The Goliath of the Pacific has been ascended by unicycle. From ocean to summit it is 13,780’, (4,200 meters) of vertical gain. It is the only place in the world that you can gain that massive amount of vertical in such a short distance. Based on the FIETS INDEX found in the Dutch FIETS magazine :
FIETS-index = [H^2 / D*10] + (T - 1000):1000
H = difference in height; D = distance in metres; T = top of mountain in metres
[The second part of the formula does only apply to mountains above 1000 meters]
this puts this climb as the WORLDS HARDEST HILLCLIMB by almost double over the next climb. Mauna Kea rating is 29.7
I knew this going into the climb, had seen the elevation profile, and prepared as good as a working man can. I was still very intimidated and gave this one the utmost respect.
I will not bore you will all the details of the ride, as it was epic, but I will say it was the most amazing day I have ever had on the unicycle.
Some Facts about Mauna Kea:
-40% less air pressure on top a story was told to me about a woman who upon reaching the summit in her car was covered in orange. The ranger asked if she was ok, and she told him that her bag of Cheetos exploded inside the car.
-45%-50% less oxygen on top this crushes most unhealthy people, and will dramatically slow you down during exercise
- 10 of the earths climate zones are found on this climb, from desert to plains to artic tundra
- it is found to be the most remote place on earth, it is farthest from any continent
- the worlds most powerful telescopes are found on the summit
- they say it is the tallest mountain in the world, from the base to the summit is over 33,000’, (10,058 meters), most of it is under water
The climb for me was 44 miles, the first 30 miles only gains 6,000’, (1,829 meters) and then the real fun begins. The next 14 miles gains 7,800’ , (2,408 meters), and includes sustained sections of 17% grade with a max grade of 22% grade. Oh, and there are 5 miles of loose volcanic dust/dirt which include 4 major switchbacks, between the elevations of 9,000’ and 11,300’, (2,743 & 3,444 meters). Then the road turns back to pavement for the final push to the summit. When I climbed Haleakala in 08’ I thought I was on the moon, Mauna Kea is like being on Mars! I planned not to ride down, and was very glad to stay on top, and watch the most surreal sunset and simultaneously full moon rise from 13,780’. I was blessed with nice weather, and only one tube blow out. I am grateful to my wife and nephew, who flew over from Oahu to help support me, who both gave me words of encouragment when I needed it most. Hail to Poliahu, Goddess of Mauna Kea !!
1st pic is starting point Hilo Bay with my wife Annie
2nd pic is first view of Mauna Kea, it was covered first thing, I am at elevation of 3,000’ , (914 meters). Still over 10,000’ vertical to climb
3rd pic is mauna kea from Saddle Road-the only road that connects the east tropical side to the west dry side
4th pic is on volcanic dust/dirt switchbacks, starting to get taken over by the marine layer
5th pic is from the 13,000’ , (3,963 meters) sign, very happy to be here totally missed the 12,000’ sign
6th pic is from bottom of final face looking up to summit, that includes 3 switchbacks, only 700’, (214 meters) to climb
7th pic is summit pic- what an amazing feeling to ride up the worlds hardest hillclimb on a unicycle- LIFE IS GOOD:)
8th pic a google earth view of Mauna Kea climb and includes the other islands of Hawaii