wisdom!) has increased via the interaction with forum members.
The background for my original question was that I'm staying the night of 7th April at Auberge Borda. The auberge accepts guests from 2:30pm. On the way I was hoping to enjoy a coffee on the deck at Refuge Orisson if the weather gods allow and if the bar is open (previous research had informed me that Orisson was not taking over-night bookings for dates before 12 April).

I've just confirmed my reservation at Borda. The host at Borda, Laurent, tells me that the road to Borda is currently passable. On Friday, whether I walk to Roncesvalles 'over the top' or via Valecarlos will be based on advice from the Pilgrim's Office.
Buen Camino
 
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Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. As always my knowledge (maybe even wisdom!) has increased via the interaction with forum members.
The background for my original question was that I'm staying the night of 7th April at Auberge Borda. The auberge accepts guests from 2:30pm. On the way I was hoping to enjoy a coffee on the deck at Refuge Orisson if the weather gods allow and if the bar is open (previous research had informed me that Orisson was not taking over-night bookings for dates before 12 April).

I've just confirmed my reservation at Borda. The host at Borda, Laurent, tells me that the road to Borda is currently passable. On Friday, whether I walk to Roncesvalles 'over the top' or via Valecarlos will be based on advice from the Pilgrim's Office.
Buen Camino
Thanks for that. We get reminders of what people have posted but because the feed gets hijacked can't remember the original question 🤔 good to know that Laurant has confirmed we can walk as far as Borda as I'm there 1st May. Take a baguette, cheese, wine and enjoy the sights on your journey. That's my plan!
 

Kanga

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This thread reinforces my view that it is a prerequisite to walking a camino to be flexible. There are always alternatives. It can be fun and satisfying to find creative solutions. I know that sounds like a motherhood statement, but my own sense of self sufficiency has been enormously improved by camino challenges.
 

Streetfood

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This thread reinforces my view that it is a prerequisite to walking a camino to be flexible. There are always alternatives. It can be fun and satisfying to find creative solutions. I know that sounds like a motherhood statement, but my own sense of self sufficiency has been enormously improved by camino challenges.
Just an other life-lesson to be be learned from the Camino.
 
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This Europe-wide cold snap is over now and in the area of SJPP and on the passes of the Valcarlos and Napoleon routes the temperature will rise significantly over the next 7 days. It is still important to check the conditions on the ground with the Pilgrims Welcome Office and follow their advice. Because in early spring in particular, these two factors are important for such a walk in unfamiliar terrain that lasts 7-10 hours: weather and conditions of the trail.
 
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Take a baguette, cheese, wine and enjoy the sights on your journey. That's my plan!
Good plan ☺️. Although I would take water instead of wine …

Of course there is thread drift! Or did anyone seriously expect to see a pertinent reply when someone asks on Saturday 2nd of April while it was still snowing on the Pyrenees whether Orisson will be open for a snack on Thursday 6th of April??? Orisson may not have known it themselves at the time.

Btw, I would never rely on a bar or albergue being open or a food truck or food stand being there. I always carry emergency snacks in my backpack. You actually need very little for a 24 km walk as any amateur marathon runner or walker (42 km) can confirm. But a few calories are essential to keep you going during a long day.

@mspath does not get tired of telling people that there are no shops or potable water after Valcarlos. I was surprised to read that pilgrims had no food with them on Friday when leaving Valcarlos and they struggled because of that, in addition to having to cope with the snow, the cold and the treacherous road and trail conditions.
 
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wayfarer

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When I walked in 2012 there was no regulations with regards to the Napoleon Route but when checking in at the Pilgrim Office they strongly advised against walking the Napoleon Route due to weather conditions, my wife, who had come to see me off, strongly advised this also by saying you are not walking the Napoleon Route. Later that afternoon I met a fellow Irishman with a few of his friends and I asked him which route he was taking, he said the Napoleon, how bad can it be.
We arrived in Roncesvalles at 16.00 going via Valcarlos next day, I met the Irishman at around 20.00 as he checked in, pale and exhausted, his remarks were never again we thought we'd never make it, the wind came up and with knee deep and driving snow, conditions had become very dangerous, very fast.
Listen to the advice at the Pilgrim Office even if the route is open.
 

Kanga

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I echo @mspath 's advice to carry water and something to eat, when leaving Valcarlos - something that will give an instant burst of energy. All the uphill is right at the end, when the body is exhausted. The last time I walked I had plenty of water, but no food, and I had forgotten how steep it is. I was so, so grateful to some fellow pilgrims who handed me a few boiled sweets as I struggled up the last kilometre.
 
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I did a quick search on FaceBook. There are several people who say that they received an email to inform them that their reservation has been cancelled and that they received a refund. This refers to bookings towards the end of the month, like 21-28 April. Others with a booking for the same period did not receive a cancellation. I understand that the rooms with beds at Orisson are on both sides of the road, in the main building with the bar and restaurant and underneath the terrace on the other side but I am not sure whether that is correct?
 
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domigee

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I didn’t know there were rooms underneath the terrace… Is it new? I always stayed in the main building, behind the restaurant.
 
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I didn’t know there were rooms underneath the terrace… Is it new? I always stayed in the main building, behind the restaurant.
I don't know whether it is true or new, that's why I wondered whether it is correct.

At one point, since its appearance on the scene in 2004, the Refuge Orisson had 18 beds, and now it has 28 beds.

Here is a photo; there is clearly space outside of the main building in these other structures but I don't know what's in them or what they are used for.

Orisson.jpg
 
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domigee

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Wow, I had never noticed that! 😎 I’m walking by Orisson in a couple of weeks’ time, if it is open I’ll enquire 🙂
 

Marc S.

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I don't know whether it is true or new, that's why I wondered whether it is correct.

This made me curious... ;)

There are eighteen beds at Refuge Orisson -- make sure you book in advance. These are a variety of bunk and single beds either inside the main building or just below it beneath the road -- these rooms have a particularly scenic outlook. www.hostelz.com/hostel/246144-Refuge-Orisson

Source seems reliable, so I take it for true. How new it is, I do not know. (although someone mentioned on this forum already in 2018 that are are beds beneath the terrace)
 
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Wow, I had never noticed that! 😎 I’m walking by Orisson in a couple of weeks’ time, if it is open I’ll enquire 🙂
You could also enquire about the tents because that is a question that comes up from time to time on the forum. At one point, they offered beds in tents, too, but this has stopped. These were Orisson's tents. I don't think that they allow private camping on their grounds.
 

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estorildon

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CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I saw a similar comment on a FB Camino forum about someone reporting they had been given a refund for late April, I didn't want to post it here because I couldn't find it again to be able to confirm who posted it. The tents have been gone for a while, the rooms under the deck go back to at least 2014.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
When I searched for it, a Facebook group with the name "Camino de Santiago 2022" had the most first hand reports about recent cancellations of bookings at Orisson for the end of April 2022. I did not even know that this group existed. It has an astonishing 34.000 nominal members.

I also saw that the Albergue de Roncesvalles staff posted a drone photo of the Ibañeta pass (altitude 1000 m) of today and the modern chapel there. There is still snow at this highest point of the Valcarlos route, but the road is clear. For those not familiar with the geography: road on the left comes up from Valcarlos, road on the right comes down from the Lepoeder pass on the Napoleon route.
 

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estorildon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
There are 4 FB groups I subscribe to:
1.) Camino Frances 51.7k members
2.) Camino del Norte 1.8k members
3.) Albergues del Camino de Santiago 15.4k members
and my favorite for news from Biarritz and Pays Basque
4.) tu aimes la cote basque et et le pays basque si tu en parles 66.1k members (I believe Jean-Jacques Etchandy is a member of that group)
There were some stunning and very frightening photos and videos on those sites about rescues and lost pilgrims between SJPdP and Roncesvalles last week.

I was going to write to Jean-Jacques and offer to be his Camino Forum whisperer but I decided he has his hands full right now.
When I was living in Biarritz my favorite training exercise on a "bottler of a day" was to walk the Cornice to St. Jean de Luz and take a train back home or drive up to Orisson for an late lunch and apero after a walk to and from the pass. I could probably do it blindfolded and that was my reason for saying it is too easy to get lost if you can't see the way markers buried in the snow. One wrong step and you are a griffin's delight or someone who goes by the name Daniel.
 
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John Brierley 2023 Camino Guide
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estorildon

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
There is always so much ‘back and forth’ about Orisson, I sometimes wonder if the owners have any idea how much discussion and speculation their small, but significantly located, albergue generates 😎
He knows!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Totally predictable but then some advise pilgrims, on this forum, to just look out of the window in the morning to guess today's weather instead of informing themselves properly and staying put for a day when it would be wise to do so.
@Kathar1na I participated in one such thread recently titled 'What is the best way to check the weather on the Camino?', and if you are making an oblique reference to that thread, your interpretation is a significant distortion of what was discussed.

There was no suggestion in that thread at all that pilgrims shouldn't inform themselves about the weather. There was a general discussion that pilgrims have little option but to keep walking each day, and in that there was the quite clear inference that the best way to determine what they needed to wear was to observe the current conditions, in contrast to using a smartphone app. That is a much narrower discussion than what you are suggesting here.

More, there was no discussion about the special circumstances where pilgrims could not or should not continue to walk each day, such as illness or extreme weather where seeking shelter or not walking might be the better options to walking.

I know that you contributed to that thread, but I don't recall you seeking to clarify the intent of those who were pointing out that an app might be unnecessary, and that direct observation was as as good a guide to the current weather conditions as any predictions delivered by an app. That might have been a more appropriate way of clarifying this than misrepresenting that discussion in the way you have here.

More, I would still hold the view that a weather app is not essential, even when it comes to crossing the Pyrenees from SJPP, and I suspect anywhere else. In the case of SJPP, my experience has been that both the Pilgrim Office and albergue staff were well informed about the conditions on the Route Napoleon in particular, and were able to provide the forecasts for the following day and whether the current conditions precluded walking. No-one has to rely on an app to get the information they need to safely use either of the routes from SJPP.

That was the point of the thread you appear to be referring to, not the broader question of being properly informed, and not the specific question of crossing the Pyrenees in inclement conditions.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Fwiw, someone posts in Camino Facebook groups that the passes of the Route Napoleon are closed until Friday 8 April and that on Friday a number of official agencies like police and so on will gather to decide whether to open the trail from Saturday 9 April or not. The poster makes it sound official, including some visuals, but I’ve not yet seen something of this sort on relevant official Twitter feeds, or the website of the regional government Navarra.es or in the regional news.

I would not be surprised, though, if it is still not recommended to walk the Route Nap. The road D-128 that leads to Orisson, Borda, and very close to the Spanish border is open for pedestrians, taxis and cars of course. Anyone actually in SJPP right now who reads this thread?
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2018
Hello,
I am one of those inexperienced hikers doing the Camino for the first time.
I am starting next week and I would appreciate your feedback, considering the current weather context. Of course I would have liked to cross the Pyrenees, but I understand there's nothing that says my Camino experience will be any less meaningful if I begin the route later. Would those of you who are more experienced or local recommend starting in Roncesvalles or Pamplona?
Since I am returning home from Barcelona, I can always come back to the Pyrenees at the end of May when I finish my trip to Spain and enjoy the experience as a final treat.
I appreciate the input.
In April 2018, I had a miserable start of my Camino from St. Jean (in cold, non-stop rain via Valcarlos because Nap route was closed), so I did what you suggest: the day after I had arrived in Santiago, I traveled back to St. Jean and walked the Nap route to Roncesvalles. It was wonderful for three reasons: 1) the weather in May was sooo much better, 2) I sent my pack ahead to Roncesvalles, unlike in April, and 3) I was really prepared physically for the challenge. Do what you propose! Start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona, walk to Santiago, and then return to St. Jean to complete those initial stages.
 

SallyJane

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
This Europe-wide cold snap is over now and in the area of SJPP and on the passes of the Valcarlos and Napoleon routes the temperature will rise significantly over the next 7 days. It is still important to check the conditions on the ground with the Pilgrims Welcome Office and follow their advice. Because in early spring in particular, these two factors are important for such a walk in unfamiliar terrain that lasts 7-10 hours: weather and conditions of the trail.
Yay!!!! I hate snow. Hopefully it's well and truly melting by the 24th April
 
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Richard A Stead

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
Not sure what "very judgemental" means in this context. Perhaps you mean unjust and unfair but it is not. Judging the preparation and level of knowledge of numerous pilgrims as poor is a fair assessment. Watching The Way and reading blogs raving about the Route Napoleon is a poor preparation for walking in adverse conditions in the air and on the ground, especially for those from far away who have never done "anything like this before", whether in summer, spring, autumn or winter.

I don't know any official wording in the current context but I do know the official wording for the annual winter closure. @henrythedog has merely paraphrased the fair judgment of the Spanish authorities. I quote from the decree that they publish every year:

[...] pilgrims who wish to tackle this stage must have adequate physical preparation, a situation that has been found not to be present in a high percentage of them. To this situation must be added the significant increase in effort required when there is snow or when the weather conditions are adverse, in addition to the material equipment that should be carried in these situations, which has also been found not to be carried on many occasions.

It so happens that the Route Napoleon enters Navarre at a high altitude, 1288 m above sea level, and that in the Navarre section there are no escape options until the Lepoeder pass, 5 km after entering Navarre. The signposting has been continuously improved and its validity periodically checked. At present, it is meticulous and only in blizzard conditions can it be difficult not to follow. However, there are still interventions in this area by rescue personnel, both professional and voluntary, often due to the pilgrims' lack of information and preparation, given the harshness of this route. The situation is particularly serious in the winter season, with very difficult conditions for rescues, including life-threatening situations for the rescue teams, given the orography and climatology of the area, and the serious difficulties of access, location and evacuation.
It is "the inexperienced and overloaded winter walkers who've not done much research" who are the reason for the annual official winter closure although many of them may well consider themselves to be nothing of the sort and who, like lemmings, are driven by the idea that they must absolutely walk on the Route Napoleon over the Lepoeder pass, nothing else will do.
Having walked the route in May I really have little sympathy for people who start when they know there is snow and they deserve to be charged for the rescue and should feel lucky they are still alive
 

Richard A Stead

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
In April 2018, I had a miserable start of my Camino from St. Jean (in cold, non-stop rain via Valcarlos because Nap route was closed), so I did what you suggest: the day after I had arrived in Santiago, I traveled back to St. Jean and walked the Nap route to Roncesvalles. It was wonderful for three reasons: 1) the weather in May was sooo much better, 2) I sent my pack ahead to Roncesvalles, unlike in April, and 3) I was really prepared physically for the challenge. Do what you propose! Start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona, walk to Santiago, and then return to St. Jean to complete those initial stages.
At 70 years of age I found the first day via Orisson the toughest of my whole Camino. If you it stay at Orisson or walk there ago back to SJPdP and start from Orisson again the next day. If you do it at the end you will be so much fitter and the weather should be good.
 

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