El Misti, also known as Guagua-Putina, is a dormant stratovolcano located in southern Peru near the city of Arequipa. With its seasonally snow-capped, symmetrical cone, El Misti stands at 5,822 m above sea level and lies between the mountain Chachani (6,075 m) and the volcano Pichu-Pichu (5,669 m). Its last eruption was in 1784.
El Misti has three concentric craters. In the inner crater fumarole activity can be seen. Near the inner crater six Inca mummies and rare Inca artifacts were found in 1998 during a month-long excavation directed by the archaeologists Johan Reinhard and Jose Antonio Chavez. These findings are currently stored at the Museo de Santuarios Andinos in Arequipa.
There are two main climbing routes on the volcano. The Pastores route, which is more used, as its starting point is nearer to the city of Arequipa, starts in 3,300 m. Usually a camp is made in 4,500 m at Nido de Aguilas. The second route, the Aguada Blanca route, starts at 4,000 m near the Aguada Blanca reservoir and a camp is made in 4,800 m at Monte Blanco (the name of the camp comes from the fact that it has more or less the height as the summit of Mont Blanc). Neither climbing routes presents technical difficulties but both are considered strenuous because of the steep loose sand slopes.