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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hobb's Ridge (2002)

Photo by Waianae Steve
Hike date: January 12, 2002 SaturdayWeather: clear, sunny, fairly cool, minimal winds.A group of 12 met at the Waianae Cultural Center in the valley.  A member of the group was the legendary Fred Dodge, who had not only climbed Hobbs ridge before but many of the most challenging routes on the island. We were glad to see him and have him hike with us.  Dr Dodge, in his 60s now, described the ridge du jour for us, mentioning a grassy 85 degree slope near the top that had us wondering what we were in for. He also mentioned that Hobbs was "an old country doctor" who was the first to climb "way up" the ridge we would attempt.  Come to find out, Hobbs never reached the summit, having turned back because he was alone and because rain began to fall.  However, his attempt encouraged others to try, and these others, including Dr Dodge, succeeded.From the Cultural Center, we headed mauka on a trail that follows a PVC pipeline that provides water to the center. We passed an olive tree and several minutes later we reached the pipeline intake.  Linda Gallano, who knows how to find her way around the valley, led us beyond the intake, navigating the group when we reached crossing trails.We stopped to rest under a large avocado tree that marked a junction with a contour trail made by the CCC long ago. The word "JURY" was carved into a tree there.  Linda told us the word was made by a former disgruntled student who did it as a way of defiantly saying "I was here." We waited at the junction for several minutes, wondering what had happened to Waianae Steve and Wing Ng, the only members of our party who still had not arrived.  I used the break to do a feed (protein bar, energy bar) and to listen to Linda tell us what valley trails went where.We eventually pushed on, reasoning that Steve would find his way to us since, like Linda, he knows his way in the valley.  So on we went on the CCC contour.  We eventually came upon a group of young hunters and their dogs.  Linda knew them (some were her students at Waianae High) and talked story for a bit.At around 11 a.m. (a bit under two hours after we started hiking), we reached Hobbs Ridge at approx 1600 ft elevation. The slopes were dominated by sisal plants and tall eucalyptus.  At this elevation, the ridge is broad and steadily steep.  Linda and the hunters refer to Hobbs as Snake Ridge, probably because the trail up it winds to and fro snake-ishly as it gains elevation.I wasn't keeping track well, but at around the 2200-ft level we passed a picnic table on the ridge that Steve and Linda think was used by "horticulturists" (read: pakalolo growers) to dry their crops.  The ridge remained relatively broad until the 2600-ft level.  Thereafter, it narrowed but never to a razor edge. No saddles.  Basically just up with almost no relent.We saw an old short rope affixed to a metal stake. This rope wasn't vital but more in the good-to-have-it category, especially when descending or if raining/wet. I recall a flat grassy dike (not too narrow and a rare place above the picnic table when climbing isn't involved), steep climbing beyond it, then a steep grassy pitch, probably the one referred to as "85 degrees" by Dr Dodge. It was steep, but not 85 degrees steep (45 degrees maybe).  The pitch led to a near-vertical rock outcrop topped by a large, sprawling Christmas berry.  Old, thin ropes dangled from limbs of the tree (perhaps, "the clothesline I wouldn't risk my life on" seen by Dick Schmidt during a summit try). None of us needed the ropes on the ascent since the tree offered secure holds.  On the way back down after lunch, I tied off a long (75-foot) webbed strap to the tree to replace the old thin ropes.  We left the long strap there for future use and later from the cultural center we could see it (with binocs) dangling down the mountainside.Above the tree, the vegetation thickened and offered security and the top was minutes away.  The summit of Hobbs Ridge (elev 3200 ft) is a shady, viewless clearing under native trees (olapa, ohia, etc.) The short but taxing climb took about an hour from where we left the contour trail. Vertical gain was ~2600 feet from the cultural center and ~1600 feet from the contour trail.  I'd rate the ridge akin to Bear Claw left and the direct climb to Kawiwi but much less hazardous than Bear Claw right.Eight of the party of 12 made the summit. When asked how the route was compared to years past, Dr Dodge said, "Worse." He did say that now there is more vegetation to grab but that erosion has taken a toll on the ridge. We did some brief exploring along the summit after lunch.  We spotted some native snails. Ken pointed out plants for us. There was talk of hiking to Ka'ala along the crest but that didn't materialize today. For lunch, I ate brown rice with a glop made up of tuna, cottage cheese, olive oil, and curry powder. Tastes much better than it sounds.  :-)We headed down around 1 p.m. and we all made it back to the contour trailsafely (whew!).  Linda and Steve guided us back to the cultural center,part of the way being on a jeep road overgrown with buffalo grass and partbeing on the pipeline trail we'd hiked in the morning.Back at the Cultural Center, we talked story with a couple of locals named Lanchenko.  They mentioned a friend who had fallen 300-ft while climbing Hobbs and was later rescued. Also, binocs came out and we (well, most of us) could see the long strap way up high on the ridge.  We then said good bye to Dr Dodge, with handshakes and expressions of thanks and admiration.Ken provided drinks and chips back at the cars. Mahalo nui.  Wing was still MIA, and repeated radio calls to him went without a response.  We headed home, saying that Wing was experienced enough to find his way out. He eventually did.In summary, a great hike.  Not nearly as long or dangerous as anticipated. This could become an HTMC hike in the future.--Oahu Hiker
Here is a more recent climb of Hobb's Ridge by Waianae Steve and friends.

Hobb's Ridge Prep Part One from Steve Rohrmayr on Vimeo.

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