Mauna Lahilahi 2x

Dec 28, 2019

With: Ryan Harriman

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
previously climbed Dec 26, 2016


This was a short morning hike, two actually, on the west side of Oahu. Jackie was supposed to join us but wasn't feeling well, so it ended up just Ryan and I.

Ohikilolo Ridge

I had been on this ridge the previous week via another route starting in Ohikilolo Valley. I had found descriptions online for hiking the lower part of this ridge and wanted to check it out. We parked at the Ka'ena Point Makua Section turnout across from the Makua Cave. We visited the rather large cave first, an old sea cave formed at a time when the seas were higher. It goes back almost 100yds, eventually funneling to a small opening in the furthest recesses. There were some fruit and flowering offerings left in several locations, presumeably in memory of a loved one.

Finding the start of the Ohikilolo Ridge Trail took some work. The whole east side of the highway north of the cave is signed for Restricted Area, federal lands. This seems to be routinely ignored. There are more than one unsigned use trails leading into the squat forested area off the road. These faint trails criss-cross the lightly forested lower slopes, and one sort of has to trust the trail to get you where you want to go. We watched another group head in just before us, so it made it easy to find an entrance. It seems there is a second, upper cave that has been over-Instagram-ized to which the other visitors we came across were looking for. We worked our way up to the cliff face where a good use goes right towards the upper cave. We made our way left and then up further, climbing steeply through a few wet class 3 steps, eventually emerging on the ridgeline above where we were met by the expected pig fence. This fence continues up for several mile following along the ridge. After a short break, we continued up the ridge, using the fence for balance and holds, following a thin trail alongside the fence. We went up past the Makua 2 survey monument, stopping at the highest point before the ridge drops down to a saddle. It was easy to see how one could spend hours continuing up the ridgeline, climbing several more thousand feet to the summit of Ohikilolo, well out of view from our vantage point. We took in the views north and south, a pretty stretch of coastline with very little development. After our rest, we headed back down the same way, a little more careful on the descent due to the slickness of the wet rock faces. There were several parties we came across in the lower reaches, asking for directions to the cave. At the time we didn't know about the upper cave so were of no help. Only afterwards did I look it up online to see what was drawing people to this lonely area.

Mauna Lahilahi

This is a small lava rock outcrop on the coast, just south of the Hawaiian Princess Resort. Jackie and I had done this three years earlier, finding it a fun bit of rock scrambling. Parking to the north of the resort area, Ryan and I walked across the beach before going up the East Ridge, making it a little harder than it needed to be. We visited the survey monument, took a photo of the Hawaiian Princess to the north, and then went down the steeper West Ridge that finishes with a 15-foot class 3-4 wall. About 40min all told.


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