A magic all of its own.
This was a challenging, but worthwhile hike. The drive to the VIS was cloudy and misty and I wondered whether I'd be wet on my whole hike. At about 10,000 feet, I burst through the clouds on the trail to see a primal landscape filled with multicolored craters and fields of igneous rock. The altitude is the biggest challenge here, especially if you're in Hawaii for any period of time. I'd recommend acclimating a little at VIS before starting and giving yourself plenty of time to ascend. I got to the summit in about 5hr 15min while taking pictures and resting. It took me only 2:30 to get back down. This hike is worth the effort. Bring 5-6 liters of water, plenty of snacks and something warm for the summit.
Celebrated Memorial Day with an earnest 1st attempt on the summit of Mars-a Kea...I mean Mauna Kea. Weather was perfect maybe even too hot but hey that's better than snow and ice. Warning: do not leave the VIS at 12:48pm with a goal of reaching the summit and making it up and back on foot in daylight - unless you're faster than me. Really didn't think I'd have time to get past Lake Waiau but when I saw the dome of the lower observatory the adrenaline kicked in and I went for the summit. It was already 5:15 when I left the lake. Hit the summit at 6:30 pm. Final tally: 5 hours and 42 minutes up with a total of 80 minutes resting time, 262 minutes hiking. But hey, I made it. Took the road back down in twilight - jogged the first 3 miles in about 45 minutes and then obliged a ride from some youngsters in a jeep as blackness fell and I was reaching for my headlamp. Some notes for future 1st timers: WATER! I went through 5.5 out of 6.5 liters. ALTITUDE! I rested every 30 minutes for water and to let my breathing adjust. TRAVEL LIGHT! My pack was about 5lbs too heavy. And dress in layers - I got that part right. FOCUS! Humu'ula Trail is monotonous, steep, the footing is not great and, yeah, it looks like Mars probably does. But the reward is worth it.
Started Hilo Bay 3.40am. Jogged up Saddle road to junction at 10.30am. Left mist and rain behind, got to Visitor centre 12.30pm, took a 30min break. Headed up the trail reaching summit at 5.40pm. My wife drove up and met me there, we stuck around for a beautiful sunset then my chauffeur drove me back down. Had a shower and slept very well that night!
I was lucky to get nice weather to the top. I made the run in 2:48 up. Awesome views at the summit after being in the clouds for most of the way up. I made it just before sunset, then ran down in the dark, it took me 1:56 to get down.
Beautiful at the summit. Many native Hawaiians were there protesting the plans to build another observatory near the summit.
Believe it or not this was one of the most challenging state high points I have yet done. Sleet and heavy snow accompanied by often driving winds obliterated the Humuula Trail and made route finding with limited viz , shall we say, interesting. Snow total on the true summit was 8 inches when I hurriedly departed. :)
Much like the post below, we were lucky to hit the top between the heavy winds. Two days before the winds was clocked at 80MPH. We left our condo at 4:30am to be at the summit about 20 minutes before the sun rise. Temps were just below freezing and a slight breeze, maybe 15MPH at the most. We were joined by a few locals and other from the main land. YOU DO NOT NEED A 4WD TO GET TO THE SUMMIT!!! My Geo Metro would have been just fine. Hawaii you should be ashamed calling that road 4WD. It is always open too.
Did the full hike on a blue-bird day but the wind was steady with cool temps up high. We were surprised at how well we went from sea-level to almost 14k and back with such little issues. With the new Saddle road you can get here (TH) in an hour or so from almost anywhere.
After going snorkeling and watching the sunset on kahalu'u beach I drove up and slept in my rented mustang at the visitor center. The stars were amazing!! Tarted at 4:55. Took 4.5hrs up 2hrs down. When coming down from the summit a worker told me the summit is now off limits. There was a sign but since I didn't see it online I went for it and paid respect to the wonderful mountain and the island gods. Apparently the rock group on the summit is an altar and I didn't know and I thought it was like any other mountain and stood on it for pics and sat on it. I apologized to the person and let him know I didn't know and didn't mean any disrespect. The hike also looks like you are traveling on mars.
Drove up to the telescopes, then went around and tagged all the named 13ers/cinder cones in the area. Great fun. Trip Report.
We did not climb the mountain so it does not count, probably :) We just drove up in our trusty Jeep. It was spectacular, though. One of the weirdest places we have ever been to.
One hour from Mauni Lani (30 min North of Kona airport) to the visitor center. Then another 15 min in a Ford Fusion rental car. I've only been this high a few times, and expected at least a mild headache. I felt totally normal, except for my heart pounding during the last bit to the true summit. (Perhaps the elevation gain was so rapid my body didn't have time to respond?)
There was some snow on the final short hike, and the wind was blowing at about 0-1 mph in relatively frigid 15 deg C temps (60 deg F :-) After enduring these conditions for over one hour, it was time to return to the tropical beach.
From the Hwy 19 along the West coast North of Kona, head East on the road to Waikoloa Village. When this T's into Mamalahoa Hwy, turn right (SW), and go a couple of miles before turning left (SE)onto the new Saddle Rd, Hwy 200. This road is built to freeway specs, and is new enough to not show up on most maps and GPS's. It is correctly shown on Google Maps.
I drove up with my wife and two daughters. We did the small hike to the summit. It was fun to see some snow in Hawaii.
Tiring plod for unacclimatised flatlanders. Terrific views though and a perfect weather day. Plenty of snow from the lake onwards after 2 days of storms earlier in the week. Dozens of locals taking flatbeds of the stuff down. About 6.5 hours up. Two other groups were hiking at the same time and all took about the same.
Hiked to the summit from the Visitor Information Station on the Humu'ula Trail. Sunny sky above, clouds below. Windy and cool on the summit. Saw only a dusting of snow behind rocks near the summit.
Drove up, did't really hike. One of my favorites because my wife came along.
Went up with son and brother-in-law.
Hiked up but hitched a ride down with some astronomers hauling a telescope. Great view, and I was basically alone the whole time- even though it was a 3 day weekend.
Went to the big island for our anniversary and to hike Mauna Kea. My wife was not up to the altitude but my 14 yr old son wanted to go up it with me. We drove to the VIC and stopped for an hour to look around. I have never felt altitude the way I did on that mountain! My son never being about 5500 ft, his lack of cold weather gear, and the way we were both feeling at this point convinced me to drive to the top rather than hike it. Boy am I glad I did! The short hike to the true summit after being at sea level for a week was strenuous but well worth the effort! Summit at 12:35pm. clouds below at 5-8000 ft, 40-60 MPH winds, 42 degrees, BRIGHT sunny sky. Took pics, enjoyed the view and headed back down. Aspirin and descent solved the HA and dizziness. Very glad we drove to the top though I did feel like a slacker. Highly recommend camping at altitude prior to this as 13000 of elev gain in one day was way too much for me.