If anyone is interested in Mauna Kea either the first week of December or between Christmas and New Year's, let me know. I live on Oahu, and i have a friend who is a pilot and flying instructor. He's very trustable, and he sounds pretty willing to do a flight from Honolulu over to the Big Island then. With more than 1 passenger, it could save a few bucks AND be a more scenic trip. Figure on pooling $ for the car rental too if you'd like.
On the mountain itself, i'll be walking up from the base of the saddle road, at 6000-something feet. Anyone is welcome to join for the whole, or just join from the trail starting at the visitor's center around 9000 feet, or just to say hello at the tippy top. I haven't decided whether to do this as an ibuprofren day hike or as a semi-illegal overnighter yet...it's flexible. The cabins at the base of Mauna Loa, near the saddle road, look like a beautiful place to spend a pre-climb night acclimatizing, as another possibility.