Mauna Loa Climber's Log

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rahul.bhundhoo - Mar 7, 2018 7:52 pm Date Climbed: Aug 30, 2017

What an experience!  Sucess!

My first high altitude hike and it taught me a lesson. I did the Observatory Trail. I arrived at the trail head at around 1130 am and acclimatized for about 1 hour. I knew that I had to leave soon if I wanted to reach the summit in time before sunset. Hiking back down in the dark would be too dangerous and simply foolhardy. Within 30 minutes of the hike, I start getting a headache. I did not acclimatize enough. I hiked up to the North Pit with a couple from Qu├ębec, Ontario. About 1 hour away from the cabin, I had mild altitude sickness. I was weak, had a headache, my heart rate was higher than usual and I just wanted to slump down on the volcanic rocks and sleep on the rocks. However I made it to the cabin and past hikers gratefully left their sleeping bags (at night it gets close to 0 degrees). I slept overnight in the cabin and my AMS got worst. Morning came and getting down seemed impossible every 5 steps I took, I was winded. Luckily I made it back. What an experience it was, if I could do it again I would. The Mokuaweoweo crater is breathtaking; the depth and size of it will truly leave you speechless. As a rookie, this hike has taught me a lot and has reinforced my love for mountaineering. My next projects; Kilauea to Mauna Loa Summit, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Cheers!

T. White

T. White - Nov 5, 2017 8:48 pm Date Climbed: Jul 8, 2010

Surface of another planet  Sucess!

The Observatory Trail is superlative... remoteness, ruggedness, altitude, prominence... all from a walk-up. Altitude sickness was an issue when starting the day in Hilo, though... I got a little loopy and that last mile was neverending.

The caldera is insane, but it's hard to take in the view when insects are dive-bombing your face thanks to all the "offerings" people have placed at the summit cairn!

Saw nobody else the entire day. Glorious. Can easily see why the ancient Hawaiians considered it a supernatural realm.


Redwic - May 24, 2017 12:53 am Date Climbed: May 22, 2017

Great summit view but..  Sucess!

... I did not care for the jagged lava rocks. I was able to figure out a nice shortcut on the ascent but opted to take the full Observatory Trail route during the descent. The caldera view was awesome. I had the entire trek virtually all to myself, only seeing one spider, one fly, and... much later... one hiker, during the climb. My wife and I celebrated our Hawaii trip later that evening with a great luau in Kona.


MaverickMerk - Sep 6, 2016 3:42 pm Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2016

via Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Living at sea level has made me soft! Incredible view of the caldera. Wrecked havoc on my boots.

setrent - Jul 6, 2016 11:35 am Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2015

OB Trail  Sucess!

Neat hike, bring a lot of water!


McCannster - Apr 18, 2016 10:44 am Date Climbed: Apr 16, 2016

Another world  Sucess!

Hiked with Alika and Nicole via the Ob Trail. Such a spectacular place. Summit was outstanding. Overnighted at the summit cabin, which is on the opposite side of the caldera from the actual summit. Was a treat to eat dinner overlooking the crater.


strudolyubov - Apr 17, 2016 8:16 pm Date Climbed: Dec 23, 2015

Mauna Loa Trail and Observatory Trail runs  Sucess!

23/12/2015: Solo trail run from Mouna Loa Road 3.5 miles below the trailhead (due to the fallen tree blocking the road). Came to within a mile of the intersection with Observatory Trail and turned around due to weather. 37 miles roundtrip, 7,000' elevation gain. Total time: 11h35m, moving time 09h56m. Interesting lava running, great views!

25/12/2015: Solo trail run to the summit and back on Observatory Trail. 13.3 miles roundtrip, 2,800' elevation gain, total time: 4h10m. Beautiful weather, incredible summit views.


gimpilator - Mar 25, 2016 3:07 pm Date Climbed: Jan 30, 2016

Fun lava hike from Observatory trail  Sucess!

We also went to the top of the following: Kilauea, Pu'upua'i, Mauna Ulu, Puu Huluhulu, Pu'uwaiau, Puu Hau Kea, Mauna Kea, Puu Kea, Pu'uhau'oki, Puu Poliahu, Puu Kalepeamoa, Kilohana.

For pictures and videos see the full trip report.


bechtt - Oct 24, 2015 2:57 am Date Climbed: Oct 23, 2015

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Hiked up with Caren. She decided to forgo the summit about 250' and 1.5 miles below but still got great views of the caldera. We made it down before the rain storm hit.

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Jun 13, 2014 12:50 am Date Climbed: Jun 4, 2014

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Standard route up the Observatory Trail, then visited 1949 Cone and 1940 Cone, then across the crater. Trip Report.


Fletch - Dec 28, 2012 5:03 pm Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2012

observatory trail  Sucess!

pretty good little hike when you're hungover...

utclimber - Dec 3, 2012 10:57 pm Date Climbed: Nov 13, 2012

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Very unique place, with an unbelievably large crater. Round trip time was 5 hours, 10 minutes from the car.


MikeyB - Aug 17, 2011 11:21 pm Date Climbed: Jul 8, 2011

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Very cool hike over lots of old lava flows. Getting above the clouds was a sureal experience. Had the mountain and route to my self.

Dennis Poulin

Dennis Poulin - Dec 18, 2010 8:01 pm Date Climbed: Dec 6, 2010

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Nice hike. I was alone on the mountain today. It took longer than I thought it would. Lots of rock hopping. Beautiful day.


LakesideHiker - Jan 31, 2010 4:46 pm Date Climbed: Jun 1, 1979

Observatory Trail

Left Kona on a Friday night and camped at the Observation Trailhead. Went to the top the next day. Altitude sickness was the order of the day and night. Great view and hike.

Jesus Malverde

Jesus Malverde - Dec 17, 2009 11:07 am Date Climbed: Dec 16, 2009

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

An ono pupu for the the peak bagging g-spot of your soul. Recommend sleeping higher up to acclimatize for this one. I slept at the radio transmitter towers at 8900 feet (more privacy and off the road). Taking 4 liters of water is recommended as well. 7 hours 20 minutes round trip in a bizarre and very interesting place. Enjoy!


boisedoc - Mar 31, 2009 10:58 pm Date Climbed: Mar 27, 2009

observatory trail  Sucess!

hiked up the lava fields from the Observatory. Pretty barren. Hiked on snow for the last 2.5 miles about 13000 feet, resulting in a sunburn on the back of the knees that I had not expected. Coming up from sea level in one day, this is a good way to see if you are prone to mountain sickness


farrisgl - Mar 21, 2009 2:46 pm Date Climbed: Aug 10, 1992

Camped just below the summit  Sucess!

Took the observation trail, camping just below the summit. What a spectacular night view of the star. Appeared so close you could almost touch them. Received light snow in the middle of the night as well. I need to go back some day in the near future and climb via the Mauna Loa Trail and again camp out on or near the summit.
I highly recommend this mountain.


Niederbayer - Feb 23, 2007 7:53 pm

April 2000 - Mauna Loa Trail

made it to rim of caldera - feels like walking on Mars - no vegetation, no birds or insects, just rocks and no other sound except the wind - unfortunately clouds blocked views

Dan the Jones

Dan the Jones - Sep 19, 2006 3:41 am Date Climbed: Jan 23, 2005

Never made it

What a geologic feast. Had to turn back due to time restrictions, but want to go again.

Viewing: 1-20 of 33
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