The walker has a choice of three paths from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean along the length of the Pyrenees. The most northerly, the Pyrenean Way, officially the French GR10, starts in Hendaye and finishes in Banyuls. It is a mid-slope route with the highest pass at 2509m above sea level. The Haute Route Pyrénéenne sticks much closer to the watershed. If you chose to take in the Aneto, the highest peak in the Pyrenees, you will be climb to 3404m. The Senda Pirenaica, the Spanish GR11, is another mid-slope route but higher than the GR10, with a dozen passes over 2500m.
Maps of the GR11
I used a combination of the 1:40,000 maps contained in the Spanish Prames Guide (7th edition) and the Topo España 3.0 maps on my Garmin eTrex 30 GPS. The Prames maps are good for planning and only contain very occasional errors. (Beware: the coordinates used on Spanish maps are based on the Datum Europeu 1950 and not on WGS84 used in the rest of Europe. If you confuse the two you will be up to 200m out!).
The Topo España 3.0 map, if you know how to use a GPS, is much more useful in the field. Again, although the maps are mostly very accurate, I found some incredible errors. Notably, parts of the Senda Pirenaica between Planoles and Núria are marked as straight lines, as if the cartographer’s pen slipped!
The sketch maps in Brian Johnson’s excellent Cicerone guide to the GR11 are not really suitable for navigation. If you stray off the route they will be very little help – the scale (1:90,000) is too small and the detail insufficient in rugged mountain terrain.