Monday, 15 October 2007

El Misti Part 2

We've returned safe & sound from tackling El Misti - it was quite an experience! The views from all over the mountain are incredible- it very much felt like we where in a plane looking down at all the ant-scale scenery. The nearby town of Arequipa is at 2,330m, so from the top of Misti (5,822m) it's a 3.5km difference. The photos here don't really do the views justice :)

Here's the starting gate, at 3,415m - doesn't look that hard from here!


We made base camp at 4,700m - about 5 hours from the start. It was an early night, as the sun goes down around 5:30, and there's not a lot to do once night falls. It's also pretty hard to sleep this high up, the altitude makes anyone a very light sleeper.


Sunset and the city lights of Arequipa:


We started heading uphill again at 3:00am, to reach the summit in the early morning - the views are much better then (less pollution). Kat unfortunately wasn't feeling too good due to the altitude, and stayed at base camp rather than ascending further.

Sunrise at around 5,000m - gives a good idea of the slope of the mountain as well:


The shadow cast by Misti as the sun rose was pretty impressive - it stretched for miles!


We made it to the top in about 5 hours, just after 8am. Fortunately I was acclimatised enough to not be too bothered by the height, though breathing did get pretty hard after 5,500 or so. The very last section is fairly steep, this definitely took me a while to get through!

The finishing line, at 5,822m:


On top of the world:


The nearby volcano Chachani, which is about 200m higher than Misti - it's also a very popular climb:


The best part was coming down - we scree-ran the entire way back to base camp, dropping 1.1k in altitude in about 20min. Here's Jose (our guide) and I coming off that:


All in all a great climb, though the legs were a bit sore afterwards :)

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