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“Climbing Misti” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of El Misti

El Misti
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$46.50*
and up
Arequipa City Tour Including St Catherine Monastery
Ranked #5 of 99 things to do in Arequipa
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Peru
Level Contributor
40 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Climbing Misti”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2013

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.

Visited November 2012
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4 Thank MartitaAQP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Warsaw, Poland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“climbing El Misti with Quechua Tour Agency - perfect!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2013

I climbed El Misti on 11/12 September 2013. I have done it with Quechua Tour Agency at Calle Jerusalem, with only one girl more, but she bought her trip in some other agency. Generally you can buy a trip in any tourist agencies at Arequipa, but only few organized these trips; and Quechua is one of this. I can say it was fantastic experience. I read before a lot of bad reviews, with descriptions how every agency is cheating, so I've chosen my agency very carefully: and Quechua was perfect.
I also have to say that I know how to climb the mountains, it wasn't my first trip, before the trek I was working 3 weeks near Coropuna vulcano at 3800 (I'm archaeologist), so I hadn't problems with altitude. But be careful, if you want do it from Arequipa, it isn't sufficient. I also had a lot of equipment, like my own good sleeping-bag, mountain-outfit, good trekking shoes etc. But if you don't have it, you can also borrow all you need in the office, and all (except sticks - cost 20 soles) are included in a price. The office staff will check with you every element of your equipment, so they're really professional.
We were only two people who wanted climb Misti that day, so our trip was really cosy. Our guide, Jose, had more than 20 years of experience, and had climbed majority, if not all big mountains in Peru. He was also very patient for us. The other girl who climbed with me, had problems with altitude and stomach, and we both were not so fast. But Jose only encouraged us to the next steps and was really really nice. At the evening he prepared really good food: I know how normally people eat at the mountains, and two-dishes dinner was a nice surprise for me.
To sum up - with this agency trek was really excellent and well prepared, and I had great time. But also I was well prepared. I known the reality of trekking, and I would recommend to prepared yourself well, before starting complain about the tourist agency.

Visited September 2013
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4 Thank Weronika H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arequipa, Peru
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“El Misti trek”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2013

I climbed El Misti on 22/23 September 2013 with two family members. We booked our expedition with Wasi Tours on Calle Santa Catalina in Arequipa. Our experience was very positive.

Our guide showed up at the agency 20 minutes late on the day of our tour, but otherwise everything went smoothly. We walked a few blocks to another shop where we met the other members of our group. We were 8 climbers in total. I had my own sleeping bag, gloves, and hat, but these would have been provided if needed. The guide gave me a tent, ground pad, parka, snow pants, and a head-mounted flashlight. I paid a bit extra to rent a backpack and walking sticks. I do recommended that when booking the tour, one should ask the agent to write down *all* included supplies, meals, etc. on the receipt. The guide was surprised when I told him that I had been promised a flashlight, but when I showed him my receipt he promptly found flashlights for me and my two companions.

Included supplies vary depending on where you book your expedition. Some agencies include sleeping bags and clothing, some do not. Again, one should ask exactly which supplies are included, and make sure it is put in writing. Regarding meals and water, I found that every tour agency in Arequipa promised two meals only (a basic dinner on day 1 and a basic breakfast on day 2) and recommended carrying 5 liters of water per person. Of the five liters, they all stated that 1.5 liters would be given to the guide at base camp to use for cooking. On this front, Wasi Tours did exactly what they promised. One should not climb El Misti thinking that all food will be included by the tour agency, because this is not the case. At minimum one needs to bring food for two lunches and several snacks.

We left Arequipa at 10 a.m. on the first day. By 11 a.m. we reached the foothills of El Misti and began our hike. The first day's hike was five hours and forty minutes uphill from 3400 m to base camp at 4500 m above sea level. It was a strenuous walk with large heavy backpacks, but very doable for anyone who is reasonably well acclimatized (I had spent two days at 3600 m in the Colca Canyon prior to climbing El Misti). Two members of our party began to feel nauseous due to the altitude, but everyone made it to base camp. Again, I highly recommend bringing one's own food and energy-filled snacks such as nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, etc.

After we pitched our tent, our guide prepared dinner. Although I had been promised only a very basic dinner, I found the actual meal very tasty and filling. It consisted of mushroom soup, noodles with tuna and tomato sauce, and a hot cup of coca tea. We admired the views of the city for a while, then lay down at 7 p.m. to try to sleep.

At 1 a.m. the next morning our guide woke us for the summit attempt. He provided a breakfast of bread, jelly, butter, and more hot coca tea. By 2 a.m. we were on our way.

The first part of the hike was in darkness, as we followed our guide up unmarked trails with only our headlamps and moonlight for illumination. On this date the temperature was not too cold (around 0 degrees Celsius) and there was no wind. I began to sweat in my heavy clothing. There were two guides who took turns leading us. Eventually we split into two groups depending on our climbing speed. I was in the first group. We reached the summit at 9 a.m. after a 7-hour walk that was probably the most difficult athletic feat I've ever accomplished.

There was minimal ice and snow at this time of year. We did not need crampons, ice axes, rope, or any other technical equipment. We did traverse a small ice field but this was easily accomplished with hiking boots alone. At this time of year the hike is difficult mainly because of the altitude. By the time I reached 5300 meters I was walking very slowly, but our guide was very patient and allowed us to arrive at the summit at our own pace.

Of our group of eight climbers, only five reached the summit. One person developed altitude sickness at base camp and did not even attempt the climb on the second day. Two other tourists made it to an altitude of 5600 meters but were unable to climb higher due to exhaustion.

We spent twenty minutes at the summit (5825 m above sea level) admiring the views and taking photos. The subsequent descent was much quicker, as it took us only an hour to slide down sandy slopes to base camp. We ate lunch there, then spent another two hours sliding and walking back to the rendezvous point with the 4-wheel-drive vehicle that took us back to the city. We were in Arequipa by 2:30 p.m.

Overall it was a great tour. Our two guides each had at least 4 years of experience on El Misti. Everything that had been promised was delivered. One recommendation I have is to consider carefully how much water you will need. I tend to drink a lot of water, so I carried 6 liters rather than the recommended 5 liters. The only problem with bringing more water is that you have to lug all that weight to base camp. And remember that you will need to give 1.5 liters of your water to the guide for cooking (although a good amount of this water will be returned to you in the form of soup and tea).

Also, although this is not a technical climb, be sure to bring sufficiently warm clothing. Even at this warm time of year you will need, at a minimum, hiking boots (sneakers are not acceptable), gloves, hat, warm parka, and insulated pants. I also highly recommend either bringing or renting walking sticks, as I probably would not have reached the summit without the added leverage that my walking sticks gave me when ascending the slippery sandy slopes.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
11 Thank Aaron T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Be wary when choosing a tour company. Do not use Wasi Tours Arequipa.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2013

I agree with Oliver H earlier review. Some tour companies in Arequipa are just keen to take your money, with little regard for your safety on the trek. We are both very fit, experienced trekkers and have trekked at altitude before - we were however ill prepared for this and did not have the right equipment. We did not make it to the summit. Obviously some of the responsibility is ours for not having the right kit, but we did check thoroughly when we booked with Wasi Tours and were assured that all our meals would be provided, that adequate equipment would be provided and that our hiking shoes were suitable. We did not get breakfast or lunch on day one of the trek as promised. We did get dinner in the evening at camp, which was basic but adequate. We did not get any breakfast or lunch the second day so effectively had 1 proper meal in 2 days. Wasi Tours clearly told us that all meals wold be provided and this was written on our receipt. Our shoes were inadequate for the trek, there were some to borrow with the trek company, but these were in poor condition (and there were none in my husbands size). The guides were happy to let him go up in trainers - which proved to be wholly inadequate in the cold and the terrain. The guides themselves took little interest in the welfare of the group (one of them had never been up El Misti before). They got lost on the second day and ended up taking a much longer route than necessary. We saw other groups going past with guides carrying safety ropes and equipment, but saw no evidence of this for our guides. They were disorganised, did not check our equipment and when we got to camp they realised that that they were missing a sleeping bag at which point they tried to tell us that we should sleep in one sleeping bag so that they could have ours. (not physically possible! - The poor guide ended up wrapping himself in a spare tent. - Again lack of organisation meant that we carried an extra tent up). despite asking what we thought were the right questions at the time Wasi Tours lied outright to us about meals, equipment and safety. Under no circumstances use this company and try and get a reliable recommendation before doing this trek. it was a spectacular trek and well worth doing - just pick the right company.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank JenS2207
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2013

wonderful and marvelous vulcano, yu can see it from any point in Arequipa. With snow is unique. it is like a guardian of the city

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank josephtititi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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