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Winter Camino Late Jan-mid March 2022

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
hello Camino friends,

I guess I’m posting for a bit of Moral support -am I completely crazy? I am seriously thinking of Camino Frances this winter flying Into Paris 20 jan 2022 and leaving via Paris 14/03/2022 . I have this time off before I start a new job in early April and for the foreseeable future I don’t think I will have another opportunity with this amount of time off. I want to be home by mid March in case I catch COVID on the way home and need to isolate . I had planned/trained to do the Frances in March 2020 but could not go due to COVID. Currently living in Australia and things look to be opening up with good flight connections syd to Paris with emirates and Singapore airlines. I will spend a few days either side of the Camino in Paris for sightseeing.

I understand I will have to modify my gear that I already have - I have a few questions:

1. snow/Ice: I am from the tropics and have little experience walking in snow/ice. I have above average fitness and walk 6km most mornings which includes a steep 250m hill climb over <900m. I am cautious, sensible and plan to go with the advice of locals and understand I may need to wait or miss a stage due to bad weather. Is this trip possible with no experience? love to hear about others experiences that have also walked around jan/feb. my plan was to break up the SJPdP-roncesvalles by staying in Valcarlos.
2. foot wear: I originally trained in Salomon trail runners for spring 2020 but I am unsure about these with ice?? -for this hike I have recently purchased a pair of keen gypsum mid waterproof boots which I have started this week to wear in. I also regularly wear Keen targee 3 hiking shoes for my city hill hikes which are well worn and comfortable on my feet. What would be best for winter? are The boots overkill?
3. I have gaiters, do you recommend any special spikes? Brands would be helpful
4. Crossing the border France/Spain COVID is there any restrictions at the moment. I am fully vaccinated.
5.I have looked on booking.com and found private accomodation in most places I plan to stay in - so it will likely be a mixture of private rooms and albergues. Feeling confident about abed for the night. but anyone have trouble?

thank you
 
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Kiernan

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hi there:
I've walked three times on February/March (and crossing fingers for next february).
Just walked one day on snow (from Roncesvalles to Zubiri). Also, I only had rainy days just three or four days. Of course, it will depend on the weather these days, but things have been like that.

I prefer boots because they are more confortable for me. Worthy enough when you find mud puddles...😁.
The trip is perfectly possible with no experience.
Go for it!

K.
 

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
Hi there:
I've walked three times on February/March (and crossing fingers for next february).
Just walked one day on snow (from Roncesvalles to Zubiri). Also, I only had rainy days just three or four days. Of course, it will depend on the weather these days, but things have been like that.

I prefer boots because they are more confortable for me. Worthy enough when you find mud puddles...😁.
The trip is perfectly possible with no experience.
Go for it!

K.
Thank you! fingers crossed for your 2022 Camino
 

wes

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2006) VdlP to Plasencia (2010) Frances (2013) Portugues (2016) Meseta Feb/March 2020
Thank you! fingers crossed for your 2022 Camino
Hi Jess, I walked the Meseta from Burgos to Leon in February last year and it was marvellous. Although the Meseta is uniformly elevated, it doesn’t have very high peaks as say, on Day 1 out of St Jean, or later at O Cebreiro, etc, and so is less likely to have snow, which is always a possibility at that time of the year (and which is one reason why the Route Napoleon is closed then).
In fact, the weather on the Meseta mostly was ideal for walking, clear and around 15 degrees. There were very few peregrinos, and some small villages were entirely zipped up, nothing open, not a soul to be seen. But there were enough places open for a halfway coffee each day, and the small hotels we stayed in each night were wonderful: warm, welcoming, dinner available, and friendly locals to chat with.
As to shoes, I reckon I’ve tried everything, and on balance I favour the Salomon style you mentioned, with waterproof socks.
You’ll have a great life experience.
Buen Camino,
Wes
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Jess,
Be sure to read this earlier thread
on winter walking in general .

In earlier happier times I often walked the Camino Frances in winter ; perhaps you will find my day to day blogs useful.
Camino in 2008
Camino in 2009
Camino in 2010

Of course the weather is never the same but the basic route has not changed.

Difficult CF stretches after storms might be across the Montes de Oca from Villafranca, Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada as well as Monte Irago and, of course, to and from O Cebreiro.

For your winter journey I stress this bit of info re: carrying food supplies

Wherever you walk in winter
you must be prepared!

Good luck and please do let your forum readers know how your plans evolve.
 
Last edited:
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
VDLP 9/2022
Wherever you walk in winter
you must be prepared!

Worth repeating.

As you'll be in France for a while before starting off, suggest to familiarise yourself with the Decathlon stores where you will find (almost) everything you need. More importantly the staff there will give you advice on the types of gear and which ones might be better for you.

You'll spend far too much time and money there if you are not careful
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I agree with Corned Beef in the post above.
Almost all my kit came from Decathlon; most was bought in 2004 for the first CF. Only new boots were purchased from them every 3 years or so. Sturdy equipment at a reasonable price seems to be Decathlon's unwritten and successful motto. Good quality but nothing fancy, no glitz. Nothing that anyone would want to take or steal.

Discretion is protection. No fanny pack nor camera bag. I have traveled the world, often alone, but always discreetly.
 
Last edited:

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
Hi Jess, I walked the Meseta from Burgos to Leon in February last year and it was marvellous. Although the Meseta is uniformly elevated, it doesn’t have very high peaks as say, on Day 1 out of St Jean, or later at O Cebreiro, etc, and so is less likely to have snow, which is always a possibility at that time of the year (and which is one reason why the Route Napoleon is closed then).
In fact, the weather on the Meseta mostly was ideal for walking, clear and around 15 degrees. There were very few peregrinos, and some small villages were entirely zipped up, nothing open, not a soul to be seen. But there were enough places open for a halfway coffee each day, and the small hotels we stayed in each night were wonderful: warm, welcoming, dinner available, and friendly locals to chat with.
As to shoes, I reckon I’ve tried everything, and on balance I favour the Salomon style you mentioned, with waterproof socks.
You’ll have a great life experience.
Buen Camino,
Wes
Thanks Wes !
 

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
Jess,
Be sure to read this earlier thread
on winter walking in general .

In earlier happier times I often walked the Camino Frances in winter ; perhaps you will find my day to day blogs useful.
Camino in 2008
Camino in 2009
Camino in 2010

Of course the weather is never the same but the basic route has not changed.

Difficult CF stretches after storms might be across the Montes de Oca from Villafranca, Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada as well as Monte Irago and, of course, to and from O Cebreiro.

For your winter journey I stress this bit of info re: carrying food supplies

Wherever you walk in winter
you must be prepared!

Good luck and please do let your forum readers know how your plans evolve.
Thanks mspath, very helpful information !
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I guess I’m posting for a bit of Moral support -am I completely crazy? I am seriously thinking of Camino Frances this winter flying Into Paris 20 jan 2022

Hi, I may see you on the path. I am flying long haul into Bilbao on 20 Jan (unless my flight gets cancelled again).

I would prefer to stay on the Norte, but if the albergues are still all closed on the Norte in January, then I’ll switch to the CF.

Winter on the camino is great – my favourite time of year. Expect the worst in weather, but hope for the best.

The evenings are long, as it gets dark early, but you can walk all day, unlike in summer when it gets too hot.

I usually spend the evenings writing up my journal, with a glass of vino tinto and tapas, in the local bar, and I download lots of books to read on my Kindle.

There are not many people walking in winter, and when you make connections with others you all start looking out for each other, and the friendships become strong.
Jill
 

teaccam

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019 Norte
Valcarlos is a good stop to ease you into the camino.
Especially at the end of January when the snow can be very deep.
A good pair of boots is essential at that time of year . I have been ordered to stick to the road by police a few times if the path is dangerous .
Have a great trip.
 

Tom Hagger

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Primitivo, Português, Plata etc.
hello Camino friends,

I guess I’m posting for a bit of Moral support -am I completely crazy? I am seriously thinking of Camino Frances this winter flying Into Paris 20 jan 2022 and leaving via Paris 14/03/2022 . I have this time off before I start a new job in early April and for the foreseeable future I don’t think I will have another opportunity with this amount of time off. I want to be home by mid March in case I catch COVID on the way home and need to isolate . I had planned/trained to do the Frances in March 2020 but could not go due to COVID. Currently living in Australia and things look to be opening up with good flight connections syd to Paris with emirates and Singapore airlines. I will spend a few days either side of the Camino in Paris for sightseeing.

I understand I will have to modify my gear that I already have - I have a few questions:

1. snow/Ice: I am from the tropics and have little experience walking in snow/ice. I have above average fitness and walk 6km most mornings which includes a steep 250m hill climb over <900m. I am cautious, sensible and plan to go with the advice of locals and understand I may need to wait or miss a stage due to bad weather. Is this trip possible with no experience? love to hear about others experiences that have also walked around jan/feb. my plan was to break up the SJPdP-roncesvalles by staying in Valcarlos.
2. foot wear: I originally trained in Salomon trail runners for spring 2020 but I am unsure about these with ice?? -for this hike I have recently purchased a pair of keen gypsum mid waterproof boots which I have started this week to wear in. I also regularly wear Keen targee 3 hiking shoes for my city hill hikes which are well worn and comfortable on my feet. What would be best for winter? are The boots overkill?
3. I have gaiters, do you recommend any special spikes? Brands would be helpful
4. Crossing the border France/Spain COVID is there any restrictions at the moment. I am fully vaccinated.
5.I have looked on booking.com and found private accomodation in most places I plan to stay in - so it will likely be a mixture of private rooms and albergues. Feeling confident about abed for the night. but anyone have trouble?

thank you
Hello Jess,
I walked the Camino Francés from early January to February a couple of years ago without any problems. As a rule, only the municipal and church albergues are open, and they generally have little in the way of heat, so you need a good sleeping bag and perhaps a tracksuit or something similar at night. As someone else says, you often need to carry food supplies for the evening. As for clothing, I would say that boots are essential, along with plenty of layers - I walked at times with full gear on and at others in just a t-shirt. You will almost definitely be diverted away from the standard Camino route over the Pyrenees from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, so do call at the pilgrim office there for their advice and directions. I enjoyed my Winter Camino immensely. Best of luck. Tom Hagger
 
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adrianm4492

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances Mar-Apr 2017, Jan-Feb 2019
I am also from Australia and did almost exactly what you are doing in 2018. I started Jan 19 and quickly hit complete whiteout as I approached Roncesvalles. It was a full on blizzard! I won't lie, there were moments I was quite scared. I was well prepared for bad weather but it was full on. Same with the climb to Alto del Perdon, again full on blizzard. One thing you MUST have is a really good waterproof jacket. A good poncho over that is also important if you don't want you backpack to get drenched. And waterproof boots are essential in winter. A really good pair of gloves are also important unless you want your hands to freeze. But after this initial onslaught, the entire rest of the way I had nothing but crisp clear days. It was incredible. I would never do the Camino in summer but would do it again in winter in a heartbeat.Oh, and with your fitness level you'll be fine. Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
Hello Jess,
I walked the Camino Francés from early January to February a couple of years ago without any problems. As a rule, only the municipal and church albergues are open, and they generally have little in the way of heat, so you need a good sleeping bag and perhaps a tracksuit or something similar at night. As someone else says, you often need to carry food supplies for the evening. As for clothing, I would say that boots are essential, along with plenty of layers - I walked at times with full gear on and at others in just a t-shirt. You will almost definitely be diverted away from the standard Camino route over the Pyrenees from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, so do call at the pilgrim office there for their advice and directions. I enjoyed my Winter Camino immensely. Best of luck. Tom Hagger
Thanks Tom! I’m so glad you had a great Winter Camino, your info has really given me a confidence boost. I agree with you about boots - I am definitely thinking boots for this winter Camino. My new Keen Gypsum boots which I started training this week do feel unfamiliar to my feet with a bit of pain around the Achilles but otherwise feeling good with my Injinji socks with no blisters.
 

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
I am also from Australia and did almost exactly what you are doing in 2018. I started Jan 19 and quickly hit complete whiteout as I approached Roncesvalles. It was a full on blizzard! I won't lie, there were moments I was quite scared. I was well prepared for bad weather but it was full on. Same with the climb to Alto del Perdon, again full on blizzard. One thing you MUST have is a really good waterproof jacket. A good poncho over that is also important if you don't want you backpack to get drenched. And waterproof boots are essential in winter. A really good pair of gloves are also important unless you want your hands to freeze. But after this initial onslaught, the entire rest of the way I had nothing but crisp clear days. It was incredible. I would never do the Camino in summer but would do it again in winter in a heartbeat.Oh, and with your fitness level you'll be fine. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Hi Adrian, thank you for sharing your winter Camino experience I have found your post very helpful. I am from sunny NQ Townsville. The shoe vs boot situation has given me great anxiety, but your info gives me confidence to persevere with my home training in boots for winter Camino Frances. Just hope everything stays on track for the border to relax for travel :)
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014)
Camino Via Podiensis (2018)
Hi Jess - be careful with your archilles! Try not to aggrevate them further - I injured mine last January and am only recovering now after some deep shock wave treatment and finally changing my work shoes. I am convinced the back of my shoes rubbing on my swollen archilles added to the problem and prolonged my recovery. Anyway - have a fantastic camino and post some updates/pics if you can😊 Linda, Adelaide
 

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
Hi Jess - be careful with your archilles! Try not to aggrevate them further - I injured mine last January and am only recovering now after some deep shock wave treatment and finally changing my work shoes. I am convinced the back of my shoes rubbing on my swollen archilles added to the problem and prolonged my recovery. Anyway - have a fantastic camino and post some updates/pics if you can😊 Linda, Adelaide
Hi Linda, thanks for your advice . It’s certainly a concern and I am monitoring it. At this stage I only notice pain there when I’m wearing the boots from rubbing while walking. Pain not there after I take them off. They are new and I’m going to try to slowly wear them in before January. Fingers crossed 😀
 
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Gumba

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hi Jess, I love a winter camino! We walked March/April in 2018 and Dec/Jan in 2019-2020. I had moab shoes for the first and had light weight boots for the second as I was expecting a lot of snow. Ended up we had a few days of snow and lots of rain on the first which is why I got boots for the second. We had amazing weather for our second (Dec/Jan) camino so cant tell you if the boots offered any more protection but they were really comfy and added great ankle support. I do stress though, they were light weigh boots. I cant walk in the heavier ones.

I only encountered 1 day of ice between Belorado and San Juan de Ortega. We could walk around most but some ice puddles were pretty big. Walking poles were invaluable. I did consider getting clip on spikes but decided against. In the end we didnt really need them.

I personally am not into ponchos but agree with above, get a good wind/waterproof jacket is a must; a set of waterproof, lined gloves (we got ours from Anaconda and were great) and a neck gator or Buff - great for the strong winds we had in our March/April camino. Layering is really important too. I got most of our merino clothes from Kathmandu, they have regular 40% off sales. Happy walking, Gumba from Victoria :) .
 

JessArmstrong

New Member
Past OR future Camino
LateJan-mid mar 22 Camino Frances
Hi Jess, I love a winter camino! We walked March/April in 2018 and Dec/Jan in 2019-2020. I had moab shoes for the first and had light weight boots for the second as I was expecting a lot of snow. Ended up we had a few days of snow and lots of rain on the first which is why I got boots for the second. We had amazing weather for our second (Dec/Jan) camino so cant tell you if the boots offered any more protection but they were really comfy and added great ankle support. I do stress though, they were light weigh boots. I cant walk in the heavier ones.

I only encountered 1 day of ice between Belorado and San Juan de Ortega. We could walk around most but some ice puddles were pretty big. Walking poles were invaluable. I did consider getting clip on spikes but decided against. In the end we didnt really need them.

I personally am not into ponchos but agree with above, get a good wind/waterproof jacket is a must; a set of waterproof, lined gloves (we got ours from Anaconda and were great) and a neck gator or Buff - great for the strong winds we had in our March/April camino. Layering is really important too. I got most of our merino clothes from Kathmandu, they have regular 40% off sales. Happy walking, Gumba from Victoria :) .
That’s so helpful Gumba, thanks for sharing :)
 

RadoV

New Member
Past OR future Camino
No, never. Planning a winter one in 2022.
I'm thinking about doing the Camino, starting somewhere in January 2022, not decided about the details yet.
Will follow you here, once I'm done with planning and decisions taken (and Covid restrictions permitting as I'm not vaccinated and not planning to be) - will write again.
 

w gangel

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
I will be a few weeks behind you getting to SJPDP on the 3rd of Feb. I have walked a winter Camino before and the best advice I can give is to make sure your boots are waterproof, nothing worse than putting cold wet boots on in the morning. Buen Camino Jess.
 

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