One of the best hikes in the world is the
Misti Volcano Trek
Misti at 5822m (19,101ft) is one of the easiest, most visible, most popular, most accessible high summits in the world. It is recommended for all self-sufficient hikers. If you tolerate cold & altitude symptoms, the ascent is little trouble in good weather.
WHY WE LIKE THIS HIKE
- PERU, all things considered, offers the best alpine hiking in the world
- Misti is a trekking peak no mountaineering skills or gear needed if the weather is good
- easy access from Arequipa, our favourite city in Peru
- 6 sacrificial mummies found on top in 1998
- bleak & beautiful desert terrain
- travel Peru for as little as US$20 / day
- Misti is close to the excellent Colca Canyon trek
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This hike and climb are unregulated. No park rangers. No campsites. No toilets. You are on your own if you hike independently.
- For acclimatization Cuzco 3326m (10,912ft) is better than Arequipa 2230m (7316ft).
- the climb is high, windy & cold!
- 12+-hour long dark nights in the tent
- altitude sickness is a real risk
- evacuation is easy, however. Simply descend.
- temperatures can fall below freezing at the camp site
- no water on the mountain. Carry 7-8 litres / person
- hikers have been robbed climbing Misti but not on the less used, 3-day, far side of the volcano route we recommend.
- Misti is an active volcano
- a similar but more difficult climb is Huayna Potosi out of La Paz, Bolivia
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The most popular route is to climb Misti in 2 days from Arequipa. We recommend instead that you do the longer route described in Lonely Planet Trekking in the Central Andes 2003 . It is far superior.
- 3 days, 25km circuit plus the climb
- tent 2 nights
- trailhead 2 hours by rented jeep (US$50 / group) out of Arequipa
- access to cross the dam at Aguada Blanca normally included in the jeep rental. Small gift for the guards recommended. (The shorter, 2-day option on the Arequipa side of the Volcano does not necessitate a jeep rental.)
- exit by public mini-bus from the small town of Chiguata, mini-bus back to Arequipa (45min, $1).
- it is easy to rent gear in Arequipa if needed
If you sign on with a trekking company, they will organize transport.
- best months May through September dry season
- it is possible to climb during the off-season, but it will be much more challenging
- there is no fixed route up the scree. You decide your own line, traversing as much as necessary.
INDEPENDENT OR GUIDED?
- experienced hikers can easily attempt this climb independently
The safest, more expensive way to climb Misti is to sign on with a trekking company. Recommended firms include:
- South American Explorers Cuzco is your first and best source of information. Look for hiking partners through the SAE website or by posting a note at their Cuzco clubhouse.
- Colca Trek in Arequipa is helpful as are some of the other agencies in Arequipa
BEST TREKKING GUIDEBOOKS
Lonely Planet Trekking in the Central Andes 2003 is our favourite. It's all you need to do this trek.
After this site, the best links are:
BEST PHOTOS & TRIP REPORTS