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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pali Puka-Lanihuli East

I dont usually do any write ups about my hikes but this beast master well deserves it! First off I would like to thank Pete Clines, August Smith crew, and DCG crew for paving the way up to Lanihuli in the past few months. I've been wanting to do this trail for sometime now but due to the crappy weather on my day offs I had to cancel. I've been like Guy Hagi for the past 4 weeks waiting for perfect weather. With light winds and clear weather forecasted I decided that July 3rd would be the day I would do it! Joining me on this adventure was Albert Carcueva and good friend Rocky Hoshijo. After picking them up from there house at 600 am we were on our way up the Pali Highway. By 630 we were at the Pali lookout accessing the weather. The weather was perfect. Light winds and the ridge being clear with no clouds we all decided IT WAS A GO.

Neverous but still excited we set off towards Lanihuli at 715 am. Making Our way up towards the famous Pali Puka I was already feeling tired. Not a good sign but I thought to my self hiking at 7am in the morning sucks! Once at the Puka we contoured around the huge rock face and made our way up this very steep "trail" which led us to the main ridge. Now we were ontop the Pali Puka and from here you can see the entire ridge and all its glory! To be honest I was thinking to myself "what the fuck is this shit".

Now the ridge became unbelievably NARRROOOOWWWWWWW and very CRUMBLY! I must say this ridge made True Manamana seem like a walk in the park! Every step and rock I grabbed had to be double checked. A few times it seemed like I was riding a horse. I had one foot dangling on the windward side of the ridge and the other dangling on the town-side of the ridge!

As we made our way to the first set of teeth there was smaller notches we had to go over and some we contoured around. It was still extremely narrow and one fall would for sure end my life. Now we arrived at the first set of teeth! I now was worried these "teeth" looked nasty! I seen a contour trail that was roped but by the time I seen it Rocky and Albert was crawling up and over the first tooth. I didn't want to get left behind so I had no choice to go up and over also. Going down the last tooth was sketchy it was steep and crumbly!! For a sense of security we laid out rope.

After a short break we continued on. Now the trail was a tad bit wider but now steep and overgrown. Pushing through the overgrown madness I heard my buddy Rocky laughing! I looked up to see what he was laughing at and I started to laugh with him. Now what I most feared was now in sight! The famous W or also know as the true notches. Beyond the notches I could see the steep climb to the summit! So close but yet the hardest part was still needed to be passed!

Now at the false peak we could see the true notches dead on. Rocky was the first to go!

Coming down the false peak was difficult. Since I'm pocket size I had to put all my weight on the rope on the way down. It was very slippery which made it even more tricky navigating our way down to the bottom. If I had slipped and let the rope go here I would fall to my death.

Once safe at the bottom of the false peak we contoured around the 1st notch. There is a very old cable which we used to help guide us around the first notch.

Next up was the 2nd notch called the Incisor. The only way to do this was to go up over the nasty crumbly notch. Rocky went up first to the top of the Incisor. I continuously heard him cussing and laughing! He made it to the top and waited for me and Albert. Barely room for one person the three of us was on the top of the extremely narrow incisor. We decided to lay a rope out which we tied to a uki grass ball. I must say It was pointless! Mainly used as a guide and to somewhat feel a sense of safety. DO NOT USE THIS ROPE WITH ENTIRE WEIGHT. IT WILL BREAK! Using the butt scooting technique we all made it to the bottom. I must say the incisor is fucking sketchy!

With the three of us safely at the bottom of the Incisor we made our way to our last obstacle!

The final obstacle would consist of climbing/sliding 50 feet down the ridge and contouring for a short distance and climbing back up a steep wall of uki grass to gain back the main ridge. Sounds easy? No ways!!! First off the ancient cord that needed to be used to go down was tied to the famous "anvil rock"! This rock was the size of me but with a small push the rock would move! Fucking Great! If we fell here it would result in serious injury! I didn't want trust the cord with my life so I decided to use my last 100 feet of rope. I tied it to a strong tree then Rocky wrapped it to the base of the "anvil rock". It was now "solid"! Rocky went down first and made it look super easy, but his hands was all rope burned. Eager to go I was up next. I made my way down very slow slipping and sliding everywhere holding on to the rope. As I reached the bottom I got caught up in the old cable and now I was stuck! Hanging on to the rope and having very little footing, Rocky had to come back and free me up! With very little room Rock and I was somewhat safe at the bottom holding onto vegetation. Next up was Albert. He was alittle sketched out coming down. I don't blame him I was also scared coming down this section! With some guidance from Rocky and I Albert made it down safely!

We contoured for a short distance then literally climbed back up the steep wall of vegetation to the main ridge! Back on the ridge! We are now relieved that the worst was behind us!

The final climb was not an easy task! It was super overgrown! We had to go under over and weave through all the vegetation like a snake. Rocky called it a jungle gym! Some parts on the final climb was literally at a 90 degree angle. With the ridge being slippery it was nearly impossible to find good footing. It was like doing pull ups with the uki grass and trees around us.We pulled our way up to the Lanihuli East summit!

By 1145 am we are at the SUMMIT!

Took us 4 1/2 hours to summit.

The three of us celebrated our accomplishment and joked around about the trail.

We headed back down the long Lanihuli trail! It took us a quick 2 hours to make it back down to Alewa heights from the summit!

230 pm ALLLL PAU!

I must say when we were finish with the the whole thing I didn't remember much about the trail. It was all a blur! I think it was my adrenaline and being so focused the whole time I forgot about the trail.

If you read this and decide to go please be careful and know what your getting your self into! This is no hike for a beginner! Its not even a hike! I do not recommend this hike to anyone! Go at your own risk! With every step on this trail you could end your life.

Photos taken by Albert Carcueva and Myself.

For more stories about Lanihuli east check out:


  1. epic Nate! You should do write-ups more often!

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  3. Could you clear up the actual NAME of that sharp peak .
    Is the entire cliff called the Puka-lanihuli East?
    or is that just the name of that opening called the PUKA
    that is in the cliffside?
    I have painted there and have a painting I need to name.
    I LOVED your write up and all the pictures. You are my hiking hero for climbing that steep cliff.
    While the painters were out there on the old Pali Road near the Pali lookout, we saw several people try to make their way up. YIKS.
    I also loved your write up . Great job, great photos and very informative.
    Rebecca Snow (