Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 21:55:03 -1000 From: Ikaika Kane (email@example.com> Subject: Most challenging trail?
I'm a former local boy who'll be returning to Oahu this summer for a one month stay and am interested in hiking the island's most challenging trails. I've done a bunch of hiking and rock climbing in northern California and would have no problem with hikes over 10 miles that get cliffy.
Any suggestions/recommendations will be appreciated.
Check out the Hawaii Hiking Gallery at:
Beside the difficult ones listed here there is Kamaile'unu which is a ridge that leads to Mount Kaala, the highest point on Oahu. Check out Wing Ng's page too--I think there is a link from the Hawaii Hiking Gallery.
Pu'u Ohulehule will provide a rush. Pat Rorie is the resident expert on that craggy peak and I'm sure he'll gladly fill you in on what needs to be known to reach its summit.
What an excellent thread ! Let's gather our thoughts and put together a list.
Yes, Ohulehule is quite a challenge. As a matter of fact there are three other members of OHE-L (Kurt Heilbron, Art Neilson and Dave Webb) who have reached the summit and lived to tell ! Technically, Wingo didn't quite make it. His lunch fell out at the point where the northwest and southwest ridges meet. He was so distraught that he couldn't go on. Don't go when its raining because a waterfall forms at the very steep section (just ask Kurt Heilbron). Hopefully by this summer the summit will be cleared of clidemia trees and new (or atleast better) cables will be in place to make the hike (climb) safer. Let us know when you're in town, Ikaika. Myself or someone else can serve as a guide.
Other challenging trails are Kalena, Dupont, Olomana's third peak (esp. now that the cables are gone), Heleakala to Palikea, Ma'akua Gulch ropes, Waianae-Ka'ala, Pu'u Piei, Makapu'u Tom-Tom, Pu'u Manamana, Pu'u Keahi a kahoe, Waimalu Middle Ridge, Ohikilolo, Kamaile'unu, Ka'au Crater cascade and to the summit, and the infamous Piliwale Ridge. That should be more than enough trails for a months time and if you need more info on the hikes there's this book you can buy. Its called "Hiker's Guide to Oahu" by Stuart M. Ball, Jr.
I'll just add that any loop trip that involves a stretch of walking along the Ko'olau summit ridge overlooking the windward pali will certainly hold your interest for views and exposure. The combinations seem almost infinite in number, as it just depends on your choice of ridges up and down.
An ad hoc trail or route exists all the way from Makapu'u to Konahuanui along the summit crest. Just pick a trail up one ridge and down another (Olympus, Lanipo, HawaiiLoa, Kuliouou are examples), and allow for about 1/2 - 1 mile per hour when traversing the wetter sections of summit (you can travel significantly faster at the dry end).
The Ko'olau Summit Trail along the northern half of the range (described by Stuart Ball in "The Backpackers Guide to Hawai'i")has a really spectacular traverse along a windward section at the back of Punalu'u and Kahana Valleys. Up Poamoho, along the KST, down Schofield-Waikane gets rave reviews for this KST section (11+ miles total for the loop, 7-8 hours). Or traverse the Ko'olaus from Wahiawa area to Kaneohe Bay, going up Poamoho or Schofield-Waikane, along the KST, then down Waikane Trail (described as pretty badly overgrown at present) on the windward side, about 13 miles, 11 hours. These are long hikes requiring car shuttles, often overgrown, with exposure on the windward-facing pali, but fantastic views if clear.
[If you have web access, see OHE 1997 archives for May 6, July 27, Aug 1, Dec 19 for great stories by Dayle, Patrick, et al. on these routes. ...check subject headers, not sure of exact dates.]
In between the above areas, Manana-summit crest-Waimano is a classic loop of about 15 miles. (Most traveled section of Ko'olau summit?). Again, there'll be exposure on the summit where traversing on the windward side, and a tricky turn traveling towards Waimano in the fog. Get real familiar with a topographic map on this one. ....well, really all of them... especially with bad weather. Gabriela Canalizo had a very interesting story about this hike at http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/~canaguby/hiking/hikes.html.