Pu'u Hapapa - Pu'u Kaneoha

Fading sunlight splashes orange on a cliff face
DATE: 11 July, 2010
PARTICIPANTS: “Loafer” Mike, “The Optimist” Jeremy, Me
REHIKE VALUE: 5 (Hapapa alone)

The Hapapa – Kaneoha hike is located at the west end of Schofield Barracks. Like the Kalena hike which shares the same trailhead, you’ll need base access.

I’ve heard this hike called many things, but the name that stood out to me the most was ‘Death Ridge.’ After all the dramatic videos I’ve watched and hearing all the rah rah about dying if you make the slightest mistake, I decided it was high time to check it out for myself. Sounded exactly like something I would enjoy.

Left to right: Me, "The Optimist" Jeremy, "Loafer" Mike

The two notches known as "Death Ridge"
Including Kaneoha, the official trail spanned a distance of about 6 miles. Once you get past the peak of Hapapa, you may as well turn around because the trail is long, boring and overgrown. The portion of the trail known as Death Ridge is near the trailhead and includes two steep descents into notches along the ridge. I can testify firsthand that the name is unjustified and just a bunch of horseshit. It wouldn’t even grade high on the danger list. The ridge isn’t narrow and the descent isn’t at all hard unless you: A) have no arms, B) have no legs, C) are paralyzed, D) have a similar predicament, or E) a combination of two or more of the above. Mike damn near ran down the steep descent. Although I would not recommend running down, it just goes to show how overrated ‘Death Ridge’ is. I’ve conducted many hikes which are way more dangerous than this one, including Kalena across the street.

Mike, exploring an eroded section

Looking down at Death Ridge

Trotting down Death Ridge
I suggest future hikers try a modified trail which climbs to the top of Hapapa via the notches and back. It would cut out about four miles, and you avoid attempting Jet Li’s hundred-hand bitch slap technique against annoying plants on the overgrown trail beyond.

Forest stays silent, ignoring the hikers

This looks more like a lion, mane and all

Scrambling up rock

Meadow at sunset

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