Mauna Loa Summit
(c) 1999-2016 Jim Yuen
- Notes on the Mauna Loa Summit Hike
- The hike up to the summitt of Mauna Loa (13,700+ feet) is
18.2 miles long if you go by the standard route from Mauna Loa
Strip Road to Red Hill Cabin (10,000 ft) to the Summit.
- Shortly after you begin, you will be above tree level and
the sun is hot, the humidity low, and the altitude high. Experience
says use suncreen liberally, use sunglasses, carry lots of water
and watch for altitude sickness (headaches, malaise, etc).
- Above the tree line, you will be on lava flows from several
centuries old up to about a dceade ago. (Mauna Loa is still considered
active). There is no shade and there is absolutely NO WATER (no
snow to melt either).
- Before you begin, check in at the Ranger station, register,
ask about the conditions (temp, wind, etc) and the level of water
in the rain catchment tanks at Red Hill Cabin and the Summit
I'd suggest three litres of water per person per day.
- Temps drop quickly once the sun goes down (6PM). There is
little twilight as we are only 21 degrees above the equator.
It's almost like turning off the lights.
- Carry at least 20 degree, preferably 0 degree bags and rain
gear. Don't forget your ten essentials. p.s. a cell phone is
not a bad idea, either.
- Bring maps and compass; for the techie, a GPS is handy but
- TSA prohibits backpack stoves on flights. However, a small
folded butane stove (ex: MSR Rocket) can often be overlooked when
packed in checked luggage. No guarantees. For high altitude and low
temperatures below freezing, white gas or iso-butane are the preferred
fuels as it vaporized easily on mountaintops. Buy your fuel after you
arrive on island.
- Allow one day to get to Red Hill Cabin (approx 9 miles),
acclimatize overnight, one day to the summit, one day back to
Red Hill and one day to the Strip road (4 Days). Bring aspirin,
tylenol, whatever for headaches.
- You can hike from the Summit cabin to the Observatory road
(5 miles?) if someone can drive up and pick uou up. The road
is at about 11,000-12,000 elevation.
- Check the various guide books for more info; also the web.
Jim Yuen, 2007-2016