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Road from Col Leopolder to Ibaneta

Bainbridge

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September 2022
Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
 
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Jakobsvejen.dk

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Pilgrimage since 1987. Still several times a year.
The GPS tracks on the Buen Camino app (and I'm sure other apps too) shows both ways. In three times on the Napoleon route I've always taken the "easier" way through Ibaneta.

View attachment 126454

Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
Wise for us older pilgrims to go through the Roland Chapel Here is a map that can help you. Buen Camino Poul Erik www.jakobsvejen.dk

1653636909990.png
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
@Bainbridge, see the steep downhill trail heading into the woods to the left of the road? It has the marker stone on it. You do NOT want to go down it.
Screenshot_20220527-052451-01.jpeg
 
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Another creaky knees/Ibaneta fan. There are stages on that route where you can scramble between the bitumen if you have the inclination (;)) but the road is good enough.

Have spent years hillwalking and have found like most people, knees are designed for going up hills, rather than going down. Must be a design flaw somewhere along the line.
 

Bainbridge

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September 2022
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Dick & Kitty

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
As others have said, it is easy to find. At least, we had no trouble finding it in the fall of 2017. At that time, there had been some rock slides on the steep descent that made it even more dangerous than usual (according to the Pilgrim's office in Saint Jean). By the time we got there, it was clear that my husband's knee was not in good enough shape for the regular descent. As I recall, when you finally get to the bottom of the road, you are directed to go through a gate on the left. A sign says, "Please close the gate." The reason will soon become obvious. You don't want the horses to get loose! Large beautiful horses who will pay no attention to you at all.

That part was fine--it was the storm we hit on the ascent to the top that was awful. Make sure you check the weather carefully before you leave Orrison. Storms come up quickly.

Buen Camino!
Dick & Kitty
 

Monasp

I'm a manager of pilgrims office in SJPP
Past OR future Camino
Camino in 2008.
Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
You have to follow the GR12 until "puerto de Ibañeta"
 

Niels

camino mi privio
Past OR future Camino
Norte, Primitivo, Muxia 2016; Frances 2018 + 2022
Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
The road to Ibaneta certainly has the greatest views. Check it out in maps.google before going. Then you'll have a notion of it.
 
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Derick Nichols

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2019
Due to creaky knees we are planning to take the less steep route from Col Leopolder on the Route Napoleon that goes to Ibaneta. Is the way to this road well-marked from the top?
Good choice. Easy to follow in 2019 so assume ok now. Many pilgrims coming down towards Ibaneta yesterday so obviously very popular alternative.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I occasionally look at topographic maps and I knew which way I wanted to go from the Col de Lepoeder onwards and I went that way. A majority of people will have visited the Pilgrim's Office in SJPP and will have received a copy of the overview that is reproduced in post #4 in this thread; they will have been advised to avoid the trail that is indicated by a DANGER! sign in this overview.

I agree with others who say that it is easy to pick the direction that will lead to the Ibañeta chapel. A bit of hesitation and head scratching is not unusual ☺️: just look at these two photos on the website of the Albergue de Roncesvalles that show you the situation where you have to make your choice shortly after the Lepoeder pass.

Lepoeder.jpg
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
When I was at the decision spot in July 2017 someone had written "hard way" with an arrow pointing to the steep downhill trail, and "easy way" with an arrow to the right towards Ibaneta painted on the ground.
I didn't see these markings when I was there in 2019.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
When I was at the decision spot in July 2017 someone had written "hard way" with an arrow pointing to the steep downhill trail, and "easy way" with an arrow to the right towards Ibaneta painted on the ground.
I didn't see these markings when I was there in 2019.
I wonder whether a permanent board that is erected directly next to the Camino milestone (visible in the photos) with information that this trail is the steeper one of the two options to reach Roncesvalles could be more helpful for pilgrims from afar than this array of GR trail markers that is meaningful mainly for hikers who are already familiar with the red-white GR marking and numbering system ...
 
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DoughnutANZ

I would rather be fishing
Past OR future Camino
2023
Here is an over view shot that highlights where the following photo was taken 16th May 2019. The easiest route is to the right.
Screenshot_20220528-230359.png

IMG_20190516_115454059.jpg
 

Bainbridge

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September 2022
Here is an over view shot that highlights where the following photo was taken 16th May 2019. The easiest route is to the right.
View attachment 126538

View attachment 126539
Thanks. In the lower picture what is the road on the left? I am confused by this because at the top the easier way is to the right and it looks like a paved road. In the lower photo the right way is a dirt path
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
In the attached map you see the Camino Francés coming from the top (that's north, you will hiking southbound here). It meets the paved highway Navarra 2033. If you keep walking south on that, go around the switchback and keep on the pavement heading north and then northwest and then keep on the paved NA-2033 wherever it goes off this map you will be taking the easy route to Roncesvalles via Ibaneta.

Here is where the confusion comes in. Up at Col Leopoeder near the emergency phone the marked camino has you going west down a ravine, the dotted red line. It will fork shortly after. At the fork there is a tall signpost with five arrows. The middle one points the way to the northwest and you see that that track soon connects you to NA-2033, the easy way. The text on the arrow even indicates that the arrow is pointing to the easy alternative to the camino but not in English so many people who want the easy way get confused and use the arrow pointing to the main steep and wooded route, the red dotted line to the southwest. This crosses NA-2033 and heads south down into the woods (the brown dashed line going to the bottom of the map). This is the way not to take as shown in post #5's picture.

@Felipe, a forum member, posted a good picture of the signpost for us. I highly recommend visiting his page.

Here is the map and a Google satellite view of the same area. In that view you can see the trail is much wider heading on across the road and into the woods than the alternative path that nearly parallels the road.

In the satellite view the NA-2033 is marked in blue but it is a bit off the actual route which can be seen a bit to the east heading into the woods and then disappearing under the trees.

Screenshot_20220527-112117.png

Screenshot_20220527-091919.png
 
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Bainbridge

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September 2022
In the attached map you see the Camino Francés coming from the top (that's north, you will hiking southbound here). It meets the paved highway Navarra 2033. If you keep walking south on that, go around the switchback and keep on the pavement heading north and then northwest and then keep on the paved NA-2033 wherever it goes off this map you will be taking the easy route to Roncesvalles via Ibaneta.

Here is where the confusion comes in. Up at Col Leopoeder near the emergency phone the marked camino has you going west down a ravine, the dotted red line. It will fork shortly after. At the fork there is a tall signpost with five arrows. The middle one points the way to the northwest and you see that that track soon connects you to NA-2033, the easy way. The text on the arrow even indicates that the arrow is pointing to the easy alternative to the camino but not in English so many people who want the easy way get confused and use the arrow pointing to the main steep and wooded route, the red dotted line to the southwest. This crosses NA-2033 and heads south down into the woods (the brown dashed line going to the bottom of the map). This is the way not to take as shown in post #5's picture.

@Felipe, a forum member, posted a good picture of the signpost for us. I highly recommend visiting his page.

Here is the map and a Google satellite view of the same area. In that view you can see the trail is much wider heading on across the road and into the woods than the alternative path that nearly parallels the road.

In the satellite view the NA-2033 is marked in blue but it is a bit off the actual route which can be seen a bit to the east heading into the woods and then disappearing under the trees.

View attachment 126551

View attachment 126552
Superb explanation and maps. Thank you. Much appreciated. What has been confusing, that you have clarified, is the criss-crossing of the road by the path with multiple branch points. So there is an option when the Way first meets NA-2033: you can just take the road and loop around or you can turn right on the path and be sure to take the branch point down to meet NA-2033 after the loop.
 
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Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Superb explanation and maps.
Thank you.

So there is an option when the Way first meets NA-2033: you can just take the road and loop around or you can turn right on the path and be sure to take the branch point down to meet NA-2033 after the loop.
Exactly right for both.

There is an easier, faster way. Call for a pickup from the emergency phone. It will, however, be the most expensive taxi ride you can imagine.
 

DoughnutANZ

I would rather be fishing
Past OR future Camino
2023
Thanks. In the lower picture what is the road on the left? I am confused by this because at the top the easier way is to the right and it looks like a paved road. In the lower photo the right way is a dirt path
If you look at @Rick of Rick and Peg s second image you will note the red "pin". Next to the pin is a squiggly dirt track that is a shortcut between the two arms of the blue line.

That is the dirt track that you can see in my second photo.

I took the dirt track. It connects to the road-like path.

Actually, until I saw Rick's map I didn't realise that the road swung back on itself like that.

Anyway, I am always looking for a shortcut and so I would have taken that short dirt track anyway but over to you about which of the two that you take. The dirt track is only about 20 metres long and so it makes little difference. Just make sure you turn right again when you meet the main path.

One of the other reasons that I took the dirt path between the loop back is that at the point of deciding you can't see that the road loops back to the right as it disappears around that corner. Until seeing Rick's excellent overview I had imagined the road continuing off to the left.
 
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