OHE February 18, 1998

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 00:16:25 -1000
From: Grant Tokumi (gtokumi@aloha.net>
Subject: Pu'u Piei

Monday Feb 16

Pu'u Piei is located by Kahana Valley, a steep 2 mile hike up the ridge to a little summit. The hikers were Alex, Merril, Stacie, Richie, and myself. That hike was rated intermidiate in Stuart Ball's book (the bible), but let me tell you, that was no intermidiate hike!! Sheesh, that was amongst the scariest hikes I've done. Towards the summit, the ridge becomes VERY narrow and trecherous with lots of cable areas.

The hike started at 10:30. we started up a ridge, but after around 1.5 hours of hiking, we came up to a cone shaped mountain with no trail around it. You can see that cone fron the road, it kinda looks like a sewing thimble. It was just sitting there, the only way we could go was up, and it was super scary. DEAD END!!! I tried to climb it, and I made it, but with a couple close calls. If I slipped, you would have heard about me on the news that night. Anyways, I made it on top that thing. From there, I had to turn left unto the Piei Ridge, but that part looked even MORE scary looking. Way too narrow and steep to climb over. Alex already had the feeling we were on the wrong trail before I climbed that thing, and after I climbed it, we defintely knew we was on the wrong ridge. I came back down, almost losing it a couple times again.

After studying the map better, we figured we should be on the ridge on our left (as we look up the ridge). We made our way back down almost all the way at the start. We finally found the right trail. By that time we already lost 3 hours. We went up the correct ridge this time, and I thought the hike would be pretty quick this time. I was wrong. As we neared the summit, the trail became very steep, and cable were available to assist us. Up and up we went, til we reached the Piei Ridge, we turned left along that ridge towards the summit.

The trail was still just as steep, but now the trail became very narrow. I was thinking, "this ain't no intermidiate level trail". The danger level was VERY HIGH. At least there were more cables to assist us. Poor Richie, this was her first hike, and she had to stop in this area because I think it was just too trecherous. I gave her alot of credit for coming as far as she did. I was even thinking of stopping with her, but the summit wasn't too far away so I continued. The rest of us continued onto the summit and finally reached it at around 4:00pm, 5.5 hours from the start. Not too many views up there since it is pretty grown over. We did our high fives, rested a bit, and started our return trip. We didn't want to leave Richie on the edge of a heart-stopping cliff all by herself for too long you know.

We met up with her, and found a good place to eat our lunch/dinner. After eating, we made our return trip. That was pretty quick, taking around 2 hours. Total hiking time was 7 hours, 40 minutes. We got out at around 6:30pm, just before it got dark. Whew! What a hike! No casualties.

Whenever a trail becomes very narrow and balancing acts are required, I get this strange feeling in my heart and stomach. My legs start to tremble. I got that feeling on the missing sections of Haiku Stairs, on the narrow part of Puu Manamana, going to peak #3 on Olomana, and that narrow dike on Pu'u Kalena. I had that feeling again in the narrow areas on this Pu'u Piei hike.

I've been falling behind in posting hiking adventure pics in my website so I'll just say, "pictures will be posted in the future".


Reply from: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>

Pu'u Piei (elev. 1,740 ft) is an underrated and lesser known mountain probably because of the short distance it takes to reach its summit. Piei is actually higher than Mount Olomana (elev. 1,643 ft) and offers excellent views of Kahana and Punaluu Valleys as well as Kahana Bay, the ridge containing Turnover (elev. 2,027 ft) and the true Manamana, and Mount Ohulehule (elev. 2,265 ft). The trail used to be a loop, dropping down into Punaluu Valley but that section has long since overgrown. If one reaches the middle of the forest at the summit and walks toward Punaluu, he/she will emerge from the canopy and find a nice view spot of the back of the valley and of the Castle Trail almost directly across.

== Patrick

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