Waiahole Middle (Windward) to Kipapa Trail

by kenji SAITO on April 2, 2017

Hiking Waiahole Middle (Windward) to Kipapa Trail

Chris and Ethan joined me today in tackling a Windward ridge. Thanks to Glenn for dropping us off in Waiahole Valley.

Waiahole Valley

Waiahole Valley

Chris subbing for the mother hen and her clutch of eggs. Balut anybody?

Waiahole Valley

Waiahole Valley

We soon left the ditch trail to climb up the flank of the ridge. Thanks to George Vuong for the beta on this trail.

Waiahole Valley

Waiahole Valley

One of the few times we would see exposed rock on the ridge.

Waiahole Valley

Waiahole Valley

Finding the least path of resistance as we made our way up. Least being relative.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

We made it to the ridge line with hours and hours of bushwhacking ahead of us.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Looking out towards Kahana Valley and her majestic mountains rising from the floor.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

The overgrowth seemed to increase proportionally as we gained elevation on the ridge. Or was that disproportionately?

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Contouring around a large boulder through the rough sea of uluhe ferns.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Climbing and weaving our way up through the trees.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Chris going down the first notch. Not that bad.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Right Ethan?

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Chris scampering up a particularly crumbly section that had a thin film of vegetation holding everything loosely together.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Straddling and scooting along a narrow dike section.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Back on more solid footing.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Looking up at the second and slightly higher second notch.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Can you see Chris for the overgrowth?

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Looking back at the final and most challenging notch that claimed my camera. Luckily, I was able to climb down and retrieve it on the side of the ridge. Photo by Chris.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

So close and yet so far away.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Burrowing through the constant and dense overgrowth.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Sweating in the views. Photo by Ethan Clavecillas.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

When will this overgrowth end?

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Chris lay where he fell, showing that uluhe ferns can be somewhat comfortable and not just thorns in our sides.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Are we there yet?

Blackhawk sighting

Blackhawk sighting

Did somebody call Uber Copter?

Ko'olau Mountains

Ko’olau Mountains

Looking out towards the undulating ridge line of the Ko’olau Summit Ridge Trail.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Almost there. Almost fawking there.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

How do we feel about this ridge? No words needed. Photo by Ethan Clavecillas.

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Waiahole Middle Ridge

Group photo left to right: Ethan, myself and Chris. It took us about six hours to push our way through roughly 2,400′ of relentless ridge elevation gain. An exhausting experience none of us wants to repeat again.

Ko'olau Summit Ridge Trail

Ko’olau Summit Ridge Trail

We left the summit after our lunch, as the winds really picked up and the clouds blotted out our views.

KSRT

KSRT

Looking back at the rough ride of a ridge.

Kipapa Summit

Kipapa Summit

The original route down was Waiahole Uka, but we decided to pick duration rather than density in terms of trail choices.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

Hiking down in the clouds.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

Pine trees in the cloudy distance.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

Chris sitting in the tree … wait … we are missing somebody again.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

The winds relented and the clouds abated as we dropped lower in elevation on the ridge. Looking out towards the Waianae Mountains.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

Cabin life.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

Chris rounding the bend …

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

… as we made our way down the wide open …

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

… and graded trail.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

The pig and the hunter.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

One can “lose” oneself very easily in the raw and rugged beauty of the mountains.

Kipapa Trail

Kipapa Trail

The wide open and cleared trail made short work of the six miles.

Pseudo Pueo

Pseudo Pueo

Whooo goes there?

Plantation

Plantation

Walking the long road out and watching the sun beams washing over the Waianae Mountains. Not a bad way to end the day.

All pau

All pau

Our 15 mile hike started with brutal overgrowth and ended with the best maintained trail outside of the Na Ala Hele Trail System. Our Waiahole Death March hike, as Ethan called it, was with an amazing bushwhacking crew. Mahalo to Ben and Will for picking us up at Costco. No $1.50 hotdog and sodas for us. Post hike meal at Zippy’s. They need to turn up the temperature in the restaurant. Photo by Chris.

Note: I have been made aware the 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.

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