The Haute Route Pyrenees (HRP) follows the French and Spanish border, starting in Hendaye on the Atlantic coast and finishing in Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean. Large sections of the route remain unmarked.
The original HRP route was devised by Georges Véron in 1968 and later adapted and popularised by Ton Joosten’s guidebook "Pyrenean Haute Route" (Cicerone Guide). The HRP described in the 2nd edition of Ton Joosten’s book has total distance of approximately 500 mi (800 km) and an estimated elevation change of 183,000 ft (55,800 m).
Like with other famous trails, there is not one single HRP route, but variants exist and it is possible switch between the high-route and lower alternatives on the GR 10/GR 11.
Note that the "Pyrenees Crossing" route taken by Kilian Jornet in 2010 is different. It has some overlap with the GR10 and GR11.
The map & GPX file are from http://doingmiles.com/2010-07-hrp/ which has an excellent report from a 5 week backpacking trip on the route.
Admin Note: Mike Coppock argues for a route that stays higher and closer to the border in several areas, and is more direct than our GPX track. His route is very similar to that taken by Louis-Philippe Loncke. See his FKT report for details.
I (Matthias Ekman) will be attempting to set the self-supported FKT for the HRP, starting on Saturday July 14th. More info about my attempt can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/matthiasekman/running/hrp-fkt-july-2018
Hi Matthias, just checked your tracker and it seems that you stopped at l'Hospitalet pres l'Andorre after 17 days. Maybe interesting to know that Dutch adventurer and ultra runner Jolanda Linschooten is just one day behind you on the HRP, leaving El Serrat today and expected passing l'Hopitalet this evening on her 16th running day. Her Spot-tracker is not public, but she places daily posts on her Facebook page whenever possible. She was slowed down for two days in the first part of her trip due to illnes, but recovered well.
I completed the Ton Joosten HRP in 22 days 5 hours 51 min, starting in Hendaye on 2018-7-14 5:58 am and finishing in Banyuls on 2018-8-04 11:49 am (as you can see on my public tracker). I arrived in L’Hospitalet determined to stop there; I had run out of food, the local shop was closed and worse the outter sole of my left running shoe had come loose two days prior. I had sent 5 resupply boxes with food and gear to some locations I was going to pass by- unfortunately non of the boxes made it. The DHL track and trace page showed that the L’Hospitalet package was the only one that was delivered on time. However, upon my arrival at the gite I had to learn that also this last package wasn’t there. Somehow that was too much for me to handle in that moment. At that time I had traveled without maps, salt tabs, contact lenses for 13 days (all in the resupply packages that never made it). I don’t remember what made me continue the next morning. Two days later I found some superglue to fix my shoes, that didn’t work for long, later I tried some tesa tape (the kind that kids use to wrap birthday presents); I must have looked like a clown. I certainly felt like one. Unnecessary to say that running at that point became quiet impossible. I’m still happy about the time; though I was hoping for something under 19 days. Will write and link a more detailed report here soon. Hope Jolanda finished safely and is all well. (don’t have FB on my phone to check).
Congratulations, Matthias!! Looking forward to your report. It must have been a hell of a trip. You faced similar problems as Jolanda, with resupplies disappearing in the mail, worn out shoes (she was lucky to buy a new pair in Gavarnie), lack of food, a closed shop in l'Hospitalet etc. Jolanda finished save and well and is on her way back home. Make sure to get in touch with her once you're back.
Congrats Matthias!! Solid effort given everything you encountered. Really well done for pushing through the lows and hope the highs were all worth it!
Can’t wait for the report!!
I am excited! I just learned that I hold the unofficial FKT for the HRP than. I just finished the Route in 20 days and 12 hours from Hendaye to Banyuls but had not an FKT attempt in mind and therefore I did not carry a tracker.
First of all, congratulations for your acheivement! I would like to ask you about the route. I am planning to start on 2019 Aug 31st, but I only have 16 days of vacation for doing the route. I am used to run very long distance, but I don't know if it is possible to go fast on HRP route.
So, the question is, do you think that it is possible to do an attempt in 16 days self-supported? (of course, sleeping few hours per day and going as fast as I can)
Thanks in advance and regards,
Not to put a downer on your Amazing effort - Congrats & well done!! - but do we not need to state our intention prior to the fact and have a live tracker for it to be considered official?
Appreciate you have stated unofficial in your comment but it seems as though it has been recognised by the FKT website.
You are right, I have no idea why it is up there..but well it is! haha.
Well congratulations in any event!! Official or not, its an unbelievable achievement and hope I can learn a thing or two from your report!
All the best!!
Hi everyone ! I, Mike Coppock, am going to have a try at the HRP FKT starting Monday 13th September. I'll share my tracker with the good people here at FKT.com if you want to follow along, and I'll post updates (if I can) to my Instagram page as well (@mikerunshigher).
I'll be doing it self-supported without using any dropbags and the route I've chosen is based on established HRP routes and variations to stay as high as possible in keeping with the concept of the HRP.
Thanks to everyone on here for contributing useful information and reports which have been so useful for planning my trip.
I walked the HRP in 1997 and can thoroughly recommended it. As I write this, I see that there is are two sub-14 day times posted, then the next one is 20 days. It took me 18 days - 16 days walking, I planned rest day and one unplanned day off with food poisoning. Used the G Veron guide in French and a load of paper maps. The Spanish maps were dreadful - one contour line saying 600m became the 800m one a bit further along, and other contour lines crossed...! A bivi hut marked on the map was eventually found 300m further up the mountain... All part of the challenge! Lots of up and down, averaging 2000m of ascent a day. My pack base weight was 8.5 lbs which was a bit marginal, these days it is more like10lbs as my gear is a bit more rugged.
Many afternoons, the clouds built up and in the evening there was a downpour as they dropped their load. Neither my waterproof jacket nor my bivi bag turned out to be so, so I have enduring memories of wet cold nights...
I plan to re-walk the route next Summer, so 25 years later. Won't be quite as fast!
In 42 days I met many people from a Brit (+-45 years old) doing it in 19 days, another one doing it for the second time in 15-16 days. Another Belgian doing it it 2 months and going off track climbing every high summit (like 1-2 extra summits per day). Also saw a guy training as skyrunner in the most difficult part and I asked him if he knew Kilian Jornet and he replied "yes, but I'm faster". I based my track on Jason Beaumard who did it in 15 days always walking, never running. He's got a HRP film in 5 episodes.
I'm wondering in self-supported and clearly in fully supported if the 7-8 days barrier can reached. Kilian did a less risky/lower crossing in 8d 7h apparently.
Hello everybody, I would like to inform you that I will attempt to set a fkt on the HRP. My attempt will be supported by my one-man crew Wouter Gunst.
You will be able to follow us through this link:
We are looking forward to the challenges ahead!
We made it to 6 days and 345 km. A little bit behind on record pace.
As we live in a flat part of Belgium I am not used to running downhill. Learning and practicing how to run downhill would be a critical improvement for a subsequent attempt, as they were killing my knees.
We are still very pleased with the accomplishment. Maybe we can return on a later date.