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Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Lanihuli then Nukohe descent--Pete Clines (2003)

I haven't posted anything for quite a while, but I thought this hike was worth mentioning.

Spoke to Patrick (Rorie( Saturday night to congratulate him on his Haleakala climb, and he put the idea of Nukohe ridge in my head. Knowing that I couldn't commit to meeting him for the Bowman portion of the day, I told him I would likely try Lanihuli and look for him at the top if he came up Nukohe.

Sunday morning at 10:00, I parked at the end of Kalihi Street and followed the access road a short while before climbing a spur ridge to the extended Kamanaiki trail. No ribbons on the spur ridge, but signs of an old trail for the first 2/3 of the way up (perhaps I lost the trail for the last 1/3).

While continuing on Kamanaiki extended, I came upon one, and later three more members of the Sierra Club. They decided to pass on the summit due to being low on water. ( I myself finished the day with no water and two cramped hamstrings due to the heat and lack of cloud cover.) While approaching lanihuli summit, I watched what I believed to be the Nukohe ridge to look for Patrick. Waited at the summit for about 30 minutes to have lunch, and then decided to descend Nukohe to add some adventure to the day, and also check on Patrick's progress.

Found the ridge to be vey steep, with lots of uluhe to slow me down - but it also provided some safety. With the initial steep sections over, I branched right when the ridge forked and it wasn't too long before I got to the exposed cable sections that Patrick mentioned. VERY dangerous here, with sheer drops and terribly loose rock, but I took it slow and negotiated the sections without incident. I don't plan on doing this one again because of the condition of the cables(especially one at the very top that if pulled too hard might bring a large rock down on your head!) and the pieces of rock that I dislodged. Poked around at the bottom of the ridge before finding some fresh pink ribbons (some torn down)and eventually coming out on a more defined trail with a water pipe along it. Got back to my car at the end of an exciting 8 hour hike. Talked to Patrick ~10:00 to confirm his safety, and then hit the sack.

One last thing about this ridge - I wouldn't recommend it, but as I told Patrick, if you are planning to do it, now is the time since there is a faint swath to follow through the thick stuff.

-Pete Clines

Monday, January 13, 2003

Konahuanui via Pali Notches -- Pete Clines (2003)

I found out yesterday that my friend (and hiking buddy) Brian was going to be deployed to Iraq in the next week or so with his Marine division. We decided to get in one last hike, and I thought we should make it a worthwhile one. He's gone with me on Kalena, Olomana, and Manamana, so I proposed one that would top them all.

We arrived at the Pali lookout at 11:00, and were glad to see the high cloud cover, but with Konahuanui cloud-free(which it remained all day). I've been up to the notches to the right of the lookout 3-4 times before, but never beyond. Today we got to them in short time, then proceeded to work past them taking the direct up-and-over route. Coming off the second notch required a steep downhill climb followed by a careful jump. (We had missed the more gradual descent option on the windward facing side)

Next was a brief level stretch, prior to arriving at the "test your courage" spot. We spotted an old rope hanging at the top of very steep/narrow section. The other day I had run into Jason Sunada and he had advised me of this part, but I was not ready for how dangerous it would be. There were basically two sheer vertical spots, with a little recovery spot in between. Few handholds and no vegetation at all - only loose rock. I got past the first one(with some trembling upon looking around at the drop-offs) and then took off my pack. I then tied a length of rope around me, and Brian secured the other end around all of our gear so we would be able to climb safer. I then fought my way to the top of the next wall where the rope finally came into reach. Even with the rope I was pretty damn unsure if I was going to make it.

After reaching a (relatively) safe spot, I was able to heave and pull our gear up the 40 or so vertical feet. Brian then made his way up, and was also fortunate to succeed. After a handshake and a quick water break, we continued on our way. We agreed to "no going back now". No trail ribbons (or much of a trail) from this point on. The narrow ridge sections became the norm for the next stretch, but with surprisingly low-growing plant life that didn't block the amazing views.

Another challenge soon faced us, as we arrived at a tall imposing feature of the ridge. Climbing directly up was not an option due to the loose dirt, moss, bad rock,etc. Brian suggested we contour to the right side of it, and I was then able to find a way up. No easy task, as this one was also near-vertical, but there was enough tree roots and long grass to pull on. Both of us got by after some slipping and sliding.

It was at some point after this time that I was waiting for Brian to climb up to me at another rocky section, when a chunk of rock that he was pulling on suddenly shot out -while he was in an exposed position. Almost a fatal fall, which made us take another break to remember the seriousness of this climb.

Some uphill bushwacking followed but nothing too memorable. The upper sections are quite similar to Piliwale, but the earlier rock climbs were significantly scarier. Reached the summit at 2:00, after an exciting 3 hours. We took lots of pictures(digital and old-fashioned) on the way up and from the top-can't wait to see them. Perfectly clear in all directions...could even see Kamaileunu in the distance.

After a long lunch, and conversation on how much fun life in Hawaii can be, we headed down the ridge that parallels Lulumahu stream/falls on the west side. A new trail for both of us, but in as-expected condition. We were able to follow a faint swath and old ribbons on the way down to the Lulumahu stream trail- which I am very familiar with. We shortly departed from that trail, got to the reservoir parking lot at ~4:30, and then folowed that road out to the Pali highway.

While assisting a stranded motorist (by letting him call for help on my cell phone) a soldier in a jeep pulled up asking for directions to Starbucks in Kailua. I told him how to find it, and he was kind enough to drive us to the base of the Pali lookout access road. We completed the short uphill walk to the car, pleased to have eliminated a good chunk of highway-hiking. With an impressive loop completed, we headed to Kua Aina and Jamba Juice to fatten up. Gotta think of an even better hike for when Brian returns from Iraq. Any suggestions? --Pete Clines