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
What a geologic feast. Had to turn back due to time restrictions, but want to go again.
Amazing, spectacular and unusual peak. My new tennis shoes were shredded on the sides from the sharp volcanic rocks.
nice hike, amazing landscape
Via Observatory Trail. From a geology standpoint this is one of the most interesting mountains anywhere ... a raw, unfettered volcanic landscape.
First went solo Red Hill route. Raining horizontally + 30 mph wind. Retreated and drove to Observatory route. TONS of snow starting at 12,000 ft. 23 degrees inside summit cabin. Nalgenes frozen in morning. FUN!!!
Sunday morning to the cabin, low water at the hole but clear water in the tank. Awesome sun rise on Monday. Very cold hike to the summit. Gloves and a hat the whole way. This is a very big and lonely place to have all to oneself for two days. I will come back some day to explore the crater and maybe hike all the way arround it.
Took the easy dayhike from the weather observatory at 11K. Distance can be covered quickly, but it takes quite awhile to gain elevation as it is very gradual. A 2.8 mile hike still remains after you reach the rim at ~13K'. The crater is awesome.
I've hiked Mouna Loa twice with my father. The first time was our second backpacking trip. It was freezing in the early morning (well, freezing for a person who lives in hawaii) I climbed up read hill the first day in 2003 to take sunrise pictures (it was windy and cold!) perfect weather that trip. The second time we wanted to descend via the Ainapo trail... but at the summit we experiance hail and thunder so we decided to decend a more familiar route. Mouna Loa will always remain my favorite mountain, and my time spent there charished. Mouna Loa has always captivated me as a child... the start of my obsesion of gaining altitude! If you go to hawaii do Mouna Loa and call me! because I want to come too!
p.s. For those of you who've done the Mouna Loa aren't those 20 miles from the caldera lip to the cabin the longest twenty miles of your life! (well... 2 miles actually.. for those who've not yet experianced the distortion in time and space)
Only went to the cabin. Rained from 3pm til late the next day. Truly an erie expierence in the rain and fog. Shared the cabinthat night with an altitude sick hiker who came in late and soaked to the bone. Talked him into returning with us and gave him a ride around the island to his car.
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...).
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.
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.
Some snow near summit
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.