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Monday, May 9, 2011

Haupu (Kauai)-- by Bob Burd

Haupu viewed from the SE Ridge -- Photo by B. Burd

Haupu is the highpoint of a long E-W ridge that separates the Poipu area from Lihue on the southeast side of the island of Kauai. It is a very rugged area with steep cliffs and dense vegetation, with no public trails at all that I know of. Much of the surrounding areas lie on private land, and it appears impossible to reach the ridge without crossing at least some private ranchlands. From either Poipu or Lihue, Haupu looks impressive. At first glance, vertical walls appear to surround the 2,297-foot summit, and even after a good deal of close examination, it is not at all evident that the peak can be climbed. And so I made it the goal of my first week in Kauai to both get a taste for Kauaian cross-country, and to explore the possibility of a route to the summit of Haupu.

Route to the summit of Haupu -- B. Burd photo
Starting from our condo at Poipu Beach, I naturally focused on getting to the peak from the south side. Utilizing some private dirt roads that are open to the public during daylight hours, I was able to drive within about three miles of the summit. The trick would be to find a route that minimized exposure to human observation since I was pretty sure they weren't going to like me crossing private property outside of the usable roads. From this point there are two ridges that climb to the base of the main summit, one on the southwest side, one on the south. My first effort would be to the closer, lower, and more direct Southwest Ridge, so when I reached an abandoned entrance booth near the start of the ridge, I parked and quickly got out of the road.

Top-out route -- Bob Burd photo

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