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SJPdP to Roncesvalles

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BeeHodge

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2018
Hi all

I am hoping to walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles on my first day.. 25/4/18, anyone doing the same? Not sure if I am being too ambitious but I don't fancy stopping at Orisson as it is only a few miles away.

Any views?

B
 
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JeanB

Explorer Jean
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
I am walking to Orisson on 20th. Thought it would be a good idea to take it easy on day 1 as it is all uphill. Just don't know what to expect even though I do a lot of walking here in Scotland. Anyway, it makes for a gentler first day. I think the whole walk to Roncesvalles is quite a long first day.
 

LesR

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
Matter of personal judgement....

Orisson is a good first stop if you are uncertain about your fitness to carry a load up hill.... Yes, it is not far out from SJPP, but SJPP to Roncesvalles is a long hard day for those not already trail hardened. Plenty do skip Orisson by choice, and I believe some of them regret it, particularly if the weather deteriorates...

Orisson is a good first night on the Camino - very social and can set up camino frienships groups that can last all the way to Santiago.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Keep an eye on weather reports. Orisson is not taking any reservstions for the first week of April. All that had been made have been cancelled. Lots of snow up there still. In fact, there was a rescue from the Refuge Hut up there last week when a couple of peregrinos could not go any further. The Bomberos from Burgete(?) took their vehicles to Loepeder and had to walk to the hut from there to help the peregrinos off the mountain. There is a post on here with a newspaper link to the article.

Now, three weeks can make a lot of difference, but, as you may have heard, the weather in the Pyrenees can change at the drop of a hat. So, at any point, do not drop your hat.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Hi all

I am hoping to walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles on my first day.. 25/4/18, anyone doing the same? Not sure if I am being too ambitious but I don't fancy stopping at Orisson as it is only a few miles away.

Any views?

B

The large majority of pilgrims walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. For someone who is in reasonable shape, it is not problematic at all. For those who are really fit and are used to backpacking, it is not that much different then what they have done before. If one has joint issues and is needing to take things slow enough to use the first week or ten days of the Camino to get into shape, then Orisson is a good way to break up the first stage.

And if one just likes the thought of stopping early in the day, Orisson is a good option. Like you I like to use as much of the day to walk as I can before late afternoon/early evening. :)
 
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BeeHodge

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2018
Keep an eye on weather reports. Orisson is not taking any reservstions for the first week of April. All that had been made have been cancelled. Lots of snow up there still. In fact, there was a rescue from the Refuge Hut up there last week when a couple of peregrinos could not go any further. The Bomberos from Burgete(?) took their vehicles to Loepeder and had to walk to the hut from there to help the peregrinos off the mountain. There is a post on here with a newspaper link to the article.

Now, three weeks can make a lot of difference, but, as you may have heard, the weather in the Pyrenees can change at the drop of a hat. So, at any point, do not drop your hat.


Thank you ... hopefully the weather is better!!
I am really in two minds but rather hoping to walk the miles to Roncesvalles... may have to rethink when I get there... I am also hoping that there will be other pilgrims as I am on my own!
 

BeeHodge

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2018
The large majority of pilgrims walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles. For someone who is in reasonable shape, it is not problematic at all. For those who are really fit and are used to backpacking, it is not that much different then what they have done before. If one has joint issues and is needing to take things slow enough to use the first week or ten days of the Camino to get into shape, then Orisson is a good way to break up the first stage.

And if one just likes the thought of stopping early in the day, Orisson is a good option. Like you I like to use as much of the day to walk as I can before late afternoon/early evening. :)

I am pretty fit although I am 60! Also used to walking ... the only thing I need to consider is the weather...
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I am pretty fit although I am 60! Also used to walking ... the only thing I need to consider is the weather...

I was 64 last year, I'll be 65 when I head out from St Jean again in late September. At 62, I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. At 63, I thru-hiked the Colorado Trail. If you are fit, and of normal health, your age is not a consideration. :) The nice thing about the walk to Roncesvalles -- whether you go by the Napoleon if open, or via Valcarlos -- is that you are not on a Bataan death march. You'll have lots of time to take breaks (a break at Orisson is a nice place to catch a bite and rest a bit), and to pause to look around. Set out at a moderate pace and adjust that pace to match the terrain, stay fueled and hydrated, take regular breaks. You'll arrive at Roncesvalles ready to enjoy your rest for the day, a warm shower, some good food and companionship. My son and I developed some great camaraderie during our time there.
 

BeeHodge

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2018
I was 64 last year, I'll be 65 when I head out from St Jean again in late September. At 62, I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. At 63, I thru-hiked the Colorado Trail. If you are fit, and of normal health, your age is not a consideration. :) The nice thing about the walk to Roncesvalles -- whether you go by the Napoleon if open, or via Valcarlos -- is that you are not on a Bataan death march. You'll have lots of time to take breaks (a break at Orisson is a nice place to catch a bite and rest a bit), and to pause to look around. Set out at a moderate pace and adjust that pace to match the terrain, stay fueled and hydrated, take regular breaks. You'll arrive at Roncesvalles ready to enjoy your rest for the day, a warm shower, some good food and companionship. My son and I developed some great camaraderie during our time there.
I was 64 last year, I'll be 65 when I head out from St Jean again in late September. At 62, I thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. At 63, I thru-hiked the Colorado Trail. If you are fit, and of normal health, your age is not a consideration. :) The nice thing about the walk to Roncesvalles -- whether you go by the Napoleon if open, or via Valcarlos -- is that you are not on a Bataan death march. You'll have lots of time to take breaks (a break at Orisson is a nice place to catch a bite and rest a bit), and to pause to look around. Set out at a moderate pace and adjust that pace to match the terrain, stay fueled and hydrated, take regular breaks. You'll arrive at Roncesvalles ready to enjoy your rest for the day, a warm shower, some good food and companionship. My son and I developed some great camaraderie during our time there.


Thanks... that's quite reassuring!!
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Thank you ... hopefully the weather is better!!
I am really in two minds but rather hoping to walk the miles to Roncesvalles... may have to rethink when I get there... I am also hoping that there will be other pilgrims as I am on my own!
Alone? There will be times of aloneness on the Camino. I hope that there are not too many pilgrims that you end up wishing for a quieter road.
 
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Dorpie

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Hi B,

No doubt SJPdP to Rocesvalles will feel like the toughest day of your camino, there may be objectively harder days but you'll probably be fitter by then, but it can be done and for me the amazing feeling of accomplishment after such a tough first day is hard to beat. Start out early, take it easy, maybe make a reservation at Roncesvalles so you don't have to rush and have a plan b just in case and all will be well.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

BeeHodge

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2018
Hi B,

No doubt SJPdP to Rocesvalles will feel like the toughest day of your camino, there may be objectively harder days but you'll probably be fitter by then, but it can be done and for me the amazing feeling of accomplishment after such a tough first day is hard to beat. Start out early, take it easy, maybe make a reservation at Roncesvalles so you don't have to rush and have a plan b just in case and all will be well.

Buen Camino,

Rob.

Thabks Rob, I have already booked the albergue at Roncesvalles but having second thought.. I feel I could do it in one day but having to stay the previous night in Bayonne and taking the first train out.. so by the time I see someone at the pilgrim office st SJPDP, I probably won't get going till about 9.30!
I aim to get to Roncesvalles by 6... I think it is achievable?
 

Dorpie

RIP 2019
Past OR future Camino
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015, July 2017, October 2019
Thabks Rob, I have already booked the albergue at Roncesvalles but having second thought.. I feel I could do it in one day but having to stay the previous night in Bayonne and taking the first train out.. so by the time I see someone at the pilgrim office st SJPDP, I probably won't get going till about 9.30!
I aim to get to Roncesvalles by 6... I think it is achievable?

I can't say for sure without knowing more about you but as you can see from my profile pic I'm not exactly a finely tuned athlete and I made it in about 7 hours. Walking out of Saint Jean the road is VERY steep (I'm assuming you're doing Route Napoleon) and this can be dispiriting but it does get more manageable as the day progresses. Just take it steadily and make some friends, it's amazing how much easier walking is when you have the distraction of comapny.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022 CF
Hi all

I am hoping to walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles on my first day.. 25/4/18, anyone doing the same? Not sure if I am being too ambitious but I don't fancy stopping at Orisson as it is only a few miles away.

Any views?

B
Perfectly feasible. I did it and I was no experienced walker! The worst 8km are from StJean to Orisson, after that it is less steep. Just take it easy and stop whenever (if) you need to.
Ps: if the weather is bad or it has rained a lot previously, avoid the descent through the forest and take the road instead (go right instead of straight on when at the top). It is actually a lovely way.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
My first Camino I was 57 my friend was 69. Although we had done a lot of walking and were pretty fit, she had suffered from heart arrhythmia a month prior to the Camino. We left about 6.30am and made Roncesvalles by 3pm walking quite slowly on the steep parts. A great feeling that first day. We were glad we didnt stop at Orrison - although we did stop at their cafe for a while and enjoyed the wonderful view over the valleys.
If you've booked a bed, you can take your time.
 
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Yes, many to walk on to Roncevalles, but I just love staying at Orisson. I have made over 50% of my camino families at Orisson and am grateful for the communal feeling. Just please check the weather conditions before leaving SJPdP. I walked in April and we encountered extremely hard head winds. Every step was an effort to move forward and stay upright. I was so glad to be stopping at Orisson. We encountered the same conditions walking from Orisson to Roncevalles. It was so windy that there was no rest even if you tried to sit down. I had walked in September previously on a beautiful sunny day and the two days do not compare. Just note that you probably need a reservation to stay at Orisson. Just remember there are probably no wrong answers, just different experience. Buen Camino!
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
Hi all

I am hoping to walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles on my first day.. 25/4/18, anyone doing the same? Not sure if I am being too ambitious but I don't fancy stopping at Orisson as it is only a few miles away.

Any views?

B
I've done both. Orisson 1st time. All the way to Roncesvalles 2nd time.
When i went to Roncesvalles in one go it was at the end of 30 days walking, so i was match fit and got there for a long lunch.
At Orisson you will meet people and make friends easily. There is a great outdoor terrace, if the weather is ok then the views are as good as anywhere on the Camino.
If you do stop at Orisson, there is no need to leave SLPdP early, unless you get kicked out of an albergue early.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Also, going to Roncesvalles via Valcarlos gives a somewhat less steep elevation gain overall, although it will still make your muscles sing and and leave you feeling a great sense of accomplishment. It looks like the scenery is gorgeous as well, and there are more villages along the route than with Napoleon. Take a look at this time lapse John Sikora video of the Valcarlos Route:

And this part, too. John divides up a lot of the stages he filmed into two parts, so when you see Part A and Part B, that is one day of walking for him.

 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
I am pretty fit although I am 60! Also used to walking ... the only thing I need to consider is the weather...
I've just turned 60 and fairly fit, I cycle 20 kms every day, and I have the same concern should I stop at Orisson or go ahead to Roncevalles. If I decide to not stop it's the one day I will have my bag couriered.
 

Pam Scott

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
Hi all

I am hoping to walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles on my first day.. 25/4/18, anyone doing the same? Not sure if I am being too ambitious but I don't fancy stopping at Orisson as it is only a few miles away.

Any views?
Hi stop at Orrison. It may only be a few miles but it is all up hill. Take your time and and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way and experience the beauty of the mountains as the sun sets
 
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Glenshiro

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy - A Rua, Frances, Invierno (2012 - 2022)
I can't say for sure without knowing more about you but as you can see from my profile pic I'm not exactly a finely tuned athlete and I made it in about 7 hours. Walking out of Saint Jean the road is VERY steep (I'm assuming you're doing Route Napoleon) and this can be dispiriting but it does get more manageable as the day progresses. Just take it steadily and make some friends, it's amazing how much easier walking is when you have the distraction of comapny.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
Like Dorpie, I suspect, I too have been successful in my fight with anorexia. I have twice crossed from SPPdP to Roncesvalles, at ages 63 and 64. I agree that the first 8k are the hardest, after that it is still mostly uphill but much easier. If you're not sure of yourself, I suggest booking at Orisson and, if you get there and still feel ok release the booking (someone will be glad of it) and walk on. You will not be short of company.

The best Camino tip I was ever given was, when reaching the road to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side, to take it (i.e. the road) and not follow the (steep and muddy) path into the woods. Whatever you do, have a good Camino!
 

Irenek

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Will begin my first Camino on May 18 (2016)
Perfectly feasible. I did it and I was no experienced walker! The worst 8km are from StJean to Orisson, after that it is less steep. Just take it easy and stop whenever (if) you need to.
Ps: if the weather is bad or it has rained a lot previously, avoid the descent through the forest and take the road instead (go right instead of straight on when at the top). It is actually a lovely way.
Oh, man, we missed that road and it was a very wet, foggy and windy day (May 2016). There were no views whatsoever on the top, but we still enjoyed the walk, as the adrenaline of the first day gave us energy. However, the descent through the forest was the worst!!!! We had to hold on to trees, because it was so steep and slippery. We fell quite a few times. We were so glad to arrive to Roncesvalles! Yes, BeeHodge, do take the road if the weather is wet.
 

JeanB

Explorer Jean
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Keep an eye on weather reports. Orisson is not taking any reservstions for the first week of April. All that had been made have been cancelled. Lots of snow up there still. In fact, there was a rescue from the Refuge Hut up there last week when a couple of peregrinos could not go any further. The Bomberos from Burgete(?) took their vehicles to Loepeder and had to walk to the hut from there to help the peregrinos off the mountain. There is a post on here with a newspaper link to the article.

Now, three weeks can make a lot of difference, but, as you may have heard, the weather in the Pyrenees can change at the drop of a hat. So, at any point, do not drop your hat.
I'm planning to stay at Orisson on night of 20th March. Hopefully, the path after that will be okay. Sounds bad just now. What is the temperature and wind chill factor? Do you know?
 

JeanB

Explorer Jean
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Keep an eye on weather reports. Orisson is not taking any reservstions for the first week of April. All that had been made have been cancelled. Lots of snow up there still. In fact, there was a rescue from the Refuge Hut up there last week when a couple of peregrinos could not go any further. The Bomberos from Burgete(?) took their vehicles to Loepeder and had to walk to the hut from there to help the peregrinos off the mountain. There is a post on here with a newspaper link to the article.

Now, three weeks can make a lot of difference, but, as you may have heard, the weather in the Pyrenees can change at the drop of a hat. So, at any point, do not drop your hat.
Interested to hear they are not taking reservations for first week in April. I am staying on 20th March but that hasn't been cancelled??
 
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MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
I'm planning to stay at Orisson on night of 20th March. Hopefully, the path after that will be okay. Sounds bad just now. What is the temperature and wind chill factor? Do you know?
@JeanB - Weather can be acquired by contacting the SJPP office. Temp there now via Accuweather is 9C but that is not on the mountain where snow stays much longer.

Personally, I will be there two weeks after you. I am packing some extra warm layers even for May and June.
 

junie

New Member
Past OR future Camino
St. Frances (2018)
Like Dorpie, I suspect, I too have been successful in my fight with anorexia. I have twice crossed from SPPdP to Roncesvalles, at ages 63 and 64. I agree that the first 8k are the hardest, after that it is still mostly uphill but much easier. If you're not sure of yourself, I suggest booking at Orisson and, if you get there and still feel ok release the booking (someone will be glad of it) and walk on. You will not be short of company.

The best Camino tip I was ever given was, when reaching the road to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side, to take it (i.e. the road) and not follow the (steep and muddy) path into the woods. Whatever you do, have a good Camino!

BUT, if you release the room is there a cancellation penalty?
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
BUT, if you release the room is there a cancellation penalty?

I'm not sure to which facility you are referring, but I believe that neither Orisson or the alburgue in Roncesvalles will refund your money if you either cancel or not show up.

Please, anyone, correct me if I am wrong about that.
 

Avenelite

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
I'm not sure to which facility you are referring, but I believe that neither Orisson or the alburgue in Roncesvalles will refund your money if you either cancel or not show up.

Please, anyone, correct me if I am wrong about that.
I did not book at Roncesvalles in 2014. (Not sure if that facility was available then.) I had booked and paid for Orisson and on the advice of the Pilgrim Office in SJPP the day before my April 22, 2014 departure, decided to go the lower route through Volcarlos. With reference to your comment re refunds, I did contact the folk at Orisson April 21 to be told that the route was still open, that the Pilgrim's Office was wrong in their assessment of April 22 & 23, so no refund was possible. Although I was keen to walk via Orisson I finally made the decision, with safety in mind, to go via Volcarlos. Others happily set off for Orisson.
 

Guemes

New Member
Past OR future Camino
None
Thank you all for the lovely advice and suggestions!! I feel so much better.. I think I am ok walking to Roncesvelles in a day.. reassurances are always welcome though!!

B
I too want to walk to R the first day. Since I’m leaving April 13, I’m just planning on the alternate route unless the weather report is stellar!
 
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Last year, when I arrived at Roncesvalles in May, they were turning people away who had not booked ahead.

Also, for those wanting to walk to Roncesvalles the first day, unless you are in excellent shape, I suggest you break it up into two days. With the weather being snowy/rainy, the walk down into the valley where Roncesvalles albergue is can be dangerously slippery and slow going, especially with knees and ankles that are exhausted from the steep walk UP to the top.

The next day into Zubiri is ALSO slippery and dangerous, especially in wet or snowy weather. You're walking on moss-covered rocks and it's steep going.

I see many people ruin themselves that first day. Do yourself a favor and take it in two days is my suggestion.
 

BeeHodge

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2018
Last year, when I arrived at Roncesvalles in May, they were turning people away who had not booked ahead.

Also, for those wanting to walk to Roncesvalles the first day, unless you are in excellent shape, I suggest you break it up into two days. With the weather being snowy/rainy, the walk down into the valley where Roncesvalles albergue is can be dangerously slippery and slow going, especially with knees and ankles that are exhausted from the steep walk UP to the top.

The next day into Zubiri is ALSO slippery and dangerous, especially in wet or snowy weather. You're walking on moss-covered rocks and it's steep going.

I see many people ruin themselves that first day. Do yourself a favor and take it in two days is my suggestion.
 

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