Anamolo (Reverse Olomana)

Olomana, from the backside
DATE: August 26, 2010
TOTAL TIME: 3.5 hrs

This was supposed to be just a scouting mission, finding the route, accessing the difficulty and whatnot. Needless to say… that didn’t exactly happen the way it was planned. I didn’t even wear my super grip hiking shoes for this one, not expecting to need it until I did the actual hike. So much for that! With about half my ration of water, and my running shoes, I went off to “scout” the route.

Finding a route to the base of the third peak didn’t prove too difficult as there was either an actual trail or a clear beaten path through the woods. Didn’t hurt to have my Garmin 60csx with me as I ended up pretty disoriented a couple of times. Basically, I had to gain the Aniani Nui Ridge and follow it all the way to the third peak. I’m totally convinced there’s a shorter way and will have to scout that out next time. If not, I have a surefire route.

A welcome clearing along the way
Looking back at the Aniani Nui Ridge and the Ko'olau
Long story short, I moved uncharacteristically slowly and made it to the base of Pu’u Ahiki (third peak) in about an hour and a half. I looked up and noticed a couple of people staring at me from the third peak, probably thinking I was off my rocker. I mean, seriously? Who the hell would attempt climbing Olomana from behind? I must admit, that played a part in me deciding to climb it. As usual, I was thinking, how bad could it be? Yes, I was alone. Not smart.

Wow. The first 50 feet was about vertical. Freaking vertical. What made matters worse was that hand and footholds were few and far between. There were old ropes to aid my ascent, but being who I am, I despise rope. Especially ones that look like they’ve been there since the Eisenhower administration. To make matters worse, I had to squeeze through a small space between a tree and a very hard boulder, making it feel like an audition for one of those Chinese acrobat circuses. It was extremely unnerving.

At the base of Pu'u Ahiki
"Steep" is an understatement
After the color returned to my face, I looked up and became all albino when I noticed an even worse ascent. 90 degrees, higher, and almost zero hand and footholds. Ugh, and the Eisenhower rope! As I was contemplating my death, the two people staring at me from the third peak showed up on the ledge above me. We kinda stood there looking at each other in disbelief for awhile as neither of us thought there was any way in hell we’d run into anyone on the backside of the third peak. I climbed up to join them.

It was our lucky day. They didn’t want to go back up the third peak, and I had already decided not to go back down. We exchanged car keys and agreed to drive over to whoever finished last. I wasn’t too worried as our cars were equal in value. At least we didn’t have to worry about transportation. Sweet. So it became a race. Total BS race because I had a lot of uphill left, and it was all downhill for them.

May look daunting, but this is the easy part
Looking toward Waimanolo
Climbing up the rest of the third peak wasn’t too hard. Steep, crumbly, but doable. I tied some more rope at the weird concave ledge near the top to aid any future climbers in their attempt because the cable that was already there was questionable at best. Took me about 28 minutes to get to the first peak from there. Pretty slow by my standards. About eight minutes slower than the last time. After doing the backside of the third peak, I pretty much laughed my way up the second peak wondering why it was so hard when I did it the first time. Yes, the other two hikers beat me and were waiting at the regular trailhead for about 20 minutes before I showed up. Pissed me off to no end.

Anamolo (Olomana backwards) was no Piliwale, but it has its scary moments. The long approach is nowhere near as taxing or steep as the traditional climb up the first peak. Wear better shoes than I did, update your last will and testament, and pray that the old ropes don’t suddenly decide that it’s just not your day.

Happy to be alive ... again
What would a climb on Oahu be without crumbly rock
The old looped cable attached to an old loose metal anchor ... no thanks
Laid some rope to complement the old cable
Home free


  1. can't believe you did this by yourself!

  2. Yeah, in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have lol.

  3. Just finished doing this today, crazy hike to do alone. Awesome blog man, love hearing about these hikes. Managed to see some of the eisenhower ropes about two tugs from snapping today. Needless to say it made it extremely unerving ascending backside third peak in the rain without using much of the ropes.

  4. @kyle collins. In retrospect, it's only bad the first time. I bet when you go back, it'll seem less mental, even without ropes. Happy hiking!