Piliwale Ridge Recon

View from the notch
DATE: 14 August, 2010
PARTICIPANTS: “Reef Shoes” Jason, “The Optimist” Jeremy, Me
REHIKE VALUE: 0 (no need)

Climbing Piliwale has been on my bucket list for some time now, and I wanted to gauge how long it would take to get to the infamous notch everyone talks about when mentioning the ridge. From there, I wanted to get a closer look at what Pat Rorie called the “danger zone” in his assessment after completing the hike in 2003. Check it out at http://htmclub.org/newsletters/htmnl03b.html. Note that Pat Rorie is an extremely experienced hiker and a HTMC veteran, and I would be a fool to take his words lightly as many have failed in their attempt to conquer this hike.

It took us only one hour to get to the notch walking at a pretty relaxed pace. I’m not sure exactly where the dudes from two weeks ago ascended from that they had to break through all the ulehe fern. The trail looked pretty well maintained (a recent clearing crew perhaps?), so maybe they were just unlucky. It’ll be a break for us since time will be extremely valuable. Sweet.

Looking down at the notch
Jason, scouting out the notch
I pulled out my Garmin 60csx GPS to measure the elevation at the notch and it was around 1700 feet. That gave us about 400 feet worth of “danger zone” to overcome. Views from both sides of ridge confirmed my suspicions that this area is no steeper than 65 degrees, which is within the YDS Class 4 range. Hazardous enough, but when combined with relatively high elevation and little lateral room for movement, the danger level increases significantly, perking me up faster than Rachel Leigh Cook ever could. Then there are reports of those fucking bees that may still be there. I have no idea if I’m allergic to bees, and this would be a very very bad place to find out.

Past this area, the terrain seems to have a few relatively level areas and also much steeper sections (70 – 75 degrees), but nothing the length of the before mentioned “danger zone.” Still, the even higher elevation and even narrower trail will keep my butthole puckered.

Barring bad weather, this hike is a go.

Waimanalo side view of Piliwale Ridge
The "Danger Zone" from the notch to the skyline hump

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