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Two Brazilian pilgrims rescued on Route Napoleon

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Bradypus, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Two Brazilian pilgrims crossing the Route Napoleon ran into difficulties with the weather and contacted the emergency services by radio from the Izandorre refuge hut. They were rescued using an off-road vehicle - probably the one mentioned in a press article yesterday. In a post yesterday which has since been removed from the APOC Facebook group one young man described the treacherous conditions which he and a companion encountered crossing the high-level route despite it being officially closed and his companion's hypothermia symptoms. It appears there are still people ignoring the closure and running into dangerous situations.

    http://navarra.elespanol.com/articu...ndorre-roncesvalles/20170313192457102257.html
    http://www.noticiasdenavarra.com/20...quieren-un-vehiculo-para-rescates-en-la-nieve
     
  2. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    When you posted about the new vehicle acquired for the local rescue teams a few days ago, I was tempted to remark that it had come just in time as it is in weather conditions like now, in particular in March, when spring is about to arrive in the valleys, that people who are ignorant about the area, the climate, the conditions of the path at higher altitude and their physical capabilities, believe that they alone are exempt from warnings, relevant information and outright bans of crossing at this pass at this time of the year.

    PS. For the uninitiated: the route Napoleon is closed every year until at least 31 March. You are not allowed to walk into Spain on this path.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  3. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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  4. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Is the word "IDIOTS" allowed on the Forum without offending certain people who can not read or follow simple rules and signage. Guess what, closed means: closed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  5. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    'No' is such a simple word.
    I'm very glad no lives were lost, and hope these two learned that this small word applies to them too, as well as it does to 'other people.'
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
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  6. Waka

    Waka Veteran Member Donating Member

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    There will always be people that will ignore signs. What annoys me is that they are putting the rescue services lives at risk because of their own stupidity.
    Enough said, go and have a coffee and calm down.
     
  7. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    No, the problem is that, in recent times, there are more and more pilgrims who get into trouble and need rescuing. I hope that threads like this will help to spread the word. I feel more could be done to inform and warn people long before they have finalized their plans and arrived in SJPdP.
     
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  8. Sheffield James

    Sheffield James Member

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    Are fines actually levied for ignoring these rules or are they more of an unenforced threat?
     
  9. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    It's a good question. Who knows where or what that is?

    Collado de Bentartea
    is the Spanish name for the first pass on Spanish territory when you walk the Napoleon route. So that explains the hashtag #Bentartea in the tweet. The French name is Col de Bentarte. You hardly notice that it is a pass. It is the start of the currently closed part of the route Napoleon. The second and slightly better known pass on this route is called Lepoeder, it is at the end of the currently closed path.

    I feel that they are not very PR savvy. The newspaper article (no doubt based on a press release or similar) did not even mention that the path is currently closed let alone that you could be fined if you cross and get yourself into trouble. The various international amigo associations could perhaps also do more.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  10. Sparrow in Texas

    Sparrow in Texas Member Donating Member

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    Pilgrims from North America and the EU are generally aware of various cultural expectations and other specifics of the Camino such as stopping in with the pilgrim's office and checking the weather. How do pilgrims from, say Asia or South America, get specific information about the Camino if their ability to read the particular guides that most of us use is limited? I ask this sincerely, not as a cultural criticism.
     
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  11. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I agree, but anyone visiting the Pilgrim's office in SJPdP would be told to take the Valcarlos route at this time of year. Brierkey's guide (and probably all others) mention it as well, being the lower, more safe route. I think there is plenty of information available on the perils of the Napoleon route. I surprisingly have read on this forum that even in May some have encountered snow!
     
  12. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I don't know about other Asian and South American countries, @Sparrow in Texas, but I do know there are guides available in both Korea and Brazil.
     
  13. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    The blanket ban (November-March) is only into its second year and less widely known.
     
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  14. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    At the Pilgrim's office I was given a sheet of paper with map showing both routes out of SJPdP, and a volunteer in the office went over it with me. Also, I believe I remember a larger size of this map on the wall. In my opinion, it's a rather simple "universal" map that should be able to be interpreted by sight by anyone who takes the time to study it.
     
  15. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I guess we'll never know for sure if the people rescued were ignorant of the facts, or over confident with the thought they could power through any weather situation!
     
  16. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    I think that most Brazilians although speakers of Portuguese would be able to make a reasonable stab at interpreting information in Spanish which is after all the predominant language of the Camino. Also in the tweet from the Bomberos which @Kathar1na mentions above there is this image of the warning closure sign which is mainly graphic and intended to be understood by all:
    sign.jpg
     
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  17. I say let's stop making excuses for these people and call a spade a spade. Call it the rush of adrenalyn, the effect of fresh air on the brain.
     
  18. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    And as we all agree that these people were at best misguided, I for one don't think it serves any purpose to rehash the last thread that happened when someone came to grief up there because of who knows what.
    None of us were there, so we'll never know.
    Yes, mistakes were made--to say the least, this was not the best of decisions on their part. Enough said.
    Fortunately they're fine, and hopefully they've learned a lesson.

    But it is useful to reflect upon two things.
    It could be any of us making a mistake. Maybe not this one. But there's an infinitude of others.
    And how to better get the word out and so prevent this in the future--which may not be possible. Signage and information from the Pilgrim's office are quite clear. And people will be people.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  19. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    We have had this discussion many times unless they fence it off, & even if they do people will ignore it. Nature determines needed education
     
  20. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Here is an article that summarizes last year's winter season and rescue actions (in Spanish). It also lists the hourly costs you may get billed if you need rescuing. One pilgrim received a 5360 EUR bill last year - also in March.

    There is also this comment (my translation effort):
    But why do some chose this route in winter when there is an easier alternative [via Valcarlos]? It seems that the French have initiated a campaign to lead the pilgrims onto the Route of Napoleon [I am not certain about the following: changing local place names such as the "Bentartea spring" into "Roland's spring"?]. Pilgrims therefore believe that this route is more authentic and will be experienced as an adventure. What they do not know is that in wintery conditions the difficulties change radically. In fact, most of those who cross are not well equipped or able to orient themselves when way markers and other orientation signs are covered by snow. Instead, they are confident when they leave Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (165 m) and see the sun shining, without knowing anything about what they are going to find at an altitude of 1430 meters on the Lepoeder pass.

    I don't think that "the French" are to be blamed alone but this route is heavily promoted and glorified in blogs, books, articles, movies. And that is what I mean: some people are so geared up to not wanting to miss this supposedly extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime experience of walking the route Napoleon that it may appear too late for them to change their plans when they learn only the day before that they are not supposed to take this road (in March/during the winter months).

    And another disappointment: So Roland did not drink from this spring? ;)
     
  21. John Lunde

    John Lunde New Member

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    I hope these people are made to pay the FULL cost of their rescue. It is more expensive than most people realize to maintain and operate a rescue service like this, not even including the risks run by the people doing the rescue. In my younger days I was a backcountry ranger for the National Park Service in the USA and based upon this experience I understand there are young (usually men) who think they are superman and can do what nobody else can. Then the professionals and the local people have to bail them out. I doubt it was lack of information in this case. Look at that sign and the field of snow behind. Any competent adult would have realized this was suitable only for well equipped winter mountaineering, if that, not a walk between beds on the Camino. Last year I crossed from SJPP into Spain in March, via Valcarlos. It is the only reasonable route at this time of year.
     
  22. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Well said @Kathar1na. Hollywood and the blogosphere have certainly added to a grand tradition of hype that goes back 1000 years. :D
     
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  23. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Initially I assumed that maybe the attempt was done due to reckless optimism of youth, but then I read it involved a 49 year old man and his 19 year old son.
    For them to travel to Spain to walk the Camino would take planning, and research. In that I am sure they would see information concerning which route is open or closed and when and why. The hazards of the Napoleon route in winter, snowy conditions, etc.
    In all likelihood they ignored any warnings and tried it anyway. As selfish and egocentric as it sounds, there are those out there who say to themselves if they get in trouble, somebody will come and save them.
    Still, good to hear nobody died (especially on the rescue side), and that is an interesting looking tracked all terrain vehicle (ATV) the rescue team has. At least they have got to test it out in a real life scenario.
     
  24. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I took the Valcarlos route on my first Camino in 2015 as I was too late to get a reservation at Orrison. Plus I was pretty fearful to tackle the Napoleon on my first day out of SJPdP on April 13th (being early 60's), and around the dinner table at Corazon Puro the night before a Spanish couple said they were forced to spend the previous night in that hut up top! Another English man said he encountered snow and slipped. Well, that solidified for me that I was going to take the Valcarlos route! I was so glad I did. I have wonderful memories of mild weather with almost no wind and lovely landscapes.When I reached Roncevalles, most everyone arriving off the Napoleon had muddy shoes and pants and very disheveled looking... I say "You don't miss what you don't know." And "If it aint broke, why fix it." I return in 30 days and will once again choose the Valcarlos route.
     
  25. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I say Amen to that!
     
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  26. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I have walked both several times.
    The hype and myths of the Route Napoleon vs the Valcarlos Route are grossly overdone.
    Except for the steep initial 7km to Orisson, the two routes are very much equal in difficulty, in my opinion.
     
  27. At least they had comms and enough sense to call for help when they found themselves out of their depth. Doing so from Izandorre refuge hut meant they had a good reference point for the rescuers too.
     
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  28. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    It should be also noted that as you cross into Spain (I believe it is after Roldan fountain) there are, since 2010, posts with consecutive numbers, so stranded walkers could give rescuers their precise ubication.
    I did not notice it, but the reliable consumer.eroski place mentions that in the Izandorre hut there is a sat comm line, connected to the 112-sos Navarra. You push the device button to talk.
    Evidently, respecting the dates when this route is closed is not a "recommendation"; it is mandatory. But an emergency situation could come very unexpectedly in a mountain pass, even if the season and weather seems right at the beginning of the journey.
     
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  29. Waka

    Waka Veteran Member Donating Member

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    My sentiments exactly.
     
  30. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Lots of my friends would call "spade for a spade" a racist connotation. I still don't believe this kind of bravado is anything but stupidity.
     
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  31. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    From the article it appears that they used the emergency radio system installed in the shelter rather than comms they brought with them. I haven't been over the Route Napoleon myself since 2002. No idea what mobile phone coverage there is like.
     
  32. Can't remember a single movie or book that sets the Napoleon in winter. Perhaps Ivar should start selling "Into Thin Air" an account of an Everest disaster that happened because people did not listen and did not stick to the plan as they were "so close to the summit". Scuba divers know very well what happens if they ignore diving tables/computers, why can't walkers figure this out?
     
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  34. poogeyejr

    poogeyejr Active Member

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    Where were you raised Don? I had never heard this interpretation until you mentioned it. Although I am Canadian, I have been raised on the British English and I knew Spade was another word for Shovel. Would the french "appeler un chat, un chat." have the same racist connotations? - - Just curious.
     
  35. ValsaceK

    ValsaceK New Member Donating Member

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    I'm a rule follower for sure so I find the attempt with signs posted closed a bit unthinkable for an adult with his son. I know my son might think I'm extreme when it comes following rules, warnings, and advice given by those who know the area or situation better than myself... but as he's become an adult he has followed suit! This Dad has to be so thankful for the rescue team and embarrassed. Hard lesson for sure and I hope it cost his pocket book! I leave for my first Camino 2 weeks from today and I'll be traveling the Valcarlos! I learned from the forum that Napoleon was closed until April 1 and might not be open even on that date...Valcarlos here I come....
     
  36. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie

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    The link you posted answers your question. Did you read the entire article?
    The slur is in American English usage; apparently the phrase does not have the same connotation in the UK or Canada.
     
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  37. No, I read a good portion of it and saw ot was not issue. Something to keep in mond south of the border, but not applied elsewhere apparently.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2017
  38. SabineP

    SabineP Veteran Member Donating Member

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  39. poogeyejr

    poogeyejr Active Member

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    What fascinates me is that in such a global forum as this one, (as global as it can be considering we are writing in English), there would be hundreds and hundreds of such implications for what we say. Each culture/cultural group having their own interpretation of any given phrase and their own reaction to it. If we are not a part of that group, we would not know the implications of what we were saying.

    Dialogue - human to human - it is a tricky thing! :confused:
     
  40. poogeyejr

    poogeyejr Active Member

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  41. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    See this Wikipedia article about the phrase, which originated long before the word "spade" had developed another meaning in the USA.

    The last sentence says "The phrase predates the use of the word "spade" as an ethnic slur against African Americans, which was not recorded until 1928; however, in contemporary U.S. society, the idiom is often avoided due to potential confusion with the slur."
     
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  42. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

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  43. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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  44. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member

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    The Universe and human stupidity are infinite. On second thoughts, I am not so sure about The Universe. (Albert Einstein).
     
  45. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I must really have my head in the sand as I'm from the USA and have never heard the word "spade" as slang referring to African Americans. But I think I will start using "call a cat is a cat". Hopefully that will not be offensive to anyone...but then again, hmmm.
     
  46. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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  47. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    This is verbiage that definitely existed unfortunately in what I refer to as my homogenized part of the country. It is like all things a bad habit of use,because it is used also to describe things other than our brothers & sisters of color. That is in fact a way to dehumanize. In order to eliminate it from local speech best never to use it. Even if it was used in daily language from childhood.
     
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  48. Will be sure not to use the term when acroos the border. Bit what a sad reflectionon how the ise of language can go sideways and cause such uneasiness jist like that.
     
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  49. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Don - I was thinking along the lines of "crazy" but maybe your term is closer to the truth. I have not read the newspaper article - have they been fined or made to pay the rescue costs??
     
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  50. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Someone please correct me - but if I recall correctly when the Government of the Navarra Province posted this notice - closing the route from 1 Nov to 31 March - it implied that anyone needing to be rescued(?) would be charged the cost of the rescue. Have our friends been charged?? If not then they should have - I am sure that the pilgrim office in St Jean would have told them the route was closed.:mad:
     
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  51. Me thinks that fancy snow mobile will be paid in no time!
     
  52. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    The expression was used for 1000 years without any connection at all to race, direct or indirect. It referred to a common item - a shovel. Only recently, coincidentally, the word "spade" has become associated with race, but many of us English-speakers grew up without that new association. So, I'd argue that it is not a "bad habit of use" or "dehumanizing" by the people who innocently use it. It is not one of those nasty phrases that is built into our language until its nastiness becomes almost invisible. Rather the unpleasantness is a new meaning that crept in.

    I accept that it is therefore unwise to use the phrase anymore. But it is not a phrase that stems from racism.
     
  53. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you, C clearly for your comment. You speak for me, as well!
     
  54. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    I agree with you when using in a positive way. Unfortunately I have witnessed bad people use it to express their hate. Unfortunatly after the use of a weapon.We all have unique life experience so I simply do not use it. If I insulted you it was not intended.
     
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  55. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    I have to agree - I have never heard the word "spade" applied to any person or racial group. Whilst not American I consider myself across most "slang"terms. It sounds as if someone as gone off "half-cocked". Still if others consider if offensive I will not use it on this forum.
     
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  56. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    No, no. I was not insulted. I wanted to point out that this phrase is the victim of changing times, but people who use it are not necessarily aware that it is becoming unacceptable (for reasons that are not its fault).

    I accept that language changes, and that flexibility is one of the strengths of English!
     
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  57. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    The thread has drifted far off from the original topic.

    Please return to the original topic.
     
  58. Magnara

    Magnara Maggie Ramsay

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    We walked it in January in the years before there were any warning signs. Halfway up we were suddenly caught in a blizzard that seemed to come out of nowhere. We really felt that we were in serious danger. It is very real that the weather can close in incredibly quickly with fierce winds and a freezing temperature. I would definitely urge people to take notice of local advice and warning signs and not put themselves and others at risk.
     
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  59. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    Now: http://egeria.house/
    As far as I know that is still the case, but can't find the respective link just now. And not only have you to pay for the rescue, you also get fined if you are 'just' caught on the closed route, even if you don't need rescuing. I am pretty sure the two pilgrims are facing now a heavy bill composed of rescue costs plus fine.

    Buen Camino, SY

    PS Having been in SJPdP last winter I can reassure everybody that it is impossible to 'overlook' the signs that announce the route closing - there are big and clear!
     
  60. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    The only time that there was some kind of official or public information about the recovery of costs for a rescue action during November to March was last year (March 2016) for a rather spectacular and difficult rescue when it was announced that the two pilgrims concerned will receive a bill, one for several thousand euros and the other for a much lower sum.

    Has anyone ever reported that this relatively remote 5 km stretch of the route Napoléon is policed or a fine of any kind was ever issued? I don't think so!!! The number of the applicable Spanish law (a resolucion) is on the sign that is posted at altitude (see link and photo in earlier messages in this thread). You can google it and then google translate it but there is no explicit mention of cost recovery or the amount of a potential fine in this text.

    Which is again my point: clear and accurate information (about the closure during November to March and the risk of a large bill) provided to potential pilgrims long before their last night or first and only half day in SJPP may act as a deterrent for some.
     
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  61. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    Here you go http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/Actualites/ACCUEIL-TOUTE-L-ANNEE and here a quick Google Translate of the relevant parts:

    A fine of up to € 12,000
    - If relief is needed, they will be fully paid for:
    PRICE OF THE TIME of intervention:
    For EACH rescuer: 30 €
    Ambulance ......................... 65 €
    Jeep, Van etc ................. 30 €
    Aerial assistance: Helico ambulance ....... € 1360.00
    Helico of emergency ......... € 1400.00

    That can add up quickly! Buen Camino, SY
     
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  62. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    I'm familiar with this French website. I think if you look up the actual legal Spanish provisions you will see that it is a "can be" provision and not a "will be" provision and, despite some research, I have failed to find anything reliable on potential fines that are applicable specifially to walkers on this path in winter.

    I fear if one exaggerates (a 12,000 EUR fine) one runs the risks of not being believed.

    The hourly rates that may be billed for rescue are cited in some of the Spanish newspaper articles indicated earlier in this thread. No mention of fines.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  63. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    I read the "a fine of ..." as a "up to ... Euro fine", something which is quite normal for on the spot fines issued by the police as it takes in account the individual circumstances of the 'offender'. For example a person that has been already 'turned around' by the police and then tries to take the closed route again and is caught again will, most likely, get a higher fine then somebody that walked back to SJPdP and is never seen again on the closed route.

    As for reporting on the fines, it is in the hand of the journalists and I think "XYZ pilgrims lost and rescued" makes for a better headline then "Pilgrims fined for using closed route", also I agree I would love to see more such reports as they would serve as a great deterrent to others that thing the route closures doesn't apply to them.

    Buen Camino, SY
     
  64. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    I don't quite understand this last sentence. I am still a (perhaps delusional) believer in education. Many here are members of camino associations, give talks to future pilgrims, write books and pamphlets read by future pilgrims. I hope that they do not only extol the wonders of walking the camino but also provide solid and accurate information. That's why I'm often interested in how and why something happened and how it can be prevented in future. It's more helpful than just expressing indignation, in my humble view.
     
  65. as gaillimh

    as gaillimh Active Member

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    We have a saying in my country ' an idiot is born every minute '. Lucky nobody lost their life. Remember rescue crews die to try save people. A heilicopter missing of west coast of Ireland with 4 crew. Pilot recovered and died 3 still missing presumed dead. On rescue mission rip
     
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  66. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Prayers and condolences...this is very sad news, @as gaillimh.
    If people understood the consequences of their rash actions to innocent lives they would not likely do silly things. But that is the nature of delusion--and there will always be that as long as there are people.

    There is more than adequate information in the official places--the signs, and at the Pilgrim's office.
    Maybe the way forward for more education is not so much as here on the Forum but in the general realm of cyber space. There's certainly a place for an antidote to the romantic hype, about this route in particular--and real information about the risks it poses to the ungrounded. In my cynical moments I think some people are trying to live out the back-story to the beginning of The Way.
     
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  67. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Found something on the costs that is neither anectodal nor a news article. Nothing on fines, though. So the costs that may be billed to you for a rescue operation can hit you anywhere and in many situations, not only on the top stretch of the route Napoleon. It is covered by an extensive and long law for Navarra (other regions have something similar) and you find it here http://www.lexnavarra.navarra.es/detalle.asp?r=28015 - LEY FORAL 7/2001, DE 27 DE MARZO, DE TASAS Y PRECIOS PÚBLICOS. This is the original version, without any later amendments. Mark it for future reference ;).

    Article 51bis has the whole list of items that may be billed to you for a rescue operation, ranging from 30 EUR/h for each member of the rescue staff taking part to the 1400 EUR for your helicopter evacuation.

    Para 1c is the clue: Rescate en zonas de riesgo o de difícil acceso, cuando sea debido a conductas imprudentes o temerarias del beneficiario - which is something like "may be imposed/billable for rescue in areas that are risk-prone or difficult to access and when due to imprudent or reckless behaviour [of the person to be rescued].
     
  68. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    Sometimes people only get a clear understanding or education when they make a choice in the backcountry. I doubt very much this father & son will forget how quickly the elements or weather (nature)changed their situation. They survived so it turned out good. Nature does educate. This will not be the last situation of people ignoring or making a choice to take this route in the winter.
     
  69. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Thank you, I understand now. Perhaps I did not get it straight away because there is not that much backcountry left on the old continent I live on most of the time ;).
     
  70. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    For those of us who purchase good quality travel insurance, including heli rescue if needed, do you think the cost of rescue would still be covered by said insurance for someone choosing to ignore sign posted warnings?
     
  71. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    The French forum "Au coeur du chemin" (of Association des Amis du Chemin de St Jacques en Pyrénées)
    published a list of fines for being rescued as a result of not respecting the closure of this route in winter.
    It does not mention the Spanish original source. I have not found it online.
    The issue of fines, safety of this route, education, etc., was discussed in our forum, here, some time ago.

    Edited: this newspaper note mentions that two rescued pilgrims were charged last year around 6000 euros each for being rescued in the Napoleon route (although the place mentioned is Ibañeta) because of "reckless and careless behavior", plus the unspecified costs of medical attention. Interestingly, the personnel or the rescue teams (I suppose the firemen of Burguete) seems completely opposed to the idea of fines.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  72. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    The answer should be in the fine print of the policy purchased but for "someone choosing to ignore sign posted warnings" the answer is most likely NO as insurance companies are in the business of making money ;-) Buen Camino, SY
     
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  73. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    I'm disappointed in you ;). It is obvious that people often don't bother to read subsequent replies in a thread or click on a link and read up on it but to paraphrase Cesar: Et tu, Felipe? :cool:.

    I've copied it out of the ley in question for you (source see further up in this thread). It covers a number of quite different rescue scenarios.

    upload_2017-3-15_15-5-8.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  74. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    You should not think this question let alone ask it or expect a reply on a public forum ;). Seriously, don't worry about it, don't do it, now that you are a well informed traveler.

    Simple advice for anyone who believes their life is not complete if they have not walked the route Napoleon in the Pyrenees:
    1. Don't start on any day in Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar.
    2. If in Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, the route is closed or the weather so bad that you are advised not to walk, wait until the conditions have improved.
    3. Come back another time for a bit of vacation in SJPP or any of the lovely places near it and go for your walk.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  75. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    A very well known saying in the U.S. Coast Guard regarding orders to rescue teams:
    You have to go out, but you don't have to come back!
     
  76. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    Very proper metaphor, since today is precisely the ides of March. But I swear that when I wrote the previous post, I was not hiding a dagger in my toga;).
    The fines mentioned in this French forum post seem to be those included in a more recent "decreto" (2016) of Xunta de Navarra, specifically related to the Camino. Probably a secondary and specific regulation of the general law.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  77. zrexer

    zrexer Active Member

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    IMG_0071.JPG It's not like the Valcarlos route is always snow free either. I walked in snow for the last 2 hours into Roncesvalles on April 8th last year. Being from northern Alberta, it was no big deal. I train in snow for 5 months of the year walking. But some pilgrims from warm, snow free countries seemed a little freaked out by it! Picture is from the evening we got to Roncesvalles, the snow was melting, but I gather that morning it was pretty heavily covered from the night before.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  78. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    To second @ZREXER 's observation--March 2015...On the Valcarlos Route up to Roncesvalles, the trail was packed down pretty well but was maybe knee deep or or deeper, then it was about the same but much softer and harder walking off the road between Roncesvalles and Burguete-- and only patchy thereafter...the pic was taken well out of the heavy snow zone and you can see how white the peaks in the distance are.
     

    Attached Files:

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  79. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member

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  80. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Shakespeare and the Buddha are in uncanny similar on this one and both quotes apply here.
    (Shakespeare seems to have been a bit more of a cynic than the Buddha--perhaps it was the accumulation of 2000 more years of human idiocy?)
    "The fool who knows he is a fool is at least a little wise.The fool who thinks he is wise is assuredly a fool." (B)
    "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."(S)

    May we all be wise fools and not unmitigated idiots.:D
    Please walk safe, everyone--for your own sake and for the sake of those who put their lives on the line to help if it all goes south.
     
  81. fraluchi

    fraluchi Veteran Member Donating Member

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    We are teaching to the converted. We often oversee the fact that simple people who live in towns have no experience with fast changing weather conditions in mountains, ocean, lakes, etc. nor the ability to interpret these signs in a "foreign" environment. It's like those skiers who fancy off-track and have no idea of the dangers of avalanches. "Me la juego!" I'll risk it. That's where the shoe hurts.:eek:
     
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  82. domigee

    domigee Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Oh yes, skiing and may I add to this sailing!
    But sorry for getting off topic :oops:
     
  83. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    On this occasion a tragedy has been averted and, perhaps, a lesson learnt.

    While I accept that the authorities in France and Navarra have done their level best to make pilgrims aware of the hazards and the restrictions that prevail I believe it is the duty of every experienced pilgrim; of this forum; of every guidebook, app, and Camino related website to broadcast the message. The Way is not a movie. It can be a dangerous place to be.
     
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  84. Rick of Rick and Peg

    Rick of Rick and Peg Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Even in the movie The Way the Route Napoléon was shown to be a dangerous place.
     
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  85. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I think you misunderstood me. I was not referring to myself, but thinking of the father/son in that rescue situation, just wondering if the rescue cost billed to them would possibly be covered if they had purchased insurance. Personally, I always take the Valcarlos route. My insurance is for peace of mind if I'd break my foot!
     
  86. Sheffield James

    Sheffield James Member

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    I walked the Camino del Salvador in December 2015. I was advised by forum members to think twice about doing it in the winter due to the risk of snow on the high ground. There were no official warnings provided along the route, however, which makes me wonder if I was being imprudent or reckless (rather than merely adventurous), and therefore liable to a bill in the event of needing rescue. If yes, how is one to know how to approach winter walks in the north of Spain, which is notoriously hilly/mountainous?
     
  87. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    The problem is that no-one thinks the problem (i.e. needing to be rescued) will happen to them. If they did, they would not do it. Which is why it might be better if the Navarra authorities imposed a straight out fine for anyone who attempts the Napoleon when the route is closed.

    The two Brazilian pilgrims who were rescued were probably fans of Paulo Coelho. Following his description of taking four days to wander between SJPDP and Roncesvalles (if I have it right, I never had the patience to read the book).
     
  88. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Yes, I did! Please accept my apology. What I can tell you is that I have a specific insurance policy for accidents in the mountains (during hiking, mountaineering etc) which covers rescue operations. It stipulates that I am not covered in cases where I acted in "gross negligence", such as causing an emergency situation due to ignoring "basic and generally accepted" safety rules for mountain walking. I hope I will never have to find out how this policy condition is interpreted in real life.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
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  89. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    James me old mukka, you sought advice, took note of it - and went boldly where some might fear to tread. But then you did that in clear and certain knowledge that there might be risks attached to your venture. Add to that that I know where your from and therefore I know that you've done "hills" for breakfast.

    If the poor benighted authorities of Spain were supposed to put a warning notice on every available hazard in their lovely country then there would hardly be room for a little yellow arrow. And the moors of this blessed isle would be closed from September to August.

    Buen, safe, Caminos amigos.
     
  90. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Whilst my knowledge of ALL travel insurance policies is incomplete, my travel insurance does mention in the exclusions - and breaches of civil laws (as in the case of our Brazilian friends) would render the policy null & void. So I doubt your insurance company would pay up to cover your fine or the cost of you calling in a civil helicopter to evacuate you. Anybody who has had dealings with insurance companies will be aware that they will always try to find a way of not paying up!! Cheers
     
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  91. notion900

    notion900 Veteran Member

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    Probably the nice new rescue vehicle is all paid for now by the hapless Brazilians.
     
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  92. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    @Tincatinker has already given a splendid reply :). On a more prosaic note, this article addresses this question. I understand it to say that "the line between imprudence and emergency" is not easy to draw, ie the law in question does not define what constitutes "imprudent or reckless behaviour leading to an emergency situation". However, the administration is apparently of the opinion that walking a road or path during a period where it is explicitly forbidden to do so constitutes such behaviour and may be penalized accordingly if and when an emergency situation ensues.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  93. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    You didn't miss much. After two chapters I ditched it and put it back on the donativo table where I found it. I quickly learned why it looked so unused.
    I doubt highly he roamed about like a gnome for four days and nights amongst the hilltops between SJPdP and Roncesvalles. It just sounds interesting. Besides, I read somewhere he later admitted he didn't even walk the entire Camino Frances.
     
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  94. grayland

    grayland Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I think I remember that the American Pilgrim group made a large donation toward the purchase of that vehicle.
     
  95. HedaP

    HedaP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    In mid September 2015 I inadvertently walked the Napolean route when it was closed due to ex-tropical storm Henri. This storm killed three people in France. I can tell you stories of the walk that would raise the hairs on the back of your neck. It was scary. Took us 10 hours to walk 20 kms. I spent most of the time looking for places to hole up as pretty much convinced I would be spending the night on the mountain. Leaving from Orisson, no one told us the route closed and we had no other way of knowing. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that until we know all the details we need to be a bit wary. But then again I'm an Aussie. There is little excuse for any stupidity or ignorance that puts our rescuers at risk.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  96. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member

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    "
    He who doesn't know and doesn't know that he doesn't know, is a fool; Avoid him.
    He who doesn't know and knows that he doesn't know, is hopeful; Teach him.
    He who knows and knows that he knows, is wise; Follow him.
    "

    Old Chinese saying.
     
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  97. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    The insurance I purchased probably has a clause in it like that, too. Now I wonder if I (and others) wouldn't be covered in a rescue operation on the Camino for an accident we could have. Possibly they would consider walking the Camino reckless and risk taking in and of itself!
     
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  98. alexwalker

    alexwalker Forever Pilgrim Donating Member

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    (2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
    He didn't. Fake news.
     
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  99. Is anyone keeping statistics on the number of people who follow route Nappie (ignoring the closure) in the winter and are successful?

    Or is it certain death?
     
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