Trip Report
Sunday January 20, 2013 8:29pm
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It wasn't easy.

Of course, as we all know: extraordinary achievements are rarely easy.

I’ll skip the sordid details that all expeditions have in common. Selecting our team, logistical preparations, and the long & challenging trip to Base Camp, are mere footnotes to our real adventure.

After an arduous journey, Heidi & I arrived at Base Camp late at night, found our bivy site, organized our gear and slept blissfully, with dreams of looming adventures.

Fortuitously, our base camp was located two-thirds of the way up the volcano, so we only had another 10,023 Ft. to climb.

The next morning, we visited a quaint island bazaar and stocked up on food for the expedition.
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Things got nasty our first afternoon in Base Camp!

It cooled way down, and the wind picked up! Clouds quickly covered the sun and the weather was going to get ugly. We retreated to our bivy site, and opened some wine (Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel) to raise our spirits.
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Things were looking better by sunset.

We gave ourselves 6 days to acclimate to the hostile tropical conditions. There was little time for rest or reflection, as we maintained a hard-core pace of training for the tremendous challenges of our climb.

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Swimming, beach-walks, snorkeling, body-surfing, & Boogie-boarding: all helped prepare us for the lack of oxygen and unstable volcanic terrain we would soon need to deal with.
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Unfortunately, while I was experimenting with a variation of “Big-Wave Boogie-Boarding” that I named “underwater sand-tumbling,” I pulled a muscle in my back. I was forced to slow my training somewhat, and take medication on occasion.

We started concentrating on strength & balance exercises on the beaches, knowing we would encounter similar problems on volcanic ash at high altitude.
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There was little discussion of what methods we would use to climb our mountain. Heidi & I are traditionalists, and we would succeed or fail on our climb in traditional style. We would not resort to a mode of ascent that would lower the worth of our achievement.

Suddenly it was the day to start our climb. Our gear was packed up, and the journey up the formidable volcano that had loomed over us, began.

The die was cast, and our fate was now to be decided. Would we succeed or fail?
We had to climb 10,023 ft. in only a few miles, but our training paid off.

We rapidly ascended the surprisingly good trail that switch-backed towards the far away and impossibly high summit.

Much More to follow!

  Trip Report Views: 4,356
About the Author
Fritz is a trad climber from Choss Creek, ID.


Trad climber
  Jan 20, 2013 - 08:32pm PT
Nice! TFPU... more summit shots needed!

Ice climber
  Jan 20, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
Cool Fritz, I await the expanded version.

One bit of advice, on the sponge try to angle across the face of the wave.

Remember that old song, "she's got the whole world in her hand"?

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jan 20, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Ah but Mr and Ms Fritz-to qualify, you must ascend the lower section below Base Camp to be an official ascent!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jan 20, 2013 - 08:44pm PT
You walked up it? HoHoHo!

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jan 20, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
The Gulag had nothing on what you and Heidi endured.....well done young (geologically speaking) man!

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
  Jan 20, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
You tease! A two-part, to be continued TR? The suspense! The thrills! What dangers await our heroes on their ascent? Lava flows? Kimondo dragons? Hula dancers? Stay tuned.

A long way from where I started
  Jan 20, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
I think you may have inadvertently misplaced a decimal point when converting to metric. But even so, that slog to 88.39 meters was probably Hell!

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  Jan 20, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Ha! It took me embarrassingly long to figure out what was going on.

8839m = 28,999ft. Hmmm....

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
  Jan 20, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
No TR is complete without pictures of expedition members caught in German work ethic mode...let's see some wood chopping , brush clearing and field plowing with heidi wearing the mormon plow yoke....RJ

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 24, 2013 - 12:27am PT
Gentlemen! Thank you for your comments. I am attempting to type out thoughts about experiences burned into my memory on our summit day.

I swear! Our "summit suffer-fest" story will post up early tomorrow.

Yes! I have photo proof we ascended a 29,703 Ft. = 8839 meter peak.

Edit! Thanks to limping crab & Nature. When I run the math again: it appears 8839 meters = 28,999 Ft.

A few hundred feet here, a couple hundred feet there, and soon you are below 29,000 feet!



Boulder, CO
  Jan 20, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
8839m only equals 28,999ft during a leap year
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Jan 20, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
There's Leap Year Math? Zoinks!
Methinks yer local Guido has a point. Unless ya come at it from the Base, its height is not a factor. Deli Rules.
But please proceed. I'm intrigwayed. ;-)

Social climber
Butterfly Town
  Jan 21, 2013 - 02:37am PT
One cannot help but wonder at what part of the volcano the climb began; highly doubtful it was at the base on the seafloor, but who cares? Looks like it was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see pix of the summit assault!
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
  Jan 21, 2013 - 03:20am PT
Still trying to figure out where your base camp was.
The photo of "Heidi back from a swim" appears to have Lanaʻi on the horizon. That angle would put you on the beach near Kaʻanapali?

The body surfing photo seems to be a few miles north of there with a view of Molokai on the horizon. Is that up near Kahana/Napili/Kapalua?
Maybe as far up the coast as Honolua Bay?

Okay, the law of averages (number of hotels/condos) says base camp was at Kaʻanapali. ??

You got the Costco stop at Kahului right. Bivy food at the restaurants will break the travel budget!

Your summit shot has you in blue skies and clouds below. Did you have the opportunity to hike up through an inversion layer? That can be spectacular breaking out of cold clouds/fog into sunny skies.

Nice pics. thanks for posting. Would like to hear the logistical details about the hike and trailhead. Some day I hope to hike the summit from the west and descend the east side through rainforest to Hana.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 27, 2013 - 06:43pm PT
As the terrain steepened, temperatures dropped, and the wind increased. Clouds (locally known as “The Pogonip”) periodically enveloped us, dropping the temperature still more, and causing disorientation. The steep trail led ever upward, with danger at every turn. Cows, crazed cyclists, and a local endangered species, Nene, would suddenly appear out of the clouds we were now climbing through

Much more dangerous, were vehicles driven crazily, or with undue caution by a common island species: The Silverfront!

Time passed as we settled into a pace that steadily took us up the mountain.

Then, finally we were near the top.

The views from the summit were stunning.

We could see another large island, with still more 8,000 meter volcanoes.

Summit shot, with The Pogonip rising to envelop us. Conditions were extreme, with temperatures in the low 50’s F. and wind gusts to 20MPH.
(Edit! Sigh! Currently 10 F. here in Choss Creek, with light winds. 1/21/13.)

Haleakala on Maui is 10,023 Ft above sea level and its base is 19,680 Ft. below sea level.

Total height is 28,999 Ft. = 8839 meters.

A highway to near the summit was completed in 1935.
A vehicular ascent, based on 77 years of heavy use, appears to be the traditional way to climb to the peak of Haleakala.

Edit! Thanks to limpingcrab & Nature. When I run the math: 8839 meters = 28,999 Ft and the National Park Service sign pictured below, is wrong.

Base Camp was at Kihei and most of our training was on South Maui beaches. The body surfing beach was Napili.

One final summit shot of another intrepid climber near the summit.


Sport climber
Made in California, living in The Old Pueblo
  Jan 21, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
this is awesome... great addition of the summit shots. i could look at this all day... thanks for sharing.

Trad climber
Northern California
  Jan 21, 2013 - 04:16pm PT
Love it! Thank you for posting this. A great tr for a winter day...

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jan 21, 2013 - 04:32pm PT
Excellent TR, and your timing was perfect. We needed an antidote to all the unhappiness being expressed elsewhere.

I definitely like the idea being able to say I arrived at the advanced base camp, 2/3 of the way up, and still be at sea level. I guess my wife is right -- I need to spend more time in the tropics.


Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  Jan 21, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
Always love my time over there. I notice the map says Kapu for the skyline trail but that is my preferred route of descent as I believe that I have more non-traditional ascents on a bike than trad ascents so the right turn at the summit is an option.

The conditions sounded horrible but it has been big time arctic this winter.

underwater sand-tumbling
a new sport has been discovered!


Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 21, 2013 - 10:56pm PT
Glad you folks enjoyed our epic-adventure.

Nohea: Re your comment on my mention of discovering:

"underwater sand-tumbling" as a variation of Big-Wave Boogie-Boarding.

A new sport is discovered!

I discovered "underwater sand-tumbling" while body-surfing in Hawaii back in the early 1980's.

I keep trying to refine my enjoyment and technique at the sport.

Neither has happened.

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  Jan 21, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
Funny, I've been worked by more waves than I can remember but do not do the shore breaks.

Ha just hit me, my folks were visiting and we rented a catamaran off Kaanapali so when coming in I say stay on the canvas, I can land this rig no problem, the rudders flip up, we will surf a bit and land safely on the beach.
All goes well we slide on to the beach, dad, check, wife, check, mom? We look back and there she was trying to do the underwater sand tumbling, she a pioneer, you the foundation.

Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Jan 22, 2013 - 12:50am PT
This should give Ron and his Sledz team some helpful ideas!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jan 22, 2013 - 01:15am PT
As a lifelong body surfer I had some magical times in my one trip to the Big Island on remote beaches totally alone. Shared the break with a big old turtle right at sunset. He was just hanging right with me. He was a few feet away and he would go vertical just before the break. I'm sure he was checking me out. Sheer magic!

Being the bipedal type, brake and gas, I urged our trusty rental Mazda
up the road to the top of Mauna Kea. At the time it was the top-of-the-line
Mazda but it flat ran out of git up and go at about 11,400'. I had to
roll it back down to a wide spot to park it. The shame of having to
walk the rest of the way still haunts me. But the snowball fight we had
was totally worth it. The way down was the E ticket ride fo sho! Being
an automatic I just threw it into drive and let 'er rip. The road is
totally straight and pretty damn steep. The wife started some serious
nagging at about 90. I didn't want to blow up the tranny so I started
working the brakes as judiciously as I could - tried to keep it at 70.
Woo-freaking-hoo that gravel was flyin! Then, with about a half mile
from the bottom it became apparent that there was no way we were gonna
stop for the stop sign. Luckily, you could see a mile on both sides of
the crossing road so we were good to blow.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 22, 2013 - 08:53am PT
Reilly: Great stories! Thanks for sharing. We saw 5 turtles while snorkling, but none on the surface. Also saw a shistpot of whales on our last training day. They were always out at least 1/4 mile, but even at those distances, they do make an impression.

Here's my best whale tale.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Jan 22, 2013 - 09:02am PT
Sweet! Definitely on my to do list.

I bet you missed the Idaho winter while you we're gone.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 24, 2013 - 12:33am PT
Spider! Re your comment about missing the Idaho winter.

We flew out of Boise at about 24 F. with it snowing hard. Our commuter-jet got "de-iced" two times.

After 2 more stops and a long day, to reach Maui: Heidi & I did "high-fives!"

Eight days later, we flew back into Boise at 20 degrees. Its been cold as a bankers-heart ever since.

Zero F this morning in Choss Creek, and 7 below on my drive down to SLC for the Outdoor Retailer Show.


Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Jan 22, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
Fun on several levels!

Surely the difference between 10,000 feet up and 19,000 feet down is 29,000 feet.

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Jan 22, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
Thanks for the second half. Finally a real trip report on the front page!

If you haven't done it already, you really need a trip to the Big Island to see a live volcano in action. One of the most awesome sights in the world to see red hot rock pouring out of the ground and splashing into the sea. We watched about a foot of fudge looking land added to the state of Hawaii during a 3 hour stay.

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Jan 23, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 23, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Awesome Fritz
Way to shred the gnar!!!!!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jan 23, 2013 - 01:54pm PT
Oh my gawd Fritz!!!

If only more of us had your balls to get out into the unknown.

I bow to your expedition skills my man....

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 24, 2013 - 12:22am PT
Right Arm!!!

I am thankful that some more of my favorite folks have commented on this report.

(I do enjoy favorable comments on my attempts at humour!)
It is a pain in the ass to write a trip report and post photos, and a bummer when they vanish from the front page in an hour.

Here are a couple comments from off ST old climbing friends I shared this gripping epic with:

Bloody fing bold, in a traditional sense. Thanks for the update, the world deserves to know.


Sent from my iPad

On Jan 21, 2013, at 9:04 PM, "Todd" wrote:

OMG! That is freaking EPIC! As I write, my palms are sweating from viewing the photographic documentation of the expedition.

I simply don’t understand how you were able to pull this off. I know many have tried. Summit conditions 50 degrees with winds howling at 20 MPH? No way man… not me in this life time.

What’s more, that you even attempted this is jaw dropping… at your age? Good lord man, I’m happy to make a successful journey to my car in the garage each day so I can drive to the YMCA to get on a machine to work out.

Kudos to you and Heidi! I’m still just freaked out… I gotta go lay down or I’m going to faint.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 10, 2017 - 07:01pm PT
We managed to (barely) escape the snow & ice in Idaho yesterday & the local preparation for yet another attempt began today.

Here's a brief report on the stress of just getting to the volcano from Idaho.

We did more snow & ice removal in Choss Creek on Sunday morning, including some roof shoveling It wasn't a bad trip to Boise, but Boise is a sheet of ice for the most part.. We spent Sunday night at a Boise airport motel, planning on a 10:30 AM Delta flight to Seattle, with only a 30 minute connection window in Seattle.

Upon rising, my email informed me the Delta flight to Seattle was delayed for an hour. About that time, my phone rang & a Delta agent asked me if I was in the airport. I said 1/2 mile away & could he help us catch a flight that made it to Seattle in time to make our connection? He hung up.

Three minutes later he called back & told me we were booked on a 9:55 departure Alaska Airlines flight. Praise Delta! I never dreamed they would do such a decent thing.

So----we got bumped up to 1st class for our Alaska flight to Seattle, by a agent named Charity, since their flight was then overbooked, & we had time to grab some lunch in Seattle & make our Maui flight.

We made it to our Condo in Kihei at about 9:00 PM Mountain time. Over the 1st glass of wine, I looked at Heidi & remarked: "Instead of a Carpe Diem time today, I feel like I've been Diem Carped."

Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Jan 10, 2017 - 07:29pm PT
Gosh! I hope you guys can acclimatize.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Jan 11, 2017 - 07:02am PT
This whole TR and comment thread is just totally awesome. My lovely bride and I try to train regularly on the Big Island where I practice my patented "get pile driven into the sand" body surfing technique at the green sand beach at South Point, then go watch Kilauea add more landmass to the Big Island. Once back in the 1980's our geology class hiked up Mauna Lao then backpacked for 2 days down the Northwest Rift. It was like walking on Mars and one of the most astonishing places I have ever been. I am really hoping you folks prevail in your current endeavors, as I know how knarly conditions can be there. Someday you should check out the island of Kauai, which appears to be a wildlife preserve for free range chickens and hippies (awesome bouldering on the glass sand beach there too). A most hardy Happy New Year to you both.

Mountain climber
  Jan 11, 2017 - 07:34am PT
A very interesting post, thanks for sharing and congratulations for uploading.

Best hiking backpack for you

Trad climber
  Jan 11, 2017 - 07:51am PT

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
  Jan 11, 2017 - 05:53pm PT

There is proof you guys are getting younger by the year.

To wit:

You look older in the first picture of this TR (in 2013 atop the mountain) than you do in the 2017 "training begins" photo, posted just above.

Why even bother to summit?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 12, 2017 - 03:41am PT
Hard core! Fritz
I hope you took a rest day!
You certainly earned it!
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
  Jan 14, 2017 - 04:29pm PT
Wait ! Somethings is missing ! ( slurp) where is the Kite flying ? Ya' gotta' Go Fly a Kite!
!ß^>, gotta wear shades. . .

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jan 12, 2017 - 07:41am PT
Summit Margaritas!!

Trad climber
  Jan 12, 2017 - 07:52am PT
O my I think I need a nap.
Now that's the hard core type of mountaineering I need to get into.

Great Post.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jan 12, 2017 - 09:30am PT
Dare you try Oheo? It is desperate. You'll need to bring 14 beers - one each per pool.

I will be training for mountain chopping in Huautla, building up my machete triceps by lifting glasses of mezcal.

It's hell in the karst so fight dehydration!

Last year's base camp:

Let's see YOUR basecamp Fritz. Bet it ain't as nice as ours.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 12, 2017 - 10:55am PT
Thanks all for your support in our challenging venture into the dangers of the tropics.

High surf warning yesterday & again today is impacting our water training, although I did get to enjoy that strange sport - Underwater Sand Tumbling several times yesterday. At Big Beach, several folks were evacuated with un-specified injuries that may have included a broken neck.

I don't have any great photos of our modest bivy, but it does have nice sunset views.

Tami: Our house-sitter Pete is hopefully not sitting on Harley, but they do like to tussel.

The Good Places
  Jan 12, 2017 - 03:11pm PT
just watch out for those piolet umbrellas in yer libations

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 14, 2017 - 07:13pm PT
With current surf levels a little high for our geriatric pleasure, we decided a training climb was in order.

We picked out a challeging looking 19,336' AOF (above ocean floor) cinder cone, drove to within a 1/4 mile of its base and charged to the top in a single push from sea level.

Having left our treking poles at home, we improvised some from dead branches found along the way. They helped considerably in the loose pumice as we tottered up & down.

The views were spectacular, although we did not have a view down to the nude beach that sets on the ocean-side of the mountain. We survived the loose pumice-descent & celebrated appropriately.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 14, 2017 - 06:22pm PT
Fritz, your life is so difficult;
How do you find the strength to carry on?

I am in awe, a whole quarter of a mile??
You better back off next time, I'm not sure how you can still handle the extreme mountaineering!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jan 14, 2017 - 07:41pm PT
I find you two to be wholly unable to self arrest...isn't it wonderful?!?

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 14, 2017 - 07:27pm PT
We changed bivy sites to the west side of the island, where sea conditions brought on the dreaded "Turtletopia!"

Luckily, they apparently consider us friendly, or at least not a threat.

And then there was Maury the Morray eel. I had never seen one out of his hole before.

And a nice sunset over another tropical island was most enjoyable.
Happy Cowboy

Social climber
Boz MT
  Jan 16, 2017 - 06:21am PT
It's so fun to see you and Heidi getting after it, enjoying life. My folks moved to Big Island when Dad retired in 78'. Visited the islands many times. Have clambored many a volcano.

Your report reminds me of a account passed to me from an elite group of peatboggers concerning their historic ascent of Tilley's. Perchance were you thoughtful enough to leave behind bits of Heidi's enslipment to help guide later ascents?

I always enjoy your posts Fritz. Glad to've met you. Keep it up.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Jan 18, 2017 - 10:47pm PT
Happy Cowboy! I like those hot lava photos. I've toured the Big Island volcanos twice, & have been most impressed, but I have not had the profound pleasure of interacting with molten lava, except at a distance.

I'm sorry to write, that we are so mellow from our 10 days here, without significant injuries, that we are going to pass on the summit push tomorrow, which is the end of our stay.

Conditions are OK, but we are melted into the tropical state of Aloha mellow. Damn if we just don't care to suffer-fest up to the summit.

I think we just want to float with the sea-turtles.

I can hardly wait to get home to Idaho & resume winter! Luckily, we packed a snow shovel & a broom in our car, which is waiting & snow-covered at the Boise airport.