OHE November 12, 1998

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 13:36:29 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: The Olomana Traverse

Traverse, according to Webster's, is "a route or way across or over". On election day, November 3rd, I hiked Mount Olomana in the normal manner. While resting on the third peak I noticed a tan cable going down the backside (Waimanalo side). I had to check it out so I used the cable to descend. Following a relatively level section I dropped down even further between a rock outcropping with the aid of a blue and white synthetic rope. Another blue and white rope was visible twenty five feet below. It was getting late, however, and I was alone so I opted to come back another day.

My hiking buddy Laredo "Rainbowman" Murray (aka LaRAMBO) called me on Sunday night itching to do a hike on Veteran's day (November 11th). After going thru a list I suggested going up Olomana from the Waimanalo end and he was game.

I met Laredo (aqua green hair on this day) at his home in Haiku Valley and he followed me in his truck to the bridge one must cross to reach Luana Hills. I parked the pat-mobile on the right side of the road before the bridge and jumped into LaRAMBO's vehicle. We headed for 'Nalo and upon entering the outskirts turned right onto Kumuhau. The two of us scoped out the ridge leading to the third peak which shot up toward the heavens like a huge dagger. "That looks nuts!" I commented. Next, we made another right and parked near the Waimanalo terminus of the Maunawili Demo Trail (aka Koolaupoko).

At 9:04 a.m. Laredo and I began tramping up the wide footpath (more like a road). Due to light trade winds, steamy conditions prevailed with high clouds blocking most of the sun. Arrived at a junction and ascended briefly, following an obscure trail marked occasionally by Christmas ribbon. "Wing's been here!" I exclaimed to Laredo. "Did he put the ropes up?" I asked myself. The two of us traveled mainly thru a forest of Christmas berry trees and lawai grass gaining the ridge line as a result. On a couple of occasions we emerged from the woods and enjoyed outstanding panoramic views of Maunawili Valley backed by the cloud-free East Ko'olau Mountain Range. As LaRAMBO and I continued, the thin ridge of the third peak loomed ahead. Near its base I spotted three ropes each at different levels of the mountain.

After a brief rest and at 10:15 a.m., Laredo took the lead and began climbing very, very steeply using a springy, knotted rope. Footholds were hard to come by and I watched my friend struggle to gain the first 30 feet of the ridge. But gain it he did and I swollowed hard as Laredo lowered the rope for me to use. Pressing on, LaRAMBO ducked under a Christmas berry branch and ascended very steeply using two more ropes. He inadvertently dislodged small rocks and dirt which came close to my position as I scaled the near vertical initial segment. "Hey! Watch the rocks!" I shouted. I put my full weight on the rope but it was securely anchored to a solid Christmas berry tree. Breathed a sigh of relief and stopped shaking upon arriving at the top of a rock outcrop then yelled up to Laredo "How's it look?". "There's a piton with some yo-yo string running thru it" he replied. I climbed over the Christmas berry branch, walked up some loose dirt and ascended the next stretch aided by two consecutive ropes, the latter of which was almost as difficult as the first springy one. Moss growing on part of the ropes indicated that they had been there for some time.

Studied the piton then closed the gap between Laredo and I over a relatively level tract. "Rainbowman" continued to lead as we free climbed a rock face. Once again putting our full weight on the climbing aid, the two of us took turns pulling ourselves up a grey overhanging cable, several breaks in the the casing revealed the wires inside. Laredo reached the anchor point of the first of three blue and white synthetic ropes as I scrambled up a narrow dike featuring crumbly ledges.

When we approached the final blue and white rope I realized that I had forgotten to throw it back down after using it on election day. As a result, I moved ahead of Laredo and free climbed until I could grab it then I threw it down to him once I was above the anchor point. Another level stretch ensued then I free climbed to gain the final ledge leading to the third peak of Olomana (the tan cable was coiled and hidden in some grass - I had done this on election day to keep "Joe Novice" from venturing down the ridge). I made the tan cable available to Laredo and he used it to gain the shelf. We debated whether to hide the cable again and decided not to. Arrived at the apex of the third peak at 11:00 a.m.

The trip back to my car over the second and first peaks went without incident. The area around the puka rock seemed much easier than in the past because of the difficulties we had endured going up the third peak. Encountered Duane "Grimlock" Tom and his nice looking girlfriend as well as HT&MC applicant for membership Gail Chinen and another dude (he introduced himself but I can't recall his name). Exchanged greetings with sixteen other people most of whom were gathered on the first peak and observed that part of the ironwood forest below "red" hill had been destroyed by a recent fire.

Emerged from the woods near the guard shack and exchanged a triumphant high-five with Laredo then walked along the road to the pat-mobile.

With plenty of time remaining in the day, I drove the two of us to Lanikai where we hiked humble Kaiwa Ridge from the Mid Pacific Country Club to Wailea Point. We encountered 19 people including a few keiki and two dogs. >From Wailea Point near the fish shrine, Laredo and I dropped down to Aalapapa Drive and walked back to my car. We could've jumped into the ocean for refreshment but decided instead to do one more hike.

Proceeded to Maunawili Estates where we tramped to Maunawili Falls. Ten people going in the opposite direction passed us and we shared the large swimming hole with a woman (Kathren), her young son (Max) and Kenoni (a fifth grade girl who accompanied them). Took pleasure from the delightful waterfall and the cold pool brought relief from the high humidity. Laredo and I walked out with our new friends and encouraged Kathren to join HT&MC.

Returned to 'Nalo at 6 p.m. where I dropped Laredo off at his truck. Washed up at the clubhouse then headed for the HT&MC schedules meeting in Kaimuki.

== Paka

Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle