Old School Film Hack

Snow on Mauna Kea


Mauna Kea — The Big Island, Hawaii (April 2009)
Leica D-LUX 4 + 24-60mm

Me, on the top of Mauna Kea.  And yes… that’s snow in the background. In Hawaii.

21 thoughts on “Snow on Mauna Kea

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    1. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      On Mauna Kea? Dunno.

      We visited Mauna Kea on our first full day on the Big Island back in early April 2009, and it was a very long drive to get there and back from our hotel. Since the summit is 13,796 feet — and there was snow already on the ground — we beat a hasty retreat after getting chilled to the bone from being outside for about 10-15 minutes. It didn’t help that we were still wearing damp swimming suits from having played in the ocean a couple hours prior to our summit dash.

      They take the weather on Mauna Kea very seriously: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/visiting-mauna-kea/health-and-safety-advisories.html

      Driving up there isn’t bad so long as you know what you’re doing. We’ve driven with rentals into far worse conditions in Colorado, but then we’re accustomed to doing so — and also getting ourselves out of any mess we find ourselves in as well. Not a drive for people unaccustomed to single-tracking or high altitudes.


    2. i*Kan

      Apparently viewing the sunset from Mauna Kea is one of the top 10 things to do in Hawaii. We were warned about the weather conditions in advance (the range of climates and topography on Big Island is absolutely mind boggling!), but didn’t end up making it there due to altitude considerations. Went up to the Visitor’s Information Station though for some stargazing.


    3. Mitch Zeissler Post author

      We watched the sunset twice from the top of Haleakalā over on Maui (https://exploratorius.us/2014/01/31/hyperboreal-delights-atop-haleakala/), but it was a lot more approachable than Mauna Kea and far less concerning. Coming down from the summit of Mauna Kea was manageable in daylight, but it would be a white-knuckle ride in a rental car after dark.

      Altitude is nothing to dismiss lightly; with the excellent fuel injection available in the cars of today, it’s very easy to drive to an altitude in which we would have difficulty exerting ourselves, or even have medical issues. Cindy and I have flirted with altitude sickness several times over the years, but have always backed down before it could affect us.


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