Mauna Kea Climber's Log

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PJ92101 - Oct 29, 2010 2:33 pm Date Climbed: Oct 22, 2010

6 mile hike (one way)  Sucess!

The actual hiking trail is called "Humu'ula Trail" and starts a couple hundred yards up the street from the Eliison Onizuka Visitor's Center on the left side of the street. I am in decent condition (ran a marathon a couple month's before this hike) and have hiked Mt Whitney and Halfdome and this is not an easy day hike. I'd consider it moderately difficult. The hiking trail is 6 miles (while the road is 8 miles) to the top. The first 2.5 - 3 miles on the trail are the most difficult with several steep sections. The first half of the hike is also through soft sand which made it more difficult to get your footing on the steep sections. I started at 9:15 am and the temperature at the visitor center was 65 degrees. It took me just under 5 hours to reach the summit where the temperature was about 40 degrees (according to their website). According to my Garmin, there's about 4600 ft of elevation gain over 6 miles, with the steepest sections occuring in the first half of the hike. The best way to describe the terrain is a moonscape of lava rocks and sand. There are no trees, so you are exposed to the sun the entire hike. Bring sunscreen and lots of water. I had a 100 oz. camelback and used up all the water by the time I reached the summit. That's when I decided to catch a ride on the way back down to the visitor's center (rather than hike it). Why not? You're in Hawaii for rest and relaxation. Enjoy the ride down!


WinterWarlock - Oct 25, 2010 2:43 pm Date Climbed: Oct 21, 2010

Beautiful day  Sucess!

Drove to the Observatory area and walked to the summit...first time over 10,000 feet, so definitely felt it.

BrookTroutLeiphart - May 20, 2010 3:17 pm Date Climbed: May 21, 1986

hitchhike & glissade  Sucess!

In 1986, I could not rent a car with fuel injection, so my Asian rental car gave out at 9,500'. I hitched a ride to the top and walked up the snow field. It was warm on top and I glissaded down (have to bring skis next time). HP #19. Got all 50 in 2002.


mrchad9 - May 9, 2010 3:38 am Date Climbed: Nov 30, 2003

Great tour of the telescopes  Sucess!

Drove all the way up, only intended to spend a couple hours but the staff was so informative and friendly we stayed until after sunset touring the telescopes, learning about the work there, and enjoying the views.


bechtt - Apr 1, 2010 10:13 pm Date Climbed: Mar 29, 2010

From Visitor Center  Sucess!

Had the 4WD but decided to hike the 4600'. Unbelievable views and weather. Plan was a twofer but I managed to make myself car sick driving the one lane road to the Mauna Loa trailhead. Next time.


Mlasky - Apr 1, 2010 6:08 pm Date Climbed: Mar 21, 2010

First thing on the agenda  Sucess!

First full day on Hawaii activity. Coming from Idaho it seemed appropriate to do the hike first thing before we fully acclimatized to sea level. Hiked from the visitor center. Just a very long hike. Only 1/2 of the nine that started out that day summitted. We started at 10:30 a.m., which is a lot later than we normally do. We adjusted our start time to come down later and closer to the program start for the star gazing at the visitor center. Unfortunately the gazing was a no go because the cloud bank didn't recede lower than the center, which apparently it usually does. Trail up and road down. What a treat to summit the tallest peak in the world, counting all the underwater size of course.


NJTripper - Mar 6, 2010 11:44 pm Date Climbed: Jun 24, 2007

Yeah.. I cheated...  Sucess!

... took the tour bus to the top of the road. But I did have to climb the side hill to get to the actual USGS marker! (so... I'll have to go back some day to 'earn it')


Misa - Feb 24, 2010 5:55 pm

nice stars...  Sucess!

with my mom... great place to view stars...


mtncorg - Jan 14, 2010 11:32 pm

It is only a few steps from the road  Sucess!

Drove up and the instant altitude still makes those last couple steps hard. Great views over the Big Island, Mauna Loa and over to Maui. Nice stars - as you'd expect at an observatory - but awfully cold!


strudolyubov - Oct 20, 2009 11:13 pm Date Climbed: May 6, 2004

Mauna Kea  Sucess!

Hiked the trail to the summit from the Visitor Center. Walked the road on the way back. Awesome summit views!


seeksit - Sep 12, 2009 3:35 pm Date Climbed: Aug 22, 2009

Second time on the summit  Sucess!

Drove the road both times. Awesome sunset views. Watching the mountain's shadow creep off the clouds below and up into the sky as the sun set was the best part of the show.


miztflip - Sep 7, 2009 7:14 pm Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2009

Humu`ula Trail  Sucess!

Great, easy hike. It felt like the moon. Started at the visitor center and hiked to the summit via the Humu`ula Trail. I also stopped by the lake. 4:10 car to car


davebobk47 - Sep 7, 2009 5:42 pm Date Climbed: Sep 6, 2009

0 to 13796  Sucess!

Even though I did 4 14ers in the 2 weeks prior I was a bit lightheaded on the short hike from the parking area to the summit. Amazing what a week at 0ft will do for the acclimatization. Oh, and I drove the road in a Dodge Caliber.


boisedoc - Mar 31, 2009 10:49 pm Date Climbed: Mar 27, 2009

still snow  Sucess!

I drove up the road after finishing my hike up Mauna Loa. Mauna Kea was still covered in snow about 13000ft. It was 35 degrees at the summit. Took about 10 minutes to walk to the summit


TJ311 - Jan 17, 2009 8:12 pm Date Climbed: Jan 6, 2009

Lots Of Snow  Sucess!

Couldn't have had a better day. Long hike in the deep snow left over from the storm the week before. Who knew Hawaii had snow like this? A lot of locals at the top enjoying the snowboarding and skiing.

Bob Bolton

Bob Bolton - Jan 2, 2009 1:59 am Date Climbed: Jan 1, 2009

Whiteout conditions  Sucess!

We called the information line in the morning and found that the road had been cleared to the summit. Amazing! So we headed up and found that we were not the only ones wishing to use their holiday to drive up to Mauna Kea. Huge numbers of vehicles, many of them big 4WD pickups being used to haul snow back down the mountain. We finally got to the top where we found fog, high winds, and whiteout conditions. We bundled up, talked to a couple of guys who seemed interested in going with us, invited them to come along even though they weren't prepared. They did want to come along, so we led them over there. Without GPS we wouldn't have been able to find the summit, but with it we found it easily after struggling through the deep snow. Never saw a view, unfortunately.

Boriss Andean

Boriss Andean - Dec 29, 2008 11:58 am Date Climbed: Feb 14, 2002

Mauna Kea Summit.  Sucess!

Actually Kelly and I drove up to the observatory (4,198 m/13,796 ft), then we started hiking and summiting all of the small peaks of this huge volcano.

We had an awesome time and weather. We didn't know we could find snow in Hawaii, we didn't use eye protection, so Kelly got snow blindness. We drove down to Hilo Hospital were she got medical attention.


Smithman123 - Dec 4, 2008 4:15 pm Date Climbed: Feb 6, 2008

Shorts and Snow  Sucess!

Didn't do the hike, but scrambled through two feet of fresh snow from the observatories just to make a point of actually being at the top. A ranger was watching my friend and I with concern as we had just driven up from Hilo and hadn't bothered to change out of our shorts and sandals!


Kadee - Nov 10, 2008 9:08 pm

Drive Up  Sucess!

Drove up with my dad. Nice daddy-daughter peak. Plan to return and do the hike.


crnhlio - Sep 2, 2008 10:35 am Date Climbed: Nov 25, 2003

Good workout  Sucess!

Great day with family

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