Climbing the Right Puʻu

Another weekend, another puʻu… So last week I climbed the wrong puʻu. This weekend I climbed the right puʻu.

Puʻu Kole
Puʻu Kole as seen from upslope across the aʻa lava field
The goal was to explore a pretty landmark I had looked at from the summit road so many times, Puʻu Kole. In the late afternoon light this cinder cone becomes a brilliant shade of red, a striking feature in an already impressive view.

Reaching this hill one travels a couple miles down the R-1 road, the Ka Aliali Trail. A couple of miles of 4WD road to bounce over. The road is not that bad, but I would recommend a true 4WD vehicle. DLNR requires a 4WD vehicle based on the signs, not that everyone reads the signage at the start of the road.

Unlike last weekend there was no heavy fog to obscure the landscape as I reached the area. My goal was obvious… the big red puʻu just downslope from the road. There is a short secondary road, signed R-2 that leads into the area between the two hills. After about a quarter mile this road fades at the edge of an aʻa flow. After parking I got out and sat on a rock outcropping for a while with a snack. The area is just pretty, the jagged black lava and native plants. I finished a bag of chips, downed a water bottle and simply enjoyed the view.

Puʻu Kole is notably harder to ascend than Puʻu Palaolelo. I suspected I was on the wrong puʻu last weekend when it was too easy, reaching the top after a quick stroll in the fog. Puʻu Kole is nearly twice as high, as least when approaching from the upslope side.

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