OHE August 1, 1999 (kaau)

Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 22:57:20 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Kaau Crater: destruction of pristine ridge

Went with HTMC to Kaau Crater hike. Hike itself was uneventful, but the two ridges are eroding more and more. I put up a yellow rope last year on the east ridge at the spot where I almost fell off in '94, and it was scarcely necessary last year. This year there is an extra Halloween rope, and both ropes are necessary to get up that slippery (it was wet) slope. Farther up, there is a spot with wide muddy steep slope, and it is getting to the point where a rope will be very helpful.

On the west ridge, two ropes were placed at a steep section anchored to two stakes. Again, used to be they were not necessary, and now it's getting to the point where they are helpful.

The east ridge is exhibiting Hawaii Loa ridge symptoms. Vegetation does not seem to grow well there, and it will be a long time before the trail repairs itself (if no one hikes there for 3 years say). Vegetation is more abundant on the west ridge, but that steep section is also getting denuded of vegetation and becoming a mud slope.

Back in '87, when I think Dick Davis cleared the loop and HTMC first hiked it, the entire loop was no problem, and there was not one single rope/cable, because there was lots of vegetation to grab on to. It is now quite different. Maybe we should stop clearing the loop for 3 years and see how it goes.


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