take a hike
March 22, 2010 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever hiked the GR10 (or the GR11, or the Haute Route Pyréneen, or anything else in the Pyrenees)? More specifically, how cold will it be there in April-June, and more generally, what kind of sleeping bag do I need?

I'm hiking the Pyrenees alone from sea to sea (GR10) starting in very late April. Can anyone tell me approximately how cold it's going to be at night? Is it going to be a safe temperature level? I would rather not die of hypothermia. A sleeping bag is the last major piece of gear I need to buy and I'm having a lot of trouble sussing out what temperature range I should buy for that.

More generally, if anyone has anything at all to say about hiking in the Pyrenees, please feel free to share-- any tips, stories, warnings, etc. For some reason I have really been hitting a wall in finding things on this topic online.
posted by threeants to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
Response by poster: Sorry, that should be Pyrénéen.

(Yeah, anal.)
posted by threeants at 3:12 PM on March 22, 2010

Not sure I can answer but would suggest the backpack light forums as being very useful for these gear questions. Difference between April and June will be quite extreme.
posted by laukf at 3:45 PM on March 22, 2010

I'll keep looking for exact temps, but from photos it seems you'll be sleeping in the sub-alpine, so a -6c to -10c down sleeping bag will do you justice, and I'd bring a liner, my current favourite is the Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor. I use a similar setup in the Canadian rockies.
posted by furtive at 8:00 PM on March 22, 2010

I did some hiking between Lescun to Garvanie in the Pyrenees 5 years ago. I had a good quality but very lightweight sleeping bag and was fine at night although I would often sleep in my fleece on the colder nights; for me that was acceptable trade off for keeping my pack weight down. Of course this ended up being a moot point as the camping stove we had brought, which the salesperson assured us would accept ANY gas canister, would not accept any of the French gas canisters - apart from a huge thing made of wrought pig iron which we ended up taking. Damn thing weighed a ton.

French maps are not up to the standard of British OS maps so if you decide to go "off piste" then beware that paths and slopes may be steeper than indicated. Also you will see signs painted on the rocks indicating the route of the path like this, ">>". We took this to mean "GO RIGHT" but in actual fact is a top-down visualisation of the route (i.e the route goes sharp right and then sharp left). We lost some time because of this and ended up bivvying in a bemused shepherds field.

Without a doubt the best walking I ever did....good luck, you'll have the time of your life.

There's some good stuff here:

posted by oh pollo! at 2:42 AM on March 23, 2010

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