Aloha and Mahalo, Haiku Stairs
January 28, 2020 10:02 AM   Subscribe

The Haiku Stairs—also known as, “The Stairway To Heaven” (previously on MetaFilter)--have been closed to the public since 1987, but hikers from all over the world still come to Oahu and climb the creaking, rusting catwalks on the ridges of the Ha’iku Valley to a lonely hut perched on a peak of the Ko’oalu mountain range. The Friends of the Haiku Stairs and the Mayor of Honolulu want the stairs reopened, but the people who live near the entrance are frustrated with trespassing tourists and The Board of Water Supply is working to remove the stairs after a woman fell off a swing someone built atop the ridge. Of course, you can still legally hike to the top of the stairs via the Moanalua Valley—but the route has no steps or handrails, just a few knotted ropes draped across the narrow trail along the ridge.
posted by mattdidthat (14 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Well, that looks hair-raising!
posted by suelac at 10:22 AM on January 28

I just watched half of the last link way for any amount of money.
posted by supermedusa at 10:38 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

"Don't go there."
"OK, we'll go there."
"So, how was it?"
"Meh, just a place."
posted by jim in austin at 10:48 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

I just watched half of the last link way for any amount of money.

I skimmed through the video and thought, wait, that's the LEGAL way to get to the top?

Though I guess having state-maintained stairs means the state bears the responsibility for any injuries or deaths that happen on those stairs, so I get why it looks (ever so marginally) safer to use the closed-off route. In summary, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO THANK YOU.
posted by chrominance at 10:52 AM on January 28

In the first video, I like how they climbed all the way up only to be socked in by fog when they arrive.
posted by sjswitzer at 10:56 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]

The fall was more of a slip -- no one was harmed.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:07 AM on January 28

I have a relative who works for the fire department on O'ahu. He tells me that they have to spend an inordinate amount of resources rescuing people from the Haiku Stairs. Usually it is people who are adventurous but unprepared or who misjudge their courage way, way up and freeze. As amazing as that hike can be, I do worry that the cost to public resources is disproportionately high.
posted by Quaversalis at 11:15 AM on January 28 [3 favorites]

First try the trail from Tantalus park, accessible thru the St. Louis Heights bus...If you can handle the narrow ridge there , you can handle them anywhere...Plenty strawberry guava too! Enjoy ...
posted by hirumaui at 11:22 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]

I do not get people's obsession with the Haiku Stairs the same way I do not get people's obsession with Everest, more or less. Hawai'i is full of stunning views, from legal and easily accessible trails, cliffs, and highway shoulders. If you want the physical challenge, there are about 500 beautiful sanctioned hikes that will make you feel like you are going to collapse, without, you know, actually collapsing and having to be hauled off the trail.

I'm also at the age and length of time in Hawai'i to find young adventurous Mainland tourists who are attracted to the idea of doing something forbidden/illegal to be obnoxious at best, even if whatever illegal thing they are doing is less disruptive and resource intensive than driving to a trailhead at 3 AM and then needing a rescue. I suspect that kind of general irritation might drive some of the overall local opposition as well.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:24 AM on January 28 [5 favorites]

I have a relative who works for the fire department on O'ahu. He tells me that they have to spend an inordinate amount of resources rescuing people from the Haiku Stairs

Yeah, a buddy grew up on Oahu (he was born in '75 and lived in Milliani Town ), and he's told me countless stories that go:

1) As a kid, we used to go such and such place, and it was awesome
2) People kept dying at such and such place, so they closed public access
3) Even though it was closed to public access, people went anyway, and now people really started dying
4) We hoped those tourists spent their money in town, before they died
5) The Fire Dept and Search & Rescue will no longer send their people in harms way, so if your family wants to recover your body when you inevitably die at such and such place, they'll have to hire someone to do so at their own expense.

and so on....
posted by sideshow at 12:54 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]

1. Walking up thousands of stairs.
2. Way high up.
3. ??
posted by Splunge at 2:49 PM on January 28

Good Lord, please nobody tell Danny MacAskill about this place.
Or maybe, do?
posted by martin q blank at 11:21 AM on January 29 [2 favorites]

@martin q blank: exactly what I was thinking.

That ridge trail looks like a great hike, *for someone who is well equipped and used to doing that sort of thing*. If the weather turns on you suddenly you could be in for some shit.
posted by nickzoic at 3:36 PM on January 29

Did it in 73.
posted by mule98J at 8:22 AM on January 31

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