ApproachGetting to Moorea is easy. First, you must fly to Papeete (actually the suburb of Faaa), the capital of French Polynesia which is located on the island of Tahiti. From the wharf at Papeete, several ferries depart for the island of Moorea between the hours of 6 am and 5:30 pm. The boat ride cost $9-10 each way in November 2005, and takes 30 minutes to an hour depending on what boat you book with (ferries that take vehicles are slower).
Once on Moorea and at Vaiare, you will notice two busses waiting for passengers. Bus schedules always correspond with the ferry schedules on Moorea. You want the bus heading north. Get on the bus ($3) and follow it to the Faimano Village Hotel. This is not far east of the Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort, so it should be easy to find.
Route DescriptionTo find the beginning of the trail, follow the residential road directly across from the Faimano Village Hotel. The owner of the land is the owner of the hotel, and he does not mind people crossing the land to climb the peak. Pass by a few houses and notice the house on the hill. The trail to the summit of Rotui is just to the right of the house. Look for the trail in the brush. Once on the trail, follow it up to the ridge. The trail is rather brush, and all reports say to wear long pants, but I ditched mine because it is such a hot climb. You will be OK in shorts, so don’t worry about it.
The part of the climb up to the flame trees and ridge top is the toughest part of the climb. It is very hot if the sun is out, so I recommend finding the beginning of the trail the evening before the climb, and doing this section in the dark. Don’t try to find the beginning of the trail in the dark; do this the day before. There is a steep place just below the flame trees that is supposed to have a fixed rope, but it was missing in November 2005. This is not a problem as there are plenty of roots and vines to hold onto and they are at least strong enough to hold a 220 lb/100kg le-climber-not-so petite. Once you gain the ridge, follow it to the summit. There are some beautiful views along the way. Some sections of the ridge are very steep and some are rather gentle. There are a few fixed rope sections near the top.
This is a very slippery climb and descending is difficult in the rain. Make sure to always be holding onto something and be prepared to fall at least a few times. This is a hot climb, so take 6 liters/1.5 gallons of water. I took only four liters, but if it was sunny the whole time, I would have ran out of water. You will really sweat on this climb.