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I hiked Olomana many times but on my first attempt I only went as far as the first (and highet) peak. To get that far, be prepared for a fairly short but stiff ascent. The hike begins with some road walking. You'll be stopped by a security person at a guard shack along a roadway that leads to a Japanese-owned golf course in Maunawili Valley. Simply leave your name and you're on your way with no hassle. About a half mile up the road, you'll see a large sign off to the left that announces the beginning of the Olomana trail.
The trail winds through a damp forest area past an abandoned cabin. After about 15 minutes you'll be atop the ridgeline that stretches up to the first peak. As you sweat and huff your way up the ridge, you'll be treated to views of Kailua Bay and Enchanted Lakes to your left and of Maunawili Valley and the Koolau Range, which includes the parade of peaks, namely Konahuanui, Olympus, and Lanipo behind it to the right.
As you near the summit of the first peak, you'll have to scale some rock small rock faces and one about 20-30 yards long. An ample array of tree limbs and rockholds makes the climb manageable.
Right before the apex of the first peak is a near vertical rock face about 15-20 feet high. A cable is affixed to a tree atop the rock face to aid your ascent. Once on top, a beautiful panoramic view of the Windward side is yours. Take a break, eat some lunch, and breathe the splendor in.
Looming ahead are Olomana's second and third peaks which I chose not to scale on that first try but made it there a bunch of times on future outings. However, Stuart Ball says intermediate hikers can make it to peak 2 while peak 3--because of some hairy ascents and descents along sheer, narrow sections--is for advanced hikers only. I can attest to that.
Whatever peak you get to, be careful while descending. The trail is slippery in sections. Most of all, enjoy the beautiful hike called Olomana.
--------- **Trail update: The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club conducted its annual pre-Christmas ascent of Olomana in Dec. 96 and members discovered that all the ropes and cables on the mountain had been removed by some unknown person(s). An HTMC clearing crew had hiked the route a couple weeks prior to the scheduled club outing and the hike leader had climbed Olomana the week before. All cables were in place at those times. Sabotage? Undoubtedly. Whodunnit and why? Nobody knows for sure. I haven't hiked Olomana recently and don't know if new cables have been affixed along the route. Be careful, whatever the case. (DKT 3/7/97)