Pali Puka - Lanihuli (Failed Attempt)

Dusk settles in over the Pali Highway
DATE: October 10, 2010
DIFFICULTY: Hard - Mental
PARTICIPANTS: “The Optimist” Jeremy, “MP3” Stefanie, Me

Okay, so after last week’s “scouting mission,” I was bound and determined to conquer what I initially considered as the “easiest” of my superhikes. Of course, if you read my blog from a week ago, “easy” wasn’t exactly … correct.

Just to recap our last attempt … er … (ahem) scouting mission. My thought process went something like this. “Looks easy … Pali Puka is cool … oooh, high winds and narrow ridge … we got time, we’ll finish it in no time … (snap) taking pictures (snap) … narrower ridge … impossible looking nub … crap, we ain’t got time … turn around … shortcut? … following trail tape … trail tape leads nowhere … oooh let’s follow a stream … oh (looking down a 300 ft waterfall), not this way … wish we didn’t take shortcut … where are we going … swing from tree to tree … trail tape again, should we follow? … we follow … get to road and walked to lookout … woohoo! Successful scouting mission! Freaking epic fail.

Not this time, said I. I would not be denied this day. Well, at least that’s what I told myself anyway.

Kaneohe and beyond
Take two
Not BS-ing around, we reached our original turnaround point in about an hour and took a break. Getting past the nub proved extremely easy, but for anyone attempting this hike, I left a ridiculous display of rope, reminiscent of a retard’s crayon designs. Not pretty, but effective.

The crumbly nature of the ridge made Bear Claw and Piliwale ridges feel like stable concrete sidewalks in comparison. Even “The Optimist” Jeremy noted that the route was more technically difficult and dangerous overall than True Manamana, which he conquered BY HIMSELF!!! Of course, being 173Hiking, we pride ourselves in conducting insane hikes with minimal equipment. Oh, and saving the chopper only for death and dismemberment. Heard it was more of a challenge…or something.

Ah yes... the fun begins
Walk in the park

Nature's tight-rope
We were blasting the trail, trucking uphill like there was a tsunami on our asses. No way were we turning around … until we discovered, what we’ve since dubbed, the REAL Pali Notches. I personally call it “Donkey Kong.”

You know the famous notches on the south side of the lookout supposedly used during the battle of Nu’uanu? Yeah, those were dents. It was 1100 hrs. What lay before us was a suicidal series of vertical, three foot wide notches ranging anywhere from 20 to 50 feet in height. Loose dirt, crumbly rock. Honestly, the Pali Notches is where you drop your kids off to play. Donkey Kong is for the big boys. Stefanie’s constant “This is !#@$%& crazy!” chant didn’t really help either. A hundred feet of rope was all we had. After much debate, we headed back the way we came. To add insult to injury, the gods pulled down their pants and started to piss on us. We were defeated once again…

City and out to sea
Obstacle course from hell
Live to fight another day
Again we tried another “shortcut” down the leeward side of the ridge in an effort to avoid the treacherous ridgeline and a dike Jeremy called “Pu’u Suicido.” It was a long, long, loooong descent. More like detour. Somehow we found the blue rope we came across during the scouting mission. At 5pm! Time was not on our side as the sun began to clock out and head towards happy hour. So, up the rope we went, back on the ridge, back towards the puka, and eventually back to the parking lot around 7pm.

I’m sure Jeremy would like me to mention that I was crying like a little bitch while climbing up the blue rope. Took me about 20 minutes to climb 30 feet. You happy now, Jeremy? He always wanted to get me back for the whole reverse Olomana incident. Double fail.

Assume the break posture

Climbing down Pu'u Suicido

Rain gods show no mercy as we trespassed over their domain
Navigating terrain as the fog rolls in

Pretty much sums up the hike

Serenity amidst chaos


  1. I don't know how I missed this. I've eyed that ridge more than a couple times and put it on my list of things to do... someday. Thanks for writing it up.

  2. Donkey Kong was nuts, it took me half an hour to figure out. I contoured on the leeward side after a failed attempt at contouring on the windward side. Then the thunderstorms rolled in, and I got blasted with thick drops descending the worst section "anvil rock," where an old cable is attached to a pile of scree that moves if you push it too hard. The rest of it up to Lanihuli was no cake walk either.