OHE September 6, 1997

From: Kukailucy@aol.com

A rock climbing gym on Oahu?? Dang, things have changed!! Mike, sounds like this Glen could show you a lot of ways to retrieve your ropes while rappelling down, so that only a minimal amt of gear (and NO ropes) are left behind, depending on what kinds of natural anchors are available (guava trees?!).

Torrey, you're right, I wouldn't at all use the existing ropes, for ANYTHING, if there's any exposure (steepness, the slippery-ness Art speaks of, height) involved. But then again, these crazy Hawaiian hikers have been using these horrific, slippery little plastic telephone-cord looking things with knots tied in them, and hanging their lives on them, confidently referring to them as "cables", for years!! (I could be wrong here; the only time I ran into "cables" was up on Dupont. I was too scared to use them, so I climbed the side and fell anyway. OHE: are all "cables" like this on Oahu? :-o )

If doing a rappel,though, you shouldn't have to leave behind anything except a lot of slings, which are relatively inexpensive if everyone chips in.

I dunno, climbing protocol might be really different/nonexistent there. I hope so! Hawaii is so unique, which makes reading about your hikes so entertaining. There's a certain Hawaiian funkiness, respect for the 'aina, and a pioneering, daredevil spirit in your stories, even on the gentlest of outings. I hope too much Gore-Tex and and aluminum alloys don't change all that.

Looking forward to reading how things are going, aloha, Collette

Reply From: Neal Oribio (pueo@lava.net)

I was out at Ma'akua this morning (Saturday)... saw a rope dangling next to the first waterfall. I didn't venture past the waterfall... just admired it from a distance. As I headed out... I ran across a group of five hikers... said they were gonna climb to the third waterfall. It didn't look like they had much gear with them... only two of them had backpacks.

--> Neal

Reply From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu)

Yup, gotta love dem telephone-cord cables. 8-)

Many cables are bad--the ancient, pencil-thin one up Ohulehule and the stretch-cord deal on Kulepeamoa, for instance. From my experience, cables are conveniences rather than necessities. Many of the gnarlier sections can be negotiated without aid but the cables/ropes make the climbing easier if not safer. A case in point is Olomana. The rockfaces there can be ascended/descended without the ropes but I use them (test them for sturdiness first, of course) anyway for the added security--psychological perhaps, but physical, too.

The steep ridge section just before the summit of the Wailupe middle ridge could be climbed more easily with a well-placed cable. Art, Patrick, Wing, and I made it to the top without one but I'm sure each of us would have appreciated something to hang onto on a couple of loosely-soiled, handholdless segments.

The could be said of other sections of many trails if cables/ropes weren't there. From what I understand, Sierra Club leaders bar anyone on their hikes from using any cables/ropes along a route they are traversing. A liability thing, no doubt.


Reply From: james yuen (jyuen@pixi.com)

When i first saw people like Ralf Inouye setting up telephone cables on hikes 20 or more years ago, i thought "hmmm this should be good for one shot", but the same cables are still up today.

Rappelling is fun, but should be limited to certain areas. Hawaiian geology makes for very soft and brittle rock. i've had large rocks come down on my head on the most basic of rappels and even when we were being extra careful. i don't mind if rappellers themselves are injured, but i worry about innocent bystanders as well. i have also seen extremely rare plants destroyed by falling rocks.

From: "Arthur W. Neilson III" (artn@aloha.net)

Absolutely. I've scrambled around a bit on the Koolau summit between Makapuu and Kuliouou, much of the rock in between is extremely crumbly and can pull away in your hand if you put too much weight on it. I seem to recall a story I heard when I was a Keiki regarding some mainland climber types who thought they'd scale the cliffs above Sea Life Park only to fall to their deaths. They weren't at all familiar with the crumbly rock ...

Reply From: Mike Uslan (killah@off-road.com)

Thats why the climbers here have only found one rock face on Oahu they will go on. Its near Mokuleia, I never been there, but evidently it is the only rock face they found that is NOT crumbly, NOT suicidal, NOT mossy etc etc.

Of course the rock walls at Waimea Bay have been pounded by 30+ ft surf for eons so they are sturdy too. Next time you go to Waimea you can see the chalk marks left on the rocks.

Now a waterfall might have the same charecteristics as the rock at Waimea BAy, or mainland faces. Except for being wet, they must have a solid grip. In fact I know this from many years growing up here climbing up and down waterfalls without ropes.

You dont really "climb with ropes" you climb with your hands and feet, and you anchor rope as you go up for safety in case you did fall. You should never pull up the rope as a ladder or something. That's dangerous. If the waterfall is deep enough and you are directly over it you dont even need rope because if you fell you would fall into the water.

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