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Ascent of Kaumu o Kaleihoohie on 2017-01-23

Climber: Dave Covill

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, January 23, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Kaumu o Kaleihoohie
    Location:USA-Hawaii
    Elevation:5480 ft / 1670 m

Ascent Trip Report

I'm in Kona for a week's vacation. While my 3 compadres toured the northeast shore and hiked to waterfalls and went birding, I climbed this peak.

I only have a few things to add to existing TRs from Jones, Burd, Nelson. I set out at 12:10PM. I went in via the Koia Forest Trail, but this was unnecessary. I reached the upper end of the forest preserve, and jumped out to the right (S) via a style onto the 4WD road. This road is a 30' wide easement for access for hikers and hunters to the forest above. There are some cattle present, but they get out of your way. When I was about 7/8 of the way to the red gate, I came upon a SUV with AK plates, but HI plate frame and stickers. I figured it was a hunter.

I made it to the red gate in 59 minutes, stopping briefly for water and a snack. I went left along the fenceline, across a total of 6 side streams. First was minor, right after you hop a large metal fence. Second is the biggest, and is the one other TR's refer to with the bottom of the fence being 8'+ off the bottom of the streambed. 3rd, 4th, 5th are smaller, 6th is large again. For the 3rd and 4th, detour left (W) about a hundred feet to avoid a buildup of ferns near the fence. Reach the wooden style mentioned by others at the 3/4 mile mark, took me close to 40 min upbound for this portion. As Gerry Roach might say, the introduction is over......

From here, enter the woods over the style. The first perhaps 2/10 mile is hit or miss with both trail and flagging, with blue, faint orange, faint yellow. Halfway up the false summit, the blue takes over, and is very good all the way to the true summit. As mentioned, the going is steeply downhill from the top of the false summit down to the saddle. The saddle is boggy, but not horrible. I was in leather boots with ankle gaiters, and stayed relatively dry all day. At all times, when in doubt and you can't see the trail, move forward 10-20', and a blue flagging will magically appear. As I said, after the first 2/10 mile, the trail is better, more noticeable, and well flagged.

Near the false summit, I came across 3 people; a guy and two women, all about 30 or so. Locals, from Kona. They all hiked the peaks a lot, and one woman was quite pleased to say she had as of today climbed every significant peak on the Big Island. I was tempted to ask what her Prom Cutoff was...... but I resisted and pushed on. They told me to be sure to go to the metal post. They were wering low cut approach shoes, and they had all sunk in to their knees they said. They looked filthy.

Up near the summit itself, I encountered a 4-5' high fence post, wrapped in flaggings. I kept going, thinking it was the first of more. I went about 100'+ further, and it seemed to be slightly higher. I traipsed into the woods, especially to the right now (S). Seemed about 5' higher than the fence post. I looked further down the blue flagged transect path, and it was headed steeply downhill. No higher trees further to the East. I was a bit mystified, as I had read about the little metal pole cut off near ground level. The 3 people I ran into all said to keep going til I saw the small pole. I returned to the post and sat down to read all my TR's. I looked to my right while eating my sandwich, and there it was. About 8-10' to the right (N) in a slightly cleared area. I walked over and stuffed a stick into it with a piece of blue flagging to make it more noticeable. I looked again at the Garmin 62 GPS that Dave Pellegrini lent to me at the TH. It showed I was at the edge of the high contour. I have no idea if the DEM model used is accurate, but it implied I was right, and that the high ground was where I had wandered to, past the metal fence post and small pole by at least 100'.

Hmmmmm.... Bob Burd seemed to have wandered past there enroute to his final, subsidiary peak he picked up. Jones and Nelson don't really mention going further than the little pole. I may have been imagining this whole thing, and I look forward to seeing what the next visitor has to say.

I made it to the top in 2:50, at 3PM. I screwed around a bit, made a call and text for my pickup, ate, and left about 3:20. I found my way back across the saddle and up and over the false summit, and reached the wooden style about 4:10, one hour out. I had a few more bites of my sandwich there, and traded out my glasses for my shades, as it was once more sunny out, in the grassy fields. I returned across the 6 streams in 50 minutes, at 5PM. Ate some more sandwich while walking, and made it down the grassy two track within the right of way 30' strip between the fences in an hour, arriving at pavement at 6:00.

I never saw anything alive. No bugs, spiders, skeeters. No pigs. Almost no birds, they stayed up in the canopy mostly, although I heard them all day long. The 3 locals had moved on. When I got to the TH, my wife and friends had only been waiting there 3-4 minutes. I was quite pleased to have accomplished this peak. Hoping to bag the other major peak above Kona in a few days (Hualalei).

If you have a 4WD vehicle, I would say drive it up that road. The gate is easily opened. No signs at all. There are signs on the sides of the right of way saying to stick to it and not go onto private Parker Ranch property. You could cut 1/4 or more of the time off of the hike.

A faster hiker could do this in maybe 5 hours. Bob Burd went cross country some, and thrashed in the forest some as he cut in via a hole in the fence and not the style blue flagged path, and he did it in 5:30 hours. A slower hiker should allow a good 7-9 hours. I do recommend going with a partner, and bringing a GPS. The path was almost always well trammeled, although that may have been just my good fortune to have climbed a few hours after 3 people, and btw the fellow had a machete and said he had used it here and there. I saw evidence of that along the way. Lucky me for going on the day when they did. The weather held nicely, and I used only 1.5L of water, as temps were reasonable, especially when I got up to the edge of the fenceline. 5:50 total time, from 12:10 to 6:00.



Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:2+ > 3 on steeps
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Time:2 Hours 50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 40 Minutes



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