On Tuesday afternoon a friend and I swam out to Chinaman's Hat and climbed to the top. While we sat there having a picnic we got some fantastic views of Puu Manamana and Ohulehule. The ridge leading up to the summit of Ohulehule from the ocean side looks pretty interesting. I'm assuming that's the route that Stuart Ball describes in the back of the hikers bible as being very dangerous. Is it still possible to climb to the peak from that ridge? Has anyone done this? If so, how recently? Last spring, I climbed to the viewpoint above the saddle from Kahana valley with the HMT club, but they didn't want anyone going to the top because of the potential danger.
How difficult is that way to climb to the top?
Ahhh. A chance to expound on my beloved Ohulehule.
You are correct, Dave. The long ridge leading up to the summit from the ocean side is the southeast ridge and is the most dangerous hike on Oahu. I've done most of it twice this year reaching the last dike. If you look at the bottom photo on the last page of the photo section in Ball's first book you can see the last dike. Find Chinaman's Hat. Follow the ridge until you see the twin humps. Thats the last dike. The section following the last dike is exposed and very, very steep (too hazardous in its present condition even for experience hikers). There use to be cables to help in the tight spots but some jerk removed them. Even when there were cables a guy fell and broke his shoulder on an HTMC hike in the late 80's.
The northwest ridge is the one HTMC climbs to what they call the Waikane Saddle. It is possible to continue past the saddle to the summit. I've done this three times this year. There is a thin cable on a very steep section which is dangerous if wet. OHE-L member Kurt Heilbron fell in this area on his way down and broke some of his ribs earlier this year because it was raining. It is my desire to put another cable in this section to make for safer passage to the summit. I also hope to remove the small forest at the summit. Many years ago the summit use to be clear of tall foliage and offered one of the best views on the island. Furthermore, I would like to clear the southeast ridge route from the top down, pound metal stakes similar to the ones found on the Pu'u Manamana trail into the rock and attach cables to them. The only problem is that the rock (bolders) on Ohulehule is very loose and easily dislodged.
The southwest ridge from deep inside Waikane Valley use to be the easiest route to the summit requiring no cables. A landslide has made it difficult if not impossible to reach the summit from this ridge.
Its been about three months since I've been to the top of Ohulehule. I plan on going for it again after the Kipapa-Manana trip. If you want to join me, Dave, we can decide on a good meeting place and time.
Mount Ohulehule is "the craggy peak which dominates the windward coast from Kahalu'u to Punalu'u. It stands alone, being only loosely connected to the Ko'olau summit ridge. Radiating from its slopes are 4 undeveloped valleys, Kahana, Ka'a'awa, Hakipu'u and Waikane. Ohulehule is a classic mountain, beautiful but dangerous."*
* Ball Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.
Ahhh, how could I guess that Paka-lolo would respond quickly to Dave's query. :-)
This past Sunday, I had a chance to take a close look at one route to the summit of Ohulehule that Pat didn't mention--the northeast ridge. Ralph Valentino and I were invited to hike in Kaaawa Valley by a renowned wahine hiker who wishes to remain anonymous. We climbed to a ridge that bisects Kaaawa and Kahana Valleys. While on this ridge, we passed near the northeastern slope of Ohulehule, hiking along a ridge that extends from its summit to the northeast and then north to (true) Pu'u Manamana.
The famous wahine hiker told us about how HTMC legend "Ski Pole," now blind and his 90s, once descended this ridge from the summit of Ohulehule. Like most of the other routes to the top, this one is also steep and exposed, the stuff hiking legends are made of.