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St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona

Posted: 24 Feb 2017, 6:50am
by molly
Can anyone advise on whether the route via the Ibaneta pass in the Pyrenees is likely to be passable in early April. If not are there any suggestions for alternatives' I am heading for Santander and have 5days available.

Re: St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona

Posted: 24 Feb 2017, 2:39pm
by Tony09
Hey Molly,

Yes you won't have any problem to climb Ibaneta (or called "col de Roncevaux") in April, even in December, Basque climbs are never closed during the winter...
You can also climb the Col d'Ispeguy (from St.Etienne de Baigorry...), I definitly recommand this one more.

Re: St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona

Posted: 24 Feb 2017, 3:54pm
by molly
That's reassuring, thank you. Why do you recommend the Col d'ispeguy more? I did see that on the map and as I had read several comments about traffic over the Col de Roncevaux was wondering if there was a quieter way.

Re: St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona

Posted: 26 Feb 2017, 11:57am
by andrew_s
Surely the Col d'Ispeguy is heading more in the Donostia/San Sebastian direction? The road towards Pamplona from the Spanish side of the Ispeguy is large, has tunnels banned to cyclists, and involves another similar size of col on the tunnel-avoiding route.

From St.Etienne de Baigorry, head south for the Collado de Urquiaga. It's a fairly minor road, but joins the main Roncesvalles road for the last 13 km or so.
There is a cycle track starting here (streetview), about 1 km before the start of the Pamplona junctions, that joins a riverside track that can be followed to this bridge, that takes you into the Huarte suburb. Easier than following Pamplona signs onto the dual carriageway ring road and trying to deal with traffic and spot signs at the same time. Check http://cycle.travel/map for town advice.

Interestingly, you can reach the top of the Ibaneta on a single track road, starting from just after Banca, on the Urquiaga road, signposted Foret de Haira. There are no alternatives on the Pamplona side, but main roads always seem less objectionable on a descent than they do on a climb.

Re: St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona

Posted: 28 Feb 2017, 8:20am
by molly
Thank you, this looks like a really good option and especially useful to know about the cycle path:-)

Re: St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona

Posted: 1 Mar 2017, 10:45pm
by JBB
I cycled up the Ibaneta last May on a weekday. The first 10k there was a bit of traffic but once over the border and past the cheap Spanish petrol station is was very quiet, a few cars and a couple of lorries. i didn't find traffic a problem at all. Once over though we headed south east towards Lumbier.

HTH
Julia