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Orisson if weather turns bad

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Taratrekker, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. Taratrekker

    Taratrekker New Member

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    Just joined the forum and grateful to have a place to ask questions about the Camino Frances. I am starting my first Camino in mid-May, 2015. Concerned for the difficulty of walking the Napoleon route in one day, I contacted Refuge Orisson who replied [not sure when they confirm with PayPal]. I have also booked a place in Roncesvalles so I'm banking on passable weather. If I arrive at Orisson and the weather turns bad, what happens? Does one just wait it out?
    50 something looking forward to a safe adventure. Thank you!
     
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    If the weather ism king to be very bad you can find out at the pilgrims office in St Jean before setting out and therefore decide to take to the road route. However it is quite unlikely that the weather will be very bad in mid May.

    welcome to the forum.
     
  3. Devon Mike

    Devon Mike Well-Known Member

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    Hi Taratrekker,

    I agree with Leslie, the weather in May should not be particularly bad.

    This year I left SJPP on 28th May. The forecast was for cool rainy conditions in the mountains. Many chose to walk the valley route via Valcarlos, but quite a few, including me, took the Route Napoleon. Conditions to Orisson were cloudy and dry, but soon after that it started to rain. The main point is that you will not be alone in the mountains and so it will be safe.

    Next year I will start from SJPP on 13th May and again will make a decision on the route based on the weather forecast.

    Mike
     
  4. highlander

    highlander Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi
    if that was the case that the weather was not good for the ascent from there. you can retrace and take the road back down and rejoin the detour round to Roncesvalles, from Orrison you are on a tarmac road almost up to the point or crossing the summit. so in squally weather , and being very windy it can be done, you are more sheltered once you hit the other side of the summit..and soon onto a good path ,then not long after protected by the trees.. also the steepest section going up is over form Orisson and it is a nice trek after that. especially if your fresh out of the albergue. I have done a camino from SJPP in May also and the weather was glorious, did another in June and very windy and ice rain for a few hours....I am also
    50 something which means nothing really when you see a pilgrim in there 80s cruise past
     
  5. New mexico bike

    New mexico bike Member

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    Dear Friend - I did the camino by bicycle last year. The end of april and thru may. Left Bilbao and at the end of the first day rain and snow. Held up in a nice hotel woke up the next day with 6inches of snow. I bundled up got on my bike and rode all day in overcast skies with snow in areas of the mountains. I made it though and I was surprised I hadnt carried enough water and food. I did'nt believe everyone who advised me, but I was sure depleted. Combined with wet and cold.. But you can do it if the weather gets so bad, rain, freezing. I took a train to the next town, in one area.. We are 50 you know! So enjoy it..
    New Mexico Bike
     
  6. Taratrekker

    Taratrekker New Member

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    Thanks, everyone. I feel better being reminded I won't be alone up there - and that the weather is likely to be manageable. I want to do the Napoleon route but haven't done much hiking in years; have started training - hopefully I will be ready enough. Though I must walk the Camino in 3-4 stages due to commitments at home, looking very forward to the journey - been longing to do this for a couple of decades.
     
  7. Jean

    Jean New Member

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    Hello. We are planning to stay at Orrison, then trek the next day to Roncesvalles. Highlander mentioned that if the weather turned impassable on the Napolean Route on the 2nd day, (leaving from Orrison), a person could "trek back down and rejoin the detour to Roncesvalles". My question is, if we need to trek down to detour, does that mean we have to trek all the ways back down to SJPDP?
    Thanks for any information to anyone who has ever heard of this scenario, (ie hiking up to Orrison, then having to divert to the lower Valcarlos Route on the 2nd day due to bad weather on the Napolean Route). Cheers and Buen Camino - Jean
     
  8. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Jean. Yes, that's what it means. You can also get a cab company from SJPP to pick you up at Orisson and take you either back to SJPP or over to the cutoff to the Col de Lepoeder, or however else you want to go. You probably know that the Napoleon isn't open until a certain time in Spring. When I went over in later May last year, it was hailing and sleeting. The weather changes from day to day kind of drastically, and others have had beautiful weather at that time of year. I'm not sure when you're going.

    There is one clearly marked road at about the 13K from SJPP that goes down toward Arneguy and has a shortcut over to Valcarlos on the lower route, but it takes asking locals to point out where the shortcut is. Then it's a very steep climb into Valcarlos from there. I used this during 146K winds in September 2015, and doing that will help with reducing wind in an extreme situation, but it takes FOUR HOURS. If you can avoid it, I'd stay away from that option.

    As everyone else will tell you, after you're down from the Col de Lepoeder, watch for the road that takes you into Roncesvalles to the right and DON'T take the dirt (or mud) path straight down through the infamous beech forest. The beech forest way is a good place to get injured.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  9. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Jean and welcome to the forum

    Lots of good info already posted and just the odd snippet to add :)

    This is a Very Old post and in the meantime, The Route Napoleon now closes in the winter months from November until the end of March (this could be extended depending on the weather) so it is unlikely that you will encounter Really BAD weather

    Both the alternative route that you refer to as well as confirmation of the winter closure can be found on http://caminoways.com/route-napoleon-valcarlos

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Jean - The weather in the Pyrenees is very unpredictable. I crossed last year in late April on a beautiful sunny day! The next day, pilgrims had a snow storm to contend with. The Napolean Route certainly wasn't impassable, but hiking was much more difficult.

    In addition to a taxi service that Suzette referred to, Express Bourricot also shuttles people up and down the route. If you check out their website, you'll see the services they offer. JacoTrans also transports luggage if you don't want to hike with your pack on any given day.

    Finally, Suzette's comments about taking the road down from the summit to Roncesvalles is excellent advice. The trail through the woods is tough particularly after a 20 km climb to the top and with very tired legs.

    Most likely, your crossing of the Pyrenees will go splendidly. However, there are some options for assistance, just in case. Buen Camino!
     
  11. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    Hi Jean, Wily, Suzette et al. Up till now I have been treating my Brierley guide book as my Camino Bible. JB recommends that walkers use the pathway through the "magificent beech woods" (p. 51, 11th edition, published 2014) for the downhill section into Roncesvalles. I now see that that there are other perspectives / opinions to consider.
     
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  12. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    If you start in Saint Jean and get your passport there they will give you instructions on getting to Rochevalles. In those instructions they say very clearly to NOT go through the forest. At this time of the year the mud on the Trail may be very slippery and the trail is quite steep going down to Rochevalles.
     
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  13. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    Many thanks for your advice, UnkleHammy. I see that the Camino like many other journeys will be a smorgasbord of new experiences and new learnings. Looks like I will be taking the asphalt road to the right and not careering down through the beech woods.
     
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  14. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Good
     
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  15. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    VERY WISE. It's so steep that if you turn slightly to say hello to someone, you start to fall over from being off-balance from your backpack. Really bad if it's muddy. I guess maybe it's "beautiful" if you can look up and enjoy it instead of picking out your next step downward:0)). Also, the next day out of Roncesvalles to Zubiri has plenty of woods to enjoy.

    Just a quick word about Brierley - his maps for cities weren't detailed enough for me to find off-Camino streets, non-albergue lodging, and some tourism sites. This was true of Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon (they were fine for Astorga, which has a straightforward upper-town area). Santiago can also be confusing when you first arrive, but if you can get to the Pilgrim House on Rua Nova, they have good town maps. The Pilgrim House is not open every day. Your smart phone or printing out a better map for the areas you need to get to and then pitching it once through the city might make things easier. Happy planning!
     
  16. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - I, too, was advised by the Pilgrim's Office in SJPP to take the road down from the summit into Roncesvalles which I did follow (both the well-founded advice and the road)! I suppose some wisdom comes with age! I, too, had read about the lovely beech woods path, but by the time I climbed the 20 km over the Col de Leopoder, I was very tired. Going through the woods would have been a mistake! I walked most of the way with a young couple that first day. They chose the path down not wanting to add on an additional 1.5 km by the road. Just anecdotally, the young woman was in tears trying to get down that path. Not the right decision! There were two other very important things that I learned that first day. I should have trained more walking with a loaded pack. Ibuprofen saved the day later in Roncesvalles! And second, keep your pack as light as possible! You don't need much on the Camino. Leave those "what if" items at home! Travel light! Buen Camino!
     
  17. Ryedalerambler

    Ryedalerambler Active Member

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    As an aside, I agree with Brierley on this one. I DID take the beech forest route last May, found it a lovely walk, and couldn't understand what all the warnings were about! My pack was lighter than many and well balanced, and the ground was dry, but I didn't find it particularly challenging. As with everything, "you pays your money and you takes your choice"
     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ryedalerambler - Glad you had a good walk through the beech forest. You offer great advice: You pays your money and you takes your choice. Ultimately, this is what me must all do at any number of spots on the Camino or in life in general. I would offer up the suggestion to pilgrims to check in with the Pilgrim's Office in SJPP. They're the best ones to alert you to any changing trail conditions between SJPP and Roncesvalles. Quite nice volunteers there with other handy information as well. At the end of the day, see how you feel once you reach the summit and then judge which route to take down. Buen Camino everyone!
     
  19. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    Many thanks for the heads up re. JB's town maps, Crepes4Suzette. I will try to find more detailed town maps for Pamplona, Burgos and Leon. Will also make a beeline for Pilgrim House on Rua Nova upon arrival in SdC. I do love JB's mystical wanderings packed up beside his practical guidance but will take your suggestions on board. Many paths, one destination!
     
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  20. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    Great advice, Wily. I have done a fair bit of multi-day hiking in Australia and the lighter the burden on your back, the better your walk. Ibuprofen has saved my walking day a couple of times (overuse injuries to knees brought on by excessive loads and trying to go too fast).
     
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  21. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    When I got to Saint Jean I followed the crowd of hikers that came with me on the train directly to the pilgrim office. At the train station there was a pile of town maps that were free to take. This is the one I got (and put on my cell phone so I wouldn't have to carry it). I will post it when I find it.
     
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  22. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - Although the city maps are on the minimal side, in general, the yellow arrow and shell markers are pretty decent in the cities. The problem is less the markers than all the other detractors around them. We all make a few wrong turns, but most are pretty quickly corrected. The other helpful thing is that there will be plenty of other pilgrims on the street with you looking for The Way to go. You'll manage just fine! Buen Camino!
     
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  23. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Found it.
     

    Attached Files:

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  24. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    The pilgrem office had these helpful notes too. 20160504_161520.jpg 20160504_161533.jpg
     
  25. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    Many thanks for the SJPdP town map and the notes re. the hike to Roncevaux , UnkleHammy. The section up to Orisson looks pretty hard going but the first section after Orisson looks ridiculously steep! As you say I will need to do some serious hill training with a pack before my departure for SJPdP. Also, the notes are adamant that the path through the beech forest down to Roncevaux should be avoided. I guess I will need to assess conditions as the walk unfolds and if I am feeling fatigued and it is late in the day I will take the asphalt roadway to the right rather then take the Ryedalerambler option. Thanks again for all your help on this.
     
  26. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Whoops, the steep section is BEFOR Orisson. The elevation profile is backwards. You start on the right hand side.
     
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  27. James Orrock

    James Orrock Active Member

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    If I am walking from Point 4 towards Point 5 (Orissson to Vierge de Biakorri) that looks like a particularly steep climb to me. Have I missed something here, UnkleHammy?
     
  28. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    This may be a better elevation profile. There are some problems here in that there is a short cut which is reccomended before Orisson and it is unclear if it is reflected in the elevavacations contours also the same problem occurs after Lepoeder as to going through tghe forest or road.
    Elevation Contour Saint Jean to Rochevaux.png 20160504_161459.jpg
    Elevation Contour Saint Jean to Rochevaux.png
     
  29. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey James - Don't be put off by how the map looks. Slow and steady will get you over the top! Although it's all uphill, the path is paved after Orisson and makes for good walking. But, as it is 20km uphill from SJPP to the top with an elevation rise of about 1250 meters, being in good shape to climb a mountain makes all the difference. Get you legs and heart in condition for the Pyrenees and you'll have a glorious day there. Be assured, you're not going to be scrambling up a goat path to reach the top. Once there, assess how you feel. I chose the road down and was very pleased to have taken that route. The volunteers at the Pilgrim's Office in SJPP can also advise you as to the condition of the path through the woods on any given day. Personally, after climbing for six hours, I enjoyed the road down and friendly conversation with a young German pilgrim. Buen Camino!
     
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  30. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    During our Sept 2015 camino, it was not at all clear which route to take down into Roncesvalles. I saw an asphalt road (to the left) and was tempted to take it, but there was a nearby sign with a Red X so was a caution to pilgrims to not hike down that way. So my wife and I thought we were taking the recommended route (to the right), down the very steep descent through the beach forest. Even with the relatively dry soil and our trekking poles, the hike down was treacherous. I have no doubt that the steep descent caused "black toe" for me (I eventually lost that nail) and several blisters for my wife. We are hiking camino frances again this September and have decided to walk the Valcarlos route. We've already seen the glorious views of Napoleon route. My brother and his wife are walking Camino Frances with us and we will encourage them to take the Napoleon route - and the asphalt road down to Roncesvalles. Bob
     
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