I was in Hawaii working on a NOAA Scientific Diver training and trying explore the island when not diving. The green spire of Mount Olomana caught my attention and was my first experience of how rugged the "trails" are here. I had no idea how technical these exposed, root-strewn, and slippery these trails would be. After spending a few runs going up and down Mount Olomana (~1,500feet gain), I decided to push hard and see how fast a trip to the top, and round-trip would go.
I started mid-day with very few people on the trail (most people seem to use the trail on cooler ends of the day). It hadn't rained yet that day, so the slick muddy spots were restricted to the lower section in the jungle. I climbed carefully through the rock sections as my hand were quite sweaty from the heat and humidity. I avoided using any ropes, since they all seemed very sketchy when I inspected them on prior climbs. I passed only a few groups and was careful to not endanger anyone by moving too quick in the exposed sections. I made it to the top in 20:17.
The descent went well, with care taken in the down climb sections, again not touching the decaying ropes that everyone seems to trust. I made it back to the trailhead and paved road in 34:30
A few notes to keep in mind:
• Someone dies on this route every few years. Respect the exposure and slick mud. If it were a rainy day, I think it would be irresponsible to push the pace on this route.
• It is a popular enough hike that timing a fast effort would be good to do during a lull of visitation.
• Keep your eyes peeled for wild coffee trees, wild boars, and mongooses.
• The birdsong coming out of the jungle is magical.