FKT: Matthias Kodym - Haute Route Pyrenees (Spain, Andorra, France) - 2018-08-29

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
20d 12h 0m 0s

Brief trip report with some great photos:

Also updates posted on Instagram during the trip:

I just completed a hike from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea crossing the Pyrenees, a hike I wanted to do for a long time and finally could be realised. I mainly used one of the HRP (Haute Route Pyrenea) routes which are running between the GR10 on the French side and the GR11 on Spanish territory. The HRP is kind of more direct line which runs mostly over higher grounds than the two GRs. However the HRP is not a fixed, marked route, there are infact many options you can choose from and different guidebooks describe different HRP versions. One thing I loved about this hike! You look at the map, make sure that the weather will be ok for the route that looks appealing to you and than you go for it. The HRP routes are not marked as such, sometimes it uses existing trails, sometimes there are no trails but what I found is that there are a good amount of cairns to follow even this makes not always sense. The guidebook (Cicerone) speaks of somewhat like 45 days for the full crossing without off days. I kind of squeezed the trip in between two working appointments, so I hiked it in 20 days without rest days. This is a pace that most people would not enjoy and it took me around 12 hours (some days more) of hiking and a fair bit of running each day to make it in that frame which did not leave me any time for sidetrips. I am not a big peakbagger anyway, but there is a lot to explore out there, so plan in some extra days if you can. However I was focused on the crossing from Ocean to Sea primarily and liked the rhythm of having to hike all day every day to achieve that. There was not a single day on the whole crossing which I did not like, this is some splendid terrain, I tell you. But the views and scenery are hard to earn in long steep climbs and downs, be prepared and go as light as you can! Most people carry way too much and heavy stuff up and down these passes.

I really really enjoyed this route, the theme of it crossing from Ocean to Seathrough a very beautiful mountain range, no permits, not a lot of restrictions, reasonable amount of people, resupply options, the cultural aspects, no mosquitos, first class campsites, there was really no downer for me on this hike. I can recommend it to anyone who is seeking for a challenging hike and if you are not sure about the HRP, do a section hike or one of the GRs. They are great!  Need to go back!