HONOLULU(KHON2) — “It’s not worth it.” That’s the message a local hiker has for others thinking of hiking to the top of the popular Olomana Trail. She said she’s lucky to be alive.
It was a beautiful, sunny, Monday morning when 42-year-old May and her friends decided to hike Olomana Trail. Little did she know it was a choice that would change her life forever.
May was an avid hiker, she lived for the rush and loved posting her summits.
“The harder the hike, the more difficult to hike, it gives you more the bragging rights to post it on your social media,” she said.
One mountain she was yet to conquer on her bucket list: Olomana, on Oahu’s Windward side. It’s a notoriously challenging hike, with multiple areas requiring hikers to use ropes to scale sheer cliffs.
May had hiked it with friends in December 2021, but they only reached the second peak because it was too wet.
“I said, ‘oh I’m gonna go back.’ I need to finish that mountain. That mountain I need to finish the third peak,” said May.
So they set out again a month later on Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
From the start, there were signs telling her not to go.
“First of all, in the morning my car won’t start,” said May.
But she persisted and called an Uber. Once there, things went a little more smoothly.
“I was with my friends we were all having fun, enjoying , taking pictures and all,” May explained.
She made it all the way to the second peak then she started to feel nervous.
May said, “I tried climbing to the third peak. I grabbed the rope, I missed my foot-hold and accidentally lost the grip of the rope.”
She then fell 20 feet landing on her back, then rolled about another hundred feet until her leg got caught on a rock.
“The rock, that prevented me from falling another 1000 feet more,” she stated.
She had multiple fractures in her spine and now has a titanium plate in her lumbar. She suffered multiple lacerations to her head and all over her body.
May spent a week in the hospital, several more in rehabilitation. She suffered memory loss and was out of work for three months.
Friday was her second day back at work and she said there are mountains of medical bills that are still coming in.
She looks back and regrets going. But she’s also counting her blessings and said “not everyone is as lucky as I am. I’m happy I’m alive.”
At least four people have died hiking Olomana. The most recent happened Wednesday when 32-year-old Jason Gardellis from Indiana fell from the third peak while hiking with friends.
May said hikers need to understand the risks.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
“One wrong move you’ll be dead,” she said. “You asked me a little while ago if it’s worth it. No, its not worth it, definitely not worth it.”