OHE March 21, 1998

Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 10:36:17 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Hiking Accomplishments 4/16 - 4/19

== Thursday, April 16th, Mount Olomana... Pau Hana ==

Please refer to post dated 4/17/98 entitled "Mount Olomana... Pau Hana".

== Friday, April 17th, Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe... Pau Hana ==

Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe (literally "Keahi's fire") is "the mist-shrouded peak at the back of Moanalua Valley"*.

Drove to Moanalua Valley and parked just outside the Moanalua Valley Park gate. Completed final preparations and entered the park at 4:26 p.m. Walked and walked and walked over the dirt/stone road as it twisted and turned past lots of vegetation on the way to the back of the valley. Encountered a handful of people on their way out and we exchanged greetings. I also came across seven small pigs (not babies) a few hundred yards before the actual trailhead. I was down wind of them and very quiet so I walked almost right up to the pua'a. Then I stepped on a leaf which alerted them to my presence and they scurried away but only a short distance down the road. This happened two more times before they went left and steeply up the side of a ridge which bordered the road.

Arrived at the actual trailhead at approx. 5:26 p.m. I sat down to rest and to change into my cleated nike landsharks. Pressing on I began tramping on the footpath at 5:30 p.m. It was slightly overgrown but the ribbons were still up marking the route. I counted 15 or 16 switchbacks as I made my way up the steep valley wall. Some parts of the trail were dangerously narrow and I recalled how Bill Gorst and Ken Suzuki of the HTMC trail clearing crew had mentioned the possibility of closing the route. What a shame that would be!

Emerged from the switchbacks and turned sharp right scrambling to a point underneath some power-line poles. Ascended up the side ridge to Tripler Ridge and then climbed steeply to a false summit. Traversed a short level section, completed the final ascent and reached the Ko'olau summit (elev. 2,760 ft and the topping out point of the Tripler Ridge Trail) at 6:20 p.m.

The summit was clear of cloud cover and the panoramic view of windward Oahu to the east and Moanalua Valley/Pearl Harbor to the west was excellent. The late afternoon sunshine beamed down beautifully into the leeward valleys to the north.

At 6:31 p.m. I started for the Keahi a Kahoe peak. Enjoyed every minute of the stretch between Tripler Ridge Summit and Pu'u K esp. the area above an abandoned radar, certainly one of my favorite spots on the island. Further on I ascended very steeply on grass along the edge of the Ko'olau summit ridge. I paused there briefly to watch the sun disappear to the right of Pu'u Kaua of the Waianae Range.

Arrived at the flat summit of Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe (elev. 2,820 ft) near a benchmark at 6:56 p.m.

== Saturday, April 18th, Crater Rim ==

Laredo Murray, one of my hiking buddies, calls the section of the Ko'olau summit crest between the peak which is northeast of Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe and the Moanalua Valley saddle, the crater rim. It is notorious for its knife-like narrowness and very steep segments. It has been done before but the participants had to repell in certain areas. The ropes they used are still there and many of the HTMC trail clearers have seen them thru binooculars from the Moanalua Valley saddle including myself. With this in mind and having hiked virtually all of the leeward Ko'olau range, I set out with Laredo to accomplish this difficult task.

We brought rope and gained the top of the peak which is on the other side of a large ravine from Keahi a Kahoe at 12:11 p.m.

The two of us rested briefly and then began descending along the Ko'olau summit ridge. I led the way but Laredo jumped into the ramrod position at 12:33 p.m. when I stopped to removed my bolo knife and serveyors ribbon as the faint trail disappered. I lost visual contact with him as I tied ribbon periodically to trees along the swath we were creating.

Eventually I found Laredo sitting below a tree just above a steep narrow crumbly spot. He was unsure how to proceed. I nervously gave it a look and then opened my pack and pulled out Gary Ehara's rope (sorry Gary - I know it was meant for Ohulehule but I just couldn't resist bringing it on this occasion). Laredo tied one end of it to the tree above and I wrapped some of the other end around my arm as I precariously inched downward over the crumbled eroded location. After I reached a safer area (about 15 feet down) I cut the rope and placed the rest of it into my pack. As I continued descending Laredo put loops in the rope and tied the loose end to a solid 'ie'ie vine.

The ridge continued to be exceptionally narrow and we straddled it. At times I could not see how steeply the summit ridge descended in front of me because of vegetation. All I could do was hope that it didn't drop down too steeply. The trade winds were gusty at 15 to 30 mph and a brief rain shower pelted us. Although steep, the drop off on the Haiku side was gradual. However, there was a sheer cliff containing a fair amount of foliage on the other side of the ridge forming the wall of a dry stream bed.

Finally, the ridge widened and Laredo and I were able to contour on the left side. More crumbly eroded places followed and were negotiated successfully. On a few instances the two of us had to step lightly to make sure there was something underneath low grass.

At 1:40 p.m. we arrived at a pinnacle, the top of an enormous triangular shaped cliff face which is clearly visible from points to the northwest. The region was covered with several tall trees and I searched desperately to find a way to continue the trip. I thought about tying one end of the rope in my pack to one of the trees and the other end around my chest but Laredo killed that idea when he said,"There is no way I'm going down there!". I suggested that on another day we could start from the Moanalua Valley saddle and work our way up as far as possible perhaps getting to the ropes left by those brave souls who successfully completed the traverse years ago. He agreed and the two of us backtracked to the peak across from Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe reaching it at approx. 2:25 p.m.

At 2:58 p.m. Laredo and I headed for Pu'u K and once there descended into Moanalua Valley via the middle ridge. On our way down we could clearly see the swath of the Moanalua Valley Trail below, in the back of the valley, as it made its way up to the saddle and later we were able to identify the position where we had called it quits (not too far from the saddle but three very steep sections were in between).

At 4:25 p.m. the two of us emerged from the trail onto the dirt/stone road. On the way out we were stopped by a white truck. I apologized for us being in the valley (Saturday is for hunters only - no hiking is allowed) and the driver radioed the hunters alerting them not to shoot us.

When Laredo and I were not far from the beginning of the road near Moanalua Valley Park we were confronted again. This time by a hunter inside his dark green truck. He told us sternly,"You're not supposed to be in here!". I apologized and Laredo tried to change the subject when he asked,"Did you get one?". The hunter replied that one of his companions had killed a boar earlier in the day and then he let us go without incident. In my mind I told myself,"Don't make a habit of dropping down into Moanalua Valley on Saturdays".

The two of us got to my car at 5:15 p.m. and drove off shortly thereafter.

== Sunday, April 19th, Aiea Ridge to Halawa Ridge ==

DKT did an adequate job of describing the trek. The only info I'd like to add is the fact that I hid 4 liters of water near the Aiea summit for the May 23rd thru May 27th Laie to Moanalua Valley backpacking trip. Also, I marked the route between Aiea and Halawa using "hot" pink surveyors ribbon and Dayle (the human bulldozer) plowed a nice swath for Gene, myself and hopefully others to use in May.

I counted at least 5 climbs between Aiea and Halawa 2 of which were butt kickers and will be difficult to do with heavy packs on.

Potential water sources were spotted in the gully between the two power-line towers of Aiea and in a non-flowing stream below the Ko'olau summit ridge between the other winch house and Halawa.


* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

-- Paka

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