Mauna Kea “First Ascent” Expedition

The first “full ascent” of Mauna Kea from its base on the seafloor to its summit.


February 2021

In February 2021, Victor Vescovo and Dr. Clifford Kapono made the first “full ascent” of Mauna Kea from its base at -5,116m on the seafloor, to its summit at +4,207m. As with any true mountaineering expedition, it was a round trip made using only human power – with the exception of minimal electrical power for the submersibles that allows for the ascent and descent.

Following a vertical ascent from the base of Mauna Kea at 5,116 m / 16785 ft below sea level, Victor and Clifford paddled an ocean kayak 43 km / 27 miles to shore before a 60 km / 37 mile cycle to the lodge camp at 2,743 m / 9,000 ft. From there, a 9.6 km / 6 mile trek to the summit concluded the ‘first full ascent’.

The full ascent measured 9,323 m / 13,802 ft – greater than the height of Mt. Everest (8,848m / 29,032 ft).

Caladan Oceanic's 2021 expedition to ascend the full height of Mauna Kea

Map: Google Earth

Background Photo: Nula666