Misti Volcano


El Misti (Spanish: El Misti) - an active volcano, which is located near the second largest city of Peru - Arequipa. The Chile River, flowing through the city, goes into the canyon between El Misti and the ancient Chachani volcanic complex located to the north.

The volcano is interesting not only from a geological point of view as an active volcano. But also due to the fact that next to one of the three craters, mummies of the Inca times and several artifacts were found. The finds are kept at the Andean Sanctuary Museum (Museo de Santuarios Andinos) in Arequipa.

Ascent to El Misti is possible at any time of the year, although in winter, especially in December and January, this is hampered by low temperature and poor visibility. Although the last eruption was weak and happened in 1985, the realization that the volcano is active can give the climb a special touch and fill the veins with adrenaline.

Location: Misty volcano, not far from the city of Arequipa, Peru

Coordinates: N -16.29575600, east -71.41113300

Photo and description

A mountain peak of amazing beauty, sometimes snowy, can be seen near the town of Arequipa. This is the El Misti stratovolcano (5822 m), also known as Putin. At the upper level of the symmetrical conical volcano, there are two concentric craters. The maximum outer diameter of the crater is 930 meters, the maximum diameter of the inner crater is 550 m.

Winds blowing between El Misti volcano and Serro Takune mountain peak (4715 m) contributed to the formation of impressive parabolic dunes, up to 20 km in length from the leeward side.

El Misti Volcano has been showing periodic activity since the beginning of historical records of the arrival of Europeans in Latin America. The first record of a powerful eruption of El Misti dates back to 1438. Other eruptions have also been recorded since the mid-15th century. The most recent activity reportedly took place from May to October 1948. In 1959, an increase in groundwater temperature was observed. The last activity was in 1985 - in the form of a powerful release of steam from six holes of the inner crater. Periodic fumarole activity is also often observed at the highest level of volcano craters.

The second largest city in Peru, Arequipa is only 18 km (horizontal) and 2.5 km (vertical) from the top of the volcano. In addition, the city is located along the Guarangal gorge on the western slopes of the volcano. Such a factor as the lack of eternal ice on the volcano reduces the risk of mudflows, but a significant danger for the city of Arequipa still remains, since it is built on the ash and mud flows of the eruptions of the volcano El Misti more than 2000 years ago.

The Institute of Geophysics of Peru (IGP) in its report of June 24, 2014 reported that over the past 12 months, the seismicity of El Misti volcano has increased. Two seismic earthquakes occurred during the last three months - May 19 and June 3, 2014.

The history of the eruptions of the volcano El Misti, as well as its close proximity to the second largest city in Peru, make it one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

Misty Volcano for tourists

Despite the fact that fumarole smoke is constantly emanating from the crater of the volcano, a hiking trail for tourists has been laid here. Many thrill-seekers conquer this peak annually. From May to September, there is snow at the top of the volcano, so it’s best to plan a trip outside this period. The trail starts at 3200 m, at an altitude of 4600 m there is a base camp, where you can settle down for the night. By the way, preparing to climb the Misty volcano, you should definitely consider that the trip usually takes two days and one night. It is also necessary to take into account the temperature difference and prepare appropriate clothing.

When climbing to the top, a considerable number of people feel worse. This is due to rarefied air as it moves up. However, in this case, the best means of acclimatization will be coca leaves, which can be bought on the market in Arequipa. It is worth considering that coca leaves are prohibited for export outside Peru, so stocking up for the future with this wonderful medicine for mountain sickness, alas, will not work.

How to get to Misty volcano?

First of all, it is worth planning a trip to Arequipa. This is the second largest city and popular resort in Peru, so there will be no problems with transport. Next, you need to get to the Sendero a Base 1 stop by bus from the bus station in Arequipa. And then the hiking trail begins. If you travel by your own transport or a rented car, you can drive a little higher along the dirt road. The main path runs along highway 34C.