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jdavies212Route Climbed: North side trail from saddle road and weather station parking area. Date Climbed: September 1986  Sucess!


I had a carbon-copy of Dan Nelsen's (Sept. 6, 2003) experience. Up to the summit in 4 hours with shorts and a light windbreaker jacket. Although I am an experienced climber, the illusion of taking off from a tropical climate at a low altitude lulled me into a false sense of security and I was ill-prepared for the 50-degree temperatures and wind at the caldera.

Not only did I experience altitude sickness (vertigo and disorientation), but hypothermia began to set in on the way back with dusk approaching; violent shaking and numb extremities made normal walking almost impossible. I thought I was a goner. My salvation was having a hiking partner (the only thing I did right on the trip). He, apparently being in good condition, helped me stumble back to the waiting car, and by now it was pitch dark. As soon as we got in and closed the door, it hit him as well--spewing his lunch all over the seat and floor carpet--great aroma as we made our way back into more tropical environs.

Don't be fooled by the gentle slope and ease of access. It's still a 13,000-foot-plus mountain with all the usual potential hazards! (By the way, in memory's eye, the spectacular caldera and other-worldly moonscape at the top still make me happy for having had the experience--albeit almost my last experience...).
Posted Apr 24, 2005 8:31 am

wbassRoute Climbed: Observatory/Summit Trail Date Climbed: January 24, 2005  Sucess!


One of the most difficult and boring slogs anywhere, over endless expanses of lava and snow fields, but with fantastic views of Mauna Kea and Haleakala. Watching clouds build below and encircle the big island leaving only Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa exposed (the airplane view) is an amazing experience.
Posted Feb 5, 2005 4:49 pm

Don NelsenRoute Climbed: North side from the weather observatory Date Climbed: Sept. 6, 2003  Sucess!

Don Nelsen

What an incredible mountain! I heard the advice to acclimate but due to time constraints was not able to heed them and paid the price. Left Kona at 8:30 and was on the trail at the weather observatory by 10:30 (11,100 ft.) This rapid ascent virtually guaranteed altitude sickness and boy did I get it! I made the caldera rim at 13,000 feet+ in 2 hours and hit the summit at 13,679 ft. about 1 1/2 hour later. (7.1 miles total as per my GPS.) This is an eerie and mystical place. Must return to fully explore later. Serious vertigo and disorientation resulted in a 3 1/4 hour time back to the trailhead. Weather was great with 55 degrees at the trailhead and about 50 degrees on top with little wind.
Posted Sep 11, 2003 10:14 pm

ScottRoute Climbed: Red Hill Date Climbed: Feb 1995  Sucess!


Some snow near summit
Posted Aug 21, 2003 1:17 pm

Shepherd JohnsonRoute Climbed: Mauna Loa Trail Date Climbed: May 25,2002  Sucess!
Third attempt to reach the summit was a success. On my second attempt I reached the Mauna Loa Summit Cabin and opted not to go to the summit as it envolves six more miles up and back, around the caldera. A little patchy snow on the top, used it to refill my water bottles. Purest water I have ever had in my life probably. Made it back to Red Hill cabin in record time, 4 and a half hours to cover 9.5 miles. Great views of Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Kohalas, Waipio Valley, Haleakala on Maui and even the West Maui Mountains.

-Shepherd Johnson
Posted Oct 30, 2002 7:19 pm

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