Vlog 15 - En route to Mauna Kea - Climbing the highest summit of Hawaii

Written by Sandrine Published on 20/08/2017

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The road to Mauna Kea

We leave our small studio in Kona at 11am on the way to Mauna Kea, Hawaii's highest peak!

The road is long enough and will be difficult for our organisms because of the altitude. So we go quietly. We make a first stop at the Mauna Kea Recreation Area, at 2000 meters above sea level, while we eat a bite to eat. Then we continue to the Visitor Center located at 2800 meters.

We will stay there for almost 45 minutes while we acclimatize ourselves by watching the long and very interesting video that runs in a loop. Then it's time to continue on the last few kilometers reserved for 4x4 vehicles.

The final ascent of Mauna Kea

The track is steep but doesn't pose any difficulties. We quickly arrive over the clouds and we will make our first stop on the Wai' au trail. But first of all, we stay a good 30 minutes in the car at almost 3900 meters to get used to the altitude. We feel a little "strange" and especially very short of breath. 

The short walk to the Wai' au laken, which we thought was a health walk, is almost an ordeal in the end, as we find it so hard to catch our breath, our heart rate skyrocketing with every effort because of the lack of oxygen. We move forward in small steps, so that the walk seems to last forever!

Finally we finally arrive at the green lake which is a sacred site for Hawaiians. We explain this in the video ;)

Sunset at the top of the Pacific Ocean

It's 5:00 p. m. when we reach the summit at 4207 meters. It makes a freezing wind that freezes us on the spot. So we wait wisely in the car for the sun to drop below the sea of clouds. We then wait for long minutes, contemplating this incredible landscape above a sea of seemingly infinite clouds, and surrounded by domes of the large international observatories that wait until nightfall to bring out their objectives.

The sun is slowly going down and offers us one of the most beautiful sunsets of our stay. It's not so much its beauty, but the feeling of being on the roof of the world to observe it. 

To learn more about Mauna Kea and its ascent

To learn more about the Mauna Kea and its ascent, we invite you to read this full article: Climbing the Mauna Kea, the highest peak in Hawaii. We give you our tips for climbing the Mauna Kea and the different possibilities to reach the summit.

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