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We started off on the concrete road that marks the first mile or so of the Ka'ala Trail, our first peak easily visible in front of us, along with the steep ascent ridge that we would use. We left the road only ten minutes after starting up, forking left where a wide path has been recently cleared to a cattle fence. This was a boon to our outing since it would save us more than half a mile of heavy brush leading to the base of the peak. We followed the fenceline and clearing to its end where the barbed-wire fence was attached to the lava rock at the base of Pu'u Kawiwi's SE Ridge. The ridge climbs more than 1,600ft in less than half a mile and would take us a solid hour and a half. The brush is moderate and the rock provides much class 3 scrambling. There was little breeze and the air quite warm, the combination making the climb a tiring affair. It was clear from the beginning that Nandor was the stronger climber, but we chatted all the while and he didn't seem to mind a somewhat slower pace.
When we reached the summit of Pu'u Kawiwi at 1p, we took short break at the grassy summit while taking in the views, marveling at our good fortune with the weather. Nandor pointed out a number of summits to the northwest and north that he recognized across the Makaha Valley, none of which I had visited. They looked hard. After our break we turned north to follow the ridge for 0.6mi to No Name Peak, or Peak 3,020ft. It would take most of an hour to cross this rugged ridgeline, with many challenges along the craggy terrain. There were places where a trail was evident, clearly we weren't pioneers on this effort, and scratches on the rocks (apparently steel microspikes are often used on this terrain in wet weather) gave hints of where to go when unsure. We swapped places leading across the terrain and I was happy to have Nandor's experience for consultation to save time when I was uncertain. I must have been concentrating hard all this while because I never thought to pause for a picture until we had already started down from Peak 3,020ft. We were continuing northeast from Peak 3,020ft's summit, intending to follow the ridge until we met up with the Ka'ala Trail and taking that down. Much of this ridge portion is lined with a pig fence that we followed, using it to lower ourselves on difficult steps and other obstacles. At two places we found wooden steps allowing one to get from one side to the other where a use trail made for easier going. A good use trail made this section easier than the last few miles we had covered to reach the two peaks. We were still half a mile from the transmission poles marking the junction with the Ka'ala Trail when we crossed paths with a route going across the ridgeline on either side. This shows up on the old topo maps and my GPSr as an old trail. A quick study showed it might work nicely as a shortcut to the Ka'ala Trail. It looked like a decent trail dropping sharply off the south side, and though we weren't sure if it continued in good shape, we decided to go down that way anyway. It was marked with various colored flags, and though we lost it briefly at one point, it turned out to be a very good way down that would save us a bit of time, too. It eventually intersected the much better Ka'ala Trail a few miles from the TH, and from there it was an easy walk back down to our start. It was 3:30p when we finished up with plenty of daylight remaining. He drove us back to the AirBnB in Waianae where he dropped me off and we parted ways. I was plenty tired by this time and not a little bit dehydrated, but I would recover nicely with a shower and a cold beer. Ahhhh...
This page last updated: Sat Jan 18 11:56:32 2020
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