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What starting point to choose for a January Camino

Samarkand

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#1
Hello!

I am planning to do a January walk (somewhere around the 8th or 10th) on the French way and was wondering where would be appropriate to begin it. In the mountains, it seems it might be too tough with a lot of snow, even if I bring microspikes for traction. Though I never been in Spain, so all my research is based on the internet.

What is a good place to start the Camino in winter?
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés (2004-), C. Portugués, C. de Madrid, 1/2 V. Plata, 1/8 Levante, hospitalera Grado 2016.
#2
How long time do you have? Do you want to arrive in Santiago, or just walk?
 

Samarkand

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#3
How long time do you have? Do you want to arrive in Santiago, or just walk?
I plan on walking to Santiago it in a month or so. Time is not really an issue for me. As for my speed of walking for consideration, 20km over mountain terrain daily (much more over level ground) is not a problem for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#4
To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier recent threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/

Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

Twice during winter caminos I have sat out true blizzards; in Villafranca Montes de Oca, February 25, 26, 2006 and Foncebadón, March 5,6, 2009. Even late November 2012 the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see the snow and read my blog accounts of these three memorable storms here. http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/memories.html
Luckily open albergues offered welcoming shelter, heat and companionship.

Most of us who walk in late autumn and winter wear and carry lightweight but warm layers which can easily be added or removed while walking. Each pilgrim develops a favorite combo. Scan the Forum's Equipment topic http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/equipment-questions.30/
to see a multitude of varied approaches. Here's mine
http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/kit-and-tips.html

Remember winter is a great time to walk, but you must be PREPARED!

Happy planning, stay safe and Buen camino!

Roncesvalles 8 January 2010

Winter Wonderland.jpg
 
Last edited:

Samarkand

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#5
Thank you! I will go through those threads. I hope sometime next week to have an idea about a starting point and a specific packing list.
 

lettinggo

Active Member
#6
Hello!

I am planning to do a January walk (somewhere around the 8th or 10th) on the French way and was wondering where would be appropriate to begin it. In the mountains, it seems it might be too tough with a lot of snow, even if I bring microspikes for traction. Though I never been in Spain, so all my research is based on the internet.

What is a good place to start the Camino in winter?
Hola Sarmakand

I would suggest that you begin your walk in Pamplona
You say that you have around a month so if you walk what is the 'normal' average, 25 km /day, you will arive in Santiago within your time frame, as well as you may continue to Finisterra which takes a few days more.

I walked some years ago from Saint Jean in February and we had quit some snow, which was fun, but also a challenge.
So I think it is a question about how fit you are, how much experienced you have with walking and most important how weather is in January.
I would plan for Pamplona and decide about a week before.
If you the decide to begin in Saint Jean then you just transfer by bus or taxi.

Happy planning :)

Everything flow
-Heraclitus-

Flow with it.
Lettinggo
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#7
these are very well established paths. Even in winter, with snow, they are passable if you watch your footing. I don't think you'll need any spikes. Decent hiking boots will do... and in Jan and Feb I think gaiters are a good idea. And gloves. Layers!
 

Samarkand

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#8
Hola Sarmakand

I would suggest that you begin your walk in Pamplona
...
I would plan for Pamplona and decide about a week before.
If you the decide to begin in Saint Jean then you just transfer by bus or taxi.
Thank you! Pamplona and Logrono were the two main options. So far, Pamplona looks like the better one. If there's too much snow, I guess I can start in Logrono. Both seem to be served by busses and trains

these are very well established paths. Even in winter, with snow, they are passable if you watch your footing. I don't think you'll need any spikes. Decent hiking boots will do... and in Jan and Feb I think gaiters are a good idea. And gloves. Layers!
Thank you! Yeah, I'll bring gloves, gaiters, probably even a ski mask cause this thing is unbelievable warm and light (though to be taken off before entering civilization).
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#9
My wife and I walked the winter of 2016 and started at SJPdP. It was snowing but good walking you have to walk around the mountain to Ronsevalles. The trail is walked enough that it is clear and even the local some times clean the trail. We had a total of 8 days of snow, but it was do-able. The hardest parts were walking through mud. We never used gaiters, we did not have to plow through snow drifts. We did have only 6 full days of sunshine. Be careful of the slick rocks and walking in Winter will slow your pace because of trail conditions. And yes I will do another winter walk. The quiet, peacefulness, and beds were plentiful.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#10
To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier recent threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/

Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

Twice during winter caminos I have sat out true blizzards; in Villafranca Montes de Oca, February 25, 26, 2006 and Foncebadón, March 5,6, 2009. Even late November 2012 the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see the snow and read my blog accounts of these three memorable storms here. http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/memories.html
Luckily open albergues offered welcoming shelter, heat and companionship.

Most of us who walk in late autumn and winter wear and carry lightweight but warm layers which can easily be added or removed while walking. Each pilgrim develops a favorite combo. Scan the Forum's Equipment topic http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/equipment-questions.30/
to see a multitude of varied approaches. Here's mine
http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/kit-and-tips.html

Remember winter is a great time to walk, but you must be PREPARED!

Happy planning, stay safe and Buen camino!

Roncesvalles 8 January 2010

View attachment 48549
that photo is stunning
 

Kiernan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés febr/march (2012)
Camino Francés febr/march (2019)
#11
these are very well established paths. Even in winter, with snow, they are passable if you watch your footing. I don't think you'll need any spikes. Decent hiking boots will do... and in Jan and Feb I think gaiters are a good idea. And gloves. Layers!
Totally agree
 

Samarkand

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#14
Thanks to all of you! Your replies are of great help! I'll soon have a packing list I can share.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CaminoAddict
#16
I will be starting around Jan 10th as well. I'm thinking about starting from Pamplona as it is a lovely walk from there and its easy to get to from Barcelona. I'll be walking a little more than 2 weeks. Not going to walk to Santiago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#17
I will be starting around Jan 10th as well. I'm thinking about starting from Pamplona as it is a lovely walk from there and its easy to get to from Barcelona. I'll be walking a little more than 2 weeks. Not going to walk to Santiago.

I'll be starting from Pamplona around the same time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances may 2019 Portuguese Feb 2019
#18
Hello!

I am planning to do a January walk (somewhere around the 8th or 10th) on the French way and was wondering where would be appropriate to begin it. In the mountains, it seems it might be too tough with a lot of snow, even if I bring microspikes for traction. Though I never been in Spain, so all my research is based on the internet.

What is a good place to start the Camino in winter?
We are starting jan24th from st Jean. Valcarlos way should be passable . The offoce will keep us updated beforehand . Worst case scenario we have to bus a bit bit we are aiming for st Jean
 
Camino(s) past & future
January 2019, French Camino
#19
I booked my flight. I'll fly in to Madrid on Jan 13 and will be in Pamplona in the evening. I'll pick my credentials probably in the morning and will start walking on the 14th. My return flight is on Feb 26 from Madrid, which means I'll probably have time to go to Finisterre or just chill somewhere in Spain for a bit. At least that's the plan.

Thanks a lot for all the help!
 

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