Pyrenees 2018

Discussion in 'Places & Planning' started by Whiteburn, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    Started looking at a plan for another jomp in the Pyrenees, no route yet but planning on keeping an eye on the winter snow build up to get ideas on a start date.
    The snow's started to build :):(
    Refugio de Respomuso Webcam
    Respomuso Dec 17.jpg

    Formigal Snow History
    Formigal_Snow_History_Wide - Dec 17.png
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  2. Max

    Max Ultralighter

    I will also be there again this year.
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  3. JimH

    JimH Ultralighter

    Aiming to knock off a bit more of the GR10 in 2018, I'm thinking of a week or so in late August, early Sept.
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  4. oldtimer

    oldtimer Hiker

    I spend my summers near the eastern end of the GR10. Sea and mountains: what more could you ask for?

    I recommend the area around Pic Carlit.
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  5. Clare

    Clare Trail Blazer

    Me too. I'll be starting from Gourette, hopefully June as soon as it's snow free enough to be passable and aiming for the end this time (which was also my aim last time,.. heh, that didn't work!).
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  6. JimH

    JimH Ultralighter

    That sounds good, are you going to do the variant south from Cauterets passing Gavarnie, Vignemale etc, or the more direct route?

    I don't expect to have the days available to go to the end, just Gabas to maybe Bagneres-de-Luchon for me, and quite possibly finishing short of that depending on access to trains/planes etc.

    I'm almost certainly taking the train this year, Ryanair to Lourdes was an expensive (and barely quicker) PITA last year.
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  7. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    Can't say I was impressed by the GR10 from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Siguer, seemed to me like the route goes out of the way to stay out of the mountains............. & way tooooooooooo much forest:cry:
  8. Clare

    Clare Trail Blazer

    Jim, yes, I'll be doing the Gavarnie variation. It would be a shame to have walked through the Pyrenees Atlantiques and then miss out on that variation in favour of getting further along quicker. We abandoned the walk at Gourette as had set out rather late in the season on a bit of a whim, without any advance planning and it was already obvious that we wouldn't get through the Arriege without snow. My friend got a fever at Gourette after the ascent of the Hourquette D'Arre, a pleasure/torment that still awaits you. Train is best. I never fly anymore. Flying too destructive and long train journeys have always been such a pleasure for me, all my life. It's easy to get to Gabas from Toulouse, changing bus in Laruns. Gabas is a really weird village, very hostile, perhaps you already stopped there when you finished your last stage? If you fancy a Gite d'Etape before you head off then I can say that Jean-Marc in the L'estibere in Gabas is a seriously good cook and a nice man.

    Whiteburn, I don't mind forest per se. Some of the forests with rare hellebores and peonies and the sun filtering though the canopy were an absolute joy. But I do mind endless tedious descent on rocky path for hours and hours so am planning this time round to cross over to the GR11 for a while, where less of that kind of thing goes on. I haven't looked at this on the route descriptions yet though so no idea what variations I might do. I can't do the Haute Route as I'm not a climber. And now that I've started the GR10 I intend to finish it. Whatever! However many tedious descents!
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  9. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Section Hiker

    GR 11 nicerer, imo if you prefer warmer, drier, less endless up and down, Spanish food, wine, people, and prices...
    Walking through trees has indeed some very pleasant moments, and some rather tedious half hours..:angelic:

    Outside of snow, HRP isn't just for climbers, there's a few scrambley bits, here and there and I wouldn't fancy the metalwork with a full pack, and without protection.

    Parts of it are glorious, and definitely less ascent and descent, than GR10

    Still, you can discover all that when you do the reverse crossing on the other side (top) of the range :bag:

    Concur, re the non flying, train much betterer stance.... But I have been richly rewarded with derision, for taking that attitude on here, so tend not to bring it up too much... :cautious:
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  10. JimH

    JimH Ultralighter

    We were also pretty underwhelmed by Gabas, we finished there by necessity last year rather than choice. Two slow painful days for my partner to Gabas from Etsaut (where we'd started) meant that going any further was going to be pointless, so we retreated to Pau, rented a car, and spent the rest of the week sightseeing and taking easy walks on the French side of the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to Cauterets.

    I'm with you and FWC on the plane bad, train good stance. But, with limited time available, a flight seemed the better option for more walking time. In reality, any time saved was lost because we couldn't easily get to Etsaut from Lourdes on the evening we flew in (I'll fly but won't do taxis, go figure), and any cost savings went out the window on a night in a Pau hotel (and a rather good meal out).
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  11. Clare

    Clare Trail Blazer

    That's what cost savings are for.
  12. Stuart

    Stuart Trail Blazer

    Another fan of the train here.

    For those who have not tarvelled to the Pyrenees this way before, there are direct rains from Paris to both ends of the range, plus to more central places like Pau, Lourdes and, my favourite, Latour de Carol, right on the border. From Pau there is (still, I think) a rail/bus link right through the villages up to Somport to Canfranc Estacion in Spain. Taking the journey as a whole this has been far quicker than plane for me.

    We've also been to Corsica by public transport taking the train to Nice and then ferry.

    I've generally travelled from Manchester mid afternoon, evening in Paris and then taken night trains that arrive early morning in the mountains. The 6 berth couchettes are pretty comfy (certainly on a par with a tent!) and I've met some lovely people this way. For general info and route options, a good site is maninseat61.com. I've got the cheapest prices in the past by booking about two and half months in advance.
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  13. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Section Hiker

    +1 to all that :angelic:

    And some times you get to go on the top deck of the train.. :D
    I defy anyone not to be a teensy bit thrilled by that :oops:

    European trains totally outclass UK ones, in terms of service, and price - I know, not a high bar to jump :(

    Maninseat61great for idiots guides to how it all Wirks too... Walks you through, pretty much, holding yr hand all the details of connections etc.

    Looking into overall cost and time of train to Barcelona, then ferry to Mallorca..


    Done the Barcelona bit by train before... Sadly the sensible teenagers I was with at the time weren't up for stowing away on the ferry :arghh:

    Corsica sounds like a plan too :happy:, and Italy, and, and, and, and..
    Clare likes this.
  14. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I think you'll find that most of the SNCF sleeper trains have been discontinued, I think the only remaining service down to the Pyrenees is to Latour de Carol.
  15. Clare

    Clare Trail Blazer

    Sadly, almost true but happily, not entirely so. Here is the update from Seat61 about French night trains. A few routes still going. https://www.seat61.com/lunea.htm

    Night trains from Paris to Italy still good, it seems the Italians have stepped over the border to run them for euro 35.

    Other reasons to travel by train rather than plane; if your rucksack is a sniff over carry-on size no one cares - take what you want in whatever shape suits you. No need to check in and pay for hold luggage. You can take your walking poles, without having to pay for hold luggage. You can take your own water for the journey without the risk that it might be an explosive forcing you buy new overpriced bottled water from them (this is my primary reason). Views of the changing landscape between home and destination. Can settle down and read when the landscape fails to change enough to stay interesting. Meet people. Drink French/Italian coffee in changeover stations.

    I went to Berlin by train recently and I'm pretty sure i also had a night option on that route. All in all I reckon I used another 2 - 3 hours on the journey compared to flying but it was hassle and stress free. I stared out the window at the passing landscape, read... drank my water.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  16. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    We did London to Etsaut in a day (train Paris - Pau, train to Oloron St Marie, bus to Etsaut)

    We've returned to Devon in a day from Pau, Lourdes, Toulouse...

    Buses from Lourdes to Gavarnie or Cauterets. From Toulouse, train to Montrejeau ( good Campsite) then bus to Luchon.
    Last time, we hitched back from Val d'Aran(Vielha) in Spain to Montrejeau in 2.5 hours. Then Train to Toulouse. There is a bus from Vielha to Toulouse and vice versa ( but not when we needed it on a Sunday).
    Clare likes this.
  17. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    In the days when hubby worked for British rail I did the journey overnight thru' France a couple of times.
    The best memory is of the 4 berth couchette compatment - us and other guy already installed, when a young French woman appeared to take her berth.
    There enusued a heated shouting match between her and the Guard. I don't speak much French but understood "Bordello" ……. she didn't approve of the sleeping arrangements - we struggled not to howl with laughter - a real farce. :facepalm::D
  18. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Love travelling round Europe by train, best bit is actually getting a feeling of distance and the meditative state I end up in. Marrakesh by train was fun too.
    Time, the enemy as usual these days, when quitting my job to go walkabout isn't an option.
    Clare likes this.
  19. Daymoth

    Daymoth Trail Blazer

    I was in the pyrinees for few days in september and I swear I am dreaming of them.

    I need to go back. Will be following this thread!
  20. Jerry W

    Jerry W Hiker

    Hmm, no overnight to Hendaye any more? Shame. I am also a fan of the train, never fly if it can be avoided.
    I am off to Andorra this summer, early July probably. I (will soon) have started a new thread for Andorra..
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  21. Clare

    Clare Trail Blazer

    I'm pushing my traininess just a little bit further. Mid Feb I need to visit people in Paris and Rome so I'm train to Paris, then train to Zurich then the Bernina Express 1890s single track railway through the Swiss Alps to Milan (thanks to Seat61 for how to do this for Euro29!). It's one of the great scenic railway journeys of the world, and after this heavy snow will no doubt be spectacular. Then express down to Rome and on the return leg to Paris I'm trying out the Milan-Paris overnight sleeper which is £70 for the train including the price of the sleeping couchette. Hopefully a day walk into Abruzzo (feeble attempt to get back on topic).
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  22. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    It's still early in the winter but so far snow fall doesn't to be too severe (nothing like back in 2013 - 2014 where over 4.5m was recorded), similar picture for the other resorts.

    Formigal_Snow_History_Wide.png
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  23. Mox

    Mox Trekker

    I'm getting twitchy, flights and parking booked for first week in June JSPP to Etsaut. Well, that's the plan.
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  24. Max

    Max Ultralighter

    I'm also getting twitchy outward flight booked for 31st march into Alicante.
  25. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    ...hefty walk-in :D

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