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Mo'ole Ridge to Lanihuli

Updated: Mar 6

By Nandor Szotak - May 25th 2020

mo'ole ridge
Mo'ole Ridge in front of us

Sometimes I just sit down in front of the computer, log in to my Gaia account, open the topographic map, and start looking for new possible ridges to climb. That's how I found this ridge which runs almost parallel with Kapalama Ridge and the Pali Highway. Usually, when I find an interesting, possibly doable ridge, I start looking for write-ups, and old blogs, to see if anybody did that actual route. That's what I did when I decided to try and hike Mo'ole Ridge, but with not much luck.

One day I asked Steve if he would like to come with me to clear the first section of the hike to basically scout it. To my surprise, he was exactly at the start of the same route a week before, so he was very excited to tag along. I contacted Scott, who loves clearing new trails, and he joined us too. Meantime Scott found some older articles from the 90s about a couple of HTMC hikers who partially finished the ridge, but bailed out way before reaching Lanihuli.

Wondering if anybody successfully ascended to Lanihuli.

Our clearing day went pretty well. We cleared the first section, all the way up to this nice flat, tree-covered spot on the top of the ridge. The trail is ready to be used for the next adventure!

Fast forward to the actual hiking day, I found myself working on Memorial Day but finished super early, so I contacted Steve if he wants to go to Mo'ole Ridge. I convinced Krissy to join us too, and by noon we were ready to roll in Nu'uanu.

The first section we cleared a week before went fast, even with high humidity and heat. We were able to push through the recently cleared trail pretty efficiently. After taking a short break on the top, the road to the unknown started.

rock wall on moole ridge
A mini Witch's Hat from Kalihi saddle?

The view was very exciting! The steep rock wall in front of us reminded me of some obstacles on Kalihi Saddle. Instead of climbing the wall, we had to kind of contour it around in the bushes, which took all the fun away.

rock wall on mo'ole ridge
Clear views all the way to Honolulu

The views were still pretty awesome!

Getting over this first pu'u, required the use of webbing. The drop was about 20ft, very crumbly, so we figured better be safe than sorry.

We managed pretty quickly to climb down, and after retracting our webbing we continued up the ridge.

From here we followed a pig trail through the uluhe which lead us to this nice guava, ironwood section, where I think the HTMC hikers dropped into the valley because they didn't want to deal with the upcoming 30ft drop.

Ohh yeah, that drop was so much worst than the 1st one.

It was all crumbly rocks, overgrown with vegetation. Wherever I put my feet, were just falling apart...

Took a little longer than the first down climb, but all of us made it down safely.

At this point, we were still excited, but we already knew that the trail is going to be rougher than we expected.