Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 15:00:09 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (email@example.com> Subject: And now... the rest of the story
Just got off the land-line with my friend (let's call her Rose) who was rescued yesterday from atop Mount Ohulehule. She shared some info about her experience and I'd like to pass it on to the list.
First of all, it was a nice day as Rose and her husband (let's call him Jack) made their way through Kahana Valley. About 15 minutes after they reached the summit, clouds moved in and it started to pour. Jack and Rose headed down but upon arriving at the steep, near vertical section, they halted because there were no knots in the cable (the cable was too slippery without the knots). It was like being above a muddy waterfall.
Using common sense they backtracked to the summit and called the fire department at approx. 3 p.m. Unable to rescue them, the dispatcher instructed the couple to stay put overnight. The two of them constructed a shelter complete with overhang out of ti leaves and ti leaf trees (it is still there in case someone else needs to use it - Wingo?).
It was soooo cold that night (the wind was "roaring") and bugs (millipedes) invaded the shelter. To pass the time Jack and Rose played twenty questions and brainstormed baby names (did they try and make a baby? No. For some reason romance was hard to come by that night!). However, it was an incredible bonding experience. Later, despite their circumstances, my friend's husband fell asleep (she could hear him snoring) but she could not rest. The rain continued throughout the night and early morning hours and fog socked in the craggy peak.
On Sunday (yesterday) morning Rose called fire rescue again via her cell-phone to find out when they were going to be picked up. The dispatcher explained that the weather still hadn't improved enough to warrant a rescue. While they waited the clouds lifted momentarily giving the couple an awesome, beautiful view of Ka'a'awa Valley, Chinaman's Hat and Hakipu'u Valley below. For nourishment, Rose ate thimble berries.
Eventually, two men from fire rescue were dropped off at the Waikane Saddle (not the true Waikane Saddle but a name given to the spot) which was below cloud level, drank some of the water Rose had left there, ascended to the summit and lead Jack and Rose to the Waikane Saddle. On the way they belayed the couple down the near vertical section using pulley systems, hoisting them. The rescuers repelled down.
Once the group of four reached the clearing which is the Waikane Saddle, a chopper did a fly by and lowered a basket. Jack and Rose were loaded into the container and taken to the floor of Ka'a'awa Valley at approx. 1:30 p.m. Rose described the ride as "thrilling".
It was an incredible ordeal but Rose has no regrets about climbing Mount Ohulehule because everyone involved came out safely. She will hike again in a couple of weeks!
"Pu'u Ohulehule is the craggy peak which dominates the windward coast from Kahalu'u to Punalu'u. It stands alone, being only loosely connected to the Ko'olau summit ridge. Radiating from its slopes are 4 undeveloped valleys, Kahana, Ka'a'awa, Hakipu'u and Waikane. Ohulehule is a classic mountain, beautiful but dangerous."*
* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.
Thanks, Pat, for the story of Jack and Jill (err....Rose) who went up the hill...
Sorry, couldn't resist. :-)
[pulpit mode on]
In all seriousness, I'm glad to hear the couple came out okay. I can imagine the demeanor of the fire rescue guys who had to risk limb and life to fetch them out of there. I wouldn't want that job.
I suppose for those of us in the hiking community the lesson learned is to be prepared, and as Pete Caldwell has noted in the past, to be responsible for our own safety and ability to get ourselves out of a pinch if need be. If that means carrying that 50-foot coil of rope so we can negotiate a trail turned into a muddy waterfall, or packing a compass and map so we can figure out where the heck we are when socked in by clouds, or sticking an appropriately-stocked first aid kit in the daypack, then so be it.
And, yes, a cell phone is a helpful piece of equipment, and I always have one in my pack. Fortunately, I've never had to use it for "the call" and hopefully an occasion for such will never come.
Along that line, yesterday, when someone (jokingly) mentioned calling 911 while we were searching for the right ridge on the Manana to Waimano crossover, Pat, looking grim, said something like "Only on my dying breath."
I'm in agreement with him. If in a tight fix, I'll try whatever means to get out of it on my own. Calling for fire rescue would be the final option.
I realize that a couple folks on the list have found themselves in a bad way and opted to make "the call." Were they wrong for doing so? Could they have made it to safety on their own? Could they have used better judgment or been better prepared to avoid the fix they ended up in? Who's to say?
What we all can take from this is to be prepared and accountable for ourselves so that if at all possible we can avoid that HFD chopper ride, no matter how thrilling.
--DKT [/pulpit mode off]
Yes, they could have. It's a bad idea to go on an unknown hike when the weather is other than favorable, especially a hike of Ohulehule's fame. I would have turned back if it began raining, I as a rule do not hike in the rain if I can help it at all. I also always carry a spaceblanket, jacket, woolen beanie cap and gloves as well as a flashlight with extra batteries.
I have been stranded overnight before, and learned from my mistake. I also on another occaison called 911 for help, and was airlifted off Mariners Ridge. Mariner's Ridge you say, what an *easy* hike. Indeed it is, except when you've torn your ACL (Knee ligament) such that you cannot walk. God knows I tried to walk, however my leg collaped on me after a couple steps. I tried walking on it twice and realized I was only ripping it further each time, falling down on the ground in pain. I had zero choice in the matter, I could not walk. If I could have walked, I would have prefered to walk out on my own.
I have always felt as Pat does however he may be forced to call on other than his "last dying breath". I can't see calling for help just because you are cold or uncomfortable. If your legs can carry you in there they sure as heck can carry you out. Why didn't they just hike out the next morning after the rain lifted? Whats the whole story?
As a frequent visitor to the ridgelines along the Waianae Range (I am a bowhunter) and a daily reader of events posted daily on this listserv, I have much admiration for the individuals who frequent the many trails islandwide. Mr. Rorie and Mr. Robinsons trek along the KST proved to me that these men are true to their adventurous spirits when they can make the "right" decisions about their own personal limits.
However I am always concerned when individuals take to the field on hikes or hunts without the proper items necessary to protect their well being in the event of sudden weather changes or unknown situations. As many of the experienced hikers know, many seemingly safe trails can become quite dangerous after the weather goes sour. In order to purchase a State of Hawaii Hunting License, I was required to take a State sponsored program called Hunters Education several years ago. The class is held several times during the year on all islands and is listed in the newspapers. Since it is free, I recomend anyone interested in going into the field(whether for hunting or hiking) take the class to learn about good safety practices of all outdoors people. You will learn about what things to carry in your day pack that would increase your ability to wait out bad weather, a much more.
Its like the Boy Scouts, you should always be prepared. Ignorance is not an excuse. As a taxpayer like everyone else, I don't want to see more government intervention in our recreational activities. We do not need to see a non-outdoors person get fed up with hearing about the many rescues that could have been prevented and push for legislation for the regulation of our activities. My hats off to the HMTC and the few hikers that I have met in the field, for all the hard work you people have put into keeping the trails clear and safe.