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SJPP to Roncesvalles

Kathy Beno

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2015
I walked 3 days of the Camino with my daughter last spring as a trial run. We took the Valcarlos route, as was advised, and made it to Roncesvalles the first day. I'll be starting again in late September and want to try the Napoleon route. Is it much harder? Can I make it to Roncesvalles in one day? Or is that unrealistic? Thanks for any input you can give me!
 
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Cam1952

www.camcamino.com
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013)
Frances 2017)
Portuguese (2019)
I walked the Napoleon Route in later September 2013. I decided to pre-book a bed at Orisson and was very glad I did. Despite my training regime in Canada, nothing prepared me for the Pyranees. By the time I arrived in Orisson I needed to stop. Many people continue on and make it to Roncesvalles the same day...... But I am ever so glad I stopped over.
All the best and Buen Camino.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Hi, Kathy, many people walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day. Other will swear that stopping the first night in Orisson is the way to go. There are many threads here which discuss this section of the Francés. Here is one: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/sjpp-to-orisson-how-long.28638/. Even though its title is SJPP to Orisson, it also discusses going from SJPP straight through to Roncesvalles. No doubt others will chime in here too. The section from SJPP to Roncesvalles is probably one of the most discussed section of the Francés - that, and the meseta! Been Camino
 
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whariwharangi

Guest
I walked 3 days of the Camino with my daughter last spring as a trial run. We took the Valcarlos route, as was advised, and made it to Roncesvalles the first day. I'll be starting again in late September and want to try the Napoleon route. Is it much harder? Can I make it to Roncesvalles in one day? Or is that unrealistic? Thanks for any input you can give me!

I've not walked Valcarlos, however Brierley shows relief map that indicates the climb from Valcarlos to Ibaneta pass is steeper than any section on the Napoleon route.

That being said it is 400 meters more of elevation gain and then 500 meters down steeper hill to get to Roncesvalles.

Unlike Valcarlos there are no options to stop along the way (except for the limited accommodation at Orrison) and no shelter.

So I would say Napoleon is somewhat harder but not significantly harder. Lots of people make the trip in one day ... I'd allow 9 hours.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Last year in October, at 66 I was going to walk 2 days via Valcarlos. However, I decided to go with my new albergue friends over the Napoleon. Orisson was closed by then, so I had no choice but to go all the way. Sure I was tired by the end, but it was not a horrendous day. I had sent much of my pack content ahead by transport, which I think was an excellent idea. Carrying a heavy load would have been awful. This year I'm going again and Orisson will be open, so I'll stop there. Just because I can.

Maybe if you do find the day to be really hard, you should make the next day a short one. You do have choices at that point.
 
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Griffin57

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2013 StJPdP to Burgos
September 2014 Burgos to SdC
Setember 2015 StJPdP to Burgos
Hi Kathy, my first trip I trusted my son Ben who had walked 5 months ahead of me and told me I could walk to Roncesvalles in one go 'no problem'! :cool::eek:

We walk together frequently in the Lake District and while it's true I have no problem making it up and down some very steep hills I did not train even half enough with a full backpack. The day took me 9 hours, I am small with short legs and simply cannot walk fast, I did not overtake anyone unless they were sitting down! Everyone overtook me! But having said that I wouldn't have missed it for the world, the sense of achievement was wonderful and I recovered incredibly quickly.

However I promised myself that next time (for I already knew I would want to walk the camino more than once) I would either send my pack by transport or stay in Orisson. It's the latter that I'm going to do when I return in 62 days time!:)
Hope this helps, Buen camino
Sarah
 

GerryFitz

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2014 - October - StJPP to Santiago
2015 - September - StJPP to Finisterre
(2016 - September - Le Puy to StJPP)
I walked 3 days of the Camino with my daughter last spring as a trial run. We took the Valcarlos route, as was advised, and made it to Roncesvalles the first day. I'll be starting again in late September and want to try the Napoleon route. Is it much harder? Can I make it to Roncesvalles in one day? Or is that unrealistic? Thanks for any input you can give me!
Hi Kathy - I walked the Route Napoleon end of September last year with a group of other pilgrims I had just met in SJPP and we all got there - some in 6 hours, some in 9 hours - it's not a race so set your own pace with regular breaks and you won't have a problem!Orisson is a good watering hole but I wouldn't depend on a bed unless you pre book. But definitely walk it - it is worth it for the views alone! Buen Camino!
 

Celestemesser

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
september (2015)
Hi Kathy, my first trip I trusted my son Ben who had walked 5 months ahead of me and told me I could walk to Roncesvalles in one go 'no problem'! :cool::eek:

We walk together frequently in the Lake District and while it's true I have no problem making it up and down some very steep hills I did not train even half enough with a full backpack. The day took me 9 hours, I am small with short legs and simply cannot walk fast, I did not overtake anyone unless they were sitting down! Everyone overtook me! But having said that I wouldn't have missed it for the world, the sense of achievement was wonderful and I recovered incredibly quickly.

However I promised myself that next time (for I already knew I would want to walk the camino more than once) I would either send my pack by transport or stay in Orisson. It's the latter that I'm going to do when I return in 62 days time!:)
Hope this helps, Buen camino
Sarah

hi there,
I'm planning on starting last week in September so will be right behind you. I'm planning on stopping in Orisson (hope i can get a room. can't make the reservations yet because i havent gotten flight arrangements.) i think for that portion of the trip maybe shipping my backpack would be a good idea or at least lightening the load. what service did you plan on using? also would you mind telling me the flight/train/bus route you took to get to SJPP.

thanks
celeste
 

Kathy Beno

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2015
hi there,
I'm planning on starting last week in September so will be right behind you. I'm planning on stopping in Orisson (hope i can get a room. can't make the reservations yet because i havent gotten flight arrangements.) i think for that portion of the trip maybe shipping my backpack would be a good idea or at least lightening the load. what service did you plan on using? also would you mind telling me the flight/train/bus route you took to get to SJPP.

thanks
celeste
Hey Celeste,
I'm planning to start out carrying my backpack and see how it goes. I'm flying to Madrid to see my daughter for a few days. Then I plan to take a train to Pamplona, then take a bus to SJPP. I'll be getting to SJPP on Sept. 23 and starting the Camino the next day. Hope we will cross paths. Buen Camino!
 
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MartinZ

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
camino frances 2012 ... 2017
I walked 3 days of the Camino with my daughter last spring as a trial run. We took the Valcarlos route, as was advised, and made it to Roncesvalles the first day. I'll be starting again in late September and want to try the Napoleon route. Is it much harder? Can I make it to Roncesvalles in one day? Or is that unrealistic? Thanks for any input you can give me!

I walked them both and can tell you that the Napoleon route is much harder. Imagine the Valcarlos route going really steep uphill all the time just to end with going down hill pretty steep. The little ups and downs you saw are absolutely nothing compared to the Napoleon route.
Many people only appreciate the Napoleon route for the first few hours and later in hindsight, amazed at the wonderful achievement they pulled off and the story of it which they can share with other pilgrims.

Old, young, athletic or obese..... i've seen all sorts arriving in Roncesvalles in one day so it's not unrealistic, just very very hard.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I'm planning to start out carrying my backpack and see how it goes.
By all means, do so. I am also a fan of carrying my own backpack and I keep it to about 6 kg for that reason. The only caution I'd make is that the first day from SJPP to Roncesvalles is possibly the hardest day and there isn't an easy "out" once you start, so "seeing how it goes" might be better saved for the next day. Just a thought!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Aug. 2015 Camino Frances
Ahh..To stop or not to stop...That is the question :) I will be starting my first Camino on August 24 this year and I struggled with that option too, weighing the exhilaration of that first step to Roncesvalles and the need to take it easy at the start. I finally decided to reserve a bed in Orisson. Unless you are on a tight schedule, I would say, why not? Many experienced perigrinas advised me to do so to avoid strain or other injuries that may haunt you the rest of the way. Eventhough I have been trainingy in the Gatineau Hills with my full back pack for a while now, I know that the Pyrenees are a whole different game so why not take it easy and enjoy the trip rather than apprehend it. Buen camino Kathy!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
If I were going to NOT carry my backpack on any section, it would be that first day or two.
After the walk into Roncesvalles and the walk into Zubiri, the rest of the Camino is a piece of cake, in my opinion.
I walked the section from SJPP to Roncesvalles in one day the first time I walked the Camino.
Never again!!!
Now, I always take it in two days (I go every year)
And I no longer carry my pack... just a daypack with food, water, and raingear.
Getting older makes a person smarter... and less interested in competing.
 

Celestemesser

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
september (2015)
Hey Celeste,
I'm planning to start out carrying my backpack and see how it goes. I'm flying to Madrid to see my daughter for a few days. Then I plan to take a train to Pamplona, then take a bus to SJPP. I'll be getting to SJPP on Sept. 23 and starting the Camino the next day. Hope we will cross paths. Buen Camino!
Hi Kathy,
Well my 'solo' trip just got a plus one. One of my four daughters has decided to join me (Adriana is 24). We haven't made the flight arrangements yet but right now we're THINKING of leaving Austin on Sept 22 and arriving in SJPP on the 23rd. Then starting out on the camino on the 24th. So we might be there about the same time. Do you know where you are staying on the 23rd? We're going to spend the night at Orisson the first day hiking as I'm going to take the first couple of weeks slow to make sure my body adjusts. How many days are you allotting for the trip?
In any case nice to know someone else will be on the path at the same time.
 
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Kathy Beno

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2015
Hi Kathy,
Well my 'solo' trip just got a plus one. One of my four daughters has decided to join me (Adriana is 24). We haven't made the flight arrangements yet but right now we're THINKING of leaving Austin on Sept 22 and arriving in SJPP on the 23rd. Then starting out on the camino on the 24th. So we might be there about the same time. Do you know where you are staying on the 23rd? We're going to spend the night at Orisson the first day hiking as I'm going to take the first couple of weeks slow to make sure my body adjusts. How many days are you allotting for the trip?
In any case nice to know someone else will be on the path at the same time.

Hey! How exciting for you to have your daughter join you! I'm staying at L'Esprit du Chemin on the 23rd. It comes highly recommended! My trip is totally open. I've been told to allow for 40 days, but I'm hoping for 33-35. I really hope to meet you!! I also have 4 children . Keep in touch. :)
 

Griffin57

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2013 StJPdP to Burgos
September 2014 Burgos to SdC
Setember 2015 StJPdP to Burgos
Hey! How exciting for you to have your daughter join you! I'm staying at L'Esprit du Chemin on the 23rd. It comes highly recommended! My trip is totally open. I've been told to allow for 40 days, but I'm hoping for 33-35. I really hope to meet you!! I also have 4 children . Keep in touch. :)

Hi @Kathy Beno and @Celestemesser L'Espirit Du Chemin is now called Beilari in St Jean. The former owners have taken the name L'Espirit du Chemin with them when they moved to Vezelay.
 

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