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Route Napoleon closed (April 1, 2024) for a few days, due to weather

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Any guesstimate until when this will remain closed?
Not a meteorologist but I do have some experience of walking in similar altitudes and terrain. Looks like there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow and temperatures should remain above freezing most of the way. The predicted minimum snow level is above the height of the pass so there should be no fresh fall. My own best guess is that the combination of rain and temperature will clear most of the snow from the route and there are no storms forecast. I would expect it to be walkable by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.

1712006142360.png
 
Not a meteorologist but I do have some experience of walking in similar altitudes and terrain. Looks like there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow and temperatures should remain above freezing most of the way. The predicted minimum snow level is above the height of the pass so there should be no fresh fall. My own best guess is that the combination of rain and temperature will clear most of the snow from the route and there are no storms forecast. I would expect it to be walkable by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.

View attachment 167171
Thank you. I’ll be in SJPP on the 12th and while crossing the Pyrenees is a dream of mine, I understand the associated dangers with ill weather. I do wish it’s open though once my time arrives.
 
Hola - some good advice from the local authorities and given that it can snow on virtually any day between September and May in the Pyrenees I think there will be many pilgrims on Valcarlos route for the next two or three weeks. As I recall the Pilgrim Office in St Jean usually has reliable reports from Orisson. Cheers
 
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As an additional warning: I just san some Spanish policemen waiting for hikers where the Valcarlos joins the Napoleon route. Anyone inclined to hike the closed route is up for an expensive surprise!
Interesting. Along with the Facebook post by @Monasp that seems to confirm the cordial practical working relationship between the French and Spanish police in the area. In January last year I saw a group of uniformed French police officers having coffee in one of the cafes in the venta shopping centre in Arneguy. Definitely within Spain if only by 50 metres or so! :cool:
 
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Thank you. I’ll be in SJPP on the 12th and while crossing the Pyrenees is a dream of mine, I understand the associated dangers with ill weather. I do wish it’s open though once my time arrives.
I too will be starting April 17 so praying it will be all good then!
 
Not a meteorologist but I do have some experience of walking in similar altitudes and terrain. Looks like there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow and temperatures should remain above freezing most of the way. The predicted minimum snow level is above the height of the pass so there should be no fresh fall. My own best guess is that the combination of rain and temperature will clear most of the snow from the route and there are no storms forecast. I would expect it to be walkable by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.

View attachment 167171
Looks like your weather forecast is for Roncevalles which can be very different than the pass. I’ve been in snow coming over the Napoleon with none in Roncevalles.
 
What is the long-term forecast for the Napolean Route? I will start from SJPP on 29 April, is rain expected to last, even if the route is open? I am unable to find a forecast longer than 14 days.
 
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Looks like your weather forecast is for Roncevalles which can be very different than the pass. I’ve been in snow coming over the Napoleon with none in Roncevalles.
Yes. Couldn't find a more localised forecast for the pass. As a rough guess I would expect temperatures at the summit to be 2 or 3 degrees lower and wind speeds considerably higher. But the expected snow level is included in the Roncesvalles forecast.
 
Here's the forecast for the pass:
My favourite weather app ☺️, especially the desktop version.

It is interesting to look at the temperature for Thursday 4 April (which happens to have a high probability level - see the 4 "blobs") at 9 am or midday and compare actual and felt temperatures listed for SJPP and the Bentarte pass. People are often not aware of these differences.

A rule of thumb for mountain weather in regions like the European mountain ranges (i.e. up to 4000 metres): 0.65 ºC difference for every altitude difference of 100 metres! It's a general rule of thumb. Temperature differences also depend on various other factors, like whether it's dry air or cloud air or an inversion weather situation where it can be warmer on the mountain than in the valley.
 
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Uhm, I will start my camino on the 4th of April (this Thursday :)). How do I suppose to reach Auberge Borda when the path is closed ? :( I cancelled my booking in Roncesvalles as soon as I was able to book Borda. So if I am unlucky I cannot reach to Albergue Borda and have no bed yet in Roncesvalles :( My plan was to walk the path in 2 days to start relaxed. My second day was planned from Auberge Borda to Espinal. Maybe I need to shift my plans then hmm
 
How do I suppose to reach Auberge Borda when the path is closed ?
Hi @diggidan, the path to Borda is not closed. But, frankly, if you have concerns of any kind it is best to contact your accommodation Borda directly, instead of relying on social media. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I mean well. I read comments about all this on FB today (Orisson, Borda, and how to get to Roncesvalles) and there is so much nonsense being written that one does not even want to say anything anymore to correct it.

Buen Camino!
 
Thanks for your reply. Well even if I am able to get to Borda the path from the spanish border could be closed:/ so I would be stuck at auberge Borda I guess. I will check at the pilgrims office. I will arrive in Saint Jean tomorrow
 
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Thanks for your reply. Well even if I am able to get to Borda the path from the spanish border could be closed:/ so I would be stuck at auberge Borda I guess. I will check at the pilgrims office. I will arrive in Saint Jean tomorrow
Please keep us posted on what they tell you! ;)
 
Not a meteorologist but I do have some experience of walking in similar altitudes and terrain. Looks like there is rain in the forecast for tomorrow and temperatures should remain above freezing most of the way. The predicted minimum snow level is above the height of the pass so there should be no fresh fall. My own best guess is that the combination of rain and temperature will clear most of the snow from the route and there are no storms forecast. I would expect it to be walkable by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.

View attachment 167171
Hello, I will be leaving St Jean on April 23rd, and did make reservation in Orisson. Still feeling like it may leave me feeling antsy stopping there, but trying to follow advice in starting slow. I would imagine if the route was closed that I would be refunded. I’d love to hear any opinions or experiences from those who have been before and did stop to break up that day, or wished they would have. My first experience in another country and for sure tackling anything like this!
 
Thanks for your reply. Well even if I am able to get to Borda the path from the spanish border could be closed:/ so I would be stuck at auberge Borda I guess. I will check at the pilgrims office. I will arrive in Saint Jean tomorrow
At sea, we have a saying: When in doubt, act as if there is no doubt. It has saved many lives.

But the weather forecast for the next 10 days at Orrison does not look all that bad...

But first and foremost: Check with the Pilgrim Office in SJpdP: Go the route they advice.

 
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Oh well I am relaxed though :) it’s not my first camino but first time Camino Frances and I really wanted to walk over the path. But if it is too dangerous it’s okay, safety first and the camino provides as always.
 
I just asked Auberge Borda about the closing. As already mentioned the path to borda is open and only the Spanish government in Navarra decides whether or not to open the path. The auberge said in case it is too dangerous to continue they will organize a taxi back to Valcarlos from where pilgrims can continue their walk on the safer way. Let’s hope the best. So I guess I will ask the pilgrims office about the closing but will definitely walk to Borda.
 
Thank you. I’ll be in SJPP on the 12th and while crossing the Pyrenees is a dream of mine, I understand the associated dangers with ill weather. I do wish it’s open though once my time arrives.
Me too. I'll start walking from SJPdP on April 10. Would love to see the view from the Pyrenees. But safety first, of course. Hope the weather improves soon.
 
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As an additional warning: I just san some Spanish policemen waiting for hikers where the Valcarlos joins the Napoleon route. Anyone inclined to hike the closed route is up for an expensive surprise!
Someone posted on Reddit this morning that they walked the Napoleon route even though it was closed. He seemed quite pleased with himself, no one else was. I think he's deleted his boast now. I can't understand why anyone would risk anyone else's safety if they had to be rescued. The route is closed! Go around! GAH!
 
Hello, I will be leaving St Jean on April 23rd, and did make reservation in Orisson. Still feeling like it may leave me feeling antsy stopping there, but trying to follow advice in starting slow. I would imagine if the route was closed that I would be refunded. I’d love to hear any opinions or experiences from those who have been before and did stop to break up that day, or wished they would have. My first experience in another country and for sure tackling anything like this!
Hi. We also will be at Orisson around the same time. From memory there is no refund from Orisson if the way is closed, worth checking the booking conditions you can see on their “manage booking” link. If the way is not open I imagine we will get a taxi with a bunch of others to Valcarlos and walk around that way. I’m hoping the conditions allow us to follow the Napoleon route again but if not so be it. Hope this helps.
 
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If the way is not open I imagine we will get a taxi with a bunch of others to Valcarlos and walk around that way.

I think that Orisson might do the same as Borda:
I just asked Auberge Borda about the closing. As already mentioned the path to borda is open and only the Spanish government in Navarra decides whether or not to open the path. The auberge said in case it is too dangerous to continue they will organize a taxi back to Valcarlos from where pilgrims can continue their walk on the safer way
 
The route is closed!
We have these discussions over and over. Recently, I was thinking what an odd information policy there is about this. The owner of Borda pointed out, as mentioned and as widely known, that "only the Spanish government in Navarra decides whether or not to open the path". They publish every year an announcement about the official closure from 1 November to 31 March which means that there is a legal prohibition to walk on this specific path over the Pyrennees.

I cannot find anything official about any extension of this legal closure beyond 31 March. I looked at the Twitter feeds of the Navarra Bomberos (@bomberos_na), the Navarra Guardia Civil (@NavarraGC), the Navarra police (@policiaforal_na), 112 Sos Navarra (@112_na) and the government of Navarra (@gob_na) - not a word.

The Guardia Civil Navarra posted a tweet on 1 April about "precautions for the Camino de Santiago in wintery conditions" that merely reminds pilgrims to pay attention to the weather conditions and to be aware of the limits of one's physical conditions when one is not used to such weather and environment and exertion but there is nothing about closed paths.

All there is is word of mouth on social media. There is certainly room for improvement. Not everybody even knows about a pilgrim office in SJPP. There is also never any announcement on websites or similar about the condition of the path at this time of the year - another crucial factor. Again, only available if you hear it from someone else or go to the pilgrim welcome office although they do have a website in addition to their FB group. The condition of the path is like a mystery or a well kept secret.

Just sayin', as they say.
 
I think that Orisson might do the same as Borda
Orisson has been reported to have a similar policy as Borda.

This year, Orisson opens on 4 April while Borda had opened on 1 April - and those who had booked did walk up and spent the night at Borda. I saw photos - it was a day with great clear views and certainly worth the walk up to Borda.
 
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We have these discussions over and over. Recently, I was thinking what an odd information policy there is about this. The owner of Borda pointed out, as mentioned and as widely known, that "only the Spanish government in Navarra decides whether or not to open the path". They publish every year an announcement about the official closure from 1 November to 31 March which means that there is a legal prohibition to walk on this specific path over the Pyrennees.

I cannot find anything official about any extension of this legal closure beyond 31 March. I looked at the Twitter feeds of the Navarra Bomberos (@bomberos_na), the Navarra Guardia Civil (@NavarraGC), the Navarra police (@policiaforal_na), 112 Sos Navarra (@112_na) and the government of Navarra (@gob_na) - not a word.

The Guardia Civil Navarra posted a tweet on 1 April about "precautions for the Camino de Santiago in wintery conditions" that merely reminds pilgrims to pay attention to the weather conditions and to be aware of the limits of one's physical conditions when one is not used to such weather and environment and exertion but there is nothing about closed paths.

All there is is word of mouth on social media. There is certainly room for improvement. Not everybody even knows about a pilgrim office in SJPP. There is also never any announcement on websites or similar about the condition of the path at this time of the year - another crucial factor. Again, only available if you hear it from someone else or go to the pilgrim welcome office although they do have a website in addition to their FB group. The condition of the path is like a mystery or a well kept secret.

Just sayin', as they say.
It is not just the high level snow. We are just getting the strong thunderstorms This Sunday afternoon it was our first this year.Remember there is no cover past orrison. Think if you got hit by hailstones the size of a golf ball.
 
It is not just the high level snow. We are just getting the strong thunderstorms This Sunday afternoon it was our first this year.Remember there is no cover past orrison. Think if you got hit by hailstones the size of a golf ball.
Yes, it's many factors, and throughout the year from April to October and independent of the physical state of the path: for example the wind gusts (look at the Meteoblue graphics for the path for the next few days!), and with it the danger of getting hypothermia when you are already exhausted anyway and possibly badly equipped. A great "recipe" for injury.
 
I cannot find anything official about any extension of this legal closure beyond 31 March.
It is surprising. Some definitive information would be helpful. From the Facebook post by @Monasp and @arkron 's post above it seems the local police are actively enforcing an extended closure on the ground though I do not understand what legal basis they have for doing so. Some clear accessible and up-to-date information would be welcome.
 
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Hello, I will be leaving St Jean on April 23rd, and did make reservation in Orisson. Still feeling like it may leave me feeling antsy stopping there, but trying to follow advice in starting slow. I would imagine if the route was closed that I would be refunded. I’d love to hear any opinions or experiences from those who have been before and did stop to break up that day, or wished they would have. My first experience in another country and for sure tackling anything like this!
i am starting from sjpdp on may 1st stopping at orissson.
hopefully the weather will have cleared by then.
noel mac
 
Here is another visualisation of the typical temperature drop between valley and mountain:

All that your weather app or the TV news may tell you is that it will be 16 ºC (61 ºF) in SJPP.

Nobody points out to you that it will feel like 4 ºC (39 ºF) higher up. Yet you ought to know this.

Temperature drop by altitude.jpg
Source: Viewweather.com - link on the website of the SJPP pilgrim association.
Altitude: SJPP 200 m; Ibañeta 1000 m; Bentarte 1300 m.
 
i am starting from sjpdp on may 1st stopping at orissson.
hopefully the weather will have cleared by then.
noel mac
Buen Camino @noelmac. I wish you a great time when you start from SJPP on May 1st, 2024.

We all know of course that nobody knows what the weather will be like in a month's time in Navarra. It is hard enough to know in detail what it will be likely to be in a week's time.

And look at this:

It is expected to get unusually warm for the season in Pamplona over the weekend, helped by an anticyclone situation and warm winds coming from the Sahara! The article says that it will feel more like the end of May than the beginning of April.
 
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Somebody just posted 37 minutes ago that they were on the Napoleon route and the photo she posted looked like a clear Spring day with literally no snow. I'm so confused.
Screenshot 2024-04-03 at 5.42.16 AM.png
 
The friend I met at the communal dinner at Corazon Puro on my first Camino in mid April 2015 mentioned that this was her second camino. She was returning to specifically walk the Napoleon route because in 2014 they were transported from Orrison over to Valcarlos because of the snow in early April. Unfortunately this time she later told me that the wind was so strong she could barely stand up and it was going in one ear and out the other. I was glad I had walked the Valcarlos way.
 
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This is a part of the pilgrim season when the old version of day-to-day yes/no "is it passable" comes back into force.
 
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Robert Lesley McComb posted pics of the route around Roncesvalles a day ago, and a few hours ago. No sign of rain or snow on the mountains.

 
We have these discussions over and over. Recently, I was thinking what an odd information policy there is about this. The owner of Borda pointed out, as mentioned and as widely known, that "only the Spanish government in Navarra decides whether or not to open the path". They publish every year an announcement about the official closure from 1 November to 31 March which means that there is a legal prohibition to walk on this specific path over the Pyrennees.

I cannot find anything official about any extension of this legal closure beyond 31 March. I looked at the Twitter feeds of the Navarra Bomberos (@bomberos_na), the Navarra Guardia Civil (@NavarraGC), the Navarra police (@policiaforal_na), 112 Sos Navarra (@112_na) and the government of Navarra (@gob_na) - not a word.

The Guardia Civil Navarra posted a tweet on 1 April about "precautions for the Camino de Santiago in wintery conditions" that merely reminds pilgrims to pay attention to the weather conditions and to be aware of the limits of one's physical conditions when one is not used to such weather and environment and exertion but there is nothing about closed paths.

All there is is word of mouth on social media. There is certainly room for improvement. Not everybody even knows about a pilgrim office in SJPP. There is also never any announcement on websites or similar about the condition of the path at this time of the year - another crucial factor. Again, only available if you hear it from someone else or go to the pilgrim welcome office although they do have a website in addition to their FB group. The condition of the path is like a mystery or a well kept secret.

Just sayin', as they say.
This is the sign right at the crossing at the Route Napoleon/Valcarlos which I took two days ago. Is this clear and official enough?
 

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