- Name HRP - Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne (HRP)
- Durée en jours 45 jours
- Début de sentier Hendaye
- Fin de sentier Banyuls
- Classement Traildino DW, Marche difficile, bushwalk
- Classement Traversée de montagne T3, randonnée en montagne exigeante
The crossing of the Pyrenees is very rewarding, as every single hiker who made it will make clear.
The HRP, Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne or Pyrenees High Route was essentially the creation of one man, Georges Véron, the Alfred Wainwright of France. With approval of the Club Alpin Français he knit toghether many mountain trails, réfuges and gîtes, resulting in a continuous trail from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
We have three trails then, doing the same thing:
- the GR10, staying most of the time in the middle reaches of the Pyrenees
- the GR11, doing the same as the GR10 but on the Spanish side, a bit more strenuous
- the HRP, staying in the high mountains but avoiding climbing or glacier crossings.
The trail set out by Véron is difficult. Well into july you must be prepared to overcome snow in gullies and on steep slopes, which necessitates the use of crampons and ice axe. Then his scheme of 45 days is almost impossible to cope with, but for the very very fit. Facilities are better than on the high routes in the US, but austere compared to the Alps. Therefore people usually hike parts of the trail. Thru-hiking is the exception. There is no such social thing as in the US around the big hikes like the Continental Divide Trail or Pacific Crest Trail, which is a pity. A few European hikes really cater for this standard, among them the Via Alpina and the Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne.