State says YMCA did not have rock climbing permit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State says YMCA did not have rock climbing permit

MOKULEIA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

There are now five signs that alert people to the danger of falling rocks at an area known at the Climbing Wall in Mokuleia. The trail leading to the rock climbing area is closed until further notice.

The state DLNR says the YMCA did not have permission to take kids up to the climbing area. In fact no commercial groups are supposed to be up there.

The investigation stems from an incident yesterday when the YMCA took young campers from Camp Erdman up to climb. During the safety briefing a 12 year old girl was hit in the head by a 25 pound rock that fell from about 20 feet. She is still in critical condition.

The state says rock climbing by individuals on state land is allowed but commercial rock climbing is not unless a permit is issued.

"The YMCA does not have a permit to conduct commercial rock climbing in the area or any area and the Department has not issued a permit to anybody for this activity anywhere," said Guy Kaulukukui, DLNR Deputy Director.

The YMCA is not commenting on the situation at this point.

As for the closure of the trail and climbing area bikers have varying opinions.

"It's an awful thing that somebody got hurt. It does happen in climbing. You put your life at risk when you do certain things but we have the ocean right across the street from us and things happen on a daily basis and you can't close down the beaches," said Laird Jones, climber from Kailua.

"People should take responsibility for the things they are doing. You could go hiking somewhere, you could go jogging at Kapiolani Park and hurt yourself tripping over a root. Are you going to sue the state because they didn't trim the root?" said Felix Gartner, climber from Punchbowl.

"It's weird because you're in Hawaii and there is so much natural beauty and they almost hide it and they fence it off and prevent people from wanting to use the land for a healthier lifestyle," said Vinny DeJohn, climber from Waikiki.

"I think its good they are closing down the one people are rock climbing on because it's kind of dangerous," said Robert Street, hiker who grew up in Mokuleia.

"I don't think that's right. It was just one incident and maybe it won't happen again in 20 years," said Jocko Rutkowski, hiker from Hawaii Kai.

This is one of only two areas on the island where rock climbers can get their fix and this was the more challenging of the two. It will be closed until further notice. The state may put an officer at the trail entrance to cite anyone who disregards the closure signs.

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