Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 12:51:56 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (email@example.com> Subject: Mount Olomana... Pau Hana
Tis the season! Bwa-haha! As the sun sets closer and closer to 7 p.m. HST with each passing day, the time has come for the start of the 1998 psychopaths pau hana series.
Departed work at 4 p.m. and drove to Maunawili. Parked just shy of the bridge which crosses Maunawili Stream. During final preps I realized that I had forgotten to bring my flashlight. Would I get caught in the dark on the way back and have to spend the night in the woods? Read on!
Began walking along the road in the direction of Luana Hills at 4:32 p.m. Passed an unoccupied guard shack and turned left into a forest a short distance later (the ribbon was still there marking the start of the trail which HTMC cut to access Olomana).
Ascended somewhat steeply thru the woods until the access trail opened up with views almost directly below of some small farms toward the ocean. Arrived at the junction with the better known access trail at 4:47 p.m. and continued the hike without delay. Worked my way thru the ironwood grove and over an eroded reddish/orange clay area with very little huffing and puffing. Gradually ascended the flank of the mountain thru a corridor of Christmas berry.
Reached the base of "the wall", a steep section of the trail which requires some scrambling and the use of tree roots, at 5:02 p.m. Came across a white nylon rope tied to a tree near the end of the section but it was kind of slippery and unnecessary so I didn't really use it. But the rope gave me hope that perhaps there would be a rope or cable at the puka rock and beyond.
In spite of the recent gusty trade wind rains the footpath was dry and crumbly covered periodically with loose dirt.
Pressing on I made my way to the small but nearly vertical rock face. I'll never forget the first time I hiked Olomana in the early '90s. I couldn't get past this rock face because of my fear of heights. There were two ropes attached to the hook Jim Yuen installed for an HTMC hike and I used them to move closer to the summit.
Arrived at the top of the first peak (elev. 1,643 ft) at 5:15 p.m. Paused for two minutes to catch my breath and drink from my camelbak, a wonderful piece of gear for pau hana hikes. I felt good even though I had slept only 5 hours the night before. It must have been the Rainbows' chili plate I consumed for lunch. The cool refreshing trade winds certainly didn't hurt.
Next I descended steeply thru grass to a saddle and climbed briefly to the apex of the second peak arriving there at 5:22:30 p.m. Thirty seconds later I found myself descending abruptly toward the saddle between the second and third peaks. Down, down, down I dropped using a belt shaped rope and eventually a cable with knots in it.
Reached the base of the very thin ridge leading to the third peak at 5:28:30 p.m. One minute later I began climbing the ridge. When I got to the puka rock I did not find any assistance (rope or cable) much to my chagrin. I carefully walked around the left side of the large boulder. It didn't seem that bad on this occasion. Just for fun I climbed inside the hole.
Scrambled up to the rock outcrop that I had to climb on my stomach to get over the last time I did the hike. On this episode I contoured slightly to the right using extremely narrow footholds/miniature ledges without much trouble. Its amazing what a little experience and confidence can do to quell fear.
The ridge leveled off followed by a finger shaped rock structure which I went to the right of and slightly underneath. A brief climb up the right side of the final rock face lead to the flat summit of the third peak. Arrived there at 5:39:30 p.m. A new personal best! One hour seven minutes thirty seconds from the car to the normal termination point of the hike!
Sat down for ten minutes and gazed at the Ko'olau crest while sucking on my camelbak mouth piece. Konahuanui was socked in but the remainder of the summit crest toward Makapuu was cloudless. Recognized the bowl, the lone ironwood, and the sedan sized rock which are between Konahuanui and Olympus. Stared at massive Lanipo.
At 5:49 p.m. I departed the third peak and began retracing my steps to the Maunawili Stream bridge. Got to the saddle between the second and third peaks at 6 p.m. Topped out at the second peak six minutes later and finished climbing back to the summit of the first peak at 6:13 p.m. While in route to the first peak I stopped and looked at Kaiwa Ridge which was lit up beautifully by the late afternoon sun, the charming Mokulua Islands just off the coast.
Enjoyed the panoramic view from the top of the first peak for a few minutes tracing the Ko'olau summit crest from Olympus to Makapuu in anticipation of a June "Speed Hikers Only" 12 hour jaunt between these prominent locations. Recognized Ohulehule to the north in the distance.
At 6:17 p.m. I started descending the mountain. Although the path was entirely down hill I didn't go very fast because I wanted to be careful not to put too much pressure on my knees.
Arrived at the ironwood grove below the eroded reddish/orange area at 6:39 p.m., passed thru the junction at 6:41 p.m. and reached my car at 6:55 p.m.
Notes: Olomana is to the windward side of Oahu what Diamond Head is to Honolulu. Also, Olomana is "O'ahu's version of the Matterhorn"*.
* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.