Up one level Peru and Bolivia, Dec 2006 - Jan 2007 » El Misti (5827m / 19,117 ft), Peru

El Misti (5827m / 19,117 ft), Peru

We signed up for a trip to El Misti with Zarate Expediciones. It cost more than the other agencies but we were quite keen to go on the trip with Carlos Zarate (84 years old at the time) who discovered a number of Inca sacrifices at the top of volcanoes near Arequipa. His son, Miguel Zarate, was the one that found Juanita together with an American archaeologist. Carlos was full of information about his climbs in the area, he would frequently point at something and tell us that he found x number of mummies and Inca artifacts x number of years ago. In fact, our trip was his 384th summit of El Misti!

For a walkup, El Misti was physically strenuous for several reasons: 1) we were barely acclimitized for those heights after spending two nights at 2000 meters (Arequipa) and one night at 3600 meters (Chivay), and no real physical exertion at those altitudes. 2) This period was the second day of my 12 day bout with food poisoning and a bad cold that plagued me through the trip. 3) The trailhead was at 3415 m (11,204 ft) and the summit was at 5827 m (19,117 ft), translating to an elevation gain of almost 8,000 ft to be covered over two days. 4) There's no water on the mountain and we had to carry 12 liters for both of us for 2 days. 5) I forgot to pack my energy drinks to Peru, which would have been quite helpful since I couldn't eat any solid food. On hindsight, I think a better choice for acclimitization is Chachani because, although higher, it is an easier climb since from trailhead to summit is only 1000 meters over 2 days.

When we reached the crater rim, it started to snow, and Serene and I hurried to make the summit before the weather broke completely. We ended up descending at the start of a snowstorm that plastered the upper part of the mountain with snow that was visible from Arequipa the next day. Descending El Misti was a breeze since you get to scree surf all the way down; bring good gaiters for your trail runners! The weather broke after this point in our trip and it rained almost every day from then. I'd wanted to climb in the Cordillera Real (Bolivia) but gave those plans up because of the weather.

_mg_8352 Misti from our hotel's rooftop patio. _mg_8352_crw_8088 Taking the previous photo. Taken by Serene Koh. _mg_8361 Serene approaching El Misti (19,117 ft). _mg_8379 Serene taking a break on the approach. _mg_8384 Serene and Carlos Zarate on the approach. _mg_8406 Carlos, Serene, and I at Campo Pyramide (4600 m). _mg_8410 Serene peeking out of our tent. _mg_8413 Arequipa from Campo Pyramide. _mg_8418 Pichu Pichu at sunrise. _mg_8430 Serene and Carlos on summit day. _mg_8437 Eroded valleys at the foot of Misti. _mg_8442 Carlos taking a break. _mg_8446 Serene and Carlos heading to the crater rim. _mg_8448 El Misti crater. _mg_8450 Serene on the summit ridge. _mg_8456 Volcan Chachani from the summit of El Misti. _mg_8460 Summit cross. _mg_8464 Descending El Misti (19,117 ft). _mg_8470 Scree surfing on Misti. _mg_8481 The hike out. _mg_8534 El Misti with a coating of snow on the top the next day.