Pali Puka to Stairway to Heaven

by kenji SAITO on March 22, 2020

Hiking Pali Puka to Stairway to Heaven

I had wanted to do this particular route for awhile, but always had to abort due to weather, lack of time or lack of will. I was determined to finish it this time around. Thanks to Jasmin for dropping Art, Ferlino, Lilyn and myself off. Photo by Barry Lau.

Pali Puka

Pali Puka

We ran into two other hikers who had come up earlier to enjoy the sunrise. Photo by Art Young.

Ko'olau Summit Ridge Trail (KSRT)

Ko’olau Summit Ridge Trail (KSRT)

Lilyn climbing over one of the numerous blow downs that littered the side of the ridge as we made our way up.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

Our short cardio climb was soon rewarded with relatively clear views of the saddle and the coastline. Photo by Art Young.

Sunrise

Sunrise

The breaking sun washing over the ridge line.

Nu'uanu Saddle

Nu’uanu Saddle

Art trying to keep his balance. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Incisor Rock

Incisor Rock

You guys can either climb or contour. Choose wisely. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Incisor Rock

Incisor Rock

Art making his choice. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Nuuanu Saddle

Nuuanu Saddle

There were many gnarled and twisted trees blockading the trail. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Nuuanu Saddle

Nuuanu Saddle

Lilyn against the scenic Windward background.

W

W

I think the alphabet letters are out of sequence. Photo by Art Young.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

The group threading their way through the triple diked formation.

W

W

Lilyn watching Ferlino climb down the 23rd letter of the alphabet.

Anvil

Anvil

Trying to get the Captain Morgan pose down. Not quite there yet. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Anvil

Anvil

Art dropping down the near vertical rock face. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Nuuanu Saddle

Nuuanu Saddle

Lilyn contouring her way back to the ridge line.

Nuuanu Saddle

Nuuanu Saddle

Climbing up the heavily eroded section that has seen better days. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Lanihuli Summit

Lanihuli Summit

No views at the swirling heavens summit, so we all sat down for our group photo by Ferlino Carinio.

KSRT

KSRT

Coming down from the 2,700′ top.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Following the ridge line as it curved away from the ocean. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

What happens when one leg stops and the other keeps on going. Pop. Not a good sound you want to hear while hiking.

Dirt Dragon

Dirt Dragon

The new social hiking.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Using my kung fu death grip as I climbed down a crumbly section. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

The group getting off the ridge line as forward progress was halted by severe erosion.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Going down the near vertical flank. One has to see it from a distance to appreciate the vastness and steepness. Photo by Art Young

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Lilyn coming down from the longer and first tier of the wall.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Ferlino against the dramatic backdrop of the saddle and coastline. Photo by Art Young.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Going down the second and shorter tier of the wall. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Lanihuli Wall

Lanihuli Wall

Lilyn contouring back to the ridge.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Group photo left to right: Hawaiian Flag, Ferlino, Art, Lilyn and myself.

Can Opener

Can Opener

Taking our leave of the bulging rock behind us as we climbed down the crumbly base.

Pimple

Pimple

Lilyn climbing up without popping the pimple. Photo by Art Young.

Pimple

Pimple

Contouring around the crumbly rock formation.

Doorstop

Doorstop

Lilyn approaching the biggest climb on this side of the saddle. Photo by Art Young

Doorstop

Doorstop

The group coming down the backside of the wedge shaped rockface.

Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears

Art still trying to maintain his balance. Photo by Ferlino Carinio.

Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears

Ferlino watching his footing as he climbs down. Photo by Art Young

Bunny Ears

Bunny Ears

Lilyn going up the sharp and angular hill. Photo by Art Young.

Shark's Fin

Shark’s Fin

Art and Ferlino coming down the dorsal shaped rockface. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Stuck between a rock and a hard tree. Photo by Art Young.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

The group making their way down the last steep rock climb this side of the saddle.

Powerlines

Powerlines

We unfortunately lost Lilyn who decided not to press her luck and bailed down the powerlines trail. Photo by Lilyn Avendano.

Camp Centipede

Camp Centipede

Group photo with the reconstituted crew left to right: myself, Analyn, Barry, Tessa, Art and Ferlino.

Kalihi Valley

Kalihi Valley

Art practicing leave no trace behind.

Knob

Knob

It was time to resume our hiking, in staggered spurts it would seem.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Making our way towards the backside of the conical shaped rockface. Photo by Barry Lau.

Witch's Hat

Witch’s Hat

The group climbing up at staggered intervals to minimize falling rock exposure.

Witch's Hat

Witch’s Hat

Ready to come down, with or without a broomstick.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Is it hump day yet? It is on the saddles. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Art and Ferlino making their way across a particularly eroded section. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Analyn climbing in the mountains despite just getting off from working night shift. Beast or crazy mode.

Rock Triangle

Rock Triangle

Art climbing up from the Windward side. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Making our way on the Hot Wheels Track as we approached another climb. Photo by Art Young.

Rock Triangle

Rock Triangle

Barry climbing up from the Leeward side.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

The broken wave is no more.

Dirty Slide

Dirty Slide

Tessa scrambling up the grassy flank of the ridge. Photo by Art Young.

Dirty Slide

Dirty Slide

Barry pulling himself up the slippery slope. Some would claim this was the hardest part of the saddle.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Contouring our way around the crumbly rocks. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

Kalihi Saddle

Kalihi Saddle

Climbing up the sliver of a ridge that widened as we approached the summit.

Bowman Summit

Bowman Summit

Are you tired? Funny guy.

Bowman Summit

Bowman Summit

Practicing our social distancing. Still need to work on it.

KSRT

KSRT

Hiking over a couple more hills to the next summit.

Tripler Summit

Tripler Summit

The painted rock was still sitting pretty on the markers.

KSRT

KSRT

Leaving the 2,760′ summit using the HECO installed safety ropes as we made our way down the rutted trail.

Radar Station

Radar Station

Approaching the now defunct radar station. Photo by Barry Lau.

Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe

Pu’u Keahi a Kahoe

Are you tired? Still trying to be funny.

CCL Building

CCL Building

Barry approaching the cloud soaked graffitied WW2 structure.

CCL Building

CCL Building

Panoramic view inside the building.

CCL Building

CCL Building

Who was talking sh*t? Not us! Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Group photo on the stairs. The original plan to descend down the ridge was scuttled by somebody’s injury so we had to take the shortest route down.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Making our way down the 3,922 steps, give or take a few. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Leaven heaven. Photo by Art Young.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Approaching the roof-less hoist house. Photo by Analyn Baliscao.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Is anybody counting? Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Climbing the stairs down to the last landing. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Analyn coming down the final steep section of the stairs. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

All pau

All pau

Walking our way out. Photo by Tessa Bugay.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

The 6.1 mile path to heaven was paved with crumbly ridges, cloudy and heavenly views and great company. Mahalo to Jasmin for picking us up and thanks to Analyn for making the delicious oxtail soup that we had for our post hike meal. Oxtail soup to go please.

Note: I have been made aware that some hikers have been using my blog as a hiking guide and getting lost on the trails. Please note that this blog was made to document the hike for the crew(s) that did it. That is why some of my comments will seem to have no relevance or meaning to anybody outside of the crew(s) that hiked that trail. My blog was never meant as a hiking guide, so please do not treat it as such. If you find inspiration and entertainment from these hikes, that is more than enough. If you plan on replicating these hikes, do so in the knowledge that you should do your own research accordingly as trail conditions, access, legalities and so forth are constantly in flux. What was current today is most likely yesterdays news. Please be prepared to accept any risks and responsibilities on your own as you should know your own limitations, experience and abilities before you even set foot on a trail, as even the “simplest” or “easiest” of trails can present potential pitfalls for even the most “experienced” hikers.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Wahinee01 April 18, 2020 at 6:02 am

Glad Lilyn was ok. Fun nerve wrecking hike w/ awesome crew. Thank you for leading us kenji.

Reply

kenji SAITO April 18, 2020 at 9:50 am

Aloha Tessa,
Yup she just has to ride out at home for a tad. Thanks for coming!
Mahalo

Reply

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