Getting Off the Volcano: Stranded in a Hawaiian Snowstorm on Mauna Loa


The hike was supposed to take less than four days.

Alex Sverdlov, a 36-year-old New Yorker, was an experienced outdoorsman and he had climbed Mauna Loa, a massive Hawaiian volcano, once before.

The first two days were sunny and warm. But shortly after he reached the summit on the third day, an unexpected storm clobbered the mountain with a foot of snow, subfreezing temperatures, and winds up to 50-miles-per-hour. Soon Sverdlov found himself slowly trudging through a thick blanket of snow that stretched as far as he could see, covering the trail and hiding the craters and gorges on either side of it.

He was stranded, a dozen miles from the nearest cabin and more than 13,000 feet above sea level. His water was frozen and he began hallucinating. Then the sun set.

Read the full story: Over the Volcano: Stranded and Hallucinating in a Hawaiian Snowstorm