Monday, March 23, 2009

March 21st to 22nd-El Misti Volcano, Peru

At 8am I met the 2 guides and 4 other climbers that I would be attempting my El Misti summit with. We headed to the trailhead at 10,000 feet and started our climb toward base camp with all our tents and other camping gear.

We reached base camp (14,500´) at about 4pm, and the guides immediately starting preparing dinner. It would be an early night as we would wake up at 1 am and start our climbing at 2 am using our headlamps. They do this to give everyone the best chance of making the summit and returning to camp before sunset.

We lost one of our group and one of the guides at about 4am and 16,000 feet due to altitude sickness. I was feeling the affects already as well. I had just arrived from sea level 3 days prior which is really not enough time to acclimate.

So we pressed on and watched an amazing sunrise over the volcano, complete with the shadow of the volcano along the horizon. See the pic.

By 8 am we reached the lip of the crater at 18,500´ and then made the final push to the summit (19,100´) by just before 9 am. After a few high fives and some pics, we skied our way down the volcanic ash chute back to base camp. 6 hours to summit. 40 minutes of fantastic descent.

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