OHE August 2, 1998

Date: Sun, 2 Aug 1998 17:23:24 -1000
From: diggy (diggy@hula.net>
Subject: Piliwale Ridge

At 1:00 P.M. today I decided to head up the famous "Piliwale Ridge Trail." I parked my car at the hairpin turn on the Pali and headed on the Koolaupoko trail. After fifteen minutes I reached the junction of the Maunawili and Piliwale trail The trail is marked by two distinct trees with a path going right through the middle following a ridge. With my pack on my back I headed up the Piliwale trail in hopes of making further progress than the last time.

Along the way the Strawberry guavas were ripe and ready to eat. I grabbed a few on my way as I eagerly made my way up the ridge. I passed many wild orchids along the way as well as other rare Hawaiian plants. The first part of the trail is very open with little vegetation to get in your way. However, after 15-20 minutes of hiking the trail became somewhat overgrown. Without a bolo knife I pushed my way up the ridge pushing away bushes and breaking branches trying to clear a path. The trail starts out easy and becomes steep very quickly. Some of the drop offs are masked by vegetation and can be dangerous if you're not careful.

I reached the first rock section and decided to clear a path around it rather than going over it. Pat and I went straight up it the last time we did this hike. After a few more minutes I reached the second rock face. This one has a cable and requires you to go straight up and over it. I would rate it as medium danger because it is a little tricky. There are two cables in this section which make the feat a little easier. From there the trail is very overgrown. I pushed and pushed until I finally reached the large boulder with a small grass clearing that Pat and I had reached the first time we did this hike. A month or so ago I reached the same spot, went a few feet further then called it off. This time I was anxious to push a little further.

After a fifteen minute rest break, I headed down the rock face on route to the steep, near vertical section. Coming down the rock face is one thing. But then you have to (get this) jump across a small section from a boulder to a tree across a four to five foot area with LONG drop-offs on both sides! This must be the spot that someone mentioned in one of the write-ups where "he closed his eyes and jumped." Luckily, I made it with a few scratches. This section is not for the weak at heart. It requires intense concentration and perfect timing in order to pull it off.

From here it's about twenty yards to the near vertical section. I reached a tree that had an old rotted out rope attached to it. After examining the rope, I promptly removed it and stuck it in my back pack. No way, was I about to trust my life with this rope. From here there is NO WAY to safely scale the rest of the ridge. A rope is required here to do this section. The drop off is straight down on both sides. My heart was pounding the entire time. It's scary and nerve racking. Words cannot explain the feeling and sensation one feels when in a situation like this.

After another short rest period, I decided NOT to chance it and headed back down. Oh boy, here comes the jumping part again! And yes it requires the same as before...just in reverse! I climbed back up the huge rock, took a short water break and decided to head down the trail. After a few spills and falls I made it back down to the Koolaupoko trail and soon back to my car.

Let me say this...DON'T try this hike until ropes are set in place. The hike to the huge rock face is safe with a medium amount of danger. The views are astounding! I took pictures which I will post on my web page this week. The hike to the huge rock face takes about one hour. From there to the vertical section is a few minutes or more depending on how long it takes you to get the guts up to jump across that narrow section. Total time for this hike was three hours. Danger is medium to extreme depending on how far you want to go. I'm going to go up again in the next few weeks if any of you are interested in joining me. And NO I don't plan on going pass the rock face. All in all a it was a well spent Sunday afternoon.

Start time 1:00 PM. Finish 4:00 PM


Reply From: "Kirby D. Young" (kirbyd@teleport.com>

I did this about a year ago, but did not go past the "top" boulder, so did not realize there was a chasm to jump further on. I thought the very steep ridge and adjoining cliffs heading further up Konahuanui looked very intimidating.

At the "top" boulder you are almost as high as Olomana! I thought it was a very worthwhile destination in itself.

I made a web page about the hike, but never got around to announcing it. It is at http://www.teleport.com/~kirbyd/hawaii/piliwale/piliwale.htm. The pictures are video captures, so the clarity and color is only so-so. Looking forward to yours. In one zoom shot, I think you can see very clearly a profile of the gap you jumped and tree you grabbed! Crazy! I shot it from the Maunawili Demo Trail.


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