OHE July 9, 1997 (part c)

Pat Rorie leads us on another exciting adventure:
HTMC trail maintenance crew finished their chores at Kuolani-Waianu and departed Waiahole Valley at approx. 3:13. It was too early to go home and I had more than enough energy for another hike so I turned left onto Kam. Hwy from Waiahole Valley Road.

I passed Swanzy Beach Park and thought about attempting Hidden Valley but remembered Grant Tokumi's report (overgrowth and thorns) so I decided not to. Instead I drove to Kahana Bay Beach Park and turned right into a small parking lot. I parked next to other vehicles hoping for safety in numbers when it comes to auto break ins.

At 3:38 I walked across the park and passed a boat-lauching ramp. I looked for a utility pole across Kam. Hwy. with the no. 313 on it per Ball's route description. After searching for a moment I located the pole, crossed the hwy and headed into the woods. I had to do some pushing to get thru but only for a short time. I entered an open area under a nice canapy and went right. Next the trail consisted of three switchbacks which had wooden hand rails bordering them. At the end of the hand rails the canapy came to an end and I could see my goal for the day - a pyramid shaped peak.

Continuing on up the ridge I passed a rock with a hawaiian stick man carved into it. After further ascention I went right and began contouring the ridge on that side. That was a mistake. When I realized that I needed to be on the top of the ridge I turned slightly left and headed straight up the ridge creating my own trail thru fern (not uluhe). I slipped a few times but managed to gain the ridge line. The location of the trail was obvious and I headed up it at a good speed toward the Piei cliffs. This section was open with only low level vegetation present.

As the angle of ascent increased I had to be careful not to slip on the slick mud which made up the trail. Next I entered a grove of hala trees and other vegetation as the trail leveled off briefly.

Pressing on the ridge became more narrow and rocky. I climbed up and over several rock outcrops as I neared the top. The time was approx. 4:25. It appeared that the trail went to the left up a steep rocky cliff. I double checked Ball's instructions and they indicated that two cables should be available for assistance. I saw none. The trail was not only steep at this point but it consisted of the crumbly soil in between short grass. The only hand holds were thin branches that snapped fairly easily when I tested some. I attempted a different route over another rock outcrop but fear of the unknown and gusty trades caused me to retreat to my original position. For about twenty minutes I tried to psych myself into climbing up the rock outcrop I had attempted once before. After a couple more failed attempts I sat down ashamed and bummed out. I decided to enjoy the excellent vistas that were mine at the moment. Pu'u Manamana and Ohulehule were both socked in as were the fluted cliffs of the Ko'olau Mountain Range. Rain could be seen coming down in Kahana Valley near Ohulehule. The strong chilly trades continued to blow.

At approx. 5:20 I decided to head down. After descending a short distance I noticed that the low clouds and rain had moved on thru Kahana Valley and Manamana, Ohulehule, and the Ko'olaus were clear ! Some patches of blue could be seen thru the higher level clouds and the trades were almost non-existent. I took off my pack and ascended back up some of the rock outcrops to a nice view spot.

Pu'u Ohulehule looked magnificent as the sun shine lit up her base. I could see the KST cut into the top of the Ko'olaus. At this point I decided to make one more effort to get to the top of Piei since the trades had died down. I blocked out any negative thoughts and tried to build up my confidence as I climbed up the rocky outcrop that had defeated me before. I made it up and over and continued past short grass to another rocky outcrop. But fear of the unknown kicked in again and I decided to retreat.

Low level clouds had moved in during my last effort to reach the summit socking in the nearby mountains. I could see rain coming down off the coast and it was heading toward my location so I decided to descend back down the trail. It was approx. 6 p.m.

I made it back to my car at aprox. 6:30 and departed shortly thereafter still bummed that I had failed to accomplish the goal. Perhaps my hiking partner Laredo would come with me the next time I attempted Piei and kick my butt when I got scared !

== Patrick

Wing Ng emailed the following reply:

Wow, now we can add the top section of Piei as the ultimate experience that defeated even Psycho!

I remember on a Club hike more than 10 years ago, when the only one who went up the last section was legendary Ski Pole.

Another time, Ski Pole went right until it drops vertically and then came down the hillside. A bunch of not-so-accomplished hikers followed him, in spite of his admonitions not to do so. One guy broke his hand when a rock fell on it, and had to be rescued. That was Dec. 1985.


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