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Richard DeLong
(Legkohod) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
HRP (Pyrenees) July 2011 on 03/17/2011 20:59:37 MDT Print View

There's a very good chance I'll be hiking the Pyrenees High Route this July east to west. I expect to start the 1st or 2nd and take about 30 days, solo. Another other lightweight backpackers in the vicinity who will be on the trail? Maybe some of our Spanish or French forum members?

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: HRP (Pyrenees) July 2011 on 03/18/2011 03:05:54 MDT Print View

I hope to be on a short section of the trail around Vignemale for a few days in the 3rd week of July. I am not doing the HRP (I wish I had the time) just exploring and maybe bag a few peaks.

I am currently creating contour (topo) maps from SRTM data for the whole Pyrenees in Garmin .IMG format - would these be of interest to you?

Martin Stiles
(Lstiles09) - F
HRP on 03/21/2011 18:14:27 MDT Print View

I will be hiking west-east starting in early July. Why'd you choose to go east/west? Should be a great trek!

Stuart -
I am very interested in your geospatial project as I am considering taking a garmin with me on the trail this summer.

Richard DeLong
(Legkohod) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
HRP east to west on 03/22/2011 06:14:07 MDT Print View

I'm hiking east to west because I'll be coming from the French Alps, and after my hike I'd like to chill in the Picos de Europa if I have time. Hiking east to west seems to make at least as much sense as west to east. Joosten never really justifies his west-to-east choice in the guidebook. I think the west is moister, so by starting in the east I'm giving some snow more time to melt:)

I should meet both of you along the way and look forward to the conversation. Look for a cheerful, bearded PCT transplant with a ULA Ohm pack and inov-8 shoes. Actually, the reflective umbrella will give me away long before you notice the rest... :)

Does anyone have any info on snow depths as a percentage of normal?

We can use this thread to discuss strategies for hiking the HRP in 2011. Let me start...

I have Joosten's updated guidebook. I will scan it and put it on my iPod Touch. I'm carrying a Solio iPod/iPhone charger (200 g w/cords). I am going to try to download other available maps and try to avoid having to buy maps for the trek.

I'll be taking a Katabatic Gear 30 degree Palisade quilt and Bristlecone bivy. Shelter: MLD Trailstar. I look forward to high winds. Pack: ULA Ohm. Expect to sometimes carry quilt in large stuff sack on back of pack to keep it stored semi-compressed to preserve loft. I want to take the Inertia X pad plus a Gossamer Gear 1/4'' pad for the torso, but this combo needs to be field-tested first. Otherwise, a motley and rather bulky GG pad combo (total weight ~ 250 g).

Ice & snow gear: CAMP Corsa (70 cm), Kahtoola Microspikes, Integral Designs VB socks (I have goretex socks, but they quickly stink up). I want to bag Aneto and some other obvious peaks along the way, and I'll be carrying these from the Alps anyway.

Rain gear: mountain poncho (design from BPL) - 200 g, Golite Chrome Dome (mainly for sun), MLD rain mitts, probably also MYOG rain chaps, waterproof socks (mainly to protect against frozen feet on snowy sections).

Clothes: Marmot Cocona Powerdry top and bottom, wind layer, shorts, T-shirt, and maybe Montbell down inner vest.

Edited by Legkohod on 03/22/2011 06:24:56 MDT.

Martin Stiles
(Lstiles09) - F
HRP discussion on 03/22/2011 20:45:39 MDT Print View

Richard, your ipod idea is genius. If I had not been given the maps at a very low price, I would have liked to have also tried that system. I am also using Joosten's book. I'm planning on taking my time to enjoy the culture and maybe do some peak bagging, so I should be on the trail for about 40 days.

As for ice/snow gear, I am not taking any. If a pass is bad, I will take the lower route. I'm not currently in a financial situation that would allow for me to purchase ice gear. Limited funds is also the reason I am not a true UL hiker. Although, I am moving in that direction. I went with the 70 L osprey over the 60 because it will be able to hold more of my other gear while I am backpacking around Europe before and after my HRP hike. I have measured my base weight to be about 7.5 kgs.



Preliminary Gear List: www. hrp11.blogspot.com

Edited by Lstiles09 on 03/29/2011 23:00:37 MDT.

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
HRP on 03/23/2011 09:29:00 MDT Print View

I've done the HRP twice (first time in sections), and I've backpacked and climbed in the west Pirineos quite a bit as I live really close. I can help you with info not in the guide like bars and good places to buy food on the west side.

About the snow, this year has been really dry, less than half the usual, anyway there are zones that should be hiked on real crampons and maybe an ice axe, as Col de Literola an Col de Mulleres, it can be really dangerous without them, you can use a bounce box as they will be dead weight the rest of the trip.

If you are going to use alcohol stoves you can buy rubbing alcohol 96º (96% ethanol with bitrex) almost everywhere, this applies also to gas canisters but only in 420g size, the smaller sizes are difficult to get.

Avoid spanish maps, the good ones are almost imposible to get even if you live in spain, I recomend French maps.

Scott Truong
(elf773)

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: HRP. on 03/23/2011 09:56:46 MDT Print View

I'm seriously thinking about doing this, or the GR54 (or something similiar), depending on time off work in mid August - early Sept.

- is 40 days average for the HRP?

- Is the Joosten guidebook mandatory?
- Richard, are you scanning it in PDF format?

- Are crampons and axe a "must" have?

- Can you mail yourself packages (food etc) along the way?

Thanks for any and all info.

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
RE:RE:HRP on 03/23/2011 11:28:21 MDT Print View

- is 40 days average for the HRP?

I did it in 32 days, and I'm not a fastpacker.

- Is the Joosten guidebook mandatory?

There are 3-4 guides: Two french, one British (Cicerone), and one spanish. I think Cicerone's guide is a translation, haven't seen the Spanish guide, and among the French I prefer the Joosten guide.

- Are crampons and axe a "must" have?

Depends on the conditions. As always depends on how much you know your gear, I haven't used the microspikes, only the Yaktrax, and the yaktrax is not enough for a few (2-3) passes unless you chop steps with the ice axe, I prefer to take aluminium crampons (grivel air tech light) and optional axe (grivel haute route or charlet moser snowalker) if I know that I'm going to those places in summer.

- Can you mail yourself packages (food etc) along the way?

You can send packages to an Spanish post office to yourself writing "lista de correo" after your name. You have 15 days before they send the package back, of course, if there is no sender adress, they can't send it back...

Martin Stiles
(Lstiles09) - F
Fuel on 03/23/2011 12:20:57 MDT Print View

How common is camping gaz (canister fuel) in the pyrenees? Would I be able to fnd it every 6 days or so on the HRP?

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
caming gaz on 03/25/2011 07:49:03 MDT Print View

If by camping gaz you mean the blue cannisters (french ones), they are easy to get in France, only in the "big" villages, they are hard to get in Spain. In Spain you will find the threaded cannisters, ussualy Primus or Coleman.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Also on the HRP on 03/28/2011 05:23:39 MDT Print View

Hi Richard and Martin

I will be starting the HRP (West-East) solo on 5 August so I might see you as you finish. I am starting then to minimise any issues with snow as will not be carrying crampons or ice axe. Catching the night train from Paris to Hendaye means an early start to the first day.

A wise move to use the Superfly so canister type will not be a problem. You can save a bit of weight and the horrors of packing the Superfly by screwing a Monatauk Gnat burner head onto the Superfly canister fitting and valve - it is a perfect fit.

There is a great writeup on the HRP on this site if you haven't already found it.

My base weight will be 6kg and I am planning to camp most nights but enjoy a meal and the camerarderie of the refuges when convenient.

Good luck with your plans.
Mark

Richard DeLong
(Legkohod) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Europe / Caucasus
Alcohol in Pyrenees on 03/28/2011 07:50:11 MDT Print View

>> "If you are going to use alcohol stoves you can buy rubbing alcohol 96º (96% ethanol with bitrex) almost everywhere, this applies also to gas canisters but only in 420g size, the smaller sizes are difficult to get."

Is this suitable for stoves? Won't it cause soot? How large are the bottles usually?

Thanks for the information.

N. Bellesheim
(bignelie) - F

Locale: Bay Area
Re: HRP... More about the snow levels? on 03/28/2011 16:50:53 MDT Print View

Hi Khader (and others),
My partner and I are going to start on the GR10 around June 1st. I've been looking at the snow levels on France Meteo, but don't really have anything to reference the levels by. Ideally we will get on the HRP much later in the Summer if weather permits, though the GR10 is our primary goal. I posted a partial gear list to get some advice and was warned that an ice axe and crampons would likely be needed if we start in June.

I'm curious what your advice would be regarding snow levels and ice on the GR10. Should we be watching out for fresh snow and sub freezing lows just before we leave for France, or will we really not know anything for sure until a day or so before we get to the first of the higher passes (Horquette d'Arre around mid June)? Also, if we do not carry axes and crampons, will we be able to get on the HRP at all, even in July?

Thanks!

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Snow and ice on 03/29/2011 04:27:21 MDT Print View

Hi

I assume you are using the FFRP guides for the GR10. They will give fairly clear indication of potential snow dangers. Certainly departing 1 June you are likely to face some extended snow fields in many cols and are unlikely to be able to climb any significant peak without ice axe and crampons. If the snow fields are anything like those I experienced on the GR5 you will find trekking poles are of considerable benefit.

So much of this depends on the snow year and a couple of heavy, late season falls can dramatically alter the picture.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
HRP gas on 03/29/2011 06:30:40 MDT Print View

You can get Camping Gaz and Coleman 220 canisters in the larger French villages. Look in the Supermarche and the Droguerie.
Some of these villages are a few miles off route (eg Laruns).

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: HRP... More about the snow levels? on 03/29/2011 06:48:12 MDT Print View

Last year there was significant snow at high levels on the HRP in early July. The snow was soft but steep in places, so if you can kick steps with boots you could manage without crampons, but an ice-axe is essential IMHO. Do not rely on walking poles, you cannot self-arrest with these!

Port du Lavedan

Be aware that the snow can obliterate all trace of the path so you may need to navigate at times.

Martin Stiles
(Lstiles09) - F
HRP - fuel on 03/29/2011 07:12:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info Stuart.
Do happen to know which pass that photo is of?

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: HRP pass on 03/29/2011 08:39:54 MDT Print View

If you place your cursor over the photo, you should see 'Port du Lavedan'

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
hrp on 03/31/2011 11:37:03 MDT Print View

I've been 4 days in the Aspe (canfranc, Spain 2645m) zone, and there was almost no snow, on the next weeks I'll be going to several places, so I will keep you informed.

About the alcohol, it comes in 250ml, 500ml or 1L bottles and it soots a bit, but the meth you can find is usually really bad for stoves, I never use it.

Martin Stiles
(Lstiles09) - F
Stove on 03/31/2011 12:56:16 MDT Print View

is anyone else bringing a canister stove?

Edited by Lstiles09 on 04/11/2011 13:54:23 MDT.