Piliwale Ridge - Konahuanui K1 & K2 - Nu'uanu - Judd Point

Fearlessly tackling Piliwale
DATE: August 21, 2010
TOTAL TIME: 8.5 hrs
PARTICIPANTS: “Reef Shoes” Jason, “Loafer” Mike, “Hangover” Lynnale, “The Optimist” Jeremy, Me

Piliwale Ridge, pioneered by the legendary Silver Piliwale himself. For the past two months, I had been preparing for this monster, searching for all documentation, studying the topographic maps, and carefully choosing hikes which required okole-busting climbs and plowing through undergrowth. I had meticulously scouted the ridge, assessed the dangers, and assembled the best team I could from my group for our first time climb. I even took a week off from hiking to mentally prepare. The weather was uncharacteristically awesome for three weeks. It was a sign. The time had come.

Wow, I was horribly disappointed! Fail. I even had to downgrade the difficulty on this one because it didn’t fulfill the “Mental” criteria. Don’t get me wrong, the danger level was high, but hardly worrisome. As long as you’re careful and keep a cool head, you’ll be absolutely fine. On a side note, after all my careful preparation, I was a bad boy the night before this hike, going on a booze cruise and only getting four hours of sleep. Maybe the hangover took the edge off?

At the top of Konahuanui K1.  Left to right:  Me, Jeremy, Jason, Lynnale
Looking up at the climb from the notch
We started pretty early because recent reports of three climbs from the month of July documented time ranges anywhere from six hours to two days. I didn’t want to be caught in the predicament of losing daylight. My worries were overkill. I was glad that I found a better trailhead than carjack point on the Pali though. It ended up shortening the hike to the Piliwale junction by about 10 minutes. And it was a nice neighborhood.

• 07:27 – Stepped off from water tank road trailhead.
• 08:20 – Arrived at “the notch.”
• 08:30 – Commenced climbing.
• 10:01 – Passed the “danger zone.”
• 12:03 – Summited Konahuanui K1. Met two guys who wanted to climb down Piliwale. I offered to accompany them. They decided not to go. I think they thought I was crazy. Jason told me to go fuck myself. He was pau.
• 12:30 – Began traversing KST to K2 (weather cleared up. Pictures!).
• 13:15 – Reached K2. Signed the guestbook.
• 13:30 – Departed K2.
• 14:48 – Arrived at the Nu’uanu lookout. Squeezed muddy water from my socks.
• 14:58 – Departed for Judd Point via the Honolului Contour trail.
• 16:00 – Arrived at Jackass Ginger.
• 17:17 – Departed for Chinese food.

Five of us began this hike. After a couple of falls right after the notch, Mike was spooked and decided not to go. I didn’t blame him. Piliwale wasn’t a hike anyone should do in the wrong state of mind. Plus, we were still beginning so I had no problem letting him go back by himself. Military guys. We self-sustain. He met up with us on the Nu’uanu trail smelling all rosy with sandals on. Dick. He did buy us dinner. It was expensive overall so I felt bad. I will be taking him back on Piliwale sometime soon.

Sun rises over the Koolau
Walking up water tank road
Taking a breather before some serious climbing
I was extremely surprised that Jason hung in there the entire hike. The guy is scared of heights and suffers from vertigo. AND the sky started to piss on us in the “danger zone.” He wasn’t too happy. Quite the opposite. I applaud him. Jeremy somehow ended up about 20 minutes ahead of us after the hairy portions and ended up sitting on some ledge, later bragging about how he was watching two birds repeatedly doing fly-bys over us. Lynnale, oh Lynnale. Girl is just insane. No fear. Loved being exposed. Attacked the ridge directly. Wanted more rock portions. On her phone texting the whole time. I love that girl.

This illustrates Jason's mood perfectly.  Absolutely priceless
Way ahead of schedule
Going up Piliwale was more annoying than scary. Again, if you’re careful (or in Lynnale’s case, crazy), you’ll be fine. At around 2,200 feet above sea level (so says my Garmin 60csx), the trail was overgrown. It was bullshit. We chatted about video games and movies to keep our mind off the brush breaking. I must say that Mr. Ulehe was our friend today, giving us plenty of things to hold on to. I was searching for this “narrow” portion of the ridge, but it lasted a whole 20 feet.  After that, the BS recommenced… and continued… all the way to K1. I was also looking for Kaleo’s gear. Didn’t find squat. Fortunately, I also didn’t see any bees. Jason claimed he saw one but I think he just wanted to.

Pretty much making our own trail through this crap
Swampy conditions near the peak
The weather was great in the saddle between K1 and K2. We named this portion the “choad” between the two fat large testicles (Konahuanui). After that, we were just tired, sluggishly making our way to Jackass Ginger to wash off the ton of mud we brought down from the Ko’olau. We did get a good look at both upper and lower Lulumahu Falls from ridge though, and they were flowing nicely. In retrospect, our route was unnecessarily long. After a four hour climb, and hiking on a small breakfast and a powerbar, I was just dragging ass getting to Judd Point. Should have ended on Tantalus, or gone back down Piliwale, but I really wanted to wash off at the swimming hole. Stubborn.

I got left at the altar on this one. My expectations for the grand Piliwale were not met. It was like the alcohol had worn off and the hot chick I was hitting on ended up being Ron Jeremy. We roped it to death for future hikers. To really spice things up, consider doing this hike on a moonless night, after a week of heavy rain, and with two hands tied behind your back. Oh, and drunk. Good luck.

Crossing from K1 to K2
Making our way to the Nu'uanu Lookout
Lower Lulumahu waterfall
Giving the mud back to nature

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