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Other Oahu Canyoneering: 7 Falls (more like 14 falls)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by NateFlet, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. NateFlet



    7 Falls is a beautiful gulch on the east side of the island. It's more widely known as a hike, as you could trek up the winding valley and hand ascend up multiple waterfalls with ropes that have been fixed above the waterfalls. Prior to this descent, my friend Luca and I had hiked, and then ascended up the first 4 waterfalls using the old ropes (not a smart idea, considering a few of the waterfalls were over 30ft) until we reached the 5th fall, which was the largest fall in the valley, but had its rope cut halfway down the fall with no way to get to it. After that day, I had always wondered what laid beyond that fall... So on this past 3rd of July, the crew found out.

    We started our approach at first light, as it was a long 4hr hike up and above the gulch, but that was easy walking compared to what we were about to encounter. If you read my earlier post "Communication Breakdown" & Nona Keikikane Falls write up, then you might remember our terrible time dropping down into the gulch, as native Ulehe ferns cover every inch of the mountain floor. Going off the (slightly) beaten trail required up to throw our bodies over a head high overgrowth of these sharp and irritating ferns. After about 30 minutes of this bushwhacking, we expected to drop down into a decent sized drainage that would lead into the main stream... instead we accidentally dropped down into a tiny, moist, and honestly pretty gross drainage next to the one we were aiming for :banghead:. This made for a lot of crouching under even more sharp raspberry bushes, and whacking through more Ulehe ferns for about another 30 minutes, until we finally made a small rappel into the main stream (thank god).

    We hiked a bit upstream to a small swimming hole to wash off all the dirt and grime we had accumulated on our bodies after the bushwhacking, and ate some lunch. This is when I learned that MRE's are time consuming and taste terrible. I feel sorry for those who protect our country but deal with eating that crap. Anyway, while the rest of the crew ate, I decided to walk upstream to see what I could find, and eventually got stopped by a small 10ft waterfall with a nice pool at the bottom. When I got back, we wet-suited up, and began our way down. We encountered our first small rappel, then our next one right after that, then a small walk to the next series of drops. This canyon had small drops back to back (probably what made it so fun and enjoyable). After our 3rd drop, the weather really started to act up, and with that, came rain... and a lot of it. The difference in water level from when Jesse rappelled down the 4th drop (first one down) to when I rappelled down the 4th drop (Last one down) was immense. Luckily for us, we knew this canyon offered no drops over ~130ft, so we all enjoyed the rise in water level, in fact, it probably made it that much more fun.

    It was all fun and games until we reached the 8th fall (or the 5th fall if you were to hike up the from bottom. This was the fall Luca and I had made it to before we got turned back due to a cut rope). The 7th fall dropped literally right into a pool above the 8th fall, making for some very poor anchor choices. We found previous anchors on a rock literally right on top of the 8th drop. With nothing else to anchor onto, we set our anchor on the same rock. This drop, with the combination of the drops height, a tricky anchor to get under, and the high water made it particularly scary as heck. Jesse could be seen climbing his way down, on top of the waterfall to get under the anchor at around 1:23 in the video. We all found our way down safely but I totally forgot to film what the fall looked like from the bottom :facepalm:. So heres a picture:

    Despite the harsh entrance, this valley is probably my favorite on the island, and definitely took the title for the most fun canyon I have run so far. 7 Falls gave a total of 11 rappels (ironic haha) and took us a total of 12 hours to complete the entire loop back to our car.
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