Kawaikini (Waialeale) Climber's Log

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MaverickMerk - Apr 5, 2019 12:01 am

Kawaikini and Waialeale

13 hours. Ecosystem at the top seemed really fragile... I regret hiking along the plateau towards the summit as the route is poorly defined and clearly multiple pathways have been trodden over the bog. Many endemic species here. The view doesn’t get significantly better than the terminus of the fence... wish I had stopped there.


zoink - Apr 3, 2016 12:05 am Date Climbed: Mar 28, 2016

End of Mohihi-Camp 10 Rd and back 18.5 hours  Sucess!

I'll be adding a much more detailed trip report. Climbed the peak with Simon who did it barefoot (seriousness). Cloudy most of the time but opened up for us at the Summit. We primary used the Maui Revealed App to follow the trial.

Not a technical hill but a long day, and if it's raining a lot could see it becoming a whole different ball game.


thundercloud - Nov 16, 2014 1:35 pm Date Climbed: Mar 24, 2014

Long Day  Sucess!

Lucked out with weather (dry, but no views on top) and had a nice adventure hike to the summit. Rented Jeep for the rough dirt road. One day trip idea inspired by Bob Burd's trip report. I'm thankful for the GPS track picked up on Peakbagger.com. Total trip time was just a shade under 17 hours. Could have shaved off a couple hours if things had gone perfect, but the route is hard to follow, especially when it got dark at the end of my day. Besides being tired near the finish, and besides the GPS track, it is still very difficult to stay on route in the dark. The trail wanders in the brush, and false pathways lead you astray. I spooked off a BIG black boar, and heard another stomping in the dark as I neared the finish back to the Jeep. Thankful that the McDonalds near Hanapepe was still open. A good way to do this trip would be in two days, avoiding time in the dark, with an overnight at Kaoie Camp. It's not the greatest backpacking country though. I was glad to finish in a day and return to beach life.


gum - Nov 17, 2011 7:17 pm Date Climbed: Oct 22, 2011

4h30min from Kaoie Camp  Sucess!

My wife and I climbed Waialeale in 4.5 hours from Kaoie Camp. We are members of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club with lots of BC bush experience. I guess that helped in the Alakai because we had no problem recognizing the turn-off at the 'Arrow' location. We searched and found the arrow behind a pile of wood debris. Oddly though, the arrow was pointing the way we came. The edge of Sincocks bog was marked by a faded orange traffic cone. The scene looked familiar. We had seen this cone before in photos on the Internet. What was new is that there is now a brand new KWA (Kauai Watershed Alliance) galvanized steel fence-line. All we had to do was follow it to Waialeale. At first we were able to walk on top of a fence mesh laid flat on our side of the fence. Eventually though the convenient mesh ended and nothing prevented us from sinking into the swampy ground. We came upon several nearly vertical slopes where we had to hold on to the fence posts 'for dear life' or else we'd slip right back to where we had come from. Mindful of the cost of such an elaborate fence we were very careful not to stress the new construction. The fence faithfully follows the divide that splits the Waimea and the Wainiha watersheds. At the rim the new fence kept going, dropping off sharply. It ended far below barely within view. We spent two hours exploring the 'rippling waters' pond, the hillock with the famous rain gauge, and the Kawaikini summit proper. But we failed to conclusively locate the heiau. We found a mound with somewhat different vegetation and a recent skid mark from a helicopter landing nearby so we declared this feature to be the heiau. It took us the same time on the return for an 11 hour day. Not unexpected it drizzled and rained all day with no views. We brought solid leather hiking boots but those got soaked just the same. Good to have, nevertheless, and gaiters. It was muddy most places along the fence and with traffic it'll get muddier still. In summary, we found the route finding and the bit of bushwhacking on route very similar to our experience at home with our temperate old growth rain forest. It's not so different to the tropical rain forest up on the Alakai plateau except, of course, the plant species are not the same at all.


Don Nelsen

Don Nelsen - Dec 19, 2011 3:04 pm

Re: 4h30min from Kaoie Camp

Gum, Thanks very much for the great report! Good to know about the fence line - that should help isolate the wild hog population even more. Great time, too - you and your wife are a tough pair for sure. BTW, the arrow always did point back to the west. I wonder why it has been moved, too? It wasn't in the way or anything.

Thanks again,


Andrew Thomas DeSantis

Andrew Thomas DeSantis - Aug 2, 2011 4:20 pm Date Climbed: Jul 31, 2011

Kawaikini, Wai'ale'ale & Kuaohukini  Sucess!

It took me two days to reach the top and one day to get back to the bottom. I met a nature photographer along the way, took him close to the top but he baild near the rain guage due to the horrible weather. Hiked blind due to the intense wind and rain to Kauaikini from Wai'ale'ale using my GPS and compass. Thank you Bob Burd and Don Nelson. This ascent wound have been far more dangerous without the help of your trip reports. After all that climbing I got back to my car only to find that it would not start. I had to walk the six mile dirt road and hitchhike back to Lihue. BEST TRIP EVER!


Margot - Apr 3, 2010 3:58 pm Date Climbed: May 27, 2010

Made it! Yey!  Sucess!

Me (margot) and my boyfriend just made it up! Special thanks to Waialeale.org, Bob burd and "The Gang of Four." Your trip reports were very helpful.
We made it to the Waialeale rain gauge and Kawaikini! Had some trouble with navigation on the way in but one the way out,no problems. Took over 20-30 hours of hiking to get in but only 9.5 to get out. Navigation = hardest part. GPS and compass and maps got good use.

It was very clear when we got there. Pics and trip report can be found here There is an additionally gallery on my page too of some great views!

Don Nelsen

Don Nelsen - Apr 14, 2010 5:10 am

Re: Made it! Yey!

Hi Margot,

Congratulations to you and Sean for hiking to the summit! I really enjoyed your trip report and photos and am glad our trip report helped out. Also, glad to see our old friend, "arrow" has survived.

All the best,


Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Feb 29, 2008 11:48 pm Date Climbed: Dec 24, 2007

Success!  Sucess!

Came back for a second try at the dayhike, this time successful in 17hrs. One of the more memorable ones I've done yet. Trip Report

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - May 11, 2006 4:16 pm Date Climbed: Apr 22, 2006

Close, but...

I set out to dayhike the Kauai highpoint, but was thwarted by a few tactical errors. I'm convinced it can be done and will have to go back for another try in the future. This place is great fun! Trip Report


volcantrek8 - Jan 30, 2006 11:44 pm

Route Climbed: Divide leading from Koaie Camp to Summit.at Kawaikini Date Climbed: January 15, 2005  Sucess!

It took a total of three day under perfect weather conditions. Magnificent views from the top.

fortaz107 - Jun 27, 2005 8:44 pm

Route Climbed: Alakai Swamp Trail Date Climbed: 12/4/00

I drove right to the end of the road and then took the trail to Alakai Swamp. Great views of the north coast as you are skirting the ridge. Occasional clouds blew up the side of the island and past me from time to time. Its strange seeing a swamp way up on the top of a mountain, but it was pretty nice. I liked how most of the trail is a boardwalk. I didnt have time to make it to the actual summit while I was there. The summit area is very hard to get to for a mountain of this size due to the extreme amount of rainfall.

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