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To cross Pyrenees or not?? Experienced walker?

2020 Camino Guides

Sunsetwest

New Member
Hi There to anyone who has crossed the Pyrenees,

I will be undertaking my first camino and begin from St Jean on the 21st April..I have just read somewhere you should be a experienced hill walker to cross the first stage of the camino...which i am not and have not had much time to train etc. Im 29 and reasonably fit. Im seriously considering taking a bus to Roncesvalles as I am now seriously freaking out a bit!..even re-considering the entire trip and any motives i did have about the camino... :(
How do you know if its the right time or not..
Is it normal to be anxious/stressed etc about doing this section or not..I am going alone so not sure if that is why Im more nervous about it...
Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
 

dazzamac

Active Member
There is always the option of stopping in Orisson and taking two days to walk to Roncevalles. The other option is to walk the Valcarlos route which has less elevation than the Route de Napolean. Depending on the weather, the Route de Napolean may be advised against by the Pilgrim Office in St Jean. Another factor to bear in mind is that daylight hours will be more limited in April than in the height of summer.

You are not the first person to wonder if you are fit enough to walk this route in one go.
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board/el-camino-frances/topic12902.html
 

micbook

Active Member
Hi Sunsetwest,

First, no need to stress out! :) Second, many less experienced/less fit walkers are able to complete the stretch-- you just follow your body's pace and needs. Third and best of all, you always have the option of stopping at Orisson, on the way to Roncesvalles. I walked last June-July...I stopped in Orisson and was very happy that I did! If you are in no rush, I think it's great to be able to stop...the view is spectacular, and your body will appreciate taking the time and not pushing too much on the first day. Physically, I could have walked all the way to Roncesvalles (even if you're not a seasoned walker), but I decided there was really no need. I only made reservation when I got to the pilgrims' office in SJPP (the night before) and paid the next day. All and all, I thought it was a great decision for me, and I highly recommend it, especially if you have concerns. It gives you a relatively short day-- a great opportunity to get used to walking with ease and incredible views.

Here's what sunrise looks like in Orisson... :)
http://michalrinkevich.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/inspiration/img_0392-2/

Buen Camino!
Michal
--
http://michalrinkevich.wordpress.com/tag/camino-de-santiago/
 
Camino(s) past & future
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
You'll be fine.
I'm 59 and I did it.
I've seen 75 year olds walk this route with no problem.

I would suggest you break the first day up into two stages.
I had planned to do that and then was strongly encouraged to CHANGE my plan and cancel my reservations at Orisson. I cursed that hospitalero's name all the way down the other side of the Pyrenees. It's not called "hell day" for no reason!

BUT.. if you break it up into two days, it's a breeze and much more enjoyable to arrive in Roncesvalles unbroken with no blisters.

So my vote is to go for it, but break it into two days as others have suggested.
You should make your reservations at Orisson NOW as things are filling up - the season is upon us.
If you cannot get reservations, there used to be a large tipi half way over to the right of the trail in a field. I'm not sure if it is still there, maybe someone now walking can say, but I heard it was a lovely place to spend the night!

And remember, if all else fails, there's nothing wrong with calling a taxi to take you the rest of the way!

Buen Camino!
Annie
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
If you are really stressed, start in Pamplona. The Pyrenees are a bit atypical of the Camino as a whole, and maybe aren't the best start for someone with doubts about the trip. It is all good, and you'll have a wonderful trip no matter where you start.

PS: I'm sure you'll do fine if you start in SJPP, it is just a matter of weather you can gain the confidence not be too stressed out.
 

Josefine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés Primitivo Aragonés/Francés, Portugues Fisterra/Muxia Norte San Salvador Via Gebennesis
In my opinion you don't have to be very fit to do it in one day, I wasn't and did it without any problems. The first part up to Orisson is the hardest and you shouldn't start out walking too fast. I am a slow walker and it took me over 9 hours to get to Roncesvalles but I arrived well before dinner. And I was not the last one to get there. Don't be afraid or worried, I was and when I mentioned this the night before at the Pilgrim Office the man just said to me to walk like a very old lady would walk, slowly and one step at the time and that's exactly what I did.
Buen Camino!
 

jeff001

Active Member
For anyone with any amount of mountain walking at all the difficulty of this crossing is, in my opinion, overrated. At age 65 I made it from SJPdP to Orisson in a little over 2 hours in the afternoon. I left the next morning at 7:30 and was at Roncessvalles by 11:30 I would estimate that at least 75-80% is on or next to paved roads.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I agree with the previous posters, with a caution that if the weather is inclement and likely to cloud in the peaks, you will need to take extra caution or opt for Route Valcarlos.

I arrived at SJPP in late Mar two years ago, and there had been snowfalls that day. These was qutie a variety of advice from locals about the safety of Route Napoleon, including that the visibility was extremely low and dangerous, so took Route Valcarlos.

The pilgrims who did attempt Route Napoleon were extremely late into the albergue at Roncesvalles, some as late as 10.30pm, but had achieved the challenge.

You are walking a little later when snow won't be the challenge, but any high country path needs extra caution in inclement conditions. Don't be deterred, don't ignore the local advice, but be prepared for a slower transit or to take the alternative route if you are uncomfortable.
 

robertt

Active Member
I had a great day going via Valcarlos when the pass was closed (late May!). Not all road, very scenic and appealing, ideal for a major non-achiever like me.

All the above advice is excellent, but there are more options still. I've discussed with others here that starting at Saint-Jean may well be a grand tradition, but a delightful alternative would be to start further back in the Bearn, if one has time and the inclination. You get lots of hills, and the steep stuff comes gradually. For some reason, I'm appallingly slow but not affected by uphills. However, for those who need such pre-conditioning, this may be a good plan.
 

Sunsetwest

New Member
Thank you for all your thoughts- I have booked at Orrison so will be staying there the night. Im relieved to hear that you don't have to be a super fit hiker!
I will let you all know how i go.... :)

Adios e Gracias!
 

fulanito10101

New Member
I am delighted to see all of the above advice. I too would consider myself not particularly experienced but intend (weather permitting) to walk St Jean to Roncesvalles on the Route Napoleon starting next Wednesday 12 April. I made the decision several weeks ago that I will stop in Orrison and have made my reservation.

Buen Camino

R.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPP-Los Arcos (2011), Logrono-Sahagun (2012), Leon-Santiago (2013)
You can do it! My 11-year-old did it. So did I, over-weight, out-of-shape and untrained as I was.

Orisson is a good idea for many reasons. Enjoy and buen camino!
 

Hyun

New Member
I just found that there is no bathroom or something similar between SJPDP and Roncesvalles except Orisson.

For me, it will be a bigger problem than crossing the Pyrenees. :(

Buen Camino....
 

julie

Active Member
Sunsetwest said:
I have just read somewhere you should be a experienced hill walker to cross the first stage of the camino...which i am not and have not had much time to train etc. Im 29 and reasonably fit. Im seriously considering taking a bus to Roncesvalles as I am now seriously freaking out a bit!..even re-considering the entire trip and any motives i did have about the camino... :(
How do you know if its the right time or not..
Is it normal to be anxious/stressed etc about doing this section or not..I am going alone so not sure if that is why Im more nervous about it...
It's perfectly normal to be anxious and to wonder whether you can do it. You know it's the right time because you feel an overwhelming urge to go even though you don't know why. The nervousness fades very quickly once you start walking and then it just feels so good to be there that you know the timing was right for you.

Ask at the pilgrim office in St Jean Pied-de-Port about the weather for the route Napoleon. If they say it's too risky, go the alternative route.

The first couple of hours (SJPDP to Orisson) are the most strenuous. After Orisson, it's steep but not difficult and the views are superb. It is such a lovely walk, it would be a shame to miss it.

The idea of walking 780km is rather daunting. More so if your family and friends are telling you you're crazy for even contemplating it. It is much easier if you don't focus on the final distance and just take each day as it comes.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hyun said:
I just found that there is no bathroom or something similar between SJPDP and Roncesvalles except Orisson.

For me, it will be a bigger problem than crossing the Pyrenees. :(

Buen Camino....
Lots of forrest however!

Carpe Diem!

Margaret
 

dazzamac

Active Member
yogabanana said:
Is it just a few hours to Orisson then?? And then the bulk of the walk for the day after?
It is about 10km to Orisson, and another 15km then to Roncevalles. However, I found that the steepest inclines were in those first 10 kilometres to Orisson. As testified by the thousands of pilgrims that have already walked across the Pyrenees, it is possible to walk from St Jean to Roncevalles in one day. I've done it myself and at a comfortable pace, stopping for rests along the way, it took about nine hours.

However, I've decided that this year I'll ease myself in and split the crossing into two days. That way, I don't have to rush out of St Jean in the morning and can explore it a little knowing that I have a bed booked in Orisson. It also means that I should be able to see a little more of Roncevalles the following day too.
 

FrancesK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (April/May 2012); Le puy (Sept 2013)

Chacharm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Frances (2012) Vie Del Norte (2015) Via Frances (2016) Le Puy (2017)
I am walking to the Orrison April 20th - thank you all so much for this thread! I have been a little worried about it too.
And I am really stressing too. I am very excited - have been dreaming of this for years and planning for months...and now, just days before we leave I am worrying and stressed out. I am nearly 50 and I am breaking out and having trouble sleeping. What is WRONG with me?
I keep telling myself that it will fall away once we're on the plane in Dallas.
But I don't know where it comes from. I am not worried about having to sleep outside, I am not worried about the water or blisters or where to use the bathroom. I am a bit worried about how heavy my pack is - but nothing there I can't fix, right?
And some of the other things I was fretful about (for instance, lunch for the walk to Roncesvalles) have also been asked and answered in this forum. You guys are the best :)
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Chacharm said:
I am walking to the Orrison April 20th - thank you all so much for this thread! I have been a little worried about it too.
And I am really stressing too. I am very excited - have been dreaming of this for years and planning for months...and now, just days before we leave I am worrying and stressed out. I am nearly 50 and I am breaking out and having trouble sleeping. What is WRONG with me?
I keep telling myself that it will fall away once we're on the plane in Dallas.
You guys are the best :)
Well it's a bit like that night before Christmas excitement/anxiety of childhood. Once you take the first step of the actual Camino it seems to trigger a slow de-stress. That process took a bit of time for me but then I thought I could 'manage' my Camino and kept trying on trying to for a week or so. Eventually I 'got it' thank goodness and settled into a much more relaxed state. Having crossed the Pyrenees in heavy snow (and having to let go of 'the planned', adjust and go with the actual) seemed to help as I had a 'big hit' under my belt That's not to say I didn't stress a little the night before setting off across the meseta or up to O'cebriero ... but physical exhaustion is also a great stress reliever :twisted: oh and of course the taking of a few glasses of rioja-for medicinal purposes of course- has been extensively tested by more than one pilgrim :lol:
 

keg2483

New Member
We wll be arriving from Canada on the 18th and walkng to Orrison on April 20th so you will have company on the trail. I walked the Camino in 2009 and found the anxiety abated after the first few days and the rest of the trip was wonderful. My wife was not with me in 2009 so I will let her pack the anxiety this trip :lol:
The Route Napoleon was snowed in 2009 so I hope it clears up for the 20th.

Buen Camino

Kelly

I am walking to the Orrison April 20th - thank you all so much for this thread! I have been a little worried about it too.
And I am really stressing too. I am very excited - have been dreaming of this for years and planning for months...and now, just days before we leave I am worrying and stressed out. I am nearly 50 and I am breaking out and having trouble sleeping. What is WRONG with me?
I keep telling myself that it will fall away once we're on the plane in Dallas.
But I don't know where it comes from. I am not worried about having to sleep outside, I am not worried about the water or blisters or where to use the bathroom. I am a bit worried about how heavy my pack is - but nothing there I can't fix, right?
And some of the other things I was fretful about (for instance, lunch for the walk to Roncesvalles) have also been asked and answered in this forum. You guys are the best :)[/quote]
 

jenlynnjos

New Member
If I could make it across the Pyranees, then anyone can.....it took me 10 hrs, but I am forever grateful that I did it.....the camino was the most difficult thing i've ever done, but also the most satisfying and fulfilling.....I walked last June at the age of 47 and will again this next year....take walking sticks for the descent to save your knees and take it slowly.....Ultraia!! :D
 

Chacharm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Frances (2012) Vie Del Norte (2015) Via Frances (2016) Le Puy (2017)
I will look for you, Kelly :) My son is half Canadian so y'all should recognize each other on sight. We are staying at the Orisson - are you two?
I keep telling my son I feel as I did the week before Christmas when I was very small. And I think you're right - a little rioja and a lot of exercise will cure much of what ails me. That and paring down my pack. We are flying into Madrid and spending the night there, then going on to San Sebastian, my favorite city in the world, for dinner at Arzak. Getting up early on the 19th and heading to SJPP. YeeHAW!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
If you want to be semantic about it, walking from St. Jean to Roncesvalles does not really constitute "crossing the Pyrenees," as rugged and romantic as it sounds. You are climbing one mountain face to a pass, and descending the other side of that mountain the next day. You are crossing ONE Pyrenee. It only FEELS like you´ve conquered the entire mountain range!

The ideal of starting at St. Jean is a modern notion, a vestige of the days when all kinds of people from all over Europe funneled through there to cross into Spain. Most Spanish pilgrims I know think the logistical hoo-haw of getting to St. Jean just to turn around and climb back over the mountain the next day is absurd. They start at the top of the mountain, at Roncesvalles, and give themselves a downhill boost from the start.

Just sayin.
Reb
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
DO NOT stressed out about this! It is nowhere near as scary nor as difficult as you may have been led to believe :? The key to this first day SJPDP-Roncesvalles is FOOT CARE AND A 10 MINUTE REST EVERY COUPLE OF HOURS OF WALK. Place compeed bandages ahead of time on friction areas, use insole absorbing pads on the inner heel area, make sure you have good ankle support hiking shoes. I have never (EVER!) done ANY serious hiking and I did SJPDP-Roncesvalles in 7 hours and felt amazing the next day. The key to me was on how well I took care of my feet, I took it slow, specially going downhill (after Collado Lepeder). I was so nervous BEFORE I started walking at SJPDP (on tears so nervous!) but seriously it was nowhere near as difficult and it was one of the best days of my life.
 
thanks Olivares for that reassuring post - I will be crossing the "one pyrenee " via route napoleon (weather permitting) in a week and a bit. :D

planning to follow my tramping buddy's advice - walk slow and take small steps.
have also tested advice from this forum. - did one 20 something km walk over forest, hill, and asphalt with a rest in the middle. Then when I did the same walk again, I removed boots and socks as advised during my rest halfway. didnt really think it would make that much difference but it sure did! feet felt much better.

so have all the theory ...now to put it into practice - hoping to see forum folk along the way (you will recognise me - I'll be the one wiggling my toes in the breeze).
karen
 

Scotsstu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cammino france 2013
Hi. I am planning in doing this walk in march, and I'm also
A bit worried about the climb, but I'm sure if you get into
Any trouble someone will lend a hand.
 

zammy

Active Member
if you start late afternoon from St Jean- climb 6 km to Hounto and sleep there, it'll be easier the next day.
if the weather is bad-i would skip the cross and take a shuttle to Roncevalles.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
It really is not as bad as advertised. The reason it seems so hard is that it is your first day and you are not as fit as you will be later. Also, you have been dreading it and are scared you won't be able to do it.
If you could see some of the people who are walking now...you would gain a great deal of confidence. :wink:

The sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that you can handle anything else that comes your way will make the rest of the Camino much more enjoyable.
 

Larazet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances "2013" had to stop half way due to tendonitis ... Continuing May 2014..postponed to 2015. SdC to Muxia 2016.
.......night before at the Pilgrim Office the man just said to me to walk like a very old lady would walk, slowly and one step at the time and that's exactly what I did.
Buen Camino![/quote]

I am and I shall do as such! Towards the end of May 2013..... Just driven the road route from Logrono after a visit to eastern Spain, to our home in SW France and certainly would not like to take the road over the Pyrenees! It is narrow and dangerous, or is there a path near it that is not the route Napoleon?

Must say it was very encouraging and moving to see the pilgrims knowing that I will be treading that very same path in seven and a half months.......

:| :roll:
 

cilento

Member
I remember feeling the same way before my first camino, especially after reading all of the warnings on the boards about this stage.

I was 42, far from fit, and inexperienced in hiking. It took me 12 hours to walk from SJPdP to Roncesvalles, and I ached all over when I finally reached the albergue.

BUT it is still my favorite day on the camino, and I would love to do it all over again. Wouldn't miss it for the world. Can't imagine a better way to start. Starting in Saint Jean instead of Roncesvalles was the single best decision I made on the journey.

Don't miss it. But get an early start that day.

Buen Camino!
 

Ampolla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June (2011) May/June (2013); future Camino(s) May/June 2015 Caminho Portugues da costa; Camino de Invierno/Sanabres and Camino Fisterre
Not too much more to add that hasn't been said already, but you're going to have a blast! I went from SJPP to Roncesvalles in 1 day and feel so happy that I accomplished it. I had been so worried that I couldn't do it! This was in mid-May 2011. My only problem is that I didn't drink enough liquid, nor did I take enough with me so my legs kept on cramping up. Some people that we met actually got lost, they were given wrong instructions from a fellow walker. They were found eventually and all was well. I'll be going on the Camino again this May and am considering starting in Zubiri, but almost want to go back to SJPP to see the wonderful views again. Have a great time! Buen Camino!
 

RENSHAW

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks every year on CF reaching Burgos or Leon. Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Ampolla said:
I'll be going on the Camino again this May and am considering starting in Zubiri
The OP has by now finished the planned Camino in 2012 , but this is a great thread as so many people want to know about where to start?
I have walked the first two weeks of the Camino Frances many times and never have I started at SJPDP. Even Roncesvalles was tough enough for me.
Starting From Zubiri is a fantastic idea. It is easy to get to from Pamplona , there is a variety of accomodation options ........ its qauint and in the country ....... and the first day is a easy walk to Pamplona where one can top up with supplies and iron out any gear issues.
Yes , you've got me thinking Amps - I'm going to start my next Camino from Zubiri. :)
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
A piece of cake, if you can walk for 6 to 8 hours no problems, I walked napoleons route 3 times in 6 hours, walking to orisson takes less than 2 hours,perfect for coffee break. Just wait for weather advise in sjpdep, no one can predict weather more than 2 or 3 days ahead, don't panic and Buen camino
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
Mad Galaxy Man took the words right out of my mouth: A piece of cake. Most of it is on paved roads and the parts that are not are so well taken care of that it's easy. They have improved the marking of the trail tremendously since the first time I did it in 2001 so it's hard to get lost now. It just takes several hours so for anyone who wants to do this just bring plenty of water and snacks and take your time.
 

backpack45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
I was in my late 60s when we went over from SJPP. It certainly would be do-able, weather permitting, to do the entire route to Roncesvalles in one day, but I loved the overnight stay at Orisson. At that point you have completed about half the elevation required and half the distance to the summit, so you are off to a good start. The gite is clean, relatively new, and small, so you'll enjoy the camaraderie of eating communally as your introduction to your fellow travelers on the Camino.
 

bimblingalong

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010 SJPP-Belorado / 2012 SJPP- Finisterre / 2014 Santander- Lugo (Norte/Primitivo), Ponferrada-Chantada- Invierno, SdC-Muxia.....
( August 2015 C Portuguese from Valenca)

bimblingalong

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010 SJPP-Belorado / 2012 SJPP- Finisterre / 2014 Santander- Lugo (Norte/Primitivo), Ponferrada-Chantada- Invierno, SdC-Muxia.....
( August 2015 C Portuguese from Valenca)
bimblingalong said:
sept 2010 &
I walked up & over & it was tough, but hugely rewarding, was fittish & had done some training, but were lucky with the weather & took our time ( especially good was the baguete with a really yummy garlic pate at the bar in Orisson that, combined with the encouragement of two lovely dairy farmers from Cork, Ireland had me pushing on when I had considered staying the night!!)...made it despite the rain & wind & loved the challenge....

but... last year in April, when I had booked & paid the night at the Orisson albergue well ahead ... the Pilgrim's office advised that due to unseasonable amounts of snow, we should take the road route to Roncesvalle..I was, dissapointed ( that view is really amazing!!)...but took the advice, & had a longer, but safer meandering route & made it again....tierd & sore of knee, but still met amazing people & enjoyed the scenery...
 

aus_kellie

New Member
Crossing the pass was my most memorable day and one I strongly recommend if the weather is on your side.

I booked a room in Orisson and it was confirmed so I left late from St Jean after sending some excess weight ahead by post. It was all uphill in the morning but very beautiful. After 10km at Orisson I was informed that the alburgue was not open for another week, despite accepting my booking 9!) - challenge #1!

Ended up meeting Ernest, 75 year old walking from Amsterdam with a bung back and limping and I figured if he can cope, so could I. This was early April and it has snowed the day before, but clear that day.... so with teh advise to cross we did, and have never regretted it.

The day is LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG - and the second half can be a bit tedious when you realise how tired you are, but the downhill into Ronsecvalles is a lovely wooded path not to be missed.

If the weather is ok, take the pass. It is a road until the top anyway, so you're in "civilisation" to a degree at least half of the way so it is not the deep wilderness you may be imagining.
 

Trishkerry

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Done....Frances, Norte ,Primitivo, Finisterre
Future ...via de la plata
Re: Re: To cross Pyrenees or not?? Experienced walker?

keg2483 said:
We wll be arriving from Canada on the 18th and walkng to Orrison on April 20th so you will have company on the trail. I walked the Camino in 2009 and found the anxiety abated after the first few days and the rest of the trip was wonderful. My wife was not with me in 2009 so I will let her pack the anxiety this trip :lol:
The Route Napoleon was snowed in 2009 so I hope it clears up for the 20th.

Buen Camino

Kelly

I am walking to the Orrison April 20th - thank you all so much for this thread! I have been a little worried about it too.
quote]

I am also walking to Orrison on April 20th. My main worries (at the moment) are the weather and packing as lightly as possible. Im sure that the closer i get to the 20th the more i Will find to worry about. Hay ho. See you there! :grin:
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
I think you are looking too far ahead, mid April more than month away, no weather forecast can be accurate more than 3 days ahead, wait for advise from experts in sjpdep. I have crossed Pyrenees 3 times in early may no problems, but I had to take lower route in late June and mud all the way to Pamplona. My son walked in June and the fog dangerous, so relax and enjoy Buen camino
 

j4jan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino (2017)
For anyone with any amount of mountain walking at all the difficulty of this crossing is, in my opinion, overrated. At age 65 I made it from SJPdP to Orisson in a little over 2 hours in the afternoon. I left the next morning at 7:30 and was at Roncessvalles by 11:30 I would estimate that at least 75-80% is on or next to paved roads.
What is the other 20-25% on? I have no mountain walking experience other than a failed attempt at a hike out west through the Rockies. I really want to walk from SJPDP to Roncesvalles but have learned If I see the edge, especially if there a slope to it, I become immobilized. My worst fear is putting others in danger because of my inability to move.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@j4jan there is nothing precipitous and no "edges". Somewhere on the forum there is a post showing a time lapse video of the whole route, but I can't find it at the moment. Personally I don't like to see too many videos because I would rather experience it unseen, but if you are very apprehensive it might help. Maybe another members could post it?
 

j4jan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino (2017)
@j4jan there is nothing precipitous and no "edges". Somewhere on the forum there is a post showing a time lapse video of the whole route, but I can't find it at the moment. Personally I don't like to see too many videos because I would rather experience it unseen, but if you are very apprehensive it might help. Maybe another members could post it?
Thanks very much, Kanga.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Wow; this is great! Thanks very much!
That's a very good video and helps dispel a lot of the misconceptions about that first day over the Pyrenees.
There are a lot of videos on youtube about the Camino Franc'es. Some good, some bad. Here's a good one I saw recently where the pilgrim simply puts together a series of photos from SJPdP to Santiago and its only six minutes long. It's pretty good. Shows what to expect terrain wise and hopefully can help prospective pilgrims plan their walk.
Looks like it was filmed in spring, possibly early spring. Little bit of snow left on the ground and looks like some rain days. Also they skipped photos in the larger cities, but otherwise a good representation. As you see, a lot of walking on improved (concrete, blacktop etc) road surfaces.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
What is the other 20-25% on? I have no mountain walking experience other than a failed attempt at a hike out west through the Rockies. I really want to walk from SJPDP to Roncesvalles but have learned If I see the edge, especially if there a slope to it, I become immobilized. My worst fear is putting others in danger because of my inability to move.
I am a vertigo sufferer myself - but no problems with either route over the Pyrenees ;-) However WHICH route you take over the Pyrenees depends on the weather, so please - check in with the pilgrims office in SJPdP and head their advice! Both routes are beautiful in their own way bta ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 

Camino Tom

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
See Below
Hi There to anyone who has crossed the Pyrenees,

I will be undertaking my first camino and begin from St Jean on the 21st April..I have just read somewhere you should be a experienced hill walker to cross the first stage of the camino...which i am not and have not had much time to train etc. Im 29 and reasonably fit. Im seriously considering taking a bus to Roncesvalles as I am now seriously freaking out a bit!..even re-considering the entire trip and any motives i did have about the camino... :(
How do you know if its the right time or not..
Is it normal to be anxious/stressed etc about doing this section or not..I am going alone so not sure if that is why Im more nervous about it...
Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
Hi
I crossed at age 62 in the Autumn time and will do this route again this April , I am now 66 , weather permitting you should walk this stage . The Camino's are just long enjoyable walks , there is nothing to be anxious about and plenty to be please with. Its a wonderful experience . I only wish that I had the opportunity to walk my first Camino as a 29 y/o
Regards and Buen Camino
tom
 

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