Nathan and I will be headed out to HI in a couple of weeks and one of our stops will be Hilo, to drive up Mauna Kea. (Already have a 4WD reserved from Harper's)
I'm wondering how much extra gear/clothing to pack for our short jaunt from the observatory parking lot to the actual summit. If I use the rule of thumb of 4 degrees per thousand feet, and it's 85 degrees at Hilo, it could be 50 or so degrees colder at the summit, so down around freezing.
I'm thinking long pants, a fleece and a wind shell, considering we'll be planning on just a quick walk (well, as "quickly" as we can walk at 13k+ having just driven from sea level with zero acclimation), our summit photos and back to the car.
I know that it does occasionally snow up on Mauna Kea...any reason to bring our ice axes and crampons? (Personally, I always thought it would make a great shot to pose in (what looks like) full winter gear with ice axe and crampons on the black sand beach on the Big Island to use as a lead-in shot for the trip report, but if we don't need to pack them, we won't.)
Feedback and current condition information will be most appreciated!
I th ink Wunderground gives info for the Mauna Kea Observatory. It's such a short walk from there that you could go in shorts and a tshirt, but i guess for maximum comfort and a little lunch stop at the summit, i would dress like you would for a December football game in St. Louis. Not in a domed stadium. Snow only comes in winter though, sorry.
Don't forget to bring a natural biodegradable offering for the Snow God's shrine up there. She gets jealous and angry easily...
My husband and I did the short summit "run" in April. I wore zipoff pants and a fleece, while my husband was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. It was raining on the drive but we got above the rain clouds at around 9,000 feet and the skies were absolutely clear. Temperature wise it was very warm except for the wind, which is why we needed the extra layer.
The path to the summit is well-trodden and when we ascended therew as just a crust of snow. No need for crampons or ice axe.
It's my understanding that the summit altar is an ahu or lele but not at all historical. Does this make it not a heiau, or just a modern heiau??? Beats me. Anyway, it was put up sometime in the past 10 years after a native Hawaiian group that felt a regular ol' cairn that was already up there wasn't a suitable, respectful marker. This year it got vandalized, but it was rebuilt quickly.
Some people put offerings like chocolate in wrappers or jewelry or excess merit badges such. If so, you should make sure the merit badge is readily biodegradable, a wrap it in a ti leaf, or it just turns into an odd trash pile.
This might be a plauible candidate for the monument's HP ... if it ever becomes a National Park, I guess John and Dave will have to hightail it out that way!
We're set to go in less than two weeks. No Nihoa for us, though. Just boring old Mauna Kea . Maybe we'll run into the Lost survivors, and help them out a bit. Just curious: why didn't they ever identify someone to climb the mountains behind their beachhead to scout the island and perhaps find a way out?
I believe in order to legally visit the Northestern Hawaiian Islands ("The Leeward Isles"), one needs to be a scientist with an approved project and permit. There is an attempt to "repurify" the biology there.
Actually, I started to date a biologist who had spent time on Kure, but after she found out i just wanted her for her "highpoints," the relationship was all downhill.
Make sure you look toward the Hilo side of the island from the summit, as you can actually see the curvature of the Earth provided that the clouds cooperate. If you'd like, take a look at my website, txmountaineer.com, for information on a February climb.
Well, the weather cooperated beautifully today. Nathan and I drove up to the observatory parking area and walked over to the summit, proper. The view was spectacular, although low clouds were building in and we couldn't quite see the horizon well enough to appreciate the earth's curvature.
I shot my traditional summit panorama as well. This isn't yet polished and I need to insert a close-up of the benchmark to fill in the bottom of the pan, but that'll have to wait until I get home.
Now we have a couple more days here on Hawaii to visit Volcanoes National Park and drive around to the Kona side of the island. We turned the SUV back to Harper's and rented a compact sedan instead, not feeling like feeding the big SUV gas at $3.45/gallon. Harper's gets tood marks for flexibility and responsiveness to their customers.