Tips on Climbing Diamond Head

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Jul 13th, 2004, 03:37 PM
  #1
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Tips on Climbing Diamond Head

Last week my husband, son (age 23) and I climbed Diamond Head in Oahu. As promised by the guidebooks, the views were spectacular and worth the climb.

However, it is a far more challenging climb than the guidebooks would lead you to believe. I was glad I'd been working out at the gym during the winter! The walk up is over very uneven rocks set in dirt, followed by two long and steep staircases in the sun. At the top you have to bend over at the waist and climb a few more stairs to get through an old cement pillbox. Of course, at this time of the year it was very hot.

A Japanese woman (62) had to be evacuated from the top of the stairs by an emergency helicopter. Small children were having a hard time with little feet on big rocks, and the people attempting to carry toddlers looked exhausted before they even reached the stairs.

I would recommend not taking children under age 12. Folks who aren't used to much exercise or who have trouble with heat probably should pass as well. There are plenty of other great things to do in Oahu!
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Jul 13th, 2004, 03:47 PM
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Yikes, I hope everybody was OK. I remember seeing people having a difficult time, but persevering rather than turning back.

Perhaps there shld be a sign at hte bottom: "If you wouldn't climb a 50-story buliding, then don't climb Diamond Head!"

Everybody should take water, sunscreen and a flashlight.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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Thanks for the tips - I had planned on making this trek on my next visit - I may well re-consider since I am not in great physical shape right now (asthma & a few other ailments). I've wanted to do this climb and posters always rave about it so I appreciate hearing your opinion.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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This hike is not for the faint of heart. I was exhausted after that hike. One tip: do not drink water while walking. Make sure you stop and drink your water. I had a serious choking spell because I had a squirt bottle of water and my throat was parched. I took a big squirt of water and it went down the wrong way. The next thing I know I can't breathe and I am having tunnel vision. My throat finally opened up again, but that was so scary. I joke about it now by saying that I almost died on Diamond Head, but that was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 06:41 PM
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Just take your time and rest frequently, and you'll be fine (unless you have known health problems). I've done it several times and I'm 48 and overweight.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 07:10 PM
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I honestly think this must be a joke! My pregnant wife, my 6 year old daughter, & I did it w/out any problems. It takes approx. 35 minutes to go up and 20 to come down. The most difficult portion (if you want to call it that) is paved. We saw many older (50's & even 60's) on the day we went (middle of Summer). I call it more of a walk than a hike. Please don't get me wrong, I highly recommend going up Diamond Head to everyone who goes to Oahu. I would love to hear from others who have done the walk/hike.
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Jul 13th, 2004, 07:32 PM
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I did it in my 50s, myself, with no problems. But individuals' levels of fitness and stamina vary considerably. And some people have trouble because they've chosen the wrong footgear!
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Jul 13th, 2004, 11:46 PM
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I asked my teenage daughter who replied, "IF steep steps scare you, don't do it."
There's a section with 100 steps or so in a row. Achallenge to ascend and descend.
Pesonally, i loved it. I too recommend it to everyone. I'd always been nevous about it...need to take flashlight, water, etc....sounded scary and too difficult for the likes of me. Then an overweight friend did it wearing high heels (not recommended). She survived quite happily! I love seeing photos of Diamond Head now and knowing we went through and to the top of it.
I strongly suggest doing it EARLY in the day due to higher energy levels, and lower outside temperatures. BTW, there's a little neighborhood area nr there, with some wonderful hamburger place. Anyone know the place i mean?
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Jul 14th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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We hiked DH along with two other couples, one of which had four kids in tow (two toddlers and two children)--I don't remember anyone having any difficulty and we have a great group photo of everyone at the top, all smiles. I'll be going back in January and plan to revisit DH--the views are incredible!
 
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Jul 14th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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We climbed to the top and while I wouldn't call it extremely difficult it was more challenging then I expected. I think the advice about proper shoes is right on, also to stop and enjoy the walk, both up and down. I saw so many people who thought it was a marathon race to the top. The journey is part of it and the destination well worth it. Use your head as well as your feet and you'll be fine.
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Jul 14th, 2004, 06:46 AM
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We walked from the Hyatt on Waikiki to Diamond Head before we even started the 'hike' to the top. The stairs were steep, but it really isn't that long a hike. I have to admit I was glad to get back to the beach and a drink....

jean
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Jul 14th, 2004, 07:11 PM
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When I was in the Army in Hawaii, we ran up and down it with full packs at least once a month. The people you see hurrying are no doubt doing it for conditioning, not for the view!
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Jul 14th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Then why are they all carrying cameras?
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Jul 14th, 2004, 07:21 PM
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I've done it a few times, and I'm midle aged and no one would accuse me of being an athlete! If you get winded, stop a minute. People will just go around you (just as you will go around people). One important thing though: go first thing in the morning. You're out there in the sun, and you know what they say about only mad dogs and Englishmen...
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Jul 14th, 2004, 10:02 PM
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I will be there the first week in August. We plan to do the Hike/walk. I will let you know what to call it after we get back.
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Jul 15th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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Postal- The people I saw rushing were not doing it for conditioning, those people were obvious. I'm talking about the ones with maps in their hands, seeing the world through their camcorders or digital cameras and telling their kids to hurry because they had reservations in 2 hours.
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Jul 15th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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My family and I (2 kids ages 11 & 12) hiked DH about 1 month ago. Started out at 9am. It was already hot!

I ride my bike 4miles a day at home, and I am mid 40's. Good health. I have to admit, it was NOT an easy hike. It's not like you're walking on level ground, you're climbing! The person that posted earlier saying they didn't think it was difficult, my hat goes off to you, because I thought it was not an easy hike. And people I saw going up, looked exhausted. I was worried about them. I stopped several times because it was so blame hot! I think if it wasn't so hot, it would have been easier. THen you add the fact it was SO CROWDED! At the very top where there's a bunker of some sort, everyone has to go up/down a ladder to get to the very top for the spectacular view, it was so crowded in there, I didn't like that! Then, got to the top, and these grass bugs (they didn't bite) jumped all over you! I had bug spray on (with deet) and they were still attacking. They were so annoying, it was difficult to get pictures and enjoy the view.

I'm glad I went on the hike, but I have to admit, it was harder than when I remembered when I did it 15yrs ago!
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Jul 15th, 2004, 06:43 PM
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start out when it opens--I seem to recall it's 6:00 am--and you won't have crowds or too much heat (but it WILL be hot). If 6:00 sounds early to you, do it when you first arrive and your body clock says it's anywhere from 2 to 6 hours later, depending on where you're from and which time of year you're there.
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Jul 24th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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I have to agree that Diamond Head is a somewhat difficult, but doable, climb. The thing is - as with all hikes - pacing is important, as is having water and taking breaks. We went early in the morning and didn't find it that hot nor crowded. OTOH, there was an every so slight rain in the air which kept things cool. There were indeed people climbing Diamond Head who looked exhausted, I still remember one woman who upon making it to the top being told by her travel companion to climb the ladder to get the full view. The woman's exhausted reply was "I DON'T CARE, I see here fine".

The two biggest problems I saw with the Diamond Head climb were 1) People pratically dragging screaming children along on the hike and 2) The wearing of flip flops on the hike. I don't know when flip flops started to be considered an all purpose shoe, even for hiking, but it is in some people's minds. This line of thinking really needs to be STOPPED immediately.
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Jul 24th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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The burger place someone asked about is probably Teddy's Bigger Burger's, although that is halfway back to Waikiki (near the beautiful royal rose garden). They have about the world's most scrumptious veggie burger - ask for extra avocado although it may make it too thick to fit in your mouth.

Another attraction is if you climb on a Saturday morning, there is a classy farmers market at the community college across the street. Some stuff is ready to eat, sometimes live music. I think there is a long term plan to move this away to Kakaako, but I assume it's still there now.

My only problem with the climb is when you emerge near the top, you can bump your head hard, since you have to look at your feet to get over some obstacle at the same time there is a low beam. Well, there used to be problems in the dark tunnel, but I hear they are near to installing lighting (done yet?). Oh, and it's a hotter microclimate than nearby so morning is a good idea.

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