Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 08:13:53 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Windward Oahu Speed Hiker Extravaganza
In an attempt to top ourselves (Kalena-Ka'ala on Sunday, July 25th), Laredo "Rainbowman" Murray (purple hair this past Sunday) and I set out to accomplish what most would consider fool hearty, a romp across the Ko'olau mountain range and the windward side of Oahu from Haiku Valley to Waimanalo via 8 different hiking trails. A late phone call Saturday night brought the total number of participants to four with Rob Geer and his friend Ed Bugaran joining us.
Sunday, August 8th was a beautiful day on Oahu characterized by a nice tradewind breeze, lots of sunshine and blue sky, with clear summits. I rendezvoused with Rob and Ed (age 50 and a veteran of eco-challenges and other extreme adventures around the world) at Castle Hospital at 7:30 a.m.
From Castle we carpooled in the pat-mobile to an area just shy of a bridge on Auloa Road in Kailua which leads to the Luana Hills golf links. Laredo arrived shortly thereafter and left his truck at the location.
We drove to Laredo's home in Haiku Valley and following final preps began walking toward a trail that ascends a steep windward ridge. Our group reached the trailhead at 8:17 a.m. and I set a brutal pace with Ed right behind me topping out on a peak a few HTM'ers call Keahi a kahoe iki at 9:15 a.m. Briefly enjoyed the outstanding panorama before continuing the journey.
In ten minutes we were on the summit of Pu'u Keahi a kahoe (elev. 2,820 ft) but did not linger for long due to the fact that we had many miles to travel prior to the setting sun. Our foursome remained on the Ko'olau crest heading south, first to a flat-topped peak (elev. 2,760 ft) and the terminus of the Tripler Ridge Trail where we took pleasure from excellent vistas of Moanalua Valley spread out before us, Pearl Harbor and the Waianae Range, then to the apex of Pu'u Kahuauli (elev. 2,740 ft) arriving there at 10:02 a.m.
Without pausing, the four of us descended the Bowman Trail from the summit of Kahuauli and at a spreading koa tree turned sharp left descending in the direction of the Likelike Hwy. On the way down the Bowman side trail, our party got separated with Laredo and I moving well ahead of Ed and Rob but subsequent to thrashing about the lower environs near the highway and many yells to our colleagues, the four of us reunited near the Likelike around 11:15 a.m.
We emerged from the woods and walked along the shoulder of the Honolulu bound lanes until reaching a position adjacent to the parking lot near the Wilson Tunnel openings. Once the coast was clear, we crossed the highway and entered the Kaneohe bound tunnel in full sprint mode enduring the carbon monoxide and loud noises while running on a three foot wide concrete sidewalk for slightly over three minutes. The tunnel seemed to never end but, alas, our party exited the underground passage without getting busted by the police or sideswiped by a passing bus and quickly slid between concrete barriers, away from the highway.
After catching our breath, we descended to the Likeke Trail, a graded contour footpath 2.5 miles in length. I continued in the front position and felt good so I decided to jog along the trail. Laredo and Ed joined me but Rob, out of visual contact, fell behind not realizing that we were running. The footpath meandered in and out of numerous gulches before taking us to a pleasant waterfall.
Upon arriving at the cascade at 12:03 p.m., I climbed a small hill and retrieved six liters of water I had hidden the previous day. A few minutes later, Ed and Rob arrived and the four of us hydrated/consumed lunch for half an hour. A handful of folks including a keiki visited the area during our lunch break and we exchanged greetings with a few of them.
At 12:33 p.m. the four of us continued the pilgrimage departing the waterfall and immediately gaining the Old Pali Road Trail. In less than fifteen minutes, Ed and I reached the Maunawili Demo Trail/Old Pali Road Trail junction having ducked under the Honolulu and Kailua-bound lanes of the Pali Hwy. We paused briefly for Rob and Laredo. Once we saw them approaching our position (from the highway, not underneath the lanes!), Ed and I headed for the demo trail startling a couple necking nearby. Laredo stopped to wrap his ankle and Rob waited for him. Meanwhile, Ed and I proceeded to the zero mileage marker of the Maunawili Trail reaching it at 1 p.m. We considered waiting for our comrades but decided instead to slow our pace figuring they would jog to catch up.
The graded contour Maunawili Demonstation Trail (aka Koolaupoko) is a magnificent work scouted by the father of modern day Oahu hiking Dick Davis and constructed by volunteers under the sponsorship of the Hawaii Service Trip Program of the Sierra Club. Some of the highlights of the footpath include: Piliwale Ridge, the spectacular waterfall chutes as pictured on the front cover of Ball's "Hiker's Guide to O'ahu", the juction with the Maunawili Falls Trail, the windward ridge that connects with Mount Olympus said to have been the "right of passage" for HTM daredevils long ago, Mauumae windward (a ridge stretching from the floor of Maunawili Valley to the normal termination point of the Lanipo Trail), and finally Anianinui Ridge which Dick Davis descended from Pu'u Lanipo in his youth.
Rob and Laredo caught up to Ed and I at the junction with the falls trail at 1:33 p.m. (elev. 860 ft according to Ed's altimeter) as I encouraged two wahines to descend to the falls and take a refreshing dip (they started their hike in the Maunawili Estates subdivision at the base of Piliwale Ridge).
Pressing on, Ed and I tramped briskly, once again putting distance between Rob and Laredo. We worked in and out of numerous gulches passing the 4.0 mile marker at 2:15 p.m. I began to feel majorly fatigued so we took a break at a spot on the trail that intersects Mauumae windward. I consumed a balance bar, a bag of chex mix and drank some tang. During the respite, Rob and Laredo reached our position and sat down. Anianinui Ridge lay clearly to the east not far away and our party looked forward to completing the demo trail and embracing the final obstacle of the day, triple peaked Olomana.
Reenergized and determined to see the journey to its end, Ed, Laredo, Rob and myself resumed hiking and arrived at the junction with the ungraded Anianinui Ridge Trail which stretches to the backside of Pakui (Olomana's knife edged third peak) at 4:05 p.m. approximately 7.5 miles from the Maunawili Trail zero mileage sign. Without delay, I led the group as we endured the ridge's roller coaster action in route to the base of Pakui. We stopped at a point just below the first rope at 4:42 p.m. and prepared ourselves for the coming ordeal. As a distraction I gazed at the gorgeous sheer fluted cliffs of the Ko'olau Range behind Waimanalo.
After a few minutes, I commenced the steep climb (the sunlight in my eyes) while using the first rope telling my colleagues "Let me get started so that I won't kick any rocks down on anybody". The first rope section and the one that followed went quickly thanks to Ralph Valentino who installed a lengthy additional rope on April 11th of this year. In my mind I blocked out the fact that we would have to deal with the loose piton on the second blue and white rope. "Think about it when you get there" I told myself. Laredo ascended next followed by Ed. Rob, tired from the long day of hiking, turned back, content with what he had accomplished up to that point and based on what Laredo, Ed and I discovered further upslope, definitely a wise decision.
Beyond the second rope, I free-climbed to a metal piton and tied some of Laredo's belt shaped material to it (the same material used to get past the tight spots on the Kalena-Ka'ala Trek). With the belt in one hand and his hiking stick (Laredo refused to leave it behind!) in the other, Laredo continued the assault of Pakui as I moved ahead to the grey cable overhang. While I struggled to get above the overhanging grey cable, Laredo assisted Ed who refused to depend on the belt shaped material. The first blue and white rope section went smoothly thanks again to Ralph who installed an intermediate rope in April to make it easier to get to the first blue and white rope.
"Now its time for the blue and white rope with the loose piton" I thought to myself. I free-climbed a short distance then discoved that the rope was gone!!! "Where the hell is it?!" I exclaimed. "There's no way we're turning back now!". I made a decision and free-climbed very steeply over loose rotten rock. During the maneuver some rocks dislodged plunging more than 1000 ft to the forested valley floor! Fortunately, none where I had a critical hand/foot hold but it scared me! I completed the climb and eventually performed a body belay using a rope Ed had brought (made while in the militarty) to get he and Laredo above the tight spot.
The three of us used the third blue and white rope and the tan overhanging cable to reach the summit of Pakui at 5:27 p.m. Ed and I drank the last of our respective water supplies but Laredo still had a small amount in his canteen. Assuming no more obstacles existed, Ed, Laredo and I worked our way carefully but confidently down to and around the puka rock unaided.
During the descent to the saddle between peaks three and two (Ahiki), I looked up at the precipitous slope of Ahiki and couldn't see the long rope normally available to help ascend/descend the second peak. "It must be the late afternoon light" I told myself "or the color of the rope blends really well with the dirt". It turned out that my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. Someone had removed the long rope!!!
Thoroughly disgusted with encountering missing rope sections, I scrambled upslope over loose dirt as far as I could then veered slightly to the right to a clump of Christmas berry trees using their branches as handholds. It didn't appear very elegant but the maneuver got the job done. I instructed Laredo and Ed to do likewise as they started the very steep climb, then accomplished more scrambling myself in route to the summit of Ahiki arriving there at 6:05 p.m., a difficult ascent without the rope, no doubt. It didn't take long for my hiking compadres to join me and once the three of us were together again, I proceeded toward Olomana.
We reached the top of the first peak (elev. 1,643 ft) at 6:12 p.m. and began descending after Laredo made some adjustments to his fanny pack. At the small, but nearly vertical rock face, we used a new, orange, belt shaped rope to drop down. The cable formerly provided for this purpose had been removed. The rest of the descent went without incident and Ed, Laredo and I approached Laredo's truck two minutes before 7 p.m.
A summary of the trip breaks down as follows...
1) up steep windward ridge to Keahi a kahoe iki
2) along the Ko'olau summit crest past Keahi a kahoe and Tripler Ridge to Kahuauli
3) down upper Bowman and Bowman side trail to Likelike Hwy
4) thru Wilson Tunnel
5) along Likeke (2.5 mi), Old Pali Road, and Maunawili Demo (7.5 mi) Trails
6) up and over the three peaks of Olomana (2.5 mi)
Notes: If anyone plans on hiking Olomana in the near future, be sure and carry plenty of rope. Someone from Luana Hills golf course or a climbing purist must be responsible for removing the ropes/cables.