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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hikers rescued near 'Stairway to Heaven'

Advertiser Staff

Honolulu firefighters today rescued a pair of male hikers who were stranded on a ridge near the "Stairway to Heaven" that stretches from Kaneohe District Park to the top of the Koolau Mountain range.

A hiker called just before 10 a.m. today to say that the pair was uninjured but stranded on a ridge, unable to progress any further, Honolulu fire Capt. Earle Kealoha said.

The caller told dispatchers that they began hiking around 5:30 a.m.

Kealoha said the pair started their hike from the bottom of "Stairway to Heaven," took off on a branch of the trail and were headed northwest toward H-3 when they became stranded.

The fire department's Air-1 helicopter and rescue specialists rappelled down to the two men and used a rescue harness to strap in each hiker and "sling-loaded" them one at a time down to the landing zone at Kaneohe District Park, Kealoha said.

The rescue took a little more than an hour.

"Stairway to Heaven" was rebuilt in 2001 but remains closed to hikers because of concerns over potential injuries and liability.