Volcan Misti

Volcan Misti

In an Earth made of volcanoes, there are none like that of the great one in Arequipa, in the south of Peru. As soon as you arrive to the white city of Arequipa, you will notice Misti absolutely DOMINATING the skyline. Side by side are neighboring mountains/volcanoes Mount Chachani and Pichu Pichu Volcano. Meanwhile in the middle, Misti, also known as the great lord or the gentleman is sure to put you to the test if you choose to hike this old beast. I can assure you after hiking to the summit of this monstrous and massive volcano he was anything BUT a gentleman to me. I’ll explain why. If you wish to succeed in a Misti Summit, read my story.

Captain Nomad

Volcan Misti Intel

Hiking Agua Blanca (South Eastern) Route

  • Volcan Misti Summit Elevation: 19,101 Feet Tall (5,822 Meters)
  • Aguada Blanca (SE) Trail Head Elevation: 11,204 Feet (3415 Meters)
  • Arequipa City Elevation: 7,638 Feet City Average (2,328 Meters)
  • Prominence: 5,856 Feet (1,785 Meters)
  • Weather: Average Mostly Sunny and Dry (Light Snow in Winter)
  • Summit Temperature: Low 8*F(-13*C ) — High 37*F(3*C)
  • Arequipa Temperature: Low 47*F (8*C) — High 76*F (24*C)
  • Parent Mountain Range: ANDES – South America
  • Coordinates: -16.20°S/-71.25°W
  • Campsites: Campamento Piramides 1 or Campamento Nido de Aguilas
  • Summit Landmark: Cruz de la Cima del Misti (33 Foot Tall Iron Cross)
  • Volcano Type: Stratovolcano – Last erupted 1985 – Cone like design
  • Actions Required: Hiking — Mountaineering — Scrambling
  • Climb Time: 2-3 Days/26 HRs (Day 1 8/HRs-Day 2 14/HRs-Day 3 4/HRs)
  • Gear Used: Trekking Poles, Hiking Boots, 1 Person Backpacker Tent, Sleeping Bag, Mini Pillow, Headlamp, 65L Backpack, Day Pack, Phone GPS, O2 Can, Cannon Camera, Cold Food and 2 x 3L) 7 Liters of Water.
  • Gear Desired: Satellite Phone, GPS NAV, GPS Tracker, Knee Braces, Compact Inflatable Sleeping Pad, Misti Topographic Map and More Water

Extra Gear recommended for Volcan Misti

Hiking Volcan Misti Agua Blanca (South Eastern) Route

Volcan Misti from the city Streets of Arequipa

Volcan Misti Full Story

Whether you are a just swinging through Peru for a quick trip to Machu Picchu or had been traveling all over for 3 months like myself. Chances are once you arrive to the white city (Ciudad Blanca) of Arequipa in the south of Peru, nothing will quite hit you like the wonderful sight of Volcan Misti. Easily one of Peru’s greatest visuals and one of the largest Volcanoes in the whole world. Standing tall at a mighty 19,101 Feet Tall (5,822 Meters) it just absolutely demands your attention wherever you explore in this entire region. Luckily I was staying at a cozy Air BnB apartment not too far away, with a lovely view of Misti, the city and other wonders from the rooftop terrace.

Bridge View of Chachani

Chachani is the highest Mountain Peek in this region of Peru standing at
6,057 m (19,872 ft)

After leaving the Cusco region in October, I was staying in Arequipa for a month. Month long Air BnB can turn out to be an excellent investment if you can travel slow with an ability to make money from a distance. That, try to volunteer for a work away host or just come with a decent savings for your time off work. Since this 2 Bedroom 1 Bath with a rooftop view only cost $300 for the month. This was not a bad way to help acclimate to the elevations and enjoy the view of the massive Adventure that lays ahead. Not to mention the sunsets absolutely rock here in Arequipa so this became a daily tradition to enjoy around dinner time.

Preparing to hike Volcan Misti in November 2018

Beautiful Sunsets daily here in the city of Arequipa

At this point I had spent as much time as I could planning for the hike to be victorious at the Summit of Misti, but to no surprise, I was still not truly prepared. Certainly the month I spent in Cusco living at almost 11,200 Feet (4,000+ Meters), the 5 day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu bringing me up to 15,000 Feet and the quick day Hike to Rainbow Mountain reaching over 17,000 Feet would help prepare me for Volcan Misti. I felt strong but by no means would be easily guaranteed any success of breaking my own personal record in new Mountain elevations. I thought my gear was also solid in my preparation for this hike using my old faithful North Face 65L backpack to hold everything together. Packing 7 Liters of water in exactly 3 different bottles. I kept 2 different 3 Liter Bottles on me to begin the ascent, while leaving the smaller 1 liter bottle behind hidden at the starting point. The idea would be use the 1st bottle till Camp, then next bottle or the Summit up and down, only to return to the beginning for my final bottle of water, where the Taxi driver would drop me off on the main road (use it for the end ride.) This was going to be a Solo hike, which can always be your best blessing or your worst nightmare depending on which variables the Mountain decides to throw your way. I may have had something very mean coming my way but also would experience pure magic of nature.

Hiking Alone v.s. Hiking in a Tour

Looking at Volcan Misti from the apartment on Argentina Ave.

Also, I was on a very tight budget for my remaining 4 months through South America and didn’t feel like purchasing a pricey tour or guide. Which looking back was not the brightest idea. Not only being iffy on the actual trail (Google Maps Helped) but also having no access to the trail head by Taxi. Apparently the entrance to the trail head is some private property zone with a big gated steel door that only opens for those that either live inside or have permits to drive a 4×4 SUV for a professional tour of Misti. That meaning not only was my little Taxi not going to be able to get through that main passage but eventually it wouldn’t handle the sloppy sandy road ahead. Telling my girlfriend where I would be hiking and how much time.

Nomad Tip #1: When hiking Solo, tell someone else your full trail plan.

Getting a Taxi to take me to Misti from back in my Arequipa neighborhood of Alto Salava Alegre, wasn’t the quickest task either. My Espanol was a little weak but good enough to say “Amigo, necesito un taxi para caminar Volcan Misti por favor.” I was turned down by 3 cabs before my 4th one said he would help. Even him… I had to struggle to talk to for 20 minutes before he felt comfortable enough to take me, he was so worried about my safety. After doing my best to tell him that this would not be my first hike and promising to pay S/ 50 Soles ($15) to take me on the 45 minute drive (Roughly 11 miles/18 KM) to start my journey. Had this operation worked out completely as planned it would have saved me an extra 6+ hours of hiking. I really wouldn’t see the logic in beginning your hike in the heart of the city such as Plaza de Armas, unless you want to run it like the Incas did. Apparently there is some old Incan tale that says the Quechua runners had raced many times from Plaza de Armas to the top of Misti in 2 Hours and 45 minutes… I will let you be the judge of that statement made by my guide on the free walking tour. If this is true, then yes, it’s safe to say I was way out of shape here for my own time record. Either way, this hike would not be an old Inca race or a paid for guided tour or even a slow walk from town. I had no interest in wasting ANY valuable energy on my body. Also, had no interest in wasting ANY of my time, since in 2 days I needed to be on a bus at 5:00 p.m. making my way towards the jungle boat town of Pucallpa, Peru.

Taking a Taxi to the trail head

Taking the taxi to the trail head quickly became not possible after driving about 40 minutes, turning around and still seeing no sign of it. Un-able to drive through the gate and un-able to drive through the sloppy sand road beyond the gate. Still had him take me as close as I could get. There was a good horse shoe shaped turn near an old river bed… sadly full of trash. My Driver Angel, a really friendly happy guy had pulled over and dropped me off. This was the location where I saw an old cardboard box near the trash that I hid my Emergency bottle of water in. I told him to return back to this same point tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. As the adventure for me began, Angel my Taxi driver drove off and without either of us knowing got an unexpected extra tip beyond the S/ 20 I gave him.

Nomad Tip#2 Don’t leave your valuable coins in a Taxi door or floor.

Approaching Volcan Misti from the main road in the South East

Hiking Volcan Misti Solo

Starting finally at 2:00 p.m. (1400) mid day leaving the main road and the Taxi behind. Just getting to the trail head alone… took me 3 hours hiking from the road. After, walking past the old river bed filled with trash where I hid my water, the terrain became more vast, deserted and void of any people. The 4×4 dirt road was slightly to my right as I hiked through some cool volcanic crevices. Avoiding some of the other hikes that require you to go through some tough neighborhoods might continue to be a wise choice. As I got further away from the road, I could hear gunshots in the distance and silence up ahead with Misti. This was mainly a flat approach with a very minimal increase from city elevation.

Use this google map pin point to use as a possible starting point to Misti’s trail head. The road we drove the Taxi on was Avenue Via Hermosa. If you hit the next major road the 34C, you will have already gone too far. Past the gate and this possible start point. If you book a tour they will be able to get you through this gate and save you an additional 6 hours of hiking round trip. Again if money is tight and a professional tour guide isn’t possible please use all of my information to help you stay safe, smart and succeed.

https://goo.gl/maps/NU5qUXkeuW12

Be Prepared for a supreme South American landscape

Approaching the 4×4 dirt road towards the trail head

Nomad Tip #3: If you have spare money ($200+), book a private tour.

Finally after the 3 hour warm up I was making my way up the actual start of the mountain’s incline at around 5:00 p.m. (1700.) Leaving from the Aguada Blanca (SE) Trail Head making my way up to the campsite for the first night of sleep. I had only planned on camping here one night. Maybe I read other blogs about a different trail and all the information got mixed up with my actual route. The amount of time I thought I would need for this hike was roughly 16 hours total. That couldn’t have been farther from my reality, yet again had I been with a tour it’s easy to assume this would have been much faster. Less time fixing myself on an off trail hike, less time looking at my phone’s GPS and more time enjoying the fun of the scenery. Everything becomes so big here as the city of Arequipa in the distance grows smaller and smaller. When starting on this specific trail luckily I saw the trail head sign as well as an off road 4×4 tour driver waiting for a few hikers to return from their journey’s end. After speaking with the man here, he told me in Spanish “Quatro Mas Horas alla Campamento” which luckily with my limited Espanol skills, I did know it would be roughly 4 more hours ahead to the campsite.

Start of the Aguada Blanca (SE) Trail Head

Nomad Tip #4: Always send the picture and GPS location of the trail head sign to a friend or family member that will not be hiking with you.

Trail Head GPS Location: 16°20’45.9″S 71°25’12.7″W

Trail Name on Google Maps: Sendero a base 1

The actual trail head sign warning NO (Bano) RESTROOM ahead

Up and Up we go. Can’t forget to pack toilet paper and disposal bags. If you need to go number 2 poo poo, always be mindful of other hikers, any wildlife that might be roaming these parts as well as the delicate plant life. I personally did not run into any animals in this zone, but this is a HUGE piece of land and we will never know who might pass through, where and when. Now I’m not exactly recommending you carry your poop up to the Summit with you, just remember the spot you bagged it up and be kind to carry it out on your way down. Don’t worry about privacy, since you most likely won’t bump into many people. In fact this bit of hikers on the private tour I bumped into around an hour into the hike, would be the LAST people I would see for almost 2 days, Adios Amigos. Nature here we come!

The only hikers I saw the entire Misti Adventure

Everything seemed dry. No rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, waterfalls or even a drop of rain to save you from this extremely dry volcanic region. Lots of bushes, sand and rocks near the bottom portion of Misti. I had hoped I packed enough water, because although I wasn’t always hungry, I certainly needed to hydrate to be able to make it to the top. This type of terrain always has a mental effect on me to need more water as well. To my knowledge, there would be no natural spring and no where to refill your water, this must be kept in mind. Between the location of the trail head there were some beautiful moments I tried to capture on camera as I was still trying to move to match the 4 hours the guide advised of below. Still as the sun changed so did the cloak of Misti.

Misti getting ready for the last of the day’s sun

It ended up taking me 5 hours to get to my “campsite.” This was most likely due to adding time for a water break, a stretch, a photo op or a GPS check. Using my phone’s google maps seemed to work fine with or without the cell signal. As long as you download the region for an offline map while deeply connected in the city area you will still be able to zoom in and zoom out to keep your blue dot on the trail which reads “Sendero a Base 1.” I was avoided what looked like the longer more scenic foot path that veered to the left. This was the dotted line on the map named “Camino Del Mirador a Piramides 1. This looked as if it would eventually take me to the first campsite as well but I chose to stay on the main trail straight ahead. I only had to hike in the dark for about 2 hours, which with a head lamp isn’t so bad. Not to mention the sun resting from it’s daily duty here takes less energy out of you, but that was only after it blessed us with the colorful skies of Arequipa as the climb of Misti blocked out the last sun of the day. I set up my tent, had a bite to eat and quickly passed out by 11:00 p.m. (2300.)

Sunset over Arequipa from half way up Misti.

Camping on Volcan Misti

I wouldn’t exactly call the two campsites available on this trail named, Campamento Piramides 1 or Campamento Nido de Aguilas an actual campsite. It was mainly a place with some flat land and some organized man made rock walls to help reduce some environmental influence such as wind from making your tent struggle. That or it was just some one playing with rocks at high altitudes for god knows what reason. This meant no Banos, no fire rings, no log to sit on, no scoutmasters telling stories over s’mores, nothing and no one was to be found here. Therefor if camping is your favorite part of hiking, bring what you need to feel at home here. Just don’t even think about taking your main backpack full of gear beyond this point. I chose the first campsite which was approximately 1-2 hours behind the second one. After starting from the road going up hill for 8 hours, I was already ready for bed. Set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. (0530) to begin my day and be back on the trail no later than 6:00 a.m. (0600.) Luckily Misti had a pleasant sunrise surprise in store for me and my humble campsite overlooking our neighbor mountains.

My 1 person campsite about 40% of the way up Misti

Backpacking on Volcan Misti

From here I decided to leave behind my big backpack with my tent, sleeping bag, flashlight, extra water, food and anything else I wouldn’t need slowing me down for the final approach to the Summit. Every pound and ounce counts. I was always worried about people stealing stuff but with no one around and no intention of torturing myself with any longer with all the extra weight, I left it behind. However, I did my best to make the goods inside look as least attractive as possible, putting all my sweaty clothes right near the entrance and completely stashing valuable things like my expensive portable USB phone charger. With the mess I left in there, I was sure even if there were any other hikers they would change their thieve like mind after looking at the inside. Another good reason for the tour group I’d say. One thing is true, the nature stays constant with a great view for 1 or 2.

Interesting moss covered alien like rocks at higher elevations

As the temperatures begin to change higher up, so did the plant life. The air up here was cooler and just a little moist. Actually a nice change of pace from the dry, sunny heat that was pounding me near the bottom half. With an early start, I was expecting to get from my campsite up to the top of the crater in 6 hours by 12:00 noon. It was only a short while before I self discovered the second available campsite, the one named Campamento Nido de Aguilas which was still perfectly ahead on the trail named Sandero a Base 1. Now moving forward the trail on the map would be named Sendero al Crater del Misti. There were no more of these campsites up ahead and although I could have slept at a higher altitude, it was too late and I was too tired the night before to make it to this second higher site.

A spot to put your tent at the campsite, Campamento Nido de Aguilas

If you spot any trash, try to take some of it with you on the way out when going down, going up… hell no. I was using my trekking poles as much as I could to help me battle this incline before needing to eventual strap them to my day pack or put them in one hand to throw far ahead of me as I needed to climb over one big boulder to the next. By now my body was feeling empty, legs were heavy and my breaks in between breaths kept increasing. The city was so far now. Yet the higher I got the more excited I became.

Hiking to the top of Volcan Misti

I wasn’t going to let this gentleman beat me in a game of patience so I took my time whenever I felt out of breath. Sometimes it got so bad being so high up with low O2, I would just walk 10 steps and breath for 30 seconds and kept repeating this. I had purchased one of the small O2 tanks in town, to use in case things got hairy. However, I only found myself using it when I took a long break. Basically it came in handy to help me rest but since it wasn’t a continuous flow of O2, it did nothing for me once I got moving again. Especially during the moments when I had to use my upper body strength to pull me up higher over the next massive rock in my way. It was taking everything out of me, everything I had physically was needed. Heart started pounding more and my lungs felt like tiny little water balloons.

Just a bunch of big boulders between me and the top

As we get closer to the crater we can feel the spirit of the Mountain taunting us. The boulders demanded my attention in case anything were to shift due to Volcanic activity or an Earthquake. Since I had felt a solid earthquake back in my time in the city of Arequipa, I didn’t want to sleep on it here. The damn volcanic rocks and sand makes you scramble left to right too. Nothing is truly solid staying in the same place. I kept referring back to my phone’s GPS/Map to see if I was still on the trail. Sometimes I would be 20 steps too far to the right or too far to the left so I kept re alligning to the center. However, there was never really anything that let me know I was on a trail. No dirt path, no paint, no signs, no railings, no ropes, no markers and barely even any other footsteps from previous hikers. Which to me always felt weird following. Would I be following the wrong footsteps to the wrong place? Now I started to question how badly I really wanted this. Everything was hurting, my heart couldn’t rest and the air was so thin. Thankfully after throwing myself over the next big boulder I saw it, the top.

The Cross at the Summit (Another 2 Hours from here)

The Summit Landmark, Cruz de la Cima del Misti a 33 Foot Tall Iron Cross was in my sight finally. It was so close, but why was it taking me so long to get there!? Oh yea… because after already hiking 2 days for 15 hours, battling all the loose slippery volcanic rock and dealing with the highest elevated parts of South Peru, this was by far the most challenging moment of the entire Misti Adventure. Somewhere around 18,500+ Feet by now, it was certainly anything but a lazy beach day in Waikiki Hawaii let’s just say that much. My goal was just up ahead… time to dig into whatever gas I might have left in my tank to leave here victorious unlike some of my other previous mountain summit attempts on Fuji, Whitney or Shasta. I needed it. After walking on an upward angled deadly slope, I dug my feet into the loose gravel and slowly made it to the top of the crater to crash down and rest for a bit. From here I could see some marvelous things all around me.

Volcan Misti Crater in Arequipa Peru

What a view, with mountains all in the surrounding region, playing their part of the Andes in Peru. Arequipa the city was so far away and so small compared to Misti, I didn’t even have a camera that could capture it. Such vast land, I could see an old salt bed lake in the far distance. If you have extra time and energy you could easily spend another 3 hours of exploring and taking pictures up here. There is a trail that loops around the heart of the Crater. However, I had my heart set on a different mission. From here at the top of the main trail where you meet the mighty volcano’s crater, it would be another 45 minutes to continue the slow tall march up to the Summit’s cross. I had to be smart, by now I was already low on water.

The view looking North from the cross on Misti’s Summit

When I began my final ascent for the last 45 minutes to the true Summit point, I saw the cross being surrounded by 2 small dust tornadoes. At this same moment the only song that I have in my playlist of 600 songs that involved Jesus began to play in my ears. The height of this cross is 33 feet tall, the age Christ died. It seems the magical number 33 and a Mountain’s summit have its own unique spiritual powers of communicating. I don’t say this to force anyone into any religion or way of belief, only to document what I have experienced in my travels exactly as it happened to me. It might always be worth it to all of us to remain aware of any possible clues from any other possible teachers. If you can’t see what I’m talking about, maybe try switching your perspective and come here to see for yourself.

The Summit’s Iron Cross standing at 33 Feet Tall

Nomad Tip #5: Always take a selfie when you reach the top of a Summit. You might need it as proof to join other more advanced trekking tours.

Victorious at the Summit of Volcan Misti (19,101 Feet/5,822 Meters) in Arequipa Peru

What goes up must come down

I wish I could tell you the story just ended here, happily every after and there was a luxurious helicopter that came to pick me up to fly away. Maybe even a beautiful cocktail waitress with an open bar on board to help me begin my celebration as the pilot guided me safely back to my apartment in Arequipa City area. This just sadly isn’t how most Mountain climbs finish. You have to make your way all the way back down safely. Luckily I had the winning spirit of being victorious at the summit and it should be easier moving forward, as I go down instead of up. The O2 would start to increase the lower I went. My heart started to relax just a bit and my legs were now using different muscles to go down. Also, without a shout of a doubt, this first moment of descending down from the Crater was the absolute MOST FUN part of the entire hike. I wasn’t going to be taking the main trail back down, I took the shortcut and used the steep slope. Captain of my soul and native to being Nomad, I ran straight down!

The Steep Slope Downhill filled with Volcanic Sand and Rocks

Going down Volcan Misti the fast way

Weeeeeee! This was so much fun and it looked a lot dangerous then it really was. I used my trekking poles to help eat the fall of all my weight, one in front of each heel step. This helped ease the load on my knees. Always the thing with a Summit hike, is the feeling of your thighs and calves burning in pain from the constant march up. However, going down it’s the joints you have to look out for like the ankles and knees. My ankles were holding up fine thanks to my boots being Military tough, even though I wasn’t military myself. Looking back I really wish I had some knee braces to use for the way down. I was moving real fast and with the trekking poles it felt like I was skiing down a volcano without the skiis. Letting my heel touch the ground below first as all the rocks and sand slid down with me. By now I had to put my goggles on because with the wind this high up and the loose volcanic dust it was all blowing everywhere. Despite this method being very fun and very fast, it definitely came at a price. My left knee was truly busted up after this crazy descent. This would make the remainder of escaping Misti much, much harder. So I say to you, if you have an appointment you are trying to make with some one after a long brutal hike, is it worth rushing to? The hiker is at risk, not the waiter, be smart & safe.

After taking the shortcut I could finally barely see my little campsite ahead

Using the right footwear for hiking helps protect ankles

What had taken me 8 hours to get from the campsite to the Summit, now only took me 2 hours to slide down a sharp, steep slope. Now I could rest my knee a bit and see the view of my distant tiny green tent at Campamento Piramides 1. It would be only about another hour of hiking before I could get to my site and have a lunch, some water, some stretching and time to pack it all up. I took about another hour at the campsite to close up shop. At this time I knew I would be running late not only to meet my girlfriend for a beer at night but also the time I told the Taxi driver Angel to be at the same meeting point. Whenever I had service I would text him to say, give me 2 more hours, another 2 hours, 1 more hour, and so forth. This is another moment where I was reminded booking a tour would be great.

Still some wonders to enjoy on the way down Misti

Is Peru for you?

Now that I was fully packed up, I began my final 4 hours or so towards trail head and then would probably need to factor in another 2 hours or so down the 4×4 dirt road to get back to the main road meet up point. My timing was so far off, I had no clue what to tell the Taxi driver in Whats App. Just one foot in front of the next, don’t get so caught up in the summit victory or the celebration that would follow in the city at night. Stay focused and make sure we get out of here alive. Most importantly don’t get lost and don’t run out of water. This is an obvious factor but I kept trying to take short cuts because I was tired and wanted to truly rest. Relax tonight and tomorrow pack to get ready for my overnight sleeper bus through Lima on the way to the Amazon Jungle boat town of Pucallpa Peru. My mind was so far ahead of my legs and my basic ability to finish this hike safe and sound. This next moment is when my luck changed and literally everything went down hill.

The last Sunset I would enjoy in Arequipa

Getting lost on Volcan Misti

I lost my phone…. it just fell out of my pocket. I was using the GPS to stay focused on the trail which was just to my right. The second shortcut after I reached camp should NEVER have been taken. Misti was now deciding my final fate here on the mega Peruvian Volcano, as my water was running out, my left knee was useless and I had no phone or GPS to help me escape. This damn phone not only was a wonderful gift I received from my girlfriend but also my only SIM card connected to my business back in the USA. This would not only damage my contact for tonight with the Taxi driver but also shut me down financially over the next 3 weeks as I waited for a replacement phone and American SIM card to be shipped to Peru. This moment single handedly ended my full Joy of reaching the Summit of Misti. Being in a no service area no one would be able to call to help me find it. I tried all kinds of tricks with my small blue tooth speaker and searched for over 3 hours in the same spot over and over. I needed this phone so badly not only to get out of here with GPS correctly but to maintain my remaining travel through South America the next 4 months. Sadly, it was gone…

Nomad Tip #6: When hiking Solo consider buying a Satellite Phone backup for Emergencies when normal cell phones aren’t good enough.

My backpack with no water left completely covered in dust

How long can you hike without water?

I had set up camp again to sleep it off and hope to find the phone in the early morning with some sun light since it was already dark and my flash light battery was low. I made a fire, tried to meditate to relax and prayed for some success in the morning. Morning came and the phone never did. Now I knew everyone would be worried, screw the phone, I gotta get out of here! Packed up the tent and pushed myself harder than I remember at the top. I’ve fasted for 21 days before so I knew starvation wouldn’t be my death. However, I had only recently attempted an easier 4 hour hike in Colca Canyon before practicing with no water. My water was down to half a bottle and I always felt so dry, dehydrated and thirsty. I didn’t pack enough water and NEVER should have left the trail near the first campsite. I was way off course to the left of where I needed to be, I could tell from the view ahead. I kept one final swig in my water bottle. Not sure why, maybe I figured worst case scenario it would be my last pleasure before rotting away in this abandoned hell of a Volcanic mess I was in. No one was nearby, no phone to communicate or look at the trail, no water to fix my body. Our bus was going to be leaving at 5:00 p.m. and it had to be at least 10:00 a.m. (1000) by now. Nothing about this was looking good, I started to question the point in doing the whole journey. That and I questioned why most of us are so addicted to our phones these days. Like as if loosing a phone was as bad as loosing a limb. I refused to go negative and kept a positive mindset to get me out of here alive. After hours of wandering away from Misti and towards any road I could find, I saw him. His name was not Angel but he might as well have been one. In the distance I could see a 4×4 Jeep coming towards me. He had water and a way out… I was saved.

The 4×4 Jeep that saved me from the tight death grip of Misti

Using a Jeep to escape Volcan Misti

He could tell I was done for, depleted of any and all human energy. My face was burnt, body covered in volcanic dust, face scratched from all the bushes I needed to force through off the trail. With a busted knee, no phone and no water, he had no interest in charging me, just wanted to help get me back to my place. Speaking no English, we did the most we could to enjoy the ride with a basic conversation using my Espanol. It all worked out for him since he lived very close to where I was staying in Alto Selva Alegre. I was just so relieved to know it was over. My Girlfriend, my Air BnB host and everyone else I knew here were worried. They were at the police station preparing a search and rescue team. Luckily I got to them by 12:00 noon and was early enough to sign the papers and save them the time, energy and resources to come and find me on Misti.

Nomad Tip #7: The best thing you can pack on any Adventure is a strong spirit & positive attitude. It may be the only thing you have left.

My savior from Misti on his way

Surviving the Volcan Misti Adventure

I was speechless. I made it to the top of Misti and back to the city alive. Made it back to my friends and prepared to pack for our bus ride leaving Arequipa in just 4 hours. Looking back I learned so much from this journey. For me, I would never consider this type of Solo hike again without having a backup Satellite phone at the very least. A much better plan in regards to the amount of water I pack in a zone void of water. A separate GPS navigator for sticking on the trail and other useful offline maps to help me in case a device gets lost or stolen during the trek. Even a basic knee brace might have helped me move a little faster and safer on my way out. No matter how much I would have done things differently after knowing what I know now, I don’t regret it for a second. Misti was nothing short of spectacular for me to experience in the fashion I did. You can decide if hiking Misti is for you and if it’s worth it to go Alone or with a tour. Sometimes no matter how much the Intel is telling us otherwise, our Soul already knows what it wants. I chose to listen to mine and because I did, I became that much more the Man I am today. Cheers to you Gentleman Misti, a Volcano I shall never forget, thank you.

-Captain Nomad

Some Angels come with wings, mine came with wheels

Use my Air BnB link to get up to $40 credit for your stay

https://www.airbnb.com/c/mmuench4?currency=USD

Always a great idea to have travel insurance

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