OHE February 22, 1998

Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 16:37:40 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Survived!

Pat "Paka-lolo" Rorie; Laredo "Rainbowman" Murray (yellow hair today); my idol, the famous woman hiker (FWH) who asked me to refrain from using her name on the Internet; and I headed to the windward side today (2/22) to hike to the crest of a ridge called Mo'o kapu o Haloa (lit. "the sacred section of Haloa"--Haloa was the son of Wakea, the first man in Hawaiian folklore). Wing Ng has referred to this hike as Kanehoalani, but actually that's a misnomer as I'll explain later.

To access the ridge we climbed, we had special permission (thanks to FWH) from the boss of a well-known windward Oahu ranch. If we had tried to hike without being authorized we certainly would have been charged with trespassing.

From my perspective, the ridge route we did was the most dangerous I've hiked. And since I've completed dangerous undertakings like Manamana, Olomana, and treks along the Koolau crest, this can give others some foundation for comparison.

The climb to the summit took about three hours and during that time we found ourselves negotiating spectacular dike sections and scaling steep, loose-rock slopes with the aid of cables. At several points, Pat, Laredo and I gave thought to cashing in our chips and heading back down, but somehow we found the will to continue climbing. Meanwhile, FWH climbed fearlessly and almost effortlessly. Her presence certainly provided inspiration to the three of us.

I have to admit that I stopped about 100 feet shy of the crest after nearly slipping and falling to oblivion. A subsequent conversation with the Almighty and a simultaneous life-flashing-before-my-eyes experience were clear indicators that further progress upslope should be terminated. Admittedly, I wouldn't have made it nearly as far up the mountainside without the assistance of FWH who executed flawless belay techniques several times despite being a third of my body weight. If there is a more able woman hiker/climber on Oahu, I've yet to meet her.

For the record, Pat, Laredo, and FWH crested out at an unnamed spot on Mo'o kapu o Haloa ridge. The famous peak Kanehoalani (elev. 1,900), was two humps to our left on the crest but from our position was inaccesible without climbing gear and a huge dose of insanity. FWH had summited at today's topping out locale on two previous occasions, once solo and another time with Al Miller, a well-known daredevil hiker from the HTMC. Based on info available to me, Kanehoalani itself may have never been climbed.

And for the record, FWH, on her two previous summit conquests, climbed unaided to affix all the cables (hauled up by Al Miller) now on the ridge. A feat like that is extraordinary.

As the saying goes, what goes up must come down. And the down was as exciting as the up, perhaps even moreso, especially the long cable section from the crest and another dangerous cabled descent slightly further down. A fall in either of these sections would have meant curtains. Actually, a fall just about anywhere on the whole route would have meant....well, just don't fall.

And fortunately, none of us did.

When we reached our cars, Pat, Laredo, and I exchanged high fives and each of us gave FWH a hug of gratitude and admiration.

Then in the ultimate double-header coup de grace that will surely propel them into the annals of local hiking lore, Paka-lolo and Rainbowman headed to Kahana to do the Pu'u Manamana hike. What a double-header!

As for me, like the subject line of this post suggests, I'm just glad I'm still around to hike another day. Ahh, how sweet it is. :-)

Aloha and safe hiking to all,


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