Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Big Climb

In my previous post, I talked about driving to the summit of Mauna Kea on the big Island of Hawaii ( Photo above is of the observatories at the summit of Mauna Kea). Mauna Kea's true elevation is 13,796 ft. However, it is also commonly referred to as the tallest mountain on the planet. If measured from the sea floor, Mauna Kea's total height would be about 33,000 ft - that's 4,000 ft higher than Mt. Everest!

My friend Nigel Gray, a top long distance triathlete and coach was over at Ironman Hawaii supporting a number of his athletes who were racing there. With time on his hands, Nigel, like many older endurance athletes these days, was looking for the next challenge. He had heard that there was a road that went right to the summit of Mauna Kea. To a cyclist and triathlete, like Nigel, that's like waving a steak in front of a hungry dog. Nearly 14,000 ft of straight climbing on a bike - why not!

The link below is Nigel's accounting of his Epic climb up to the summit of Mauna Kea:


With time on my hands myself in the days leading up to Ironman Hawaii. I had thought briefly of joining Nigel in this crazy endeavor. However, after hearing Nigel saying that he was completely overwhelmed with his lowest gear being a 39/25 and then actually seeing the condition of the 8km of gravel road that you needed to go over at over 10,000 ft, I was much the wiser for having stayed down at sea-level that day! Perhaps some other time.


Ben said...

Wow, that was an epic climb by Nigel! I was panting just watching the video footage...

jessica rae kirkwood said...

I am from canada and live at the base of mauna kea right now in Hilo. I climb that once a month, but only to 9000ft at the vis centre. It is truly humbly, awe-inspiring, and takes my breath away in a million more ways than one. This place is magical. Glad you love it.