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Sad news. A pilgrim died near Roncesvalles.

Pingüigrino

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Frances, Aragones, Vasco del Interior, Baztanes. (Frances Winter, La Plata, Camino de Invierno, Mozarabe, Norte, Primitivo.)
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SYates

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This tragedy could have been avoided!

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/notic...entre_valcarlos_roncesvalles_496884_2061.html

"Según indican los servicios de emergencia, la pareja de peregrinos transitaba por el Collado de Lepoeder, un tramo cerrado en épocas de mal tiempo por el peligro que conlleva ..."

"As indicated by the emergency services, the pair of pilgrims walked via the Collado de Lepoeder, closed in times of bad weather because of the danger involved ..."

It just makes me angry and sad - The route is CLOSED that is indicated everywhere in SJPdP! Why do people choose to ignore that and risk their lives and that of others (the mountain rescue)?

Please winter pilgrims closed means CLOSED! Don't risk your lives and that of others!

SY
 
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navarro

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http://www.noticiasdenavarra.com/20...egrino-y-sigue-la-busqueda-de-otro-en-navarra
PAMPLONA. Efectivos del equipo de rescate puesto en marcha para localizar a dos peregrinos perdidos desde el pasado viernes en el Camino de Santiago en Navarra han encontrado muerto al segundo de los caminantes, un hombre de unos cincuenta años, después de que el primero fuera rescatado horas antes con hipotermia.

Translation: Members of rescue team activated to locate two pilgrims losts since yesterday in the Camino de Santiago at Navarra have found dead the second of pilgrims , a man about 50 years old, aftere rescuing some hours before another pilgrim suffering from hypothermia. RIP.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
The link in C Clearly's post says the man's body was found in vicinity of km 58 on N135 ... that might be vicinity of col de Lepoeder (as stated in the article) but its on the Valcarlos route.

The article says the man slipped and fell into a ravine. I don't know the Valcarlos route. There is an 'exclaimation mark' indicator in Brierley's guide suggesting vigilance is required. Perhaps someone might comment if there are deep ravines located here?

Nothing indicates if the man died from injury or from hypothermia.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
The link in C Clearly's post says the man's body was found in vicinity of km 58 on N135 ... that might be vicinity of col de Lepoeder (as stated in the article) but its on the Valcarlos route.

The article says the man slipped and fell into a ravine. I don't know the Valcarlos route. There is an 'exclaimation mark' indicator in Brierley's guide suggesting vigilance is required. Perhaps someone might comment if there are deep ravines located here?

Nothing indicates if the man died from injury or from hypothermia.

Perhaps this map will help you visualize the terrain.
http://senderosderoncesvalles.blogs...epoeder-por-el.html?c=21&s=133&t=51&cat&a&m=1
 

Pathfinder075

Member
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Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
You make your choices and live with the consequences, or dont as in this case.

SYates, people break rules, laws, etc, all the time. It wont stop. While I feel for the family, this person most likely knew what he was getting himself into. Its like the two that got lost and were found four days later, from a couple of weeks back. They set off at a time they had no hope of getting to the next stop by. The consequences were less severe in that case, but could have been just as bad. People do dumb things, but its their right for the most part. Sometimes you walk away, sometimes you dont.
 
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@whariwharangi Brierley's exclamation mark is in reference to the proximity to occasionally heavy traffic on the N135. I do not recall anything that I would consider a 'deep ravine" anywhere in proximity to the prescribed Valcarlos route. KM58 is close to Ibaneta where the Valcarlos route merges with the Napoleon as it descends from the Col de Lepoeder.

However, none of our speculations remove the reality that another pilgrim is dead. Our community is reduced and a family somewhere is grieving.
 
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markgrubb

Member
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Camino Frances 2016
Camino Del Norte 2017
Camino Mozarabe (Almeria) 2019
Camino Portuguese 2019
This tragedy could have been avoided!

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/notic...entre_valcarlos_roncesvalles_496884_2061.html

"Según indican los servicios de emergencia, la pareja de peregrinos transitaba por el Collado de Lepoeder, un tramo cerrado en épocas de mal tiempo por el peligro que conlleva ..."

"As indicated by the emergency services, the pair of pilgrims walked via the Collado de Lepoeder, closed in times of bad weather because of the danger involved ..."

It just makes me angry and sad - The route is CLOSED that is indicated everywhere in SJPdP! Why do people choose to ignore that and risk their lives and that of others (the mountain rescue)?

Please winter pilgrims closed means CLOSED! Don't risk your lives and that of others!

SY

It is very sad to see a life lost but nowhere in the article does it say the route was closed. It says the route is closed in times of bad weather and then later tells how the pilgrims got lost in the fog. So we don't actually know if advice in SJPdP was not to take this route on that day
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
This tragedy could have been avoided!

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/notic...entre_valcarlos_roncesvalles_496884_2061.html
It just makes me angry and sad - The route is CLOSED that is indicated everywhere in SJPdP! Why do people choose to ignore that and risk their lives and that of others (the mountain rescue)?

Please winter pilgrims closed means CLOSED! Don't risk your lives and that of others!

SY
The article does NOT say the route was closed, only that it is when the weather is bad. This is not the same as last winter when two people walked an officially closed route.

When I walked from SJPP to Roncesvalles, in May of 2012, it was rainy at 7am, then clear, but when we got to the top we could not see a meter ahead. I have only seen the statue of the virgin in pictures! But a couple had walked the route the year before and remember you had to hang right. We walked in a row, practically holding the should of the person in front of us along a very narrow path. Whe. The fog lifted I saw a sign in memory of an Asian pilgrim who apparently fell in the ravine to our right and died.

Who knew there was a ravine? Couldn't see it in the thick fog. Tens of thousands walk here every year.

And who would think there wouldn't be some sort of barrier to hold you back should you get to close to such a dramatic drop.

But that is the Camino, and instead lf feelgood movies a la Americaine perhaps these risks should be talked about a bit more.
 
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CaminoDebrita

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Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
The article does NOT say the route was closed, only that it is when the weather is bad. This is not the same as last winter when two people walked an officially closed route.

When I walked from SJPP to Roncesvalles, in May of 2012, it was rainy at 7am, then clear, but when we got to the top we could not see a meter ahead. I have only seen the statue of the virgin in pictures! But a couple had walked the route the year before and remember you had to hang right. We walked in a row, practically holding the should of the person in front of us along a very narrow path. Whe. The fog lifted I saw a sign in memory of an Asian pilgrim who apparently fell in the ravine to our right and died.

Who knew there was a ravine? Couldn't see it in the thick fog. Tens of thousands walk here every year.

And who would think there wouldn't be some sort of barrier to hold you back should you get to close to such a dramatic drop.

But that is the Camino, and instead lf feelgood movies a la Americaine perhaps these risks should be talked about a bit more.


I think we are talking about it here. Good point.

If you're referring to The Way, that movie makes me feel both good and bad. Good for the views; bad for a dying son. We lost my brother.

You have made some good suggestions and observations here though. Thank you.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I think the other pilgrim rescued earlier, a woman, was treated for hypothermia. From what I understood, the male was from Spain, she was Chinese, and while they had both been lost together at some point, I don't know if/how they knew each other....perhaps met on the road, or followed one another into being lost.
I read one that said Valcarlos rescue teams, another that they were on Col Leopolder...
perhaps we should just be sad for the loss until other details are known about where they were and what they were doing.

since we know from multiple other threads on this forum, the high road is closed now for five days. so yes, it was closed, no matter what the weather was or predicted. But we don't know they were on it. I agree the weather changes rapidly, and sometimes we can get caught unaware if travelling on Napoleon when it is opened. But if someone travels on it when it is closed, as it is now (and we do not know that was the case with these walkers), they do put themselves and much more importantly, others, at risk.
 
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Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Google English:

As indicated by the emergency services, the pair of pilgrims journeyed by the Collado de Lepoeder, closed in times of bad weather because of the danger involved and set in several parallel points to the NA-135 section. This tour is made up of several trails and the presence of fog, the walkers were lost and entered into a ravine area. The deceased, to see who could not get out, he decided to retrace his steps to return to a recognizable point. Apparently, according to investigative sources, the deceased slipped and plunged into a ravine quite deep.

His partner, finding herself alone, was running around trying to leave the area and go through the scene, he saw the man and shouted, no response. Finally, at 13.30 hours on Saturday it was located by rescue teams at kilometer 58 of the NA-135. She was transferred to the health center Valcarlos with severe hypothermia and later was transferred by ambulance to the Hospital of Navarra.

Spanish:

Según indican los servicios de emergencia, la pareja de peregrinos transitaba por el Collado de Lepoeder, un tramo cerrado en épocas de mal tiempo por el peligro que conlleva y que transcurre en varios puntos paralelo a la NA-135. Este recorrido está compuesto por varios senderos y con la presencia de la niebla, los caminantes se perdieron y se adentraron hacia una zona de barranco. El fallecido, al ver que no conseguían salir, decidió retroceder sobre sus pasos para volver a un punto reconocible. Al parecer, según fuentes de la investigación, el fallecido resbaló y se despeñó por un barranco de bastante profundidad.

Su compañera, al verse sola, estuvo dando vueltas por la zona tratando de salir y al pasar por el lugar del accidente, vio al hombre y le gritó, sin obtener respuesta. Finalmente, a las 13.30 horas de este sábado fue localizada por los equipos de rescate en el punto kilométrico 58 de la NA-135. La joven fue trasladada al centro de salud de Valcarlos con una hipotermia severa y, posteriormente, fue trasladada en ambulancia al Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra.
 
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navarro

Active Member
This tragedy could have been avoided!

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/notic...entre_valcarlos_roncesvalles_496884_2061.html

"Según indican los servicios de emergencia, la pareja de peregrinos transitaba por el Collado de Lepoeder, un tramo cerrado en épocas de mal tiempo por el peligro que conlleva ..."

"As indicated by the emergency services, the pair of pilgrims walked via the Collado de Lepoeder, closed in times of bad weather because of the danger involved ..."

It just makes me angry and sad - The route is CLOSED that is indicated everywhere in SJPdP! Why do people choose to ignore that and risk their lives and that of others (the mountain rescue)?

Please winter pilgrims closed means CLOSED! Don't risk your lives and that of others!

SY
 

navarro

Active Member
http://www.noticiasdenavarra.com/20...ada-tras-perderse-desde-el-viernes-en-ibaneta News from DIARIO DE NAVARRA have a confused redaction with some mistakes about places. This new link clears the unfortunate event. These pilgrims were in the Valcarlos-Ibañeta route, the authorizaed route in winter.
They meet at a restaurant in the morning and decided to walk toguether. Unfortunately due to bad weather, fog and rain they took a wrong way. Tryng to find the true way the man slipped into a precipice and died. She call emergency who sent an helycopter folowing her indications by phone, but unfortunately her phone falls into water and doesnt run. Trained dogs found her near the road. Later rescue team found the man dead.
RIP pilgrim.
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Past OR future Camino
2018
Today a pilgrim have been found near Roncesvalles. He wen lost and died by hypothermia. Another one ( a woman) was rescued alive.
http://www.larazon.es/sociedad/loca...erdido-en-navarra-AN13875454#.Ttt1Ex49ODCkF7x
This is very sad news. Can't read Spanish so am not aware of the circumstances. Having recently returned from volunteering at the pilgrims office in SJPDP I know the mountain route known as the Route Napoleon was officially closed on November 1st and all people were to be advised to walk the Valley or Valcarlos route. Even so they should come into Ronchevalles along a well marked path. Very sad for all.
Mark
 

Waka

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Some but not all, and other routes too.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
 
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navarro

Active Member
This tragedy could have been avoided!

http://www.diariodenavarra.es/notic...entre_valcarlos_roncesvalles_496884_2061.html

"Según indican los servicios de emergencia, la pareja de peregrinos transitaba por el Collado de Lepoeder, un tramo cerrado en épocas de mal tiempo por el peligro que conlleva ..."

"As indicated by the emergency services, the pair of pilgrims walked via the Collado de Lepoeder, closed in times of bad weather because of the danger involved ..."

It just makes me angry and sad - The route is CLOSED that is indicated everywhere in SJPdP! Why do people choose to ignore that and risk their lives and that of others (the mountain rescue)?

Please winter pilgrims closed means CLOSED! Don't risk your lives and that of others!

SY
 

navarro

Active Member
According new published news those pilgims were in the Valcarlos -Ibañeta route. The information gave by Diario de Navarra yesterday was not very precised about the location of this unfortunate event.
The woman was found by trained dogs near the road and the man was located in a precipice. Both in the valley, far away from route Napoleon.
 

Kanga

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Staff member
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Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
This is so very sad for the family involved.

I don't think we should speculate about what did or did not happen, nor should we attach any blame. There but for the grace of God go I.

I do worry that the popularity of the Camino is pushing people to walk outside the season. The Camino used to be deserted in winter, for good reason.

From walking the Valcarlos route in May this year, I know there is a choice at some points between walking the road, and walking a footpath that goes through beech forests and frequently cuts the curve of the road. For the most part I followed the footpath but at one stage I elected to walk the road , even though it was longer, because the path looked difficult. When the path emerged and rejoined the road I came across two pilgrims who were walking the wrong way - they had become confused when they turned onto the road and were unwittingly headed back towards SJPDP. It can happen.

There is a long climb to get to the Ibeñeta pass, and that climb pushed me to the limit of my endurance. Emerging exhausted from the cover of the beech trees I was greeted by a freezing cold wind, blowing hard. Being exhausted and cold is not a good combination. I was extremely grateful for the chocolate that a fellow pilgrim pulled out of a pocket, and even more grateful for the bed and hot shower at Roncesvalles. And that was in May!
 

navarro

Active Member
The link in C Clearly's post says the man's body was found in vicinity of km 58 on N135 ... that might be vicinity of col de Lepoeder (as stated in the article) but its on the Valcarlos route.

The article says the man slipped and fell into a ravine. I don't know the Valcarlos route. There is an 'exclaimation mark' indicator in Brierley's guide suggesting vigilance is required. Perhaps someone might comment if there are deep ravines located here?

Nothing indicates if the man died from injury or from hypothermia.
 
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navarro

Active Member
Confussion is originated by the Diario de Navarra news, a bad redaction with some mistakes in the location on places. Both ways are separated along all itinerary by at least three or five km. The Napoleon climbs to the top of the mountain and the Valcarlos goes by the valley next to the road climbing to the Ibañeta pass. From Lepoeder pass to Ibañeta pass ther are tree km and a slope of 350 m. So mixing points of both routes redactor carried us to a bad location of the event. They were found in Valcarlos route. About ravines, mountains in this area have a high gradient and it is a wild wood area, very difficult to walk and esy to get lost if you leave the paths.
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
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Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
I'm presently on the Frances (just outside Leon) & the beautiful weather we've been enjoying vanished on Friday & the temperatures are cold & windy. Brrrrrrrrrrr.
My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these two pilgrims. Such a tragic ending to what must have started as a great adventure for them both.
 
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Le Puy (2010; 2016), Norte, Primitivo, Muxia/Fisterra (2010), Mozarabe, Via de la Plata, Sanabres (2011), Arles, Aragones, Frances (2015)
Thoughts to these 2 pilgrims... and to all who got hurt or lost their lives on this stage...

The crest route is officially and legally closed on its Spanish stretch, but it doesn't mean other paths (French stretch, Valcarlos) are necessarily safe and easy to go. Mountain can be a treacherous and dangerous environment, whichever way, training, gears or season. Winter just makes it an even more delicate place to walk (or simply just to be).

I do worry that the popularity of the Camino is pushing people to walk outside the season. The Camino used to be deserted in winter, for good reason.
Why not going in winter? The Camino has no season and never had (so proved by History). People and "attendance" make "seasons" (which thus gets close to the definition of "touristic season").

... some sort of barrier to hold you back should you get to close to such a dramatic drop.... perhaps these risks should be talked about a bit more
One is not supposed to be in such a position: given your story, it seems you guys walked up there a day the crest route was certainly not recommended... It's very clearly stated by institutions, the pilgrim/tourist office and by the sign-marks that at any season, Valcarlos is to be taken in case of bad weather. So, I find it already well talked about.
There are a lot of information to be found before ones arrives in SJPdP, then again a lot more information to get in SJPdP itself before starting to walk. It's all about awareness, preparation and collecting intel on the spot... I think there are simply more worries about gears and accommodations than about orientation, hiking science and tips or safety issues...

It's possible to go at any time of the year, one just has to know what one is capable of and what exactly one is signing up for. It may be the great mystical Camino but it's first of all a very practical long distance trail (even more in winter!). The thing with the Camino is, most pilgrims have no experience of walking/trailing/traveling/long distance travel by foot/mountain. And even less have experience of all of this in winter time...

Please pilgrims, be aware, realistic and take good care of you!
Again, thoughts to these 2 pilgrims and all who got hurt or lost their lives on this stage...


full
 
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The red flag on this map shows where the Valcarlos camino (marked in red) leaves road N-135 to head south into woods (near km 58.) A short ways in, if a bushwhack is done going east, a pista can be reached that heads up to the Route Napolean. The pista is shown in white underneath the text "Bolboteko Xiloa." This way to Col Lepoeder would avoid French police. A report said "la pareja de peregrinos transitaba por el Collado de Lepoeder." Were they trying to do this route?
 

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No, nowhere near it. Nothing to do with Lepoeder. Editor's mistake in one of the news articles. Likes to live on, as usual. They got lost near km58 on the road from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles when they left the road and took a wrong turn without being aware of it for some time. The path they took leads to the two Central Electrica (power stations/dams) which are also shown on the map below:
Thank you.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Its like the two that got lost and were found four days later, from a couple of weeks back. They set off at a time they had no hope of getting to the next stop by.

actually, that couple set off in the morning, and did everything right except they got lost. Which can happen to anyone.

these two got lost walking the correct route. It can happen to anyone.

Too often this forum paints an optimistic view (especially considering it is the first day walking/following markers for many out of SJPdP) that one cannot get lost. Bad weather helps getting lost, but even in good weather people miss the markers. They're excited, they're talking to new friends. I have been lost on several caminos, sometimes because of the weather, but often because I just didn't see the arrow.

it is natural to want to blame something someone did wrong, because it lessens in our mind the risk we take doing the same thing. But there is no blame to be put here, just sorrow for the loss of life, and hope that the other pilgrim recovers in body and spirit.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Marion replies to my post by saying: "One is not supposed to be in such a position: given your story, it seems you guys walked up there a day the crest route was certainly not recommended... It's very clearly stated by institutions, the pilgrim/tourist office and by the sign-marks that at any season, Valcarlos is to be taken in case of bad weather. So, I find it already well talked about."

Sorry but no. Back in 2007 there was no talk about the Napoleon not being recommended, and certainly not in mid or late May when poppies are in bloom everywhere. It had rained during the night, drizzling here and there, certainly not a bad day for a walk on the Camino. And that is the point. Even if the weather was more than acceptable, after the 3-4 hour climb, when we got to the top flog blew in and there was no visibility at all.

The same can happen on the Hospitales route, even in one of the most beautiful days, and I experienced it last year. Having heard about the risks of walking that route if the weather is iffy I felt uncertain when I got to the foot of the hill. It was early morning, so it was normal for fog to still be present. I looked for a local, on a Sunday morning it was not easy, but I found a farmer milking her cows. She smiled and told me that the day was going to be as beautiful as they get in the area, that I could not ask for netter weather. So up I went. And wouldn't you know it, a cloud came in while I was among the ruins and it cold very cold and visibility dropped to zero.

The reality is that if we want to walk at those heights, even in the best conditions things can change, even only for a minute. On the Hospitales route I walked towards the ruins while I could atill see them, sheltered myself from the wind with my back against one, and waited. Luckily the cloud passed and the rest of the day was magnificent.

Beleive me Marion, the signs you have seen are recent, and were unfortunately put up because of incidents before someone thought it might be a good idea to put them up. Same for closing the route. And even then, on the most splendid day the weather can turn.

I can think of other places on the Camino that are dangerous, El Brusco on the Norte comes top of mind, and yet that is the way the guides and tourism office tell you to go, even if there is a road alternative. But if people speak up, discuss these issues, perhaps then one day someone will evwntually fix the dangerous area or put up signs to warn people.

Things are not black or white, unless you choose to disobey the signs and closures.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
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Aragonés ('18)
Very sad news.

Not a speculation on what happened in this case (which seems to be a tragic accident that could have happened to anyone), but in general, maybe a thread with some advice on how to behave in emergency situations (when lost, sudden change of weather, ect.) or a link list regarding that topic would be a good idea?

As others pointed out before, many who walk the Camino are not exactly experienced hikers or outdoors-people, and a lack of knowledge probably plays a role in at least some of the weather-related or "got lost" incidents. Just an idea, but easy to find general info on "how to hike in the mountains safely", pilgrim's version, might be helpful, maybe that could be handed out as a printed leaflet in the pilgrim's office together with the credential.


[Also – this is just my personal opinion and maybe a bit off topic- , I think the attitude of "carry less" has gone a bit too far and is, in emergency situations, an additional risk. When walking in the mountains, a certain kind of equipment should be carried for safety reasons, period. Yes, on the Camino a lightweight fleece, a poncho, some snacks and water are all you need most of the time - as long as you keep walking to stay warm and all goes as planned. But once something goes wrong, and you find yourself stuck in cold weather in a mountainous area, suddenly you'll wish you had taken that "too heavy" warm jacket, the "don't need that" space blanket or emergency bivy bag, as well as a whistle and good bright flash light to alert nearby people.]

Anyway, my thoughts go to the family and friends of the lost pilgrim and to the surviving peregrina - may she recover quickly.
 
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Anemone del Camino

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Pruden, again, they did not take the Napoleon route but the Valcarlos route that was open AND got lost, according to the SJPP Office, in a place which is poorly marked. Not their fault at all.
 
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The path they took leads to the two Central Electrica (power stations/dams) which are also shown on the map below:
@Kathar1na, I've long been a map lover but I haven't seen the map location for the one that you posted. I plan on coming up with a camino resource and maps of this type could be useful. Would you please tell me where these online topo maps are?
 

dougfitz

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Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Pruden, again, they did not take the Napoleon route but the Valcarlos route that was open AND got lost, according to the SJPP Office, in a place which is poorly marked. Not their fault at all.
First, the loss of any pilgrim is a very sad thing, and my condolences go out to the family of the man that died. I also hope the woman that was rescued recovers, and should she want to, be able to continue her pilgrimage.

Second, I suspect any death like this could have been avoided, and I think those that have said that are correct. What I cannot see is how any of us with just access to the press reporting of this incident will know the root causes and how to address them. Just as much as it would be inappropriate to speculate on where blame might lie, it is equally speculation to suggest that the individuals themselves are blameless. After all, they are the ones that got into the circumstances where one of the party has died, and I expect a proper coroner's investigation will be held that will reveal what happened, and how much their decisions and actions contributed to these tragic circumstances.

Third, I acknowledge that there is often little discussion about the approaches needed for safe walking in the mountains, and perhaps there should be more. Certainly when we choose to cross the Pyrenees, or any of the other mountain passes, we are choosing to walk in conditions few of us would find familiar, even if the weather wasn't particularly inclement. There has already been a description where someone walked along a dangerous section of path in what seems to be extremely low visibility rather than wait for the mist to lift. Perhaps there are times to choose not to walk, even if the path hasn't been formally closed by the authorities, and there could be more discussion about these.

Finally, I don't think we can expect local authorities to carry the burden of additional infrastructure development in the way of signposts or track improvements. These things might happen in the future, but pilgrims who walk now need to take responsibility for their own decisions. We cannot continually ask for others to shoulder our responsibilities.
 
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whariwharangi

Guest
I don't think we should speculate about what did or did not happen, nor should we attach any blame. There but for the grace of God go I.

I do worry that the popularity of the Camino is pushing people to walk outside the season. The Camino used to be deserted in winter, for good reason.

I agree about the speculation. Its too bad the newspaper has such poor standards in reporting facts.

We can all learn from the facts.

One fact is the man died after losing his footing and suffering a fall.

There is nothing to indicate the weather played a role in this accident. The picture of the rescue vehicles shows no snow for example. It could have happened anytime of the year anywhere along the camino wherever there is a steep embankment.

Hypothermia can happen in any wet weather below 15 Celcius (and if your energy is low it can happen at higher temperatures). If you don't bring rain gear or don't put it on then you are at risk anytime of the year.

The fact of it being late in the season (not yet winter either) has nothing to do with it.
 

SeaHorse

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015 (SJPDP-Finisterre), planning Norte
As I read the news article in Spanish, it says they crossed Lepoeder but got lost after and walked back and forth without knowing the direction.
The places named are where the rescue services were from - Valcarlos, Burgette, also French side.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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After driving the N135 many times to and from Pamplona and Biarritz and walking the route across Col Lepoeder 3 times I can understand why some one might try to find a "short cut" to get off of the paved road.
I like the suggestion by Rick of Rick and Peg to update the maps for the divergent paths however they can also be dangerous and are meant mainly for Basque (Arneguy) sheep herders. I have no idea how he can disperse this information to a general public who is inexperienced in crossing the Pyrenees.
I want to share a similar experience I had crossing the mountains from Oloron-Ste. Marie to Canfranc Estation in 2105. It was during a very wet, stormy week late in May and there were no other pilgrims on the path. As anyone who has walked that route knows the markings are very poor. I reached several sections of the trail that were covered with slimy mud next to a cliff that is well over 300 m above the raging river below. There were many recently toppled trees from a storm, needless to say it was "white knuckle" territory trying to climb over and under the damage. Several times the path ended at a pasture gate and the trail was only marked by the latest heifer who had pushed the grasses down in front of her endless, mindless grazing. Suffice it to say it would have been "very easy" to get lost in those mountains.
We should all appreciate the advice from "good_old_shoes" about being prepared for the worst. I had matches, I had a fleece and I had my not so snuggy mummy liner. I could have survived at least one chilly wet night, but even with a compass and map I was pretty helpless if it hadn't been for the fact that one can eventually find a descent down to the major highway that runs through the valley below in less than an hour.
 
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broadmeadow

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Oct. 2016
Heard of this tragic news while walking on the Camino today. My thoughts and prayers go out to both the pilgrims and their families!
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
Well, that is sad news, very sad. We can say "mountains kill" but it doesn't take away from how sad this is.
They were cold and in fog and missed the trail. Seems from the reports that when they realised they were well off track they did exactly the right thing - started to retrace their tracks - and then he slipped, easily done, and fell into a ravine. What a horrid death for him if he was conscious. Injured, hypothermia, alone - my heart goes out to him (and to his family), and how scared the woman must have been - to have seen him fall and be unable to help.

Sad news, very sad - let us not be too critical, sitting in our safe and warm homes, a pilgrim has gone, a pilgrim has gone xx
 
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Pingüigrino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Aragones, Vasco del Interior, Baztanes. (Frances Winter, La Plata, Camino de Invierno, Mozarabe, Norte, Primitivo.)
Well, that is sad news, very sad. We can say "mountains kill" but it doesn't take away from how sad this is.
They were cold and in fog and missed the trail. Seems from the reports that when they realised they were well off track they did exactly the right thing - started to retrace their tracks - and then he slipped, easily done, and fell into a ravine. What a horrid death for him if he was conscious. Injured, hypothermia, alone - my heart goes out to him (and to his family), and how scared the woman must have been - to have seen him fall and be unable to help.

Sad news, very sad - let us not be too critical, sitting in our safe and warm homes, a pilgrim has gone, a pilgrim has gone xx


Hi. The forensic said he died instantly due " the brutal fall". He did´nt feel pain, nor suffering. This is a consolation for their family and friends, and for us, fellow pilgrims, too. May he rest at peace.
Que la tumba le sea leve.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
After driving the N135 many times to and from Pamplona and Biarritz and walking the route across Col Lepoeder 3 times I can understand why some one might try to find a "short cut" to get off of the paved road.
I like the suggestion by Rick of Rick and Peg to update the maps for the divergent paths however they can also be dangerous and are meant mainly for Basque (Arneguy) sheep herders. I have no idea how he can disperse this information to a general public who is inexperienced in crossing the Pyrenees.
I want to share a similar experience I had crossing the mountains from Oloron-Ste. Marie to Canfranc Estation in 2105. It was during a very wet, stormy week late in May and there were no other pilgrims on the path. As anyone who has walked that route knows the markings are very poor. I reached several sections of the trail that were covered with slimy mud next to a cliff that is well over 300 m above the raging river below. There were many recently toppled trees from a storm, needless to say it was "white knuckle" territory trying to climb over and under the damage. Several times the path ended at a pasture gate and the trail was only marked by the latest heifer who had pushed the grasses down in front of her endless, mindless grazing. Suffice it to say it would have been "very easy" to get lost in those mountains.
We should all appreciate the advice from "good_old_shoes" about being prepared for the worst. I had matches, I had a fleece and I had my not so snuggy mummy liner. I could have survived at least one chilly wet night, but even with a compass and map I was pretty helpless if it hadn't been for the fact that one can eventually find a descent down to the major highway that runs through the valley below in less than an hour.
@biarritzdon
I walked that route in September this year, and can remember no cliff or raging river. I suspect that the route has been improved since, as it was very easy to follow, even after several days of heavy rain. Nonetheless, I agree that adequate preparation for poor or dangerous conditions is always wise.
 

Pam Scott

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
You make your choices and live with the consequences, or dont as in this case.

SYates, people break rules, laws, etc, all the time. It wont stop. While I feel for the family, this person most likely knew what he was getting himself into. Its like the two that got lost and were found four days later, from a couple of weeks back. They set off at a time they had no hope of getting to the next stop by. The consequences were less severe in that case, but could have been just as bad. People do dumb things, but its their right for the most part. Sometimes you walk away, sometimes you dont.
It depends how you look at it. Has he got the right to put other people's lives in danger rescuing him.
 

navarro

Active Member
I think the other pilgrim rescued earlier, a woman, was treated for hypothermia. From what I understood, the male was from Spain, she was Chinese, and while they had both been lost together at some point, I don't know if/how they knew each other....perhaps met on the road, or followed one another into being lost.
I read one that said Valcarlos rescue teams, another that they were on Col Leopolder...
perhaps we should just be sad for the loss until other details are known about where they were and what they were doing.

since we know from multiple other threads on this forum, the high road is closed now for five days. so yes, it was closed, no matter what the weather was or predicted. But we don't know they were on it. I agree the weather changes rapidly, and sometimes we can get caught unaware if travelling on Napoleon when it is opened. But if someone travels on it when it is closed, as it is now (and we do not know that was the case with these walkers), they do put themselves and much more importantly, others, at risk.
 

navarro

Active Member
They took the Valcarlos route, they met before, at this moment I dont remember exactly at a bar o similar and decided to walk toguether. When they got lost they tried to go back to found the correct way. She call 112 and was connected with helicopter by phone but it fell into water. She had seen her partner. They didnt found toguether, the woman was near the road N 135 and was found by rescue dogs. Her indications helped rescue team to found the man, unfortunately dead.
 
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Felipe

Veteran Member
If you are considering this way for the first time, don't be afraid: in normal conditions the section between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles is safe. Most of the path is quite wide for two walkers (see photo); you just need to be careful. A steep climb after Gainekoleta has a wooden rail. It is more hilly than mountain country.
It is also reasonably signposted; some stone markers, other signs on trees or stones.
I hesitated only in one place, where we should turn right to meet the paved road, walk 100 meters along it, and find the following path (where there is a source with a "no potable" sign, see below).
The paved road was always at my right; not close, but I could actually heard the noise most of the time.
I did it in late March, with cold and some light rain. it was muddy, but not particularly difficult.
Many pilgrims prefer to walk the paved road, all the way. This is probably the good option with real bad weather or fog (and there is a section where we have to walk necessarily along it, after Valcarlos). There is not a sidewalk/pavement/footway, and if you walk as rules specify (opposite to traffic), you will be sometimes between the road and a cliff (but there is a guardrail). There was not a heavy traffic, just some cars or slow trucks from time to time. Drivers were friendly, truck drivers especially waved to me. I did not feel it as particularly dangerous, but caution in the roads is always a must.
Buen (and safe) Camino!
 

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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
If you are considering this way for the first time, don't be afraid: in normal conditions the section between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles is safe. Most of the path is quite wide for two walkers (see photo); you just need to be careful.
Those photos are good illustrations. They show how the conditions are not normally "scary" but do require some care, and how in bad weather conditions one could get into trouble.
 

Annie Little

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances Sept-Oct 2016
If you are considering this way for the first time, don't be afraid: in normal conditions the section between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles is safe. Most of the path is quite wide for two walkers (see photo); you just need to be careful. A steep climb after Gainekoleta has a wooden rail. It is more hilly than mountain country.
It is also reasonably signposted; some stone markers, other signs on trees or stones.
I hesitated only in one place, where we should turn right to meet the paved road, walk 100 meters along it, and find the following path (where there is a source with a "no potable" sign, see below).
The paved road was always at my right; not close, but I could actually heard the noise most of the time.
I did it in late March, with cold and some light rain. it was muddy, but not particularly difficult.
Many pilgrims prefer to walk the paved road, all the way. This is probably the good option with real bad weather or fog (and there is a section where we have to walk necessarily along it, after Valcarlos). There is not a sidewalk/pavement/footway, and if you walk as rules specify (opposite to traffic), you will be sometimes between the road and a cliff (but there is a guardrail). There was not a heavy traffic, just some cars or slow trucks from time to time. Drivers were friendly, truck drivers especially waved to me. I did not feel it as particularly dangerous, but caution in the roads is always a must.
Buen (and safe) Camino!

I too walked this way in sept in good weather . I was alone with no one in sight initially . In the first few days one is still becoming accustomed to looking for signs . I was following the instructions from brierly but after leaving Valcarlos , following road initially , then a track going into forested area which was lovely , then rejoining the road and walking up for what seemed a long way without another sign , I thought I was lost (actually was not as next marker was around the bend ) so I turned around and by luck two walkers were coming up and pointed me back in the direction I came from . It was a happy outcome as I was able to walk with them into
Roncessvaillles .

Sad when things don't go well for others .
 

Louise2016

Member
Past OR future Camino
2014 from Pamplona to Estrella, then Astorga to Santiago, and June 2016
Thanks to everyone who commented and added clarification to the incident. I feel so bad for the two people and their families, but hope to learn something from it.Everyone's posts are helpful.
 
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Deleted member 12253

Guest
Snow on ground at monestary Roncesvalles today. Lots of snow on mountain top. Be careful out there pilgrims Buen camino
 

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