Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 13:09:58 -1000 From: MARK SHORT (MARKESHORT@worldnet.att.net> Subject: Olomana Traverse
I've been experimenting with ultralight backpacking. Part of the experiment was putting up a hammock & tarp (2.6lbs. vs.. 3.5lbs for tent & sleeping pad) in the high wind & rain at Bellows on Saturday night. If interested check out http://www.monmouth.com/~mconnick/. There is concise info and a lively list to subscribe to. As I was in my hammock trying to sleep I remembered the Olomana trail maintenance.
I had another commitment in the morning but maybe I could go up the backside in the morning and run into someone coming down. About 7am Sunday morning I drove up Kumuhau to see how difficult the route looked. I figured at least I could make it up the ridge to the base of Pakui then decide about proceeding. I then headed home with these thoughts in my mind all morning.
At about 12:15 I ate way too much Nachos with guacamole for lunch. And at about 1:15 or so I was heading up the road that makes up the Waimanalo end of the Maunawili Demo trail. Not to far up the dirt road there is a trail/road that leads to the right (it has a name I just don't remember). I've been here before for fun mountain biking and I knew there were many trails that led of uphill toward the ridge that was my goal. This trail ends at another street a short distance away. Since there were no cars parked where I parked I considered maybe the closer entrance was on this other street. All I could remember from earlier posts was the trail started from the end of the road at the end of Kumuhau Street. I decided I was probably just late and had missed everybody. So I continued straight up the road. About half way up I saw a side trail with ribbons and followed it. This trail soon ended so I bushwhacked back down to the road. At the junction where left continues the Maunawili trail the road continued straight. This point is actual on top of the ridge I was heading for but since there were ribbons leading straight down the I continued this way figuring maybe it contoured on the back side of the ridge, getting closer to Pakui.
About 1/4 mile past the junction was a trail leading up, I followed this clear trail which did not seem to get much use, however the use it did get was from at least one horse. I was pretty sure this was the wrong trail but continued until I reached a clearing where I could see I really wasn't getting closer to my goal. So back I went. At the Maunawili trail junction I found this was also the Olomana backside junction. The trail starts right across! This trail was ribboned & clear. I looked for signs of fresh machete whacks but the ones I did see looked at least a week old. I thought maybe I had the wrong date for the Olomana TM or the TMers just didn't feel any whacking was necessary. I continued along the ridge which is open much of the way with great views similar to what you see from the top of Pakui. As I neared the peak my heart was thumping with excitement. From this angle it looked like the Matterhorn. For me a non-mountain climber it looked un-doable. Would I climb it? I figured I'd get to the base as planned and see how I felt.
At the base of the first small cliff/rock was a welcoming cable that didn't look that bad. I came this far, might as well go up at least that far, maybe it's the hardest part. Up I went. Climbing was way easier than I thought. Probably because you are just focusing on the section of rock 10 feet ahead of you, and not the whole mountain. On the way up I kept hoping that the last cable/roped hard part was the hardest. But I can't say this was true, each new section provided a greater challenge. I was always able to choose a route where if I did fall it would not be a great distance, or if there was a great distance I did not feel in any danger. I did have to take my time and be very careful where I put my feet & hands. This peak is very, very crumbly. Even large rocks moved when tested. I had my mouth open as I looked up & tested a cable and was rewarded with a pebble treat. With the wind I had a few flecks in my eye also.
Near the top is an overhang about six feet high. No footholds & one short cable. With the aid of the cable I was able to get my chest & forearms up then wriggling like a snake on my belly & pulling with my foreams I was able to drag myself up the rest of the way. Soon I was at the top savoring my accomplishment. It was 2:44 when I called my wife & told her I would need to be picked up on the Kailua side and taken back to my car in Waimanalo.
The hike up & over the next two peaks was uneventful however caution here was also in order. Nice big superlong yellow rope was a welcome convenience on the way down Olomana, and I saw the fresh machete whacks I was looking for. I called my wife again at the Ironwood Grove and she left home to come pick me up. Just as I emerged on the road she drove up. Perfect timing! I was surprised security had let her drive up. She explained he was Kailua H.S. football player who just had ankle surgery similar to hers. Just goes to show you the benefits of talking story for a minute.