I've climbed Misti most recently in Sept of 2012. We hired the most experienced tour guide in Arequipa (he had climbed more than 100 times) and the investment for our private 2-person tour was well worth it. We were taken care of from beginning to end - hot dinner and hot breakfast were prepared for us - and they did everything possible to make our climb easier. They knew - and I did not - that my now-husband was planning to propose at the summit. We did not train or prepare (though we live in Arequipa at high altitude). The first day is relatively easy hike. The second day is by far the hardest day of my life. If you are trained and experienced, I'm sure this is easier, but for the average healthy person, this is VERY difficult. THe altitude is what makes it hard. It was very cold overnight but we mostly couldn't sleep due to the altitude making you feel like you're suffocating. We started at 2am and reached the summit after 1pm. 11 hours of counting our steps and feeling like we were dying. If it hadn't been for the secret motive of the trip, I'm sure we would have quit, but I wasn't giving up even when our tour guide told us this was probably "far enough" he let us keep going. We made it and he proposed and the rest is history - it was perfect. But I wouldn't recommend as an average tourist adventure - it's just too difficult. It was 4 hours down back to the car. We ran out of water before we reached the summit (foolishly, we listened to the guide when he told how we had too much water, when in fact we needed it) so we were very dehydrated by the time we made it down...having to run down the entire way because the sun was going down and we were going to be trapped with no supplies on the side of the volcano otherwise. It's an amazing adventure every person who lives in Arequipa should do...and if you're a climber, def. do it while visiting.
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