Pali Puka (Extended)

Another day, another challenge
DATE: October 3, 2010
DIFFICULTY: Hard - Mental
PARTICIPANTS: “The Optimist” Jeremy, “MP3” Stephanie, Me

To be completely honest, my plan was to hike from the Pali Lookout up to Lanihuli and down into the Kalihi Valley. We wasted so much time on the hike that I realized we wouldn’t make it on time. So, it became a “scouting mission” and we bailed out a side ridge into the Nu’uanu Valley.

Monolith of a wall in the background

Stephanie and me at the puka
Getting to the puka was the usual affair. 20 minutes of hard, fast paced hiking in fun hurricane type winds. We took a few minutes admiring the Godek wall, wondering if Chuck really did scale and descend the rock face all those years ago. I thought about it… briefly, and followed it up with a big fat no thank you!

Gaining the ridge was less work than I had expected. There was a trail around the rock face which eventually led to a series of rope. So yes, I was disappointed I didn’t get to find my own route, but also glad because I’m a lazy bastard. We decided to make a right to the top of the Godek wall and that’s where everything turned to shit. Time was ticking, and Jeremy lost his brand spanking new camera. Since the ridge dropped straight down on both sides, attempting the search would have been … um … not smart.

Ridge walking ... sadistically addicting
On the border of windward and leeward
The mood was sour as we turned around and carried on with our quest for Lanihuli. I thought I had seen what thin and crumbly looked like, but the truly knife edge nature of the ridge plus the lovely high winds had my spidey sense jacked up pretty high. At about 10am, we reached a nub on the ridge …. a very intimidating nub on the ridge.

There was no going around it, unless you’re freaking Spiderman. Now, I was on a strict timeline on this day and was in no mood to conduct any kind of terrain negotiation. I seriously underestimated the difficulty of this hike and the time it would take. I took another look at my watch and called it. No Lanihuli today.

You win today, nub
Even superheroes get pissed when they lose their camera
So we turned around. Home free right? WRONG! We passed a rope leading down the leeward side of the ridge earlier and figured it was a quick bailout route back down into the valley. We were right… and wrong. Right, because it was. Wrong, because if you’re not paying attention and just following trail tape (guilty as charged), it would be the loooooongest shortcut you’ll ever take.

I’m not going to go into detail because being exposed as one of the biggest epic fails in hiking history isn’t exactly a title I’m proud of. Just know that we went the wrong way … a few times. I take full responsibility. We did end up back at the lookout, completing the “loop,” but without Jeremy’s camera, and a huge feeling of dissatisfaction. Maybe next week…

Blue rope leading down the leeward side
Are we lost yet?
A great indication that we're going the wrong way
This is how horror movies begin
Green at the end