Mauna Kea, Hawaii (13,796 feet)

Mauna Kea, Hawaii (13,796 feet)

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 14th, 2002, 9:11 pm #1

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
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August 14th, 2002, 3:05 am #2

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 16th, 2004, 4:55 am #3

I have checked working links and there are no posts prior to 2004.
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Joined: August 30th, 2004, 8:46 pm

December 15th, 2004, 4:39 am #4

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
I saved a great vacation for my last highpoint. After a few days on Oahu with my wonderful wife, Kay, and then a great Thanksgiving week together with my brother and sister-in-law in Kauai, I was cut lose on my own on the Big Island.

I flew in to Hilo on Saturday, November 27th and got a rental car from Hertz. They didn't say anything about the saddle road, and I didn't ask. Off to a private room at Arnott Lodge. The next morning was sunny and warm and I was up at 7 and headed over to Ken's House of Pancakes (highly recommended) for an overload breakfast. By 8 I was heading up the Saddle Road. About 3000 feet elevation, mile marker 14, the weather changed and drive into the coulds, mist and rain. Around mile marker 20, I picked up two wet hitchhickers that had come over "little sister" Mauna Loa, and we headed up to Mauna Kea. We turned off the Saddle Road and headed up to the Onizuka Visitor Center, arriving there about 8:45. At 9 the center opened for business, with nice and very hospitible staff. The Center is located at 9300 feet, and provides hot chocolate and microwavable goodies. My plan was to hang out at the visitor center until 10am or so to do a bit of acclimitizing (You are after all popping up from sea level to over 9000 feet in less than an hour, and you have another 4500 to go). I decided that since is was my last highpoint, I would walk up from the Center, which is a six mile trek.

At 10, I headed up the mountain. The trailhead is up the road from the Center about 200 yards on the left. The trail is well marked and remarkably unremarkable. How much volcanic scree can you handle? It took me about 5 hours to get to the summit. The lack of oxygen was notible,but not a show stopper. The last quarter mile the trail goes back to the summit road and you are walking on asphalt. Once you get to the parking lot, the summit trail cuts off to the left into a small saddle and then a 150 yard or so walk to the summit. The Hawaiians have built a small alter there and suplications to the Gods are in evidence ... leis, papayas, pineapples, and cookie crumbs. There was a smattering of snow just below the summit, but it was easy to walk over. As I reached the top, the resident mice, who seem to have found a great home among the alter rocks, ducked for cover. After the obligatory summit shot...nobody else was there. I headed down and was able to hitch a ride back to the Center.

It took me 5 hours to get hike to the summit. The trail is easy, but the oxygen is scare and makes for slow going. I encountered rain, sleet, hail, wind, and lots of sun on the trip up. I had four layers and used them all. Also, bring plenty of water (no water on the trail) and also gobs of sunscreen. It takes about 45 minutes to drive back to Hilo from the Visitor Center. There are a number of places to celebrate there. Try Reuben's for Mexican and killer Margaritas. A great local Hawaiian place which features the one pound laulau is the Kuhio Grill. If you want to go upscale a bit, try the Cafe Pesto which features great Kona lobster and Kamuela beef. And, I moved to a great moderate hotel (moderate in Hawaii means less that $100 a day) the Dolphin Bay Hotel. Hotel owner John Alexander is very hiker friendly, and helped me map out a great next-day hike up Mauna Loa. So... the deed is done. 5o highpoints! Now what?
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Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

January 5th, 2005, 8:43 am #5

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
I was going to write a trip report, but frankly i can't write anything any more dramatic than my friend Eric already did, so here is the link to his report and pictures.

http://ericmathis.blogs.com/erics_weblo ... auna_.html

I'll copy (text only) below, since the blog link may end up being temporary.


Climbing Mauna Kea
With this post, I am going to try and relate our climbing of Mauna Kea from my own perspective. It was an unbelievable trip, for me especially as it was my first time going anywhere near that high. I had previously been atop Haleakala on Maui at 10,023 ft., but I drove there. The elevation gain for this trip was about 8,600 ft. with about 13 miles traveled when it was all said and done. Some of the elevations I provide are educated guesses, based on recorded landmarks as well as specific elevations provided by Mark Votapek who had a GPS system with him. I remember specific readings at 10,500 ft., 11,600 ft., and 12,600 ft. I think all of my estimates are quite accurate, as I also have time stamps on the photos.

Mark Votapek joined the Honolulu Symphony this season as the new Principal Cellist. In addition to being a world-class cellist, he is an accomplished climber, having now reached the summits of 26 of the United States’ highest points (this was my first that I knew of). Mark Butin is an old friend from Northwestern University where we were roommates for one year as we were completing our masters’ degrees. He is now the orchestra’s Principal Violist and a pilot. Mark is an experienced climber with, I believe, dozens of climbs above 14,000 ft. in Colorado. I consider myself an experienced hiker, but this was my first significant climb at elevation. I felt good about my conditioning but had no idea how my body was going to react to the high altitude; that part made me a bit nervous, but overall I felt confident and was very excited!

We were joined by Greg Decillus, a friend and flight student of Butin’s, and now a new friend of mine. He was a welcome last-minute addition who wanted to come along, but did not want to make the climb. He drove us to the drop-off point and then drove away so that we had no choice but to actually climb the mountain (up to that point I thought this was all an elaborate joke). We made plans for him to meet us the next day at the summit to drive us back to Hilo. There was a possibility we would have to go back down on foot if a storm hit and the roads were closed. As it turned out, it was a gorgeous day by any reckoning.

I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to climb Mauna Kea until I started hiking with Votapek in September. I have had a passion for hiking ever since arriving in Hawaii in 1996, and have since discovered that I also want to get to the top of wherever it is I happen to be, but I had never really thought much about this kind of trip or goal. When Votapek mentioned it, I immediately got excited and realized that I desperately wanted to do this.

In addition to being the highest point in Hawaii, the dormant volcano Mauna Kea (on the Big Island) could be considered the tallest mountain in the world. If you measure it from its base in the Hawaiian Trough (3,280 fathoms deep) to its summit of 13,796 ft., it reaches a height of 33,476 ft. By comparison, Mount Everest (which sits on the continental crust) reaches 29,035 ft. above sea level.

Mauna Kea is the home of the Hawaiian snow goddess, Poliahu. She is the enemy of Pele, the goddess of fire, who lives on Mauna Loa and in Kilauea, two of the world’s most active volcanos. Poliahu thwarts Pele’s attempts to take over Mauna Kea by keeping it covered in ice and snow. Mauna Kea is Hawaiian for “white mountain” while Mauna Loa is translated appropriately as “long mountain.” Mauna Loa is the most massive mountain on the planet. Its volume of 80,000 cubic km (19,000 cubic miles) is so great that 3,200 Mount St. Helens could be housed within it.

One of Votapek’s requirements for attaining his State highpoints is that he must climb more than half of the peaks prominence. Most people who summit Mauna Kea start at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, located at 9,100 ft. After a hearty meal at Ken's House of Pancakes in Hilo, we drove to the intersection of the Saddle and Summit Roads (please don't tell the rental car company), at approximately 6,200 ft. above sea level. We set out walking at 10:07 p.m. on December 26th, 2004 with a slight mist in the air to go along with the spots that were apparently on the lens of my camera. It was the first night of the full moon and even with a layer of clouds to cover it, we were provided with plenty of light; there was no need for our flashlights or headlamps the entire trip. It was a beautiful and peaceful way to begin our adventure.

My memory of the walk up the summit road consists mostly of the twisted trees and plants that we could see silhouetted around us. Though I was incredibly excited to get to the top, I couldn’t wait to see what this all looked like in the light of day.

The sign at 9,000 ft. made me feel as though we were on some incredibly dangerous epic adventure, though I felt confident that I was prepared for any eventuality we might face. We reached the Onizuka Center shortly thereafter at 1:00 a.m. Named for the Hawaiian astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger explosion, it sits at 9,100 ft. and would be our home for the next six hours.

So I have heard from time to time mention of the idea of “sleeping on a cloud” and how comfortable that would be. Now that I am an expert, I can tell you that it is NOT terribly comfortable, as it is quite cold and wet. The cold was not a factor while we were moving, but as soon as we stopped, we could feel it starting to go for our bones. Votapek was snug as a bug with his winter sleeping bag which closed almost completely above his head; he snored away virtually nonstop for the next few hours. My sleeping bag is made for the tropics and kept me dry but didn’t do much for the cold, especially with the wind blowing into it; I got maybe an hour of restless sleep. Butin somehow felt a sleeping bag of any kind was unnecessary (we knew all along that tents were not allowed), so was easily worse off than any of us. He ended up rolling out his mattress on the floor of the Center’s bathroom, and figured he got about an hour of sleep. The whole idea of bivvying here was partly to acclimate to the elevation, but also to sleep under the stars. With ambient light being almost nonexistent, Mauna Kea is considered one of the most enviable locations in the world to view the stars – when there are no clouds. We were left with the aforementioned cold and wet and the incredible peace and quiet of the mountain.

At around 5:00 a.m. I realized I would not get anymore sleep and needed to get moving to warm up my body. I went for a jog up the trail for a way, and quickly felt much better. We woke up Votapek a few minutes before 6:00 a.m. and made some tea and some Thai Spicy Chicken Noodle Somethingorother, compliments of his supply of freeze-dried meals.

We prepared for the day’s climb and the cold we knew was going to greet us. We shed as much weight as we could, hiding it in the bushes behind the Center, and had a good laugh at Butin who easily took the prize for the most “un-cool” hiking outfit. Rust-colored shorts over green-flecked-with-purple long johns, with sneakers, gators and a purple ski tuque made for an interesting and unique ensemble. His blue and purple flannel shirt was being held in reserve as well, wrapped around his waist.

A very friendly ranger (who didn’t bat an eye at our chosen breakfast spot, nor at Butin’s chosen bedroom) informed us that the weather could change suddenly and that there was a storm forecast for the afternoon. It was already looking to be a beautiful day and we were confident that we would be on our way down by afternoon, so we weren’t all that concerned. We hit the trail again at 7:00 a.m.

The mind-blowing views which would accompany us the rest of the way started bombarding my senses at around 10,000 ft. when Mauna Loa came into view behind us to the south and Hualalei in the distance to the west. Several years ago I hiked around the rim of Hualalei with my friend Gary Hickling. I didn’t realize how tall it was (8,271 ft.) until this trip. It was exciting to see it from this vantage point.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of Mauna Loa, which slowed me down substantially since it was behind us. Its sheer mass was daunting, since I knew that our destination was even higher. At one point, Votapek warned me to stop taking pictures of that mountain, for fear of making Poliahu jealous. The clouds really started rolling in at this point as well, which added considerably to the awe I was feeling.

From 10,000-11,000 ft., the hike climbed relatively steeply over "well-behaved" scree which made each step more tiring than if the terrain had been more solid. From 11,000-12,800 ft., the trail’s incline would lessen somewhat and the dominant rock type would become the blocky a'a lava rocks. The trail was well marked with tall iron poles every 500 ft. or so.

At around 11,000 ft., I started to really notice the effects of the altitude. I started to get quite light-headed, but short pauses for the many Kodak-moments (actually a Sony) quickly took it away. I also had occasional bouts of slight nausea, though not enough to keep me from eating. I was well-supplied with dried pineapple and banana chips, beef jerky, and several Clif bars, and ate something at least once every hour. Whether a result of the elevation, or the one hour of sleep over the previous 24 hours, or a combination of the two, at around 11,600 ft. fatigue overwhelmed me and I felt I could no longer keep my eyes open. A beautiful flat lava rock called out to me and I took a 15-minute power snooze, after which I felt a hundred times better. From that point on, I didn’t really feel any substantial effects resulting from altitude sickness.

Votapek pushed on while Butin and I rested. I caught up to him again at 12,600 ft. where he had stopped to rest. One of the sights in these parts is Lake Waiau at 13,020 ft. Votapek didn’t think he would have the energy to make that side trip so I decided to increase my pace so that I could see the lake and then get back to the main trail in time to meet up with the Marks.

I had a bottle of gatorade which I was holding in reserve for the final push and drank half of it at about this time. It energized me immediately and I made good time to the lake. My first views of the summit also helped to lighten my steps. Of course this is all relative, as the hum off my shirt was quite a bit stronger than my legs by this time.

Lake Waiau sits at 13,020 ft. and is fed by a melting layer of permafrost. In a pinch it could have been a source of drinking water for us with no need to filter it, but I had plenty left in my pack. The lake was an incredible sight and I ran down into the small depression to get a closer look and to get my first view and feel of snow; this was as close as I will likely ever to come to having a white Christmas here in Hawaii.

I ran back to the main trail to be sure that I met up with the other guys, but couldn’t see any sign of them. I began to think that they were ahead of me while drinking the rest of my gatorade. Votapek then appeared on the trail and informed me that Butin had cut across to the Summit Road to (he thought) hitch a ride. His foot had begun hurting along the way, and I think favoring that initial pain caused it to extend to his hamstring and knee. He was not feeling good at all. I was familiar with his incredible determination is so I knew it was serious. I was sorry he would not be with us the rest of the way and hoped he was ok; he had shed his pack along the trail soon after leaving the Onizuka Center, so was low on food and water.

Votapek made the short trip to the crest overlooking Lake Waiau. We could at that point see some traffic along the Summit Road and Votapek thought he had even seen a car that could have been Greg on his way up to meet us, so the two of us continued on along the trail, feeling that Butin would be ok but upset that he was no longer with us. Our first views of the telescope arrays greeted us soon after.

At the same point, I saw the first snow that was suitable for making snowballs and waited for my victim to approach along the trail. Votapek did not want to participate in my snowball fight, so I opted to kill some lava rocks instead. Apparently high altitude affects your aim and my throws were pretty pathetic. It was easy to hit a rock, just maybe not precisely the one I was aiming for. In hindsight, Votapek would have had nothing to worry about.

Our trail intersected the Summit Road at about 13,200 ft. We were directly below the telescopes and almost at our goal! At this point, our path took us along the final switchbacks of the Summit Road. To my complete and utter dismay, I looked down and realized that I could have driven the whole way up on a perfectly good road!

I finally reached Pu'u Kea where Greg greeted me with a big hug. He later let me know that he had immediately regretted it (my aforementioned shirt). I had a few minutes to sightsee before Votapek arrived, so took in the unbelievable views that stretched out in every direction. I couldn’t resist getting my picture taken with the telescope shared by Canada, France, and Hawaii on Pu'u Kea. (“Pu'u” is the Hawaiian word for “peak.” Pu'u Kea is the peak upon which sit the telescopes. The actual highpoint of Mauna Kea is a 1/4-mile hike from there on Pu'u Wekiu, 96 ft. higher than Pu'u Kea.).

Votapek soon joined us and we headed for Pu'u Wekiu, joined now by Greg. I was so excited and ran as much as my fatigue would allow. We finally reached the summit of Mauna Kea together at 1:08 p.m. on December 27th, 2004. I can’t recall ever feeling such a huge sense of accomplishment. It is traditional to leave an offering for Poliahu. I had been planning on leaving some pineapple but for the last couple of hours had been thinking that I really didn’t want to part with any of my remaining food. I left her my puka shell necklace instead. Votapek left her some chocolate, hoping she wouldn’t have a problem with the wrappers. We later learned that offerings are to be limited to fruits, flowers, and other “greenery.” We hoped we hadn’t offended Poliahu or the ali'i, but we did mean well. After all, what woman wouldn’t be happy with chocolate and jewelry?

The temperature read 0 deg. C (32 deg. F), but the wind chill was quite severe. We didn’t dally because we had to get down to Butin, who we knew would likely be cold and dehydrated (and as it turned out, quite angry/upset/belligerent - we almost thought we had stopped for the wrong guy).

It goes without saying that this adventure was one of the highlights of my life, made even more special by perfect companions. The only disappointment was that Mark Butin wasn’t able to summit with us. Insult was added to injury, as we learned that he had kept walking along the Summit Road without hitchhiking, but fell (not literally) short of the summit by about 700 feet. Had I been in his place, I know I would have felt better had I stopped about 1,000 feet lower; to be so close had to have been incredibly frustrating for him. We will do this again though, and maybe take on Mauna Loa at the same time. I am not ready for Everest (I would insert “yet” here except that I do not want to upset my mother), but this trek has definitely ignited my desire to reach more of the world’s heights.

That evening we ate a ton of food (and a few beverages) in Hilo, first at Shooters and then at Uncle Billy’s Steak House, and then slept soundly for about twelve hours. We hit Ken’s House of Pancakes again for breakfast the next day and headed off for a quick tour of Kilauea at Volcanos National Park. What an awesome sight! It’s hard to believe that anything could hold back the power of Pele as demonstrated at Kilauea, but Poliahu seems to be doing a good job of it.

We headed back to Honolulu that afternoon, ably captained by Mark Butin and co-piloted by Greg. Beautiful views of the Islands accompanied us the whole way back. I have to say that my perspective of, and connection to the mountains and landscape around me has completely changed now that I have been on top of my world here in Hawaii nei.

December 30, 2004 in Outside | Permalink

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Happy New Year Eric. Very dramatic coverage of our hike, i must say. I was too whipped during the whole hike to have been aware of half of what you recall, so reading this account is like being there for the first time! If you'll allow me 2 minor corrections...

1) I'm so NOT an accomplished climber! I've done a handful of real climbs like Rainier, Hood, Borah, and some other adventurous winter peaks, but many of the 26 state highpoints i've done have been simple hikes...a few have been within sight of the car even. Maybe i'll get closer to being an accomplished hiker when i finally can remember how to put on a climbing harness.

2) I'm not climbing half the elevation of each mountain. (That would require hiking across the entire state of Kansas, and then some.) I'm climbing half the _prominence_, which in short is how far a mountain sticks up from its key saddle. This saddle can sometimes be hundreds of miles away, but it's a difference that basically means i climb up real mountains but don't have to walk that far to reach highpoints like Nebraska's Panaroma Point and Iowa's Hawkeye Point. It just so happens that with Mauna Kea, its saddle is the ocean, so the prominence and elevation are the same.

I'll be posting my much more staid account of the hike in the next few days at www.americasroof.com. If you're interested in reading about other states' highpoints, that's also THE place to go.

Cheers, and thanks for (seemingly?) not minding that i hike so slowly.



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Joined: March 18th, 2005, 12:33 am

March 18th, 2005, 3:48 pm #6

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
Well, the stars all aligned and after 11 years of planning, it all came together on February 25, 2005!

Unlike most of my other high pointing trips, this one was strictly first class to celebrate a half century of life and the completion of a long time goal. First to the north shore of Oahu and the luxury of the Turtle Bay resort to start our acclimatization process and work on the tan! After a week of fine food, sight seeing, and ultra light flying, my wife of 28 years Leesa, my daughter Holly, and my son Spencer and I headed to Kona and the Disney World like, Hilton Waikoloa Village. There my brother Dan, who helped get me interested in high pointing and has done many of the more challenging ones with me, met up with us on the evening of the 24th. Dan lives in West Chester, PA and could only be away a limited time so he spent two days traveling and two days in Hawaii.

After overloading on caffeine and carbohydrates to build up our energy reserves for the arduous summit attempt, we headed for saddle road and my 50th state highpoint, on the 50th state, on my 50th birthday. As we pulled out of the hotel we had a terrific view of our snow topped destination. The perilous trail is well described by others so I won’t try to out do their excellent prose. There was a nice scattering of snow, it was clear but windy, and the temp. was 43F. At 11:17a I walked hand in hand with some of the most special people in my life to the summit of Mauna Kea and completed a journey that began in earnest with my wife and young family on Clingman’s Dome in April of 1994.

My wife, children, and brother are all in their mid twenties in their highpoint quest. My daughter Amber and her husband Chad, who have done numerous HPs with me, couldn’t join us as they are expecting their first child very soon but are also avid Highpointers. Chad recently climbed Granite and Gannett with my brother and me and the three of us took part in scattering Jack Longacre’s ashes on his 50th highpoint last summer.

I briefly considered hiking to my 50th highpoint from 50 miles away but every time I thought back to all the white-outs, rain storms, blistering heat, freezing cold, and remembered the total dejection of retreating on Denali after spending six tent-bound days at 17,200’ in a blizzard in 2002, I thought better of it. No, no toil, sweat or blisters in Hawaii. After spending an hour or so on the summit we headed back to all the comforts that the Hilton could heap upon us and a wonderful ocean side dinner to celebrate the great experience of highpoint and of living 50 eventful years.

We spent another week celebrating, exploring the big island, becoming certified in open water SCUBA diving, and had a great adventure in the active lava fields at night – something you don’t want to miss if you’re ever there.

High pointing has taken my family and me places we would never have gone otherwise and provided us with endless tales of adventure. The club and all the great volunteers that make it function are real gems. Thank you all!

Tom Folmar
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Joined: August 27th, 2003, 12:01 am

May 11th, 2005, 11:09 pm #7

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
Finally getting around to posting our stories online. Enjoy and let me know what you think on the blog:

http://besettingvice.blogspot.com/2003/ ... awaii.html

Special Bonus US Southernmost point too!

http://besettingvice.blogspot.com/2003/ ... awaii.html
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Joined: April 3rd, 2004, 4:42 pm

August 1st, 2005, 1:52 am #8

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
TR-Mauna Kea (13796’)
Highest point in the state of Hawaii
7/24/05
12.5 miles RT, 5040’ gain
from Hale Pohaku Visitor Center

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/bakex2/al ... /my_photos

My wife and I had been planning our first trip to Hawaii for quite sometime, and at last the time had come! My first hiking goal on the agenda was the state highpoint, Mauna Kea, on the Big Island. We flew into Honolulu and stayed there the first night, then visited Volcanoes N.P. the day before Mauna Kea. To mitigate the effects of coming from sea level, we car camped at the visitor’s center about 6 miles up the road to Mauna Kea at an elevation of 9200’. My wife was feeling the effects of losing 4 hours on the flight over, so she decided to drive up and meet me on top.

After a restless night of sleep in our rental GMC Envoy, I awoke at 5:15am to clear skies with a thick blanket of clouds below us. After a long battle of getting my gear organized, I signed my name in at the register and headed for the trail across the road. I quickly found out that I was on the wrong trail and needed to walk north up the road about .2 miles to the official trail. I was finally off in the right direction at 6:45 am. For the first mile or so, the trail follows an old road that steeply climbs northeast on well-behaved scree that is annoying going up. I was quickly showing signs of coming from sea level and was struggling to keep my normal pace.

As expected, the lunar landscape on Mauna Kea is interesting to walk through as for the most part it is devoid of vegetation, trees, and animal life. There are a few sections of the trail that traverse across small “a’a” lava rocks, but for the most part it is soft scree that takes a lot out of you on the way up. At around 10200’, a side trail from the road intersects the trail, so you can probably save a couple miles or so by starting higher on the road. The trail is well marked with poles every 400 yards or so, so it is easy to follow amidst the non-distinct landscape. At around 11600’, the steepness finally relents as the scree gives way to more rocky terrain. For a good portion of the hike, you can see the road on the right and at around 9:30 I saw Jenni driving up. I tried to reach her with my walkie-talkie, but she didn’t have it on yet. After a steep climb to the saddle between sub-summits Puu Waiau and Puu Hau Kea, I was rewarded with my first view of the many telescopes on the sub-summits. Clouds began to move up from the valley, but I was not worried about thunderstorm development as they are rare in Hawaii. The clouds moved overhead and out of the area quick, and I finally made it to the point where the trail joins the road at an elevation of 13200’.

From here I could have gone straight up the scree or followed the road as it makes two long sweeping switchbacks on the s.w. flank. I decided to conserve energy by staying on the road. I met a ranger just below the parking area who reassured me that I was close, and I rounded the corner to find Jenni waiting for me in the parking area between two large telescopes. I told her to put on her outfit for the summit while I headed on over. The summit itself is just to the southeast of the parking area, a short 400 yard walk that drops 100’ and climbs another 100’ to the summit. I topped out at 10:47 and donned my Hawaiian shirt for the occasion and waited for Jenni. Temps were in the upper 40’s on the summit and the wind was pretty stiff. I noticed that the trade winds off the ocean kept the summer temps cooler up high than in Colorado. Changes in elevation tend to make a larger difference in the temps in Hawaii. I was protected for much of the hike from the wind until I got on the road. Jenni soon arrived and we waited for a couple who drove up to take our pic. Jenni wore a nice flowery Hawaiian dress to celebrate the occasion. After taking some pics, we headed back over to the car for some lunch out of the wind.

To increase my time at high elevations, I decided to hike back down and left the car at 12:22. I cutoff the switchbacks on the road by going straight down a soft scree slope to the point where the trail intersected the road. I made a quick side visit to the 7th highest lake in the U.S., Lake Waiau, at an elevation of 13020’. I had an ambitious goal of hitting some of the sub-summits on the way down, but I was beat. I settled for an easy one just above Lake Waiau, Puu Waiau. I then contoured s.e. down the slopes of Puu Waiau, hoping to eventually meet up with the trail again. The GPS pointed me the right way and I was soon on my way down the scree fest to the trailhead. The pleasant scree makes for a quick descent, and I was back down to the car at 2:45, a little before Jenni expected me back. All in all, the views on Mauna Kea would be spectacular on a clear day, but the marine layer kept us from seeing the ocean. Hulking Mauna Loa dominates the skyline to the south and shows why it is the largest mountain in the world. The scenery is pretty ugly for much of the way, but the uniqueness of the terrain makes it worth doing the hike. On to Mauna Loa!
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Joined: January 23rd, 2004, 4:53 pm

June 10th, 2006, 9:12 pm #9

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
We made it to the very top of Mauna Kea with just a few minutes of sunlight to spare. Took the obligatory pics and watched the spectacular sunset.

We had a grand view of Mauna Kea from our hotel room in Hilo when the clouds weren't out. We were hoping to see the hotel from the top but it was clouded over by the evening.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must see on the Big Island. We did the short Devastation Trail; the 4 mile Kilauea Iki Trail and drove the 19 mile Chain of Craters road to the sea.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

August 11th, 2006, 2:40 pm #10

Post your Mauna Kea experiences here.
Nathan and I "climbed" Mauna Kea on June 24, 2006. See the trip report on my WWW site.
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