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Climbing Eleao Windward

Updated: Mar 6

By Nandor Szotak - June 1st 2019

eleao windward ridge
Eleao Windward captured by Krista

It was a long time in the plan to climb up Eleao Windward, but as usual, life happened, so I had no time to hit the trails.

My friend Mike was still here from the mainland, so it was a good push for me to plan this hike already.

aerial shot of Eleao waindward
Drone shot of Eleao Windward ridge.

It was a wet and humid Saturday morning when the guys picked me up in Kaneohe. Randy (another friend) drove us to the "unmarked trailhead" of Eleao Windward where we could start our long journey to the top of the Ko'olau Mountains.

We started our trek by going around a water tank and followed a dry trail to the 1st summit on the ridge called Nanaikaalaea. If I wouldn't have an offline topographic map with me, I wouldn't know that this is an actual 1060' peak on the ridge.

hiker on eleao windward ridge
Krista fighting the bushes uphill

Narrow ridge line
The "sketchy" section captured by Krista (left peak is Ulimakoli)

Passed that small peak, we were on the way to the 2nd peak Ulimakoli which was a bit higher, reaching 1300' in elevation.

hikers on eleao windward ridge
It is always good to let somebody test out the webbing before you :D

From here started the actual "fun", exciting part of our adventure.

We were heading towards the bigger Eleao peak, but before we had to drop in and climb back up a couple of interesting notches and rock faces.

We had to pull out our 50' long webbing for our first drop, mostly because of the crumbly, slippery down climb. Until Mike was testing the webbing on his descent into the unknown invasive vegetation, Krista and I was just enjoying the dramatic landscape and taking some nice photos.

The clouds hanging over the green Ko'olau Mountains make every climb more intense, and more adventurous. The feeling of getting into the great Unknown.

hungaro explorer on narrow ridge
I can see my house from here!

hiker on narrow ridge
Balacing moves on the narrow ridge

Some of the drops were very narrow and crumbly, but that is very typical for any Windward ridge. Probably that makes them "extreme"?