Tripler Ridge - Moanalua Valley Waterfall

On top of Tripler Ridge. Left to right: Me, "Loafer" Mike, "Reef Shoes" Jason
DATE: 22 May, 2010
TOTAL TIME: 13 hrs
DIFFICULTY: Medium - Near Impossible
PARTICIPANTS: "Reef Shoes" Jason, "Loafer" Mike, and myself
REHIKE VALUE: 10! (Only because I want to conquer the hike to the saddle)

The plan: Up Tripler, traverse the Ko'olau past the Moanalua Saddle, and down the Halawa Ridge. The reality: Not so much...

The first part of the hike was freaking awesome, up until we reached the ridge leading to the Moanalua Saddle. The lookout at the top of Tripler ridge was phenomenal and we spent quite a bit of time relaxing and taking pictures. Traversing the Ko'olau Summit Trail to Pu’u Keahi a Kahoe was a blast. Jason was doing his whole crawling thing, and at one point, described the hike as, “beyond stupid.” All I heard was, “I love this hike!” and a bunch of wind.

Jason's vertigo starting to kick in

Looking back at the old Omega station atop Haiku Stairs
Beyond the old Omega Station, railings similar to the ones on Haiku Stairs were in place for a about half a mile, but eventually turned into rusted metal cables. The ridge beneath our feet was literally crumbling as we walked but I was certain it was stable enough to support the hike the whole way. That is, until the cable disappeared and the ridge really started to erode beneath our feet.

Apparently, very few attempts to traverse this portion have been successful; notable mentions include HTMC climber Chuck Godek, and Ed and Roger Breton.  It has been rumored to also be conquered by legendary hiker Silver Piliwale, and HTMC vet Dick Schmidt (dates unknown) but the reports have been sketchy at best.  HTMC hiking vet Pat Rorie failed in his attempt after being confronted with a steep dropoff. Wish I knew all of that before getting the hairbrained idea of traversing the saddle to the Halawa ridge with a pretty green crew and no climbing equipment.

Making our way toward to Moanalua Valley Saddle

These railings aren't the nice ones you see on Haiku Stairs
Instead, we descended down to the top of the Moanalua Valley Waterfall and down to the base of the falls. Our "descent" included vertical drops and a couple of uncontrolled falls. We were all seriously lucky to have survived. I escaped with the "worst" injuries including a sprained left knee and bruised ribs, all of which occurred after playing pinball with a bunch of trees during a 50ft fall. Do not attempt to hike down to the waterfall without helmets or rope.

The only reason I didn't break my back was because I had on my nice big backpack as a cushion

Making our way down to the waterfall
Okay, so another lesson learned. I did do my research this time on the 3 Ds; distance, direction, and description. I never thought to research the history of this hike. Hindsight being 20/20, I would have brought something resembling climbing equipment. Shoulda coulda woulda ....I’m a dumbass. I will return to conquer the planned route one day, but for right now, I remain defeated...

View from the Moanalua Valley Saddle crossover
Found this old airplane engine near the base of the waterfall.
Moanalua Valley waterfall which I bet it would look sick during rainy months
Mike, refilling his water bottle

1 comment:

  1. You're brave guys ! I stopped after 1 hour up the ridge, when the trees totally disapeared. Impossible to hold to anything and the wind was incredibly strong. However, a great hike.