On April 21st Katie, Kyle, Matt, Shama, Dural, and Jared joined me for a hike. My plan was to scope things out before we make a decision and make our final decision two miles into the hike. Weather and confidence in ability was my main concern for the group. We met around 7:30 at the bottom of Haiku Stairs and made our way to Moanalua Valley to meet the rest of the group. The only person that didn't have Microspikes was Jared because he was invited last minute by Dural. Shama also didn't have any but Justin stopped by and let her use his spikes for the day (Thank you!). We shoved off at the start of the trail around 8:15 am and made our way two miles in for about an hour. During that hour I really thought hard about what we were getting ourselves into if we really were going to do the saddle. We made it to the junction and the group agreed on doing the saddle.
We slowly made our way through the valley floor and up to the saddle. When we got to the top we discussed on what was going to happen. I pointed and showed them where the no return point was and how there was loose rocks riddled along the ridge where at any moment someone could pull down a rock on another hiker. There were two sections I worried about for the group. We snapped a few pictures and took a good break before we started to tackle the ridge section.
After five minutes of walking along the ridge the first difficult section came up. The group was spread out a little and the first people to the section were Kyle, Shama, Katie, and I. I told the other half of the group to wait a little ways down because the potential of a rock fall. We examined the rock and it seemed like everything we touched was a little lose. In some write ups and some videos at 0:30 they make it up this section on the windward side. This was the moment where I was like screw this hike and let's turn back because it ain't worth it. But we looked at the rock more and I was confident in my climbing skills that I'd be able to get up and over this section. But what about the rest of the group? Luckily half of the bottom group waited so long that they found a contour section below. I had already bouldered the town facing side of the rock face so I was up already. I told the girls to turn around and make their way back down but not before Kyle because she was already taking the route I was taking. After she got done with that she told me, "That was fucking hard." "I don't think all of us could have done that." I agreed but now we were committed. We both saw right above where we climbed how much loose rocks there were. The rocks varied in size from playground ball size to tennis ball size. Both could be dangerous if someone pulled something down. The rest of the group contoured under us and we all met back up on the ridge.
Five minutes later we were onto the next hard section. This one wasn't loose rock but loose dirt and some tufts of grass you have to use to pull your self up. There was an old blue rope to aid us in going up but there were sections that were frayed so bad that I guarantee if you put all your weight on It'll snap. This section before you get to it you contour onto the town side of the ridge. Slowly one by one we made our way up this section. Near the top the terrain changed back into choss rock. Luckily there was another shorter newer brown rope to aid us near the top of this section. When we got above it I thought we were in the clear.
Dural and Kyle came up to the next section where the rock was really lose and they were shaking their head like we have to turn back. I told them we can't and I checked the hand holds and foot holds for some good ones. All were a little loose but it had to be done! I went first with Dural spotting me below. I threw a high right foot on a boulder and scrambled my way up that section. There was a root on the left side where I tied paracord to to aid in the ascent up for the rest of the group. By the last person the root snapped and the last person got up luckily. We took the paracord just in case for any other sections that were unforeseen.
After those three sections we were some what in the clear. Now was just a walk up a thin ridge looking at the beautiful windward side of the island. When we got near the top we spotted the Moanalua waterfall we saw earlier in the day. It was the upper section to that falls.
When we made it to the first section of stairs we took a long break and looked back on where we had come from. Slowly I made my way down the stairs and to the bottom. My knees were aching by that time. Thank God we made it out safely!
From the bottom of the valley to the saddle all the way in the distance.
Took a break at this swim hole.
Looking back towards town.
Happiest couple on the hike!
Great views of the windward side through out the rest of the hike.
Walking along the ridge. You can see the obstacles we face and off in the distance is the radar dish, our end point.
Conquered obstacles... looking back!
Reaching the first stair section! Happiest group! Lucky to be alive and no serious injuries.
Coming down Haiku Stairs!
Platform to nowhere.
Who drew me and Katie?
I am not encouraging any one to do this hike! This is what has been done by me and my friends on that particular day. I know a few people that have been seriously injured on this hike. Even one day before I did this hike someone reportedly had fallen off of this section according to the newspaper. So please think before doing this hike. The conditions were near perfect for us on this day.