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keahi a kahoe


tripler access ridge2.jpg (73325 bytes)
Tripler access ridge


h3 - tripler view2.jpg (42867 bytes)
H3 - Likelike junction


windward koolaus3.jpg (27478 bytes)
Windward Koolaus


olomana.jpg (27175 bytes)


ha'iku stairs2.jpg (52330 bytes)
Ha'iku Stairs


ha'iku valley.jpg (35853 bytes)
Ha'iku Valley


moanalua saddle.jpg (51961 bytes)
Moanalua saddle


quick exit.jpg (34326 bytes)
My quick exit.  The yellow arrow indicates my dropout point.

I had been waiting to do this hike for quite sometime and woke up early and anxious to get started.  After a quick breakfast I jumped in my car and headed to the back of Moanalua Valley.  The trail starts off with a long dirt road walk of about 2 1/2 miles.  I noticed tons of guava trees along the road as I walked along admiring the songs of the many white-rumped shama and japanse bush warblers.  As I approached the start of the trail I was a bit bummed because the top was still socked in, but I kept the faith that Shari Shima would be wrong again since she said sunny mornings with afternoon showers.

Turning onto the trail, I crossed the stream a couple times and then hit the switchbacks up the side ridge that had me pop out just before the false summit on Tripler ridge.  I spent time admiring the Ohi'a, as I had just bought both a red and an orange Ohi'a the weekend before!  A quick burst of energy and I was at the top of Tripler ridge, unfortunately surrounded by clouds.  I sat down and started munching on my powerbar and right then the clouds cleared and I was treated to incredible views of Kaneohe below me and Kahuauli, Lanihuli, Konahuanui and Olomana in the distance!   I was soon joined by other members of the HTMC who had come over from Ha'iku stairs.  As the clouds moved back in I said goodbye and headed west towards Keahi a Kahoe.

I passed a couple side trails on the right that seemed to head down the cliffs (I later learned that these switchback to the concrete support bases for the powerlines).  I reached a radar tower and climbed around on it, getting all slimed with moss and mold in the process.  Moving on, I reached Keahi a Kahoe rather quickly and decided to continue west to the Ha'iku stairs terminus.  There I met up with another group who had climbed the stairs.  Looking down into the Moanalua saddle, I could see the Moanalua Valley trail about 2/3 of the way to Aiea Ridge and decided that was my goal for today.

Taking the stairs, I dropped into the saddle to a stone platform where the trail seemed to end.  I decided to try to push on to see if it was doable.  At first it seemed just like normal ridge walking although through overgrown conditions.  Then the ridge began to get increasingly narrow.  I came across the first drop section and saw a rope that looked pretty sturdy so I trusted it and dropped on down.  The next drop section looked a bit more hairy and although there was a cable, it didn't look very guarantee so I climbed down without it.  I believe it was the next section that I came to that also had a cable but this one was a rusty peg into the very crumbly eroded rock.  There was no way I was going to trust this thing, so because there was a relatively wide patch of dirt below, I took the jump instead.

The next drop section was a doosey.  Looking over that ledge was pretty scary because I felt it could break away at any time.  There was a cable I could see below, but if you trusted it and it gave way, it could be pretty bad!  I ended up backtracking a bit and contouring along the leeward side of it, with pieces of rock giving way with every step.  The next and what appears to be the final drop section seems the worst by far.  I stopped at the top and surveyed the situation for several minutes trying to find a way down.  Something in my mind told me that it was time to give in and turn around; but I was SO close!  Just this one more drop and I'd be home free!   Finally, my mind got the better of me and back I went.

When I got back to the place where I had jumped, I realized that I shouldn't have done that because I didn't know how to get back up!  I ended up contouring the windward side of a sheer cliff!  I got back on the ridge and towards the leeward side as soon as I could.  I was about to pull myself back up on the ridge when the side gave way and sent me tumbling!   By the time my fall was graciously stopped by a tree, I had fallen about 50ft.  The way back up was too eroded so I had to instead work my way down the nearest well-treed ridge.  Following pig trails and when low enough, the stream, I continued in a rightward direction until I eventually met up with the Moanalua Valley trail and my salvation back the the mobile!

Date:  March 7, 1999
Time Duration:  9hours (my way)
Difficulty:  Blue
Danger:  Blue

Moanalua Valley saddle extension:
Difficulty:  Black
Danger: Double Black

Notes:  The hike up to the Moanalua Valley saddle is really nice and I would recommend to everyone to do at some time.  I always wanted to know which peaks were which when I looked up from H3.  The Moanalua Valley saddle I would not try again.   At least not the route I took.  As it is, it is very difficult because you are climbing down steep drops where you can't see what's below you, with death on the windward side, bodily injury to the leeward side.  There is nothing safe to tie a rope to!  It seems the only safe way would be to contour the drops by making some sort of footholds.  Possibly from the Valley it would be easier since you would be climbing up.