THE “ROUTE NAPOLEON” Posted April 17, 2013

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The figures :

26 kilometers – 1300 meters of elevation gain – 500 meters of descent.

Only a 6% average slope. (8.5% up to Orisson, 5% afterwards)

It takes between 7 and 8 hours to get to Roncesvalles, with a pack of 8 to 12 kgs. A fit person will do it in 5 ¾ hours.

SO, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOSTEL AT NIGHT !

 Clic on the map below to enlarge it

The rise :

18 kms of a beautiful but paved road ! The former route of the GR65 is not signposted any more!
There are only three steep tretches of a few hundred meters each: just out of the village, below the hostel Huntto, and between Huntto and Orisson (remember to take the shortcut). After 7 kms, you will have climbed almost half the altitude !
Food and water supplies in Huntto and Orisson (5 and 7 kms).
At the Thibaut cross, turn off the road and take the small path climbing to the right and passing very shortly a rocky shoulder (shepherd’s shelter below right). Spanish border. Small path that winds through the forest.Drinking fountain (km 20).
Km 22: shelter with a fireplace, then climb to the Lepoeder pass on a wide gravel road.

The descent :

IMG_4822 [Résolution de l'écran]

When you get to Lepoeder pass (km 23), the path meets a small asphalt road. Turn right and go down about fifty meters. You meet a set of road signs on a tall pole. There are 2 solutions available:

– Straight on the GR7: very nice path in a beautiful beech forest but steep (especially at the beginning) and very slippery when wet.
– On your right on the GR 12: the small path which cuts through the curves in the road and reaches the Ibañeta pass and then Roncesvalles. Slightly longer, full view of the plain and the Abbey at the bottom. This is the way to choose in case of fatigue and/or rain.

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