Atop Mauna Kea

Three telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea at sunset
A wind turbine with snow covered Mauna Kea in the background

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Mountain Top.’ See more responses here.

Mauna Kea is the highest mountain on earth, when measured from its base to its peak. It logs in at 33,476 feet, 13,803 of which are above sea level.

The top photo is a late afternoon view from near the summit of Mauna Kea, with the Subaru Telescope on the left and the two Keck Telescopes to the right. The top of the cloud layer lies a thousand or more feet below them, which is one of the reasons it’s such a prime site for astronomy.

The second photo is a view from Upolu, showing the summit with a lot of snow on it. While this photo was taken in February, the volcano is high enough that snow can fall at any time of year.

15 thoughts on “Atop Mauna Kea

  1. SandyL

    That first shot is amazing. It’s must feel magical to be sitting ABOVE the clouds. I gather you drove up there? (Not questioning your ability to hike up there btw.) How long does it take to get there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      You can question my hiking abilities, because that’s not a hike I’d do these days. I did get a ride to the top once and hiked down – – and I almost did my knees and calves in. Driving is the way to go! From the visitor center on Mauna Kea (9,200 feet) it’s about 8 miles to the top on a mostly gravel road. Takes about 20 minutes, and 4-wheel drive is highly recommended. From Saddle Road to the visitor center is 7miles and takes 15 minutes. One should also spend 30 to 60 minutes at the visitor center, acclimating to the altitude, before continuing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Forestwood

    Volcanoes with snow! Such a contradiction but then there is many in Iceland too, I guess. Love the wsy you captured that first photograph. Fantastic. So wind energy is employed in Hawaii?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      There’s a moderate amount of wind energy. Hawi wind farm is one of the larger operations and there’s another on the southern tip of the island. But there are quite a few local wind turbines operating in small communities and at individual houses. Our local library has a pair of turbines and, I think, generates more power than it uses.


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