Walking to the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii is becoming increasingly popular with visitors from Hawaii. Its attraction is understandable, at 13, 796 feet above sea level, Mauna Kea Peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. Its base is 19,000 feet below sea level, and its height from base to peak is 33,000 feet, which is the highest mountain on earth. The scenery of the peaks is indescribably beautiful, the idea of being in an alpine tropical region is unique enough and simply one of my favorite places on earth.
The formation of Mauna Kea on the sea floor began about a million years ago. Its name means “White Mountain” in Hawaiian, and it is covered with snow most of the winter, and its peak is covered with a depth of 35 feet. During the ice age, the peak of Mauna Kea froze 3 times, starting about 200,000 years ago and ending only 11,000 years ago. U-shaped valleys and circuses, linear subsurface rocks, glacial hills that cover the summit area, and remnants of frozen lava flows from that period can be seen. There are even remnants of extinct stone glaciers near the summit.
The visitor center and summit culminates in a 6,600-foot altitude near the marker at 2800 miles through the road that leaves Saddle Road, and miraculously reaches the 9,900-foot visitor information station south of Mauna Kea. This road, although steep, has been paved to the visitor center. On top of that, the road is paved for 5 miles and opens to the asphalt until the last run reaches the edge of the summit. Road conditions are available for peak road at 808.935.6263.
The visitor center is open 365 days a year from 9 am to 10 pm. Multimedia information offerings, souvenirs and some food items are here, and clean bathrooms and drinking water are available here. Every night after dark, the center allows visitors to star through several telescopes, and occasional information talks are scheduled with scientists visiting. The staff of the center accompany field trips on Saturdays and Sundays, but visitors must provide their own vehicle. For information, call 808.961.2180. It is recommended that peak visitors stop at the visitor center at least half an hour before heading to the summit to adjust.
There is no public accommodation, water, food or petrol service above the visitor information station. Observatory buildings are closed to the public and usually locked. There are no public telephones or toilets, only a port-a-pati. An emergency telephone is located at the U entrance of the 2.2 meter H telescope building.
Driving on the summit road to the top of Mauna Kea is not as dangerous as car rental companies want you to believe, nor is it as common as many Big Island residents tell you. It is true that the summit road is not asphalt on most roads, it is steep and winding with limited visibility. The road is very wet when it is wet or icy, which often, and is exposed to frequent dense clouds, snow, rain and fog that darken all vision. Also, hot summer conditions can turn into severe winter rage in a matter of minutes with little or no warning.
However, the road is generously wide, regularly graded and there is no real threat to the cautious driver. The safe driver can expect to reach the summit about 2 hours after leaving the visitor information station. Remember, it is not the roughness of the road that gets in the way of your car. This is the altitude from which it starves for oxygen. To stay safe, use the lowest gear to save brake wear as you continue to climb the mountain. Check your car rental agreement – many forbid you to drive on this road. If you go anyway, your insurance is void and you are doing so at a significant financial risk. Remember, people sometimes open their cars.
If the weather is terrible, just go down immediately. Calm down, calm down and drive carefully. You can be sure that even if you have to slow down in places up to 10 miles per hour, you will enjoy the security of the visitor center in 40 minutes or more.
Mount Mauna Kea, home to the world’s largest array of astronomical instruments and telescopes, is truly an amazing place. The tempting juxtaposition of icy heights caused by the steam of tropical forests; The old altars of the holy gods of Hawaii next to the buildings of the latest science; Frozen landscapes during the ancient glacial period along with fiery volcanic forms. Everyone is wrapped up in a legendary journey with dangerous rumors, just for spices! Beautiful, exciting and 360-degree views of the entire large island include the islands of Maui, Kahulawa and Lanai in broad daylight. The glow of Kilauea volcano can be seen on bright nights. Although daytime temperatures during the summer can peak in the 1960s, they are generally cold from freezing, often humid, and very windy at the peak. Plan and dress accordingly.
The summit region is also culturally and religiously important to the Hawaiian natives and hosts many religious Heiau, obsidian mines and other ancient sites. Remember that these landscapes and archeological sites are sacred to them. Do not take anything but photos, do not even leave footprints.
Parking is limited, but walking from the top of the road to the actual peak is essential for anyone who has tried so far and is in good condition. A stone altar and a USGS checkpoint show the actual summit of the mountain, about a 15-minute walk from the top of the road. The route that leads around the mouth of the peak takes about 30 minutes to cross the mountain and pass through a very wild country with amazing views. Make sure you have plenty of drinking water with you and water your body regularly to prevent altitude sickness. If you feel sick or the weather is not completely right, do not leave the parking lot – in fact, in bad weather, or at the onset of fear, you should leave the peak immediately and land.
Alternatively, for those who are physically fit, you can walk from the visitor center to the summit. With unique scenery, wildlife, ancient sites and more, the hike is about 6 miles long, about 4,500 feet high and takes 6 to 10 hours, depending on the type of hike. There is no water at any point above the visitor center, so do enough to get up and back down. To be honest, many people do mountaineering after mountaineering. In fact, for people who have a short time, or for whom scenery and not conquering the peak are the main goals, reaching the summit and walking is a great alternative and only takes about 1.3 hours.
Another stunning hike in the summit area, accessible to almost anyone in convenient conditions, is Lake Vaiao. Park either on land 12,000 feet near the 5 mile marker, or on land about 13,000 feet near the 7 mile marker. Needless to say, one is uphill and the other is uphill. But both are less than a mile long and have similar altitude changes. I prefer the top route because the view of the astronomical summit peak on the walk is fantastic. An absolute gem of an alpine hill alone, at 13,020 feet above Lake Vaiao, it is one of the highest permanent lakes in the world … . About 300? By 150? With a depth of 8 feet and yes, I can personally guarantee it is snorkeling. Although there is not much to see there.
There are also some health concerns about visiting Mauna Kea. In summary: Children under the age of 16, pregnant women and people with respiratory, heart or severely overweight diseases are advised not to go above the visitor information station. Divers must wait at least 24 hours after their last dive before traveling to the summit.
Acute mountain sickness caused by being at high altitudes includes nausea, headache, drowsiness, shortness of breath and poor judgment. Aspirin and plenty of water are helpful in relieving altitude sickness, but treatment is quick and easy. After recovering The Saddle, sufferers will notice an almost complete cessation of symptoms. Altitude sickness can be dangerous, even life-threatening, and the rapid onset of coma, or even death, can be unexpectedly rapid.
Finally, there is the serious risk of sunburn and eye damage, especially when it snows on the ground. Be sure to wear sunglasses with at least 90% IR and 100% UV (both UVA and UVB). Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Long sleeves and pants help reduce sensitivity to sunburn.
Most of the visits to Mauna Kea Peak are very enjoyable experiences that include easy adventures that may be a mild elevation delight, amazing views and a feeling of tranquility on reaching the asphalt road and public restroom at the visitor information station after leaving the peak. Be included.