OHE September 14, 1997

From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net)

Saturday went to the Haiku Stairs hike sponsored by Councilman Steve Holmes.

As you know, the Stairs are the ladder to Heaven, going almost vertical up a very steep ridge. At some places, the angle exceeds 70 degrees.

It was hot at the bottom. Two of the most critical sections of the stairs were removed, presumably by the Coast Guard. They are neatly placed few feet from the stairs. Someone placed PVC ladders there to replace those missing sections. There are wobbly on the way up, and so are quite scary, but surprisingly stable when we come down.

Winds picked up as we gained the top of the ridge, and the angle of ascent also became more gentle. But then clouds also started coming in. After 2 hours or so, when we got to the top, clouds obscured views mostly, even though they parted occasionally.

Coming down was much faster and took only an hour or so. The City is working on getting the Stairs from the Coast Guard, which will vacate the Haiku facility soon, and hopefully the Stairs will be open to the public as a park.

Sunday joined HTMC for their Keahiakahoe hike in Moanalua Valley. Leader Ken Suzuki stayed with me at the rear for most of the way up, and we talked story.

It was pleasant at first, with the summit totally clear. By the time we got to the end of the jeep road, it became very hot, and humidity was probably 105% ! I was suffering. Caretaker drove by and said to me: "do you really want to do this? We won't do this even if we get paid!" I almost agreed with him.

The narrow dangerous sections remain pretty much the same, with that rope next to the guy wires being the "high point" of "excitement". Eventually I got to the power poles, and the humidity condensed, and it started raining.

Which was big relief. I relished the cold rain on my hot body, and did not bother to take out raingear. Unfortunately wind never picked up and it was still hot. It was a torture to go up to the Tripler ridge, and from there to the top of the ridge. It took 3:40 from the parking lot to get to the top.

Seven people were there at the top, and they finished eating lunch already. Since it started raining, the summit clouded over, but clouds parted briefly when I got there. Few minutes after all Seven left the summit to continue the trek across the summit trail. I ate my lunch quickly and followed their footsteps.

The wind picked up finally on the summit section, and I felt greatly rejuvenated. Amazingly, I started gaining on those Seven, and by the time I got to the Keahiakahoe, I actually caught up with them.

Even more surprisingly, they are going slow down the Middle Ridge. I said I can go down these muddy slopes real fast, and got ahead of three of them. In half hour or so, at the steep section, I even managed to catch up with the four who left the summit earlier. Eventually I passed them all and was jogging down Middle Ridge, reaching the bottom in 2:10. I checked my records: I actually came down this same place in 1:10 back in 1990!, when it was wide as a freeway.

I got out to the parking lot in an hour, and the caretaker was there trying to get the permit from Ken Suzuki. He smiled and said, "you look much happier than when you were going up this morning! So you left them in the dust?" I actually passed them all more than 2 hours ago, and I said they will probably all come out in half hour. I explained that for us people with more body fat, we suffer more when weather is hot and when we are going up, but we are efficient when coming down.

I must be grinning from ear to ear .... :-)


Reply From: Dick Beaton (dbeaton@aloha.net)

I can testify to this feat as I was one of the people he passed on the way down. I couldn't believe how fast he was going because I was slipping and sliding all over the place. Shortly after Wing blazed by us, it began to rain quite hard and looking across to Red Hill Ridge there were about a dozen waterfalls cascading down into Moanalua Valley. What an awesome sight!

Wing, you were probably in the parking lot while this was going on.

-- Dick

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