OHE December 21, 1997

Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 19:17:10 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Another near death experience :-)

My car is in the shop, and so sadly couldn't go Heleakala. The Kuliouou loop that Dayle Turner just did is nearby and I can do it with TheBus.

Exactly 6 months ago, at summer solstice, I did this loop. It is now winter solstice. I considered it easy hike then, can't imagine there is any problem. Dayle just did it too.

Got to the trailhead noontime. Not worried since this is a short hike. At the check-in, I wrote "not checking out, going on loop".

I go up the freeway switchback side. I like going up the easy side, although the other side is not hard, still it's harder.

Got to the top without mishap, and proceeded to cross over. The first loose-dirt rockface is okay, but the second one rockface is harder than I remember. The rope that was there is gone, but that's gone 6 months ago. Moreover I did it several times without the rope.

I struggled up to near the top. Just one more ledge. This one is much harder than I remember. Why is this? I moved left and right, trying to find the best line.

Six seven people were gathering on the top of the easy Ahi ridge. One woman started yelling: "Are you in trouble?". I yelled: "no!" I fidgeted some more. The easiest way is to go up a 3 feet high loose dirt ledge. I took a look at the "downside", and it's a steep slope leading towards the pali cliff side. If I slip, I might slip off this steep slope and go straight down .... I hesitated, and she yelled: "are you in trouble?", and I yelled "no!!!".

This woman started walking towards me! I am generally receptive to gaining the friendship of females, but she is under the impression of being a damsel to rescue me in distress! The last time some female helped me while I was climbing occurred when I was 9!!

Now she yelled: "do you need any help? Are you stuck?" I yelled: "No! I am not stuck! I am sure I can get back down, I just might not being able to make it up."

Occurred to me, it's one thing to slip and fall off and die, that's bad enough. What is WORSE is to fall off in front of these 7 people watching from 1000 feet away, and this very brave, generous, helpful female embarking on a rescue, then seeing this dummy fall off before she could rescue him! That embarrassment is worse than death!

I give up, and started coming down.

By the time I got back to the top of Ahi, everybody is gone. I found the bottle, and wrote in there, blaming Dayle Turner for destroying the slope with his enormous weight. Then I walked down the same way, and then it occurred to me that it probably wasn't Dayle's fault, and the ancient wire is gone.

See the rope comes and goes, but the wire was there the first time I did this in '85, and looked like it was there already in 1900. Today is the first time that the wire is gone!

One year ago, I cursed those lowlife who took away the cables from Olomana. Some lowlife took out the rope a while ago, and some lowlife even ripped out the wire that's been there for ages, that qualifies as an antique, that may even qualify as native vegetation!

Some day, I'll go back and hang my own rope there. It will be some cheap rope that I can buy and buy again!

Wing


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