Pali Notches

Nu'uanu Valley
DATE: 12 August, 2010
DIFFICULTY: Medium - Mental

While waiting for Christine to call me for Kamanaiki, today’s planned hike, I decided to drive over to what is known as the hairpin turn on the Pali highway and scout out the Piliwale ridge. Driving on the Pali and getting pissed off about losing a cell tower, I noticed that the day was uncharacteristically clear for this part of the island, so at the last second I veered off toward the Pali lookout to see if I could get a side view of the ridge from there. Turned out I couldn’t see jack shit with another steep spur blocking my view. By the way, parking is free for residents, and I didn’t know that. Sucks to be me. Three bucks gone.

Tourists milled about at the Pali Lookout
Windswept meadow above the lookout
About to take off, I recalled seeing on the internet a couple of hiking trails branching off from the lookout besides the Old Pali Road. I was thinking, sunny day, hiking gear in trunk, K1 above me… I went for it.

This was a serendipitous hike. It was super short and was Olomana, Hapapa, and Manamana all rolled into one without a long uphill starter. That said, the elevation gain was so not playing games today as it went straight up and kept getting steeper until I reached the notches, but it took me only 20 minutes. Going down the first notch was easy and the top of the rock before the second notch reminded me a lot of what you see at Manamana. Narrow ridges and steep drop-offs. You would fall to about sea level. Good luck surviving.

Ah, there you are rock-scrambling part
Looking down at the Pali Highway and Old Pali Road
I looked over the second notch and thought about crapping myself. Thought about it, but the skid-marks will have to wait another day. Son of a female dog! It looked hairy. It’s possible, but a mistake would be your no-shit last. Not a good hike to do alone. As I retrieved my balls from my backpack and started the attempt, two cute mainland girls showed up. Things kept getting better and better.

We sat around BS-ing for a bit. One’s a swimmer, the other just got to the island the day before. Sky’s blue, it’s really windy, and they’re scared of heights (and you’re up here why?). They decided not to proceed any further and left. Balls in place, I started my attempt again. Then, my phone rang. It was Christine. Time to go to Kamanaiki.

Backside of the first notch descent

Looking down at the second notch
The Pali notches played some kind of a role during King Kam’s Battle of Nu’uanu, although much speculation exists as to what that role was. Long story short, King Kam won, everyone else lost, Kauai surrendered peacefully 20 some odd years later, and the islands were united. Now I live here and I love sushi.

I wish I took more pictures of this one because words cannot describe how crazy this hike was. With the notches and beyond, this hike is retarded. Even with rope. There’s a peak beyond the second notch with a rusty chain on top, but climb up is insane. This is the first time I have actually seen a trail on the island with something resembling a YDS Class 5 climb, and you would have to be stupid nuts to free-climb it, or be suddenly dumped by your 10 year girlfriend for no reason whatsoever. Bottom line, your state of mind can’t be normal. I will return with more time and hopefully, great weather. And I need to fall in love and get dumped quickly.

Looking beyond the second notch
Peaks of Bowman, Tripler, and Middle ridges and Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe
Clear view of Kaneohe
Looking down at the Pali Lookout

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