My friend Michelle came up with the bright idea to "hike to the summit!" ... and me being almost equaly crazy said "let's go for it!" We got to the visitor's center and hung out for an hour then began the Humu'ula trail hike at 12:30 pm wanting to make summit by sunset and hitch a ride down, and it was an absolutely beautiful day for the "trek." We both are in pretty good shape, for 47 (me) and 20 (her) year olds, but the trail ascent (steepness) and thin air made it clear that we would "never do this again!" But we did it, hiked to the summit of Mauna Kea in just under 5 hours, watched an amazing sunset and hitched a ride down with 4 crazy englishmen, and it will live in us for the rest of our lives. Thank You Michelle, because if it wasn't for your "bright idea" i would never have gone there, even living here for almost all my life. Having a fear of heights i couldn't drive up there, so hiking it was the ONLY WAY i would experience something so incredible. Now, for Mauna Loa!
I've driven up this mountain several times. It's strange to go from sea level to 14,000 in one hour. Getting up there and hiking the remaining few feet to the summit is really tough when youre not used to the altitude. I like the little Hawaiian display of arts and crafts on the summit.
The views from the summit are great. When its clear, you can see Maui and all of the Big Island. Most times the clouds are way below the summit. The last time I was up there, it was the middle of June and it was snowing!
The most popular time of day people go is around sunset so they can catch the day views and then see crystal clear night sky with no city lights.
Route Climbed: Da road.
Date Climbed: November 20, 2004
Date Signed: Nov 24, 2004 01:14 AM
Big props and much love to Cornvallis for making this a must do on our things to do in Hawaii list. Absolutely beautiful sunset. I'm ready to go back!
Drove up from the west side, Waikaloa beach area for a quick climb of the highest point in the Pacific. Started climb at the Onizuka Visitor's Center at 9200 feet. Nice day with little wind. Watch thermometer showed 57 degrees at the Visitor's Center and 49 degrees on the summit. I was the only climber on the entire trail. From rental car to summit and back to rental car was 6 hours and 30 minutes. Set a personal high altitude record, that is until I do Shasta next month. I was glad to be back at the beach by 2 PM to resume my relaxing vacation!
Yup, did that 100-ft. elevation gain thing from the parking lot (equipment: rental car/Avis map). But I redeemed myself on Mauna Loa.
It was a great day (clear still weather, not hot, not cold).
Ascent (or two ascents if you count the satellite summit of Pu'u Hau Kea) and descent went pretty smooth. After about 2-3 hours of being in the summit region I started feeling altitude sickness, and by the time I got to the main summit I was ready to puke... Which I did on the summit to celebrate the ascent.
I liked the experience of Mauna Kea and Hawaii in general. At times things look unreal in this part of the world.
See my photo-report on this at
1st highpoint summited with dad partly cloudy very windy too windy to hike to true summit. I think im going to go back someday when im old enough and hike out to the true summit
Easy walk from parking lot, but altitude was noticeable.
Took a break from snorkeling and body surfing (more like getting beat by the surf) on the 85 degree Kona coast to catch one of the world’s best sunsets. Simply amazing mountain, island, and sunset. If driving to the top is cheating, well then we cheated. Still hiked/climbed the last .2 miles to the true summit though! The Big Island is spectacular, where else can you swim with huge green sea turtles and tropical fish and in less than three hours be on a snow-capped mountain. Best sunset I have ever experienced, surreal experience. Hard to leave the Island, can't wait to go back.
Well, we drove up to the top first, but I did walk the trail out to the true summit, which is no easy feat, considering it's almost 14,000 feet and we started at sea level. Take it each step at a time.
Walked from the ocean to the summit. Started at 5am on April 17th, walked to 7000 feet in about 11 hours, covered 32 miles. Rested over night, started at sunrise on April 18th, walked to the vistor center and then took the trail to the summit, took about 6 hours. A friend supported me most of the trip and drove me down from the top. Walking beside the road was a little scary when there was traffic. This was my 50th State highpoint. Happy to be done.
My main motivation for visiting the big island during our vacation in Hawaii was to bag this peak. I started around 7am at the visitors center. The trail was very easy to follow the whole way. I was at the top in just under 3 hours. I spent about 20 minutes on top. I was surprised that I was comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt (poly, of course) on top. My watch said that it was 63 degrees. I scampered back to the bottom in just over 1 hour; stopping at the lake on the way down. I wiped out once on the way down.. :) I was surprised that I had no ill affects from the altitude; no headaches, and only moderate fatigue and loss of appetite. Overall, the hike was pretty boring, but it was great to get in such a workout during my trip to the islands...
Not many places in the world where you can drive up a volcano to 13,700 feet! Two of us, my wife and I, took the Mauna Kea Road to the observatories at the top, then walked the short trail to the actual summit high point. The place is truely otherworldly, and the colors looking down on the tops of the clouds at sunset were spectacular. At one place along the road, the snow plow had cut through drifts 6 feet high (although the road itself was clear), and there was considerable snow coverage on various cinder cones that dot the summit. A couple of folks were snowboarding (having driven up to the top after a morning of surfing!).
Yes, it can snow in Hawaii. Now I have a photo of myself on the summit to show to my city-folk friends who laughed at me when I spoke of snow in Hawaii.
Nice drive up the auto road. I encountered some snow near the summit. Temps were near freezing with 40-50 MPH winds. The views from the top are awesome.
Nice short walk using my rental jeep to get to the observatories then the trail to the summit. But hey I was on my honeymoon. No drinks with umbrellas on this adventure! Still got to see Lake Lake Waiau at 3,969 m (13,020 ft). Great views and unworldly scenery. Jan 2002
Arrived near the observatories early enough to see the Keck with its window bay doors still open. Nice views from the summit.
I rode my bike up the road, then walked over to the top; I don't know if this counts. First I rode up to the cabins in the saddle, then I took a day off to acclimatize. Actually getting to the summit was not so bad, but it was a bit of a slog and I had to walk a short piece of the unpaved section of the road, since I could not maintain traction on the loose surface. This is certainly one of the great bikeable climbs.
How many 13,798 foot mountains can you climb in a rental car!? To be sure, there is the more difficult route from the visitors center at 9000 feet but for a quickie adventure this is tops. The actual summit is a few hundred feet from the observatories and topped with a native Hawiian altar. On 9/5/03 it was about 55 degrees with little wind and great views all around.
My girlfriend and I hiked the trail from the Visitor center, stopping at the Lake for quite a while where we got engaged. Beautiful day. She stayed at the lake while I ran up the trail to tag the summit.