Originally Posted by Yuki
There is only one auto rental that will allow a vehicle to go up Marna Kean. The rest forbid this and it's not evident when you rent the vehicle.
Wife and I wanted to do the ski thing so we rented a Nissan X for three days only to find that ..... page 7, paragraph 2 , line 47, of our contract forbid us from driving up the mountain.
This was in the mid W's so things may have changed but, there was only one (non major) rental company on the whole island that allowed it.
The only reason we forked out the bigger $$$$ for the X was to do the snow thing so the main focus of our trip was shot.
Weird island .... bizarre climate ...
The road to the Mauna Kea access road is called the Saddle Road and was constructed a long, long time ago. It has numerous unbanked turns, and was formerly in bad repair. It is unlit at night, subject to fog and snakes though miles of barren lava fields. It has been the location of a disproportionate number of accidents and fatalities.
Progress to improve the Saddle Road has been incremental since it is not heavily used relative to other routes. This is why most rental car companies prohibit use of their vehicles for travel over the Saddle. Unfortunately, it is the only way to access Mauna Kea. There is a company in Waimea that operates a commercial shuttle service for families and groups up the mountain during snow season.