Ka'ala Climber's Log

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McCannster - Dec 30, 2019 7:00 am Date Climbed: Dec 23, 2019

HI County highpoint #3  Sucess!

Very fun outing with great group of people. Surprisingly fun, steep route! Took us just over 7 hours roundtrip at a very mellow pace with a long picnic at the top.


MaverickMerk - Apr 5, 2019 12:06 am Date Climbed: Mar 17, 2019

4 hours

Ran most of the way down

Musisca - May 29, 2015 5:18 am Date Climbed: May 16, 2015

Waianae Ka'ala Trail  Sucess!

This is yet another great hike on Oahu. It is very different than man of the other ones. The trail is a bit confusing. Be sure to follow the PURPLE CAPS to get to the correct trail. The one problem is that there are a couple floating about that is not on the correct trail. I ended up on the wrong ridge and had to hike down. When you reach the first, larger creek, follow the PURPLE ARROW to the left. The trail briefly descends, but then starts upward. The ridge views are breathtaking. The bog is unique. The summit is nice, but not the best view on the island not the best view of the hike. I recommend, just keep track of where you are on trail.

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Jun 13, 2014 12:55 am Date Climbed: Jun 9, 2014

Waianae Valley Rd  Sucess!

No much for views today, but a fun outing. Don't take the right fork in the trail past the road, btw, it ends in a landslide and some scary scrambling on very loose terrain. Trip Report.

MavrickCJH - Jul 9, 2013 11:21 pm Date Climbed: Mar 15, 2013

Great Time

Truly an outstanding hike, the views that we got, while not even getting to the top, were great. I researched hikes prior to deploying knowing that we would be stopping in Hawaii on the way back and I am glad I chose Ka'ala as it didnt disappoint. I began at the Waianae junk-yard-looking parking lot. The first portion with the road is demoralizing. Once you get past it though, the fun begins. The steep and moist trail that day provided plenty of challenges if you thought you would somehow make it off the trail in anything but a mud covered mess. We made it up to where, what could be described as, where the climbing begins. However, at that point it had just started a light rain and we couldn't see up to the end even though my GPS was telling me that we were close. I don't rock climb and I certainly wasn't about to start on wet rock where a slip seemed like it would have meant a certain plunge to my untimely death. On the way down, at certain points, I was: aiming at a tree not too far away, running down the extremely slippery mud ground, and running into the next tree. Attempting to walk just meant you would wind up sliding down the trail on your rear after you slipped. Once down, I basically took a bath in a faucet that was on the outside of one of the small gated buildings. This was an outstanding hike that I can't wait to do again. Although admittedly, if I ever see the summit, it may be because I showed my military ID at the government controlled gate for the road that goes to the top!


bechtt - Mar 28, 2012 11:17 am Date Climbed: Mar 26, 2012

Awesome hike  Sucess!

Steep but short. Mud and wet trail only makes it more exciting and the "ropes" more welcome (as well as necessary). No problem following the trail as it's well marked with purple dots up to the summit. Great views from the top. Ka'ala Pictures


xpda - Aug 13, 2011 1:56 am Date Climbed: Mar 22, 2008

Ka'ala, Oahu  Sucess!

Nice hike through the jungle.


runbyu1 - Nov 8, 2010 3:41 pm Date Climbed: Oct 13, 2007

BYU-H Team Run  Sucess!

Ran/slipped/scrambled up the main route with 4 other guys on the team on a muddy day---such a fun mountain and the views into Waianae as well as the boardwalks and stuff on top were amazing. We wanted to run so decided to chance the road on the way down and ducked the military presence. Had to cut through some cow ranch land and got chased by some bulls...pretty exciting. Got down and ran back to the car. Pretty darn awesome!


Alika - May 14, 2010 2:00 pm

Many Times! So much fun!  Sucess!

Highest point on my islands is such a great time

Matt Worster

Matt Worster - Jun 23, 2007 9:34 pm Date Climbed: Jun 23, 2007

What fun! On the solstice  Sucess!

Trip descriptions were great. Ropes etc. not generally needed on the way up, very nice to have on the way down. Generally, they aren't for getting up rock but for navigating potential dirt/mud chutes. Beautifully clear on top, and found the Survey marker!


heyitsme - Oct 17, 2006 9:30 pm

k  Sucess!

different enviroment, nice!

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Jun 27, 2006 2:30 am Date Climbed: Jun 23, 2006

Good one  Sucess!

Drove to the trailhead with no problem. Scary-looking scene though, more like an auto salvage yard than trailhead. Signed in at the register in the brown mailbox and headed up the road past the gate. Hot walk up the road but listened to amazing bird calls I've never heard before.

Past two water tanks to the start of the actual trail and quickly to the picnic bench. Seems less than 3/4 of a mile from the end of the road. Followed Don's directions and forked left off the ridge trail shortly after. Crossed one dry streambed and then did the traverse through a low dark forest of thin trees so thick they seemed woven together. Was neat though, if you looked out at them at you walked, you could see through them for some distance. If you stopped, your eyes focussed on them and it looks like a solid wall of trunks. Very odd and neat effect.

Came to a clearing and there is a trail that forks left, avoid it and continue on up the ridge on the right fork. Then I came to the dry streambed in the route description and followed the trail up the left side of it.

Went up steep ground until I got to the powerlines and a clearing. Had a snack and went on up. Got to where the "ropes" start. First was a steel cable I grabbed. Big mistake, it is frayed and I got slivers in my finger. Bring gloves!

I'd also suggest convertible pants for the hike. don't need long pants until the power lines and it's much nicer in shorts on this hot trail. You need them above the power lines though.

I did use the rope in spots. Didn't see any clothesline or dog leashes but lots of nylon rope, regular rope, phone cords/plastic wires and that frayed steel cable. Only one exposed spot in some rocks. I found it easier to get a good grip and step out onto the rock to move up rather than grovel up the narrow chimney/crack. Make no mistake though, a fall would end it here. Steep dropoffs on both sides for hundreds of feet. In some spots the ridge in only a few feet wide.

Once past that, some more steep spots using ropes and a steep grassy and very thorny traverse to the right and you pop out on the summit plateau. I wiped my boots on the brushes as the sign requests (so as to not spread non-natural plants/seeds on the fragile area up top) and walked the boards to the summit through an entirely different set of tropical plants. The top is an FAA Air Traffic Control Installation and I took some photos, made some calls and had some food.

The descent was uneventful and I made better time. Up in 3 hours and down in 1 hour 50 minutes. Was happy to find the red Mustang convertible (good inconspicuous one to have at this trailhead, eh?) rental car was intact as I left it. Headed back to McDonald's in Waianae for a chocolate shake. This one is a good workout combined with the heat and humidity and makes for a most worthy hike/climb.

Michael Graupe

Michael Graupe - Dec 18, 2005 2:14 am

Route Climbed: Waianae Valley route Date Climbed: December 17, 2005  Sucess!

One of the most amazing climbs I have ever done. Short (4:15h round trip) but absolutely intense. The flora is spectacular and so are the views. Don's route description is right on. Found lots of ripe guavas along a short section of the trail. Yum!!


shknbke - Aug 2, 2005 1:59 am

Route Climbed: Wai'anae Valley Date Climbed: July 29, 2005  Sucess!

Brutal climb yet short for this CO hiker used to wide open spaces. You more than likely will be soaked from sweat and all of the native plants along the trail. The ridge is a little intimidating when wet, so I took my time. A very rough climb but rewarding views in a pristine area!

Don Nelsen

Don Nelsen - May 22, 2005 10:17 pm

Route Climbed: Waianae Valley route Date Climbed: May 14th, 2005  Sucess!

After spending part of the previous day doing recon I took off on the Waianai Valley Route early morning, Saturday 5/14. The RT took just four hours but I had to get back to Honolulu for some meetings so needed to move fast! Figure about 6 hours plus for this one to really enjoy it and bring a gallon size zip-lock to keep your camera in - you will need it!

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