Iparla is one of the first peaks to go over one thousand meters in the Pyrenees (when coming from the west to the east). It is in fact part of a rocky ridge standing between the valleys of Baztán (Spain) and Baigorry (France), and some other summits (Tutulia, Kuarteleko kaskoa, Lauordena-Buztanzelai, Ubedo, Atalazko kaskoa) are therefore available for summit baggers. A GR path (GR10) goes along the whole ridge, from Bidarray to the Col of Ispeguy and therefore the hike is not a difficult one. But it offers wonderful views and some good chances for photography lovers. The main trailheads are the col of Ispeguy (on the french-spanish border, it can be reached by road NA2600 from Spain) and the french villages of Bidarray or St.Etienne de Baigorry.
Getting ThereThe closest main towns on the spanish side of the border are Pamplona and San Sebastián (Donostia in the basque language). Both cities are linked to Elizondo by the bus company called “La Baztanesa”. From Elizondo there’s an additional seventeen kilometres to the trailhead of the Col of Izpegui (Ispeguy on French maps), and no public transport as far as I know. A taxi might be required therefore.
If driving from Pamplona, follow road N121A to Oronoz-Mugaire, turn right (east) at this population towards Elizondo (road N121B to “Puerto de Otsondo” and “Francia”. Keep going for an additional 5 km after Elizondo. You will reach a crossroads where signposts will mark to your right road NA2600 (to “Puerto de Izpegui” and “Francia”). Leave the car at the parking lot placed on the French (eastern) side of the col, after the buildings.
If driving from San Sebastián /Donostia follow road N-I east towards the French border. Just before crossing the border, turn right (south) for road N121A towards Bera de Bidasoa and Pamplona / Iruña. It is a 39 km drive by the beautiful Bidasoa valley and at Oronoz you will join the previously described drive from Pamplona
French trailheads: Bidarray and St Etienne de Baigorry. Bidarray is a small village most easily reached from the town of Biarritz (40 km away). If coming from Bordeaux or from the spanish border, you must follow highway A63 up to exit 4. Leave the highway at this spot and keep driving following road D918 along the river Nive towards Cambo Les Bains. When you get to this village, turn right into road D948. An additional drive of about 12 km (always following this D918) will put you at Bidarray. Get going after bypassing Bidarray, and turn right (south) at St.Martin d'Arrossa to enter road D918 to the village of St. Etienne de Baigorry.
Closest main railway stations:
On the spanish side Pamplona (70 km away from Col de Izpegui), San Sebastián/Donostia (69 km away from Izpegui).
On the french side Biarritz, St. Jean de Luz and Orthez
Closest main airports: Pamplona (70 km away from Col de Izpegui), San Sebastián/Donostia (69 km away from Izpegui, following the described driving route) and Biarritz (40 km away from Bidarray or 55 km away from St.Etienne de Baigorry)
Red TapeNo need for special equipment on the normal routes, except for that advised by weather conditions. Winter equipment is obviously needed for winter climbs and ascents from the French (eastern) side of the mountain might call for ropes, harness and additional elements (tapes, nails and so on…).
When To ClimbAny time of the year, for Iparla is quite a low mountain. Nevertheless, bear always in mind that it is placed a short distance away from the Bay of Biscay and the sea. This means that weather might change suddenly and summer climbs could (theoretically) offer a more stable weather.
Camping and lodgingCamping Baztán (1st class) is placed at Errazu, near road NA2600 to the Izpegui trailhead. There are some other camping sites on the french side:
- Camping Narbaitz (St.Jean Pied de Port)
- Camping municipal de l'Iroulegy (St.Etienne de Baigorry)
Check the links section.
- Official web page of the valley of Baztán
Full tourist information on the spanish side of Iparla (just spanish language, sorry about that but I thought it might give an idea of what to expect around there)
- Camping Baztán - Errazu
Full info on the 1st class camping at Errazu (Navarra). Only spanish language for the moment, either that or I wasn't able to open any other languages, but there's a Union Jack on the main page... ;-)
- Camping St.Jean Pied de Port
Camping site some kilometers away from the Baigorry trailhead... Open only March to September
- Camping de l'Irouleguy - Baigorry
Just the contact details, sorry