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Monday, March 28, 2011

Kahana Valley Super Loop -- Pete Clines

Hike date: September 2003
Here's a new super-loop!
Called Ed Gilman about the Kahana Valley adventure that I planned, and he ended up meeting me at the trailhead Friday morning.  As I posted this week, I originally planned to go up Pauao, along KST, down Waikane to saddle, and the return via the Waiahole ditch trail.  After looking at the topo maps, I got curious about following the Waikane saddle all the way to Puu Koele(sp?)- the peak behind Puu O'Kila on the same ridge.  From there we could work our way over to the club ridge that leads up Ohulehule.  Ed was up for it, and we set off at 8:50.
It took about 2hrs 40 min to summit on Pauao.  Trail was in good shape, and weather was agreeable.  As we worked along the KST, one of my boot soles detached,and the whole back half was flapping off.  Managed to tape it at the arch to prevent further slippage, but this slapping proved to be a hassle for the rest of the day.  No other problems along the KST, but plenty of photo ops due to the high cloud cover.  Even came across 4 campers with plans to stay at the Poamoho cabin.  When we passed them they were almost to the Schofield terminus.
Skipped the Kaaumakua summit due to time, and proceeded down the well cleared Waikane trail, stopping occasionally to enjoy the view and scan the upcoming ridges.  Followed it down past the switchback into Waikane Valley, and went a short distance down into the Waihole ditch trail.  When we realized that we were losing too much elevation, we changed into long pants to prepare for the bushwacking to begin. 
We began climbing, and I was soon happy to discover the remains of a trail along this narrow ridge.  Ed tied a ribbon at this spot.  We were able to make good progress all the way until the base of Puu Koele where the trail seemed to disappear.  I tried to climb up to the summit, but was stopped within ten feet of the top.  Very steep and exposed here, but worst of all, the soil was poor and handholds were ripping out left and right.  Ed backed down and was able to contour around this peak on the Waikane side.  I soon reached his position, and we did some steep climbing through dense uluhe to reach the ridgeline - just makai of Koele.  A narrow, up-and-down ridge proceeded to Ohulehule and so we followed it.  No trail at all, but we did come across 2 or 3 cables well buried in the vegetation.  No ribbons or other marks, though.  Must have been done long ago. 
I must thank Ed for doing the majority of the bushwacking along this ridge.  I was suffering from leg cramps from the previous high-stepping over thick uluhe, and in part due to my rapidly worsening boot.  This ridge was rough, especially the steep ascent at the end.  I was thrilled when Ed exclaimed that he hit the Ohulehule trail.  It took us over three hours to get here from the spot where we left the Waiahole ditch trail.  It was now 6:01, 1 minute past when I hoped to be back at the car(was supposed to drive my girlfriend to the airport - that never happened-oops).
Ed tied another ribbon here, and we had a quick rest before racing down the recently cleared trail.  Made good time coming down, getting well past the streamcrossing before the headlamps came out.  Crossed the remaining two streams and the dam in the dark.  Back at the cars by 7:30, 10.5 hours since we began.  Threw out my boots after many years of service.  Came home to eat big and sleep long, as I predict Ed did too.  
First time meeting Ed, and found him to be excellent company.  Also found out he is originally from Massachusetts like me.  Lots to talk about.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Manana to Waimano

June 20, 1998 -- Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club
Leaders: Rorie and Turner
Club members : ten

The Manana and Waimano Trails get a good deal of hiker traffic in a typical year. The summit section between these two trails, however, is not often traversed. Back in 1998, Patrick Rorie and Dayle Turner began leading advanced-level hikes for HTMC. Manana to Waimano was chosen as the first of what would be twenty "super hikes" in a five-year span.

For this first outing, four members wanted to begin a little earlier than the rest so they met Turner at the Waimano trailhead at 6:30 a.m. and were transported to the head of the Manana trail where they began hiking at 6:45. It was raining in the mountains when they departed, but skies were blue over Pearl City and further makai so the group had hopes the weather bureau's prediction of brief morning showers followed by mostly sunny conditions would be correct. After seeing them off, Turner headed down Palisades and back to the end of Waimano Home Road where he waited for the arrival of Rorie and the others. By 7:50, all had assembled, signed in, listened to a pre­hike briefing by Rorie, and jumped in the hike leaders' vehicles for the ride up to Manana. The hike commenced at 8:10 a.m. under continuing gray skies.

The ascent of Manana went without a problem, with the cool, drizzly weather minimizing the need for water consumption. Two hikers (Geer and Ng) said they didn't drink at all until reaching the summit. As had been agreed beforehand, Rorie stayed with the front group of hikers while Turner manned the sweep. The leaders also maintained periodic contact via 7­-channel, 2-­way radios--great communication tools. Rorie and two others blitzed up the trail and by 11 all three had summited Manana, turned right on the crest, and advanced past Eleao and the junction where hikers often proceed down the wrong ridge.

At just past 11, Turner and Ng I were the last to complete the Manana ascent and waiting there were the rest of the group to begin the crest crossover section. The summit winds were blowing with moderate force but not as strongly as last week's 35­-50 mph blasts during trail clearing/marking. As the group approached Eleao around 11:45, the cloud cover lifted for 15 minutes, allowing clear views of Waihee Valley below and Kaneohe Bay beyond it. Unlike the previous week (pre-hike trail clearing), today there was no going off on the wrong ridge because the leaders had heavily marked the go-­astray junction at last Sunday's trail clearing. At least half a dozen pink ribbons presently mark this spot (courtesy of Ken Suzuki) and today Turner even planted a metal stake (actually a piece of a bicycle frame pump) as a more permanent marker so future hikers hopefully won't go the wrong way.

Past Eleao, clear skies gave way to socked­-in conditions. And then came the rain accompanied by increased wind gusts. Wind-­whipped rain in one's eyes while carefully negotiating the precipitous summit crest makes for interesting hiking conditions, to say the least. But all completed the crossover without a problem, Turner and Ng being the final ones to reach the Waimano terminus, arriving there at just past 1. Everyone else was waiting for them there, save for Sakae and Crimbring, who had reached the Waimano summit at 11:45 or so and continued on to the Waimano trailhead together.

After a lunch/rest break at the Waimano summit, the last of the group was Waimano ­trailhead bound at 1:30. Although long (7.5 miles), Waimano is gentle. Ng was in especially fine stead, hiking with great energy despite having pants that were ripped from crotch to ankle, a result of a gymnastics balancing maneuver on the summit crossover.

A few minutes before 5 p.m., Super Hike 1 of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club was history, with all participants completing the outing without injury or incident. Super Hike 2 will be Konahuanui to Olympus. Rorie and Turner look forward to leading another successful adventure for the club.

Other accounts of the Manana to Waimano hike:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Honomanu Uka (Maui) -- Eric Stelene

On Memorial Day, I took a long hike on EMI roads to the very back of Honomanu Valley then on to the rim of Keanae Valley. I did a write up on Honomanu Valley a few weeks ago. Above the falls I hiked to then, the Valley continues on to another amphitheater and falls. On this trip, I followed a wide road cut into the steep pali that circled the back of that amphiteater at about 1200 feet elevation.

I named this hike Honomanu Uka and its about 14 miles round trip. I posted a hike a few weeks ago called "The Best Hike on Maui". Honomanu Uka is one of the best, but not quite. It goes through similar terrain but is long and boring, however it ends with one hell of a bang.

The hike starts at about mile post 10 of the Hana Hwy. Go past the Waikamoi Ridge Trail and then past the serene little Waikamoi Falls. As the Highway turns out of Waikamoi Gulch there is a pull-off on the mauka side by a gated road. I have often seen locals parked here, so after a good recon of the topomap (Keanae Quadrangle) I was set to go!

I print the maps I need for my hikes from topozone.com so I don't get my good maps ruined on trail. This gated dirt road had no signs or anything telling people to stay out, so I don't know the legality of using this road. There were a couple of cars parked there already.

The road climbed steeply into the jungle. According to the topo, there was a cemetery somewhere on the right but I saw no evidence of one. The road ended at a juntion with an irrigation ditch and a contour trail much sooner than I expected. To make a long story short, there are many side roads along this route that are not on the topo, and roads that are on the map don't do what they're supposed to. Turn left on the contour trail for a little ways and come to another junction (not on the map). Go mauka(right) and come to another juntion (also not on the map). Continue up and to the right. To left there is a sign that says "Attention Hunters-No vehicles beyond this point" Come to a fork in the road and go left. Soon the road splits into 3 roads.

Take the middle road and keep climbing. This road ends at another contour trail along an irrigation ditch. Go left. Soon come to Puohakumoa gulch. Cross the stream on a concrete bridge by 2 nice waterfalls. Switchback out of the gulch and keep climbing. Pass a small shack along the water ditch. Cross Haipuaena Stream by a waterfall. Come to another bridge and a locked gate at Kolea Stream. There is a sign that says "Unauthorized Vehicles Keep Out". Not being a vehicle, go around the gate and follow the road on the final leg to Honomanu.

Suddenly the trees disappear and you find yourself looking into the green abyss of upper Honomanu Valley. The streambed runs dry almost 1000 feet below you, the water having been snatched away by the irrigation ditches so I can flush my toilet in my Kihei condo. Native forest birds zip around as you follow the descending road to the very back of the valley. This road is amazing! Imagine a road that circles Haiku Valley on Oahu. Now imagine that that road is 1000 feet up, cut into the sheer pali! Now you may have an idea of this road. An engineering marvel.

You'll pass several disappearing waterfalls as you follow the road around the valley. "Disappearing" because the waterfalls exist only above the road. The water is collected into the irrigation ditch right by the road and below the road there is only a dry waterfall chute. The very back of the valley has a huge waterchute with a big empty pool at the bottom. Continue around and out of the valley and back into the forest. Go another mile or so and come to a jaw-dropping view of Keanae Valley. Directly across the valley is the amphitheater that the Lost Pali Trail ascends (See my Best Hike on Maui write up). The road continues down into Keanae, but its about 7 miles from the Hana Highyway to this point (plus the extra distance getting lost on all the unmapped roads)so I ended my hike here. Also, my 5 qt collapsible canteen sprung a leak and I was almost out of water.

It would be possible to combine Wailua-Keanae and Honomanu Uka into one superhike, but a shuttle would be needed as the trailheads are about 11 miles apart. Or if you are a mountain biker you could do it as loop.

BTW I met a dude near the start of the hike who asked me if I knew of any resevoirs in the area. It seems he heard about a resevoir somewhere that had big lava tubes nearby and he was out looking for it. Sound familiar to anyone?

You can check out some poor quality pics of this hike at my photo album and in the meantime I'll be out exploring new undocumented routes. If anyone spent time on Maui and has some suggestions, I'd love to hear from you.


Friday, March 11, 2011

More about Climbing Iao Needle

Posted recently were accounts of climbs of Iao Needle by Pete Clines in Nov. 2010 and later in mid-December 2010. Earlier, Nathan Yuen and Justin Ohara explored the climb to Iao. Although they did not summit, Nathan posted a great report of their attempt on his blog.

Photo by Raptor4007
Also documented is the ascent by an unknown hiker (possibly two) captured by Raptor4007 in 2007.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Namolokama Mountain (Kauai)

Photo by http://great-hikes.com/blog/

Bob Burd calls Namolokama (4421 feet) "possibly the most difficult peak on Kauai to summit." Based on research I've done, I could find no one who has climbed to the summit of Namolokama, pictured to the right.

Has anyone done this or know of anyone who has?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kalalea (Kauai) -- Ryan Ray and Brian Clark

Kalalea aka King Kong
Photo by Ryan Ray
Stranded in Paradise is not a high quality Rock route by most standards, but it was a blast and alot of fun to summit this awesome peak. This route if my memory serves me correct (its been 7 or 8 years or so now) follows the East or southeastern ridge which would be the face of king kong.

Kalalea from the highway