The "Stairway to Heaven" Is More Remote Than Ever

Nick Grube/Honolulu Civil Beat

KANEOHE — For those who've climbed up the Haiku Stairs all the way to the stunning Puu Keahiakahoe summit to take in the view of the lush Koolau mountain range, the experience could seem, well, priceless.

The main impediment to doing so, in recent years, has been the early morning wake-up necessary to sneak in before a security guard arrives at his post at the road below. His job is to prevent people from climbing up.

There's also the back way for those who want to sleep in. The risk there are wrong turns and narrow ridge lines that make footing all the more important.

But the obstacles to climbing the "Stairway to Heaven" are growing. For one, it now requires a $1 million insurance policy.

Even at that cost, nothing is guaranteed.

On Monday, Honolulu City Council members Joey Manahan, Kymberly Pine and Ikaika Anderson planned to hike the “Stairway to Heaven,” which has been off-limits to the public for years. (This hasn’t stopped adventurous trekkers from waking up in the middle of the night to slink up the ladderway before dawn.)

Manahan, who heads the city’s Parks Committee, has been exploring the possibility of reopening the stairway to hikers. But in doing so he’s inadvertently stepped into a bureaucratic quagmire that could keep one of Oahu’s most alluring trails off the maps of hikers — at least officially.

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