January 26, 2022

The tallest mountain in the world — most of which is underwater — has been ascended — bottom to top — for the first time.

SF Gate reports on the climbing of Maunakea, which is 33,500 feet tall, with 19,698 feet of that underwater.

Mountain climber and underwater explorer Victor Vescovo teamed up with Native Hawaiian scientist Cliff Kapono to scale Maunakea Volcano from its base at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to its peak.... The historic voyage included descending to the bottom of the ocean, kayaking to shore, then biking and hiking to the peak.

Oh, this isn't what it sounded like from the headline. They didn't go up the mountain in some underwater trek. Then went straight down to the starting point but then came straight up and kayaked over to the starting point on land:

They... floated back up and transferred to a kayak, with the help of expert canoeist Chad Cabral, and all three paddled the arduous 27 miles to shore, reaching Hilo Harbor just before dark, where they spent the night. The next morning, Vescovo and Kapono mounted bikes and cycled 37 miles from Hilo to Maunakea’s slopes.

Since Maunakea is Hawaii’s most sacred mountain, it was important for Vescovo and Kapono to follow Native Hawaiian protocol during this expedition. Cultural practitioner Tom “Pohaku” Stone advised the pair and conducted ceremonies at Puuhuluhulu, a volcanic cone where Saddle Road meets Mauna Kea Access Road, before they continued up the mountain....

And I will leave them there. My main question is answered, to my disappointment, and now I can see I have new questions and I assume these will not be answered. I mean, what ceremonies?  What is a "cultural practitioner"? How does a Tom Stone become a Pohaku, a Pohaku in Puuhuluhulu?

40 comments:

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Thank you for reading their clickbait so I didn't have to.

I too thought that "ascended" meant they traversed the entirety of the underwater part

tim in vermont said...

I similarly climbed Mt Washington in a combination of my car, a cog railway, and a stroll up the misty path to the top. All of this I did in ways that were culturally sensitive to the feelings of native New Hampshiremen. Still the face on "The Old Man in the Mountain" fell off, so I must have done something wrong.

tim maguire said...

If a plane flies over Mount Everest, did everyone on board "ascend" the mountain?

Given that when they popped out of the ocean, they were 27 miles away (away from what, it's not entirely clear--away from shore), does one even need to come near a mountain to claim to have ascended it?

Bob Boyd said...

Cliff is a good name for a mountain climber.

Leland said...

Most submarines would be crushed at that depth, so they certainly didn't just step outside of one and "climb". Plus climbing would have been more of an exercise of shedding weight needed to stay at depth. However, they did "ascend" in the true sense. Still, it reads like some elitist with a lot of money getting kudos via their own press release. I suspect soon we will hear that they did this to raise awareness of something, probably global warming.

RideSpaceMountain said...

Lame. He is like a little baby. Talk to me when Viscovo ascends space mountain.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I'm finding it hard to believe no one ever climbed up that thing before?

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

It usually snows on top of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the two 13,000+ above sea level peaks... during seasonal winter in Hawaii. But this year, the hack press were so desperate for a headline... It was "Blizzard in Hawaii!"

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Since Maunakea is Hawaii’s most sacred mountain, it was important for Vescovo and Kapono to follow Native Hawaiian protocol during this expedition.

Translated from the Journalist as; "they paid off the right loacals".

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Viscovo and the volcano.

I smell a Disney feature film!

Ralph L said...

Everest is even taller if you start from the bottom of the Indian Ocean, and cycling to the Himalayas is a much bigger deal.

gspencer said...

"Oh, this isn't what it sounded like from the headline"

Everyone's trying to con ya. Every day. All the time.

Especially fedgov.

Howard said...

How could you be fooled by the clunk bate headline? The laws of physics are actual laws, not some bullshit construction to be twisted for your ephemeral advantage. Yes yes yes. Arrogant man blah blah blah.

You want to see heroic climbing feats, watch "The Alpinist" and "14 Peaks" on Netflix.

ga6 said...

The new woke Navy should hire these guys to teach their sub commanders how to avoid running into undersea mountains and trashing their submarines

H&S 1/5 2/3 AIRPARTY

gilbar said...

tim maguire said...
If a plane flies over Mount Everest, did everyone on board "ascend" the mountain?

gilbar said...

tim maguire said...
If a plane flies over Mount Everest, did everyone on board "ascend" the mountain?
According to these people, YES!

Jamie said...

We were in southern Utah over Christmas (absolutely stunning area), and we wanted to visit a slot canyon. The one most people have heard of is Antelope Canyon, which is on Navajo land. It is WILDLY expensive to go there. You are required to have an Indian guide, and you pay what they ask.

We would've done it, too, if it hadn't been already booked solid. So instead, we found a local "outfitter" (that is, a place with 4WD vehicles) to take us to a non-Indian-land slot canyon that's something like 15-20 feet shorter, we were told, than Antelope. It was ethereal. Also considerably cheaper. And no need for cultural ceremonies!

Don't get me wrong - I support the Navajo nation's right to use that land in any way they decide is appropriate.

Ann Althouse said...

"How could you be fooled by the clunk bate headline? The laws of physics are actual laws, not some bullshit construction to be twisted for your ephemeral advantage" — we here at Meadhouse were all "How could he do it?" That's why I clicked. I thought maybe some marvelous machine has been built. It sounded impossible, and the answer was that it *sounded* like something that wasn't what happened. Yes, I might have just assumed that, but I was curious. It was highlighted at the top of Drudge, and it was at SF Gate, so these things made it sound as if perhaps something wonderful had happened.

Ann Althouse said...

What I'm curious about now is the commerce of using native culture to extract money in Hawaii. When I was 9, my greatest desire was to get to Hawaii, and now, at age 71, I have been able to go there for the longest time, yet I have never gone. I am afraid it's impossible to get to anything real there, that if you tried to go you'd be distanced from any real place by horrible bullshit — cultural practitioners, bogus ceremonies.

tim in vermont said...

I am thinking that I will write a novel based on my ascent of Mt Washington, along the lines of The Eiger Sanction. What the hell, everybody likes a good read.

tim in vermont said...

"You want to see heroic climbing feats, watch "The Alpinist" and "14 Peaks" on Netflix."

Or you could watch "The Eiger Sanction" and fear for the lives of Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin as they did their own incredibly dangerous stunts. Nobody cares about the characters, but it puts you on the edge of your seat to see Clint, who feels like your real life friend, in actual mortal danger. The plot is nonsense, so don't be distracted by that.

Anthony said...

I mean, if it wasn't too dangerous and obscenely expensive, I'd probably ride a helicopter up to the top of Everest* and hop out and say. . . .well, I'd say I 'stood on top of the world' but not that I 'ascended' it.

* Should be pronounced 'eev-erest', as a bit of useless trivia.

Fernandinande said...

Maunakea has an elevation of 13,803 feet.

rhhardin said...

Measured from the center of the earth, equatorial mountains are already 13 miles taller than polar mountains at the bottom.

Howard said...

Althouse virtue signals her total ignorance of how to create a real adventure to her deplorable patrons. The evil natives have ruined Hawaii dashing the 1950's dream of eating poi watching a hula dance and longboarding under the shadow of Diamondhead

rhhardin said...

I didn't see anything worth the journey in several business trips through Hawaii and staying over for a few days. I don't know if they still sell black lava ashtrays.

etbass said...

Of our many cruises, Hawaii was the least enjoyable. Don't know what draws people there other than an epheramal feeling that it is heaven on earth. And talk about racism! The native Hawaiians certainly don't believe in white supremacy.

JK Brown said...

Seems more consistent if they had descended to the base of the mountain, then ascended to the ocean surface, then inflated a ballon to continue their ascent to the peak, but then stopped before reaching the surface of the atmosphere.

Jake said...

I call bullshit on that being the tallest mountain. It's still Everest. Fake news.

Jake said...

Agree with Ralph.

Joe Smith said...

Nothing says Native Hawaiian like 'Tom Stone.'

But if the land is owned by the state or federal government, how in any way can it be off limits to anyone? Church/State, etc. Do you have to pay off a native to climb to the top? Sorry but I can't read the NYT site...

'When I was 9, my greatest desire was to get to Hawaii, and now, at age 71, I have been able to go there for the longest time, yet I have never gone. I am afraid it's impossible to get to anything real there, that if you tried to go you'd be distanced from any real place by horrible bullshit — cultural practitioners, bogus ceremonies.'

At the risk of making it more crowded, don't go to any other island but Kauai. It is one of only two places on earth where I can actually relax. There is very little to do there...no busy cities, no nightclubs...just spectacular weather and scenery. It's like one giant beach town...if you wear shoes you are in formal dress. Go to a luau but think of it as a party Don Ho style. You do it once and you never do it again. Btw, the Mai Tais are phenomenal : )

Greg The Class Traitor said...

It was highlighted at the top of Drudge, and it was at SF Gate

Sadly, I think that's now pretty much one definition of clickbait

I hope Drudge got a lot of money when he sold out.

MadTownGuy said...

I resisted the idea of going to Hawaii until our 25th anniversary came about. Secretly made travel reservations and ordered two Aloha shirts. Told my wife
We were going somewhere warmer than Madison (she was thinking Des Moines). Package arrived while I was at work and she was under orders not to open it till I got home. We opened it together, and she still wasn't sure what it was about...until I showed her the travel docs.

That said, Honolulu was pretty much Disneyland. Still, we enjoyed the Pearl Harbor tour and the bus tour of Oahu.

A few years later, we did a week in Kihei, Maui. Way different. Rode a bus all over the island, got to meet a lot of Hawaiian plain folks, heard lots of stories about regular life.

Brian said...

Climbing mountains is easy if you can levitate the first 2/3s...

Fred Drinkwater said...

"14 Peaks"
"Dawn Wall"
"Free Solo"
"The Walk"
And yes, Clint on the Eiger.

Beasts of England said...

I once had a ‘Ski Muana Kea’ t-shirt.

Bob Boyd said...

you could watch "The Eiger Sanction" and fear for the lives of Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin as they did their own incredibly dangerous stunts.

Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy

Bob Boyd said...

And don't forget the motivational, but treacherous Brenda Venus.

Caligula said...

"If a plane flies over Mount Everest, did everyone on board "ascend" the mountain?"

Perhaps a better question would be, why do we say people are "flying" when they go somewhere in an airplane, yet no one says passengers are "swimming" when they go somewhere in a boat?

Joe Bar said...

I rode a dirt bike to the top of Mauna Kea. Does that count? Yes, there are dirt bike trails going up the mountain.