UH advises caution when visiting Maunakea summit

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald The telescopes are surrounded by snow at the summit of Maunakea on Tuesday.

The University of Hawaii is warning residents and visitors to exercise caution when traveling to and visiting the summit of Maunakea.

Four people required medical attention last weekend while at the summit — two individuals were injured, one seriously, while playing in the snow in separate incidents. Another two individuals suffered from altitude sickness, according to Maunakea rangers.

Two car accidents also were reported, including an overturned vehicle. There normally is an increase in summit traffic after a heavy snowfall.

UH is asking the public to remember that the summit of Maunakea can be one of the most dangerous places in Hawaii because of the extreme altitude and weather conditions, and emergency services may be two hours away because of its remote location.

Cellphone coverage is unreliable, and there is just one public emergency phone on the summit.

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