Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Monday, September 23, 2013

SOTA Activation of KH6/OH-013; Lanipo (Mau'umae Trail)

Pictures from my hike are available at: Lanipo Picts.

  Since Hawai'i SOTA kicked-off 1 Sept 2013, I have tried to figure out my next peak to activate. I settled on OH-013, Pu'ulanipo (commonly referred to as just Lanipo). Warning: This is not a summit for beginners. I was able to get some idea of this hike from various blogs from local hikers and from Stuart Ball Jr's guide book (pg 26). You can also search for Mau'umae Trial. The consensus that this hike is a "roller coaster" was right on the mark. Pack plenty of water. I lost about 8 pounds (sweat) on this hike and ran out of water on the way down. Although I told my wife exactly where I was going and when I would return, I broke a cardinal rule of hiking by going alone. Nevertheless, I had a good time and made it home in one piece.

  I parked on Maunalani Circle at 5:40 am with the ill-conceived notion that I could knock this hike out and be home by lunch. Did I mention this hike is 7+ miles round trip and over 2000 feet elevation gain? When I started it was still dark outside except for the light from the waning moon present in the clear sky. Accessing the right-of-way to the trail head, I had to break out my cell phone to use it's light to keep me from tripping over the roots between the two chain-link fences.

  Upon reaching the first vantage point of the hike I could see the eastern sky beginning to lighten. As I carefully made the first significant descent I could hear the chickens announcing the day's beginning down on my left in the Palolo Valley neighborhood. Ascending, and descending became the name of the game. Highlights of the hike were the many great vistas of Honolulu to include Diamond Head. There were also many flowers along the way which allowed me to stop occasionally and enjoy the view. I especially liked the sound of the wind as I passed through the stands of Ironwood and pine trees. As I approached the summit I saw the impressive Kaau Crater to the west with its waterfall leading down to the valley below. It was at this point that I realized this was the first time on O'ahu that I felt somewhat isolated. I had not seen another hiker on the trail. Aside from the occasional drone from a passing aircraft, all I could hear was the wind, birds, and insects.

  After taking in the view of Kaneohe at the summit of the Mau'umae Trail, take a right to head for Lanipo (do not go straight or your hiking days are over). The trail from here to the summit (about .2 miles) is a hair-raising endeavor over two smaller peaks up the saddle. To the left of this trail is a precipice of life-ending proportions; at least a 200-250 foot near straight drop off. The low, heavy vegetation coupled with slippery footing requires acute attention to what you are doing. Take your time!

  The 3.5 mile hike up took me about 3.5 hours, and 2 hours down. I do not think I will be back to Lanipo anytime soon or at least not until I shed some weight from my 35 pound pack. I enjoyed the hike, bucket list checked, but this trail kicked my butt. If I am able to reach all the summits on O'ahu, then maybe I will reconsider giving this one another go. I will be sure to bring someone who has not yet faced this peak to share the adventure.
Safe hiking and 73,
Allen - KH7AL

Thanks to those who helped me activate this summit for the first time.
18.165 MHz, times approximated:
19:14z   N7AMA
19:15z   K6EL
19:16z   N1EU
19:18z   K1JD
19:18z   N6KZ
19:19z   NS7P
19:20z   K7SO
19:21z   N4EX
19:23z   W7JET

19:25z   MM0USU

Ball, Stuart M. Jr (2000). The Hikers Guide to O'ahu, Revised Edition. University of Hawai'i Press.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

KH6 SOTA Activation Day

KH6 Association Reference Manual link

After a long wait and much hard work by N7UN (Guy) and K6EL (Elliott), Hawai'i Summits On The Air (SOTA) became a reality yesterday (1 Sept, 0000Z). I met K6EL in person for the first time Friday downtown at his hotel in Waikiki and had lunch. We discussed our activation plans and he gave me some last minute advice as this was going to be my first activation. Thankfully, I did not feel like too much like a rookie thanks to Elliott's support.

My eldest son, Kiegan (8), asked to come along. I almost said no as I was too focused on getting on the air and had forgot that this is supposed to be fun too. He quickly talked me into it and the two of us were off to climb Koko Crater trail to activate KH6/OH-021. This was the second time we have climbed this peak together. We had a great father-son day. He helped pull his dad (figuratively) up the hill with his coaxing. This was the first hiking with a substantial backpack and boy am I reconsidering trading out the 9 Ah sealed lead-acid battery for something lighter. It took us 45 minutes to reach the 1208' summit; respectable considering my 35 lb pack and the temperature close to 90F. The Koko Crater trail is a beast. Think Stair Master on steroids. The old supply tram rail provides the 1000+ steps needed to reach the top. However, it can prove somewhat dangerous descending if your legs are tired. There are many tripping hazards on the way up and down. Kiegan actually did a somersault (not on purpose) about half way down; he was okay but definitely more dusty than before.

At the top we got to work setting up. Kiegan again was a great help and seemed to enjoy helping Dad hook up all the connections. I made a quick contact with KQ0C (working the Colorado QSO party) to test out the HF setup before 0-hour and to K6EL across the way on Diamond Head (KH6/OH-025). When 1 September arrived at 1400 (HST) we had great support from several local HAMs to ensure we each had our four required contacts. The view from the top is spectacular. There are several old structures at the top to aid putting up an antenna. The downside is that is was pretty dusty with the trade winds blowing on the summit at a substantial clip. We were both powder coated by the time we were through.

Lessons Learned: If your signal report drops suddenly along with your receive level, check to see if your telescopic mast has not collapsed inside itself a length or two or three... a quick corrective adjustment could have resulted in several more QSO's.

Here is a list of the contacts I made. Thanks to everyone who helped get on KH6 Summits On The Air!
KH6/OH-021 "Kohelepelepe"; 1028' prominence.
0000 K6EL (S2S)
0002 KH6WG
0005 KH6XL

0013 NS7P
0014 WH6DXW
0017 AB7YL
0018 W7RV
0021 N7AMA
0020 WA7JTM
0022 W7USA
0024 N1EU
0027 K7SO
0029 KF7PXT
0030 KU6J (S2S)
0031 N5XL
0032 K3XD
0032 VA7ZOO
0039 K7JDF (S2S)

 Some pictures of our journey.

My son keeping watch atop Koko Crater

The view over Koko crater looking ENE

Kiegan "playing" operator

"The Beast"