OHE June 12, 1999 (Koko Crater via Railroad)

Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 18:32:41 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Koko Crater via railroad

I actually like Koko Crater a lot: it's got steep but solid rock, and it's not too far or remote. The aborted plan to build a cable car to the top gets talked about a lot. There was already an abandoned railroad to the top for many years. I used to do that a lot, but the last time I went up was '84. I went down several times during Club hike which went up the natural bridge way. So I parked by the firing range today. Plan was to come down the new Club route direct to Blowhole.

Instead of walking the road I walked on top of the rim of the crater that houses the firing range. They were shooting but appeared to be shooting the other way, towards Koko Crater. Nevertheless it felt most dangerous, ...., some of them sound like high-powered rifles or magnums, one shot and you are dead ....

Got to the old Job Corps road and safety. There were two cop cars parked there. Every time I passed by in recent years, there were two cop cars parked there. I guess they need to guard the property. However, no one bothered me today, or on previous occasions.

Got to the railroad and climbed. Things have not changed much since 1981, which was first time I did it. Got to the top in 55 min. and took a rest at the platform. Oh, there is one difference. There are wooden steps near the top which are almost all rotten away by now. Used to be only semi-rotten back in the '80s.

Took a look at the steep arm (Ewa side), and today I recognized the ridge that I attempted to descend as a total novice back in '81. Almost killed myself when I slipped. Actually it looks doable .... Perspectives changed after we did Kamaileunu from Waianae, Keaau from watertank, Kawiwi straight up, and Pauao.

Went down easy arm and in 35 min. got to the ribbons which mark the new descent to Blowhole. The route is steep but not too bad, and is probably about the same as the natural bridge route in steepness. Near the bottom, the strange rock appeared on the left. This looks like a freestanding monument like Easter Is. or Stonehenge from Blowhole, but seems to be actually remnants of a lava flow, i.e. natural bridge that totally collapsed. I slabbed over couple tiny ridges and got to the rock. There is even a Hawaiian shell necklace near the rock.

After paying homage to the rock, I picked my way down towards Blowhole. This sidetrip took about 1/2 hour. Then reached the highway and walked back to my car at the firing range.


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