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The Pyrenean Haute Route

The Pyrenean Haute Route [Kindle Edition]

Ton Joosten
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The second edition of this detailed walking guide to an 800km trek along the Franco-Spanish border, from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer, probably the most spectacular and challenging walk in the Pyrenees and one of the classic walks in Europe. Unlike the GR10 and GR11 the Haute Route crosses the border many times, exploring both sides of the mountain range and staying as close as possible to the main ridge of the Pyrenees. As a result the Haute Route leads the trekker through landscapes of immense variety and impeccable beauty. The unwaymarked route is described in 45 day stages, with 500 GPS waymarks, practical information on villages, mountain huts, guesthouses, hotels and campsites and variant routes to avoid the trickier sections. The guide also describes optional ascents of ten classic Pyrenean summits close to the route for days off!

About the Author

Ton Joosten has written six books on the Pyrenees which he has explored extensively over the last 20 years, walking all the long-distance trails, all major peaks and the national parks in both France and Spain, and has written on the best walking regions. When not exploring, Ton lives in Holland.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7889 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cicerone Press; 2 edition (13 Jun 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DGS2ER0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #408,518 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars indispensible 15 Nov 2010
By JerryW
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book and nobody can really contemplate walking this route without it. The book is durable, concise and mostly accurately written. Be sure to buy the current edition.

I have given it four stars, because it is not perfect:
- it has either been written or edited down to the absolute minimum number of words possible, and in some places the clarity suffers. Directions frequently omit useful phrases such as for example: "10 km further on" thus leaving you with the erroneous idea you are to turn left and then immediately, or soon, right..
- like all Cicerone books it is quite heavy for its size at 415g.
- it has at least one *extremely dangerous* bit on p78 where you are told to leave the ridge leading to pic d'orhy on your left whereas you *must* leave it on your right, ie descend to the left side of the ridge. The right side is impassable. There is a plaque there to a walker who fell and died, hopefully not clutching a copy of this guide.. I wrote and told cicerone but got no acknowledgment.
- I found Joosten slightly intimidating in that he is evidently superbly fit, can walk fast all day and uses adjectives like "interesting" where I would use "challenging," and "challenging" where I would write "bloody dangerous" - so I never went on those parts of the route he describes as "dangerous!"

Otherwise though this book is really good and as I say, pretty much indispensible. If your French is good, buy Veron's guide as well, and compare the two before you go. Mine is not quite that good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the paper back version of this book some time ago which I have found invaluable for planning of my forthcoming walk on the HRP. I endorse what JerryW says and there are other places where the translation from Ton Joosten's Dutch to English means that he says leave something to your left when he means right. However, my comments relate specifically to the very recently published kindle version. Since I intend to carry a kindle to provide reading matter on my walk, it would seem sensible to reduce the weight that I have to carry by leaving the paperback copy (weighing some 380 gms - more than my Paclite Anarak)behind and use the kindle version of the guide. So far I have no problems with the text which seems to be the same as the original BUT the reproduction of the maps is atrocious as you ca hardly see the route and can't read the words without a magnifying glass and good light. Similarly the table in Appendix 3 listing the facilities on route is equally unreadable. I have noticed the same poor quality in illustrated books that I have downloaded but these books were free which this guide is not. I believe that many other people have commented on the poor quality of images on Kindles. Amazon need to do something to improve this as otherwise, I for one will be moving to a different format.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 21 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
wonderful book a joy of a walk we had an amazing adventure last summer want to do it all again
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide 24 Oct 2014
By Palle
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent and clear description. Want to go...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, well-written, but NO MILEAGES 10 Sep 2012
By Ben Grangereau - Published on
We recently set out on week-long trek from Lescun to Gavarnie, using this book as our guide through the region. Having hiked and backpacked extensively throughout the Sierra Nevada range in California, we felt two 30-year olds in good shape should be able to make it from refuge to refuge without too much trouble. We were wrong.
Even though we mapped out the entire hike using Google Earth, which gives a mileage estimate, we weren't exactly sure how long each day's section would be since this book DOES NOT LIST DISTANCES. I find this to be a fairly major shortcoming, for such a detailed and hiking-specific publication to not have that information provided. The author must have used a GPS since he gives coordinates here and there, and it wouldn't be any added effort to have tracked the entire journey.
As a point of reference, we did not sleep in the refuges, and therefore brought our camping supplies (a 3-lb tent, and a light mat) and some food / cooking supplies. All in all, our bags probably weighed about 30-35 lbs each, but I don't feel the added weight really made a difference, since the main problem we had in completing the hike was distance.
The first day, from Lescun to Arlet, is described as a "Grade 2" difficulty hike, and is supposed to take 6hrs and 45mn. Once again, no distances were listed, but the description of "A very pleasant walk that will cause no problems on a beautiful day." had us quite reassured we wouldn't have any problems. And what a beautiful hike it was! But 8.5 hrs later, and with 12 miles (19.3km) of mostly uphill behind us, we were pretty beat. Usually when backpacking we shoot for days in the 8-10 mile range, taking us 6-7 hrs. Maybe we're wimps compared to Ton Joosten, but we had no real way of planning our trek besides using this guide.
On our second day, we set out with sore feet, but still smiling, from Artlet to Candanchu. We never made it to our destination. After climbing to the Estaens lake on a narrow mountain ledge, complete with ladders and tunnels, we had to stop to rest. We had just decended from 6,700 feet, down to 4,300, and back up to 5,700, some of the sections through the woods being extremely steep, but luckily in the shade. We decided to camp a few miles further down from the lake, 10 miles from where we started. We decided against continuing to Candanchu because we realized that staying on the guide's schedule wouldn't be much fun for people like us that like to stop and smell the roses. We were further convinced when we were awoken at 3am by strobe-light frequency lightning, warning us of the thunderstorm about to hit. Luckily we were able to foresee what was coming and packed up our tent before the hail and torrential rains really hit us, and we walked down into the safety of the trees in the valley to the parking d'Espelunguere. After drying our clothes out in the morning, we made a loop back toward Urdos on the third day, cutting our hiking trip short by 3-4 days.
All in all, I'd say this book is a great reference if you plan to hike the Haute Route. The descriptions are detailed, which is quite necessary in some sections where animal paths and hiking trails overlap and appear to go in all directions. But knowing how much you're hiking each day is just as important, and I'd even say it's dangerous to embark on a trip like this without such information. As the author states, a topo map is also a necessity since the maps in the book are just general overviews.
If we were to do this trek again, we would divide each day's section in half, doing more camping away from refuges, and perhaps mix in more GR10 and 11 routes to see some of the towns along the way.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful but not perfect 5 Sep 2013
By Tomáš Hnyk - Published on
Generally, the guide is useful. If you are using the 1:50 000 maps, orientation is difficult at times and the guide often helps. Also, Information on unstuffed refuges and cabanas is useful (and usually but not always correct) but there could be more of it. The Veron version has much better maps from what I have seen (French people tend to follow it).

As for the difficulty. If you are fit and used to mountain walking (with a backpack), the times Joosten gives should not be a problem for you after a couple of days. It takes several weeks to walk the HRP and doubtlessly, the first few days will be hard as your body gets used to the mountains and the backpack (unless you are really fit). But after 4 or 5 days (and with a lighter backpack), you will walk much faster and might even be faster then Joosten. It took me 36 days to go from the ocean to the sea and I could have been quicker. There are people who made it in 24 days. Do not be afraid, it is demanding but not at all impossible and every day will be easier then the one before (at least in terms of your stamina).

As per what counts "dangerous" and "wilderness", Joosten is clearly from a very civilized country. It happens very rarely that you walk on a section with no path whatsoever. If you are not following a marked path, there are almost always cairns to be followed and usually some kind of a track (even if Joosten says it is through wilderness). Not that it makes it hard to get lost if you do not pay attention to where you are going. Of course, if you are crossing a boulder filed, there is not much of a path but then you do that rarely. As per dangerousness, I was afraid only during storms and when I made my own not so advised alterations to the normal route (like climbing Balaitus with my backpack). If you stay out of the storms and follow the track, there is not need to be afraid of anything. But maybe I am crazy.

Also, 2013 was an exceptional strong winter and there was much more snow then normally. I still made it through without crampons even though I twice walked most of the day on snow. The snowfields are very rarely steep and they did not tend to freeze overnight, so it was easy to kick steps into them. But regarding snow, I am probably crazy.

The shops you meet on the way are normally horrible and often expensive. If you are not too many, I recomend hitchhiking down everytime you hit a tarmac road with some traffic. It is normally easy to get a car and it took me usually about three hours go down, restock, have a feast from what I have just bought and go back to the point I came on the road. This way, one normally does not need to carry food for more then three days.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pertinent info 12 Jan 2013
By N orthern Strider - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You want to hike the high route, You will find most of the information you need. And you will need it. This a high route. not a blazed trail like the AT, you are up there as in the Sierras or the Colorado CDT
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