University of Hawaii Instutute for Astronomy
Mauna Kea

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Mauna Kea: preparing for severe weather

Weather on Mauna Kea can be severe and may include winds over 100 miles per hour, freezing temperatures, and snow storms. "White outs" caused by blowing snow can reducee. In the winter, ice may form suddenly, without warning. The steep paved grades are dangerous with just a thin coat of ice or snow. Visitors trapped on the mountain under these circumstances are in a life-threatening situation--they are in danger of freezing to death. visibility to zero. Deep snow drifts, freezing fog, and ice on the road can prevent passagExtreme weather that prevents the rescue of trapped visitors can last for more than a week. If you are planning to join a tour to the summit of Mauna Kea, please remember that you will be traveling to 13,800 feet and should be prepared for the altitude and cold. At this altitude, weather conditions can change radically in a very short period of time. For this reason, we suggest that you prepare for high mountain weather conditions. For your comfort you should bring the following equipment:

  • wool hat
  • mittens or gloves
  • long underwear (tops and bottoms)
  • wool sweater
  • long pants
  • wind-proof jacket
  • sturdy walking shoes and wool socks
  • sun screen and lip protection.

Stay Warm! Remember, you can always take extra clothes off, but you cannot put them on if you do not bring them.

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