Hawaii High Point Hike

We bought a 3 island tour package that ran from 9/8/01 through 9/19/01. The 9/11 event occurred while we were in Honolulu. The subsequent events were bizarre, but the tour did continue, with minor rescheduling. We saw Pearl Harbor, and the usual tourist stuff on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. Rode the helicopter to see the lava flows and the northside rain forests.

2001 Hawaii Trip Itinerary

Day Date Island Comments
Saturday09/08/01Waikiki, OahuMSP to Honolulu, on Delta, via Salt Lake City.
Sunday09/09/01Waikiki, OahuTour breakfast, Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial and the Punch Bowl cemetery.
Monday09/10/01Waikiki, OahuOahu Island tour, Diamond head, Polynesian Cultural Center, Dole Plantation, the windy pass.
Tuesday09/11/01Waikiki, Oahu9/11 event. Airport closed. Paradise Cove Luau.
Wednesday09/12/01Waikiki, OahuMaui departure delayed.
Thursday09/13/01Waikiki, Oahu Maui departure delayed.
Friday09/14/01MauiLeft at 6:30 am. Flew to Maui. Haleakala Crater and Lahina.
Saturday09/15/01Big Island, HawaiiFlew to Kona.
Sunday09/16/01Big Island, HawaiiIsland tour. Coffe plantation, Black sand beach, Volcanos National Park, Hilo.
Monday09/17/01Big Island, HawaiiHelicopter tour, Mauna Loa summit tour.
Tuesday09/18/01Big Island, HawaiiFlew to Honolulu. All day at airport. Evening departure, overnight flight.
Wednesday09/19/01Home Arrived in Salt lake City, then Minneapolis mid-day.

Highpoint 1. HAWAII, Mauna Kea, 13,796 ft, 9/17/01

In 2001, there were rest rooms at the visitor center, but none available to the public at the summit or the observatory area.
Many of the highpointing guide books suggest renting a vehicle for this summit. It is much easier to buy the sunset tour package and let somebody else drive. The tour company picked us up from our hotel on the Kona Coast and provide a box lunch, with green tea, at the visitor's center. The tour company also provided parkas. This was way better than paying too much to a rental company for the privilege of being able to drive only to the visitor center. Access appeared to be officially limited for private vehicles, above the visitor center. Also, no vehicle access is permitted at the summit after 6:30 pm, to prevent light pollution for the many observatories at the summit.

We went from sea level to 13,796 feet in about 3 hours. We had a one hour acclimation stop at the visitor center at 9,300 feet. The tour van took us as far as the road went, about 13,700 ft. Even with the acclimation stop, some people were disabled at the parking area and remained in the van. The tour guide, myself, and an English lady hiked up the trail, 0.2 mile and up the last 230 feet to the true summit. It is marked with a geological survey marker, which stands about a foot above ground. Forgot to sign the log. Inadequate oxygen affects brain function.

The Sun was setting. The wind was blowing. Temperature was 32 degrees F, but it felt as cold as I have ever been in Minnesota. Afterward, we returned to the visitor center and looked at stars for 2 more hours, before returning to sea level. Following is a replica benchmark, available for purchase at the visitor center.

Benchmark Information from the NGS Data Sheet:
Designation - SUMMIT USGS 1977
PID - TU2314
State/County - HI/HAWAII
USGS QUAD - MAUNA KEA (1982)
NAD 83(1993)
Lat --- 19 49 14.39067(N)
Long - 155 28 05.03903(W) ADJUSTED
"THE STATION MARK IS A USGS DISK STAMPED 13.796 SUMMIT 1955 CEMENTED TO THE TOP OF A 2-1/2-INCH PIPE DRIVEN INTO THE GROUND."

Pewter replica of summit benchmark