Meet Chase Norton.
Bro really likes hiking.
About a month ago, Chase spent a week up in the mountains and completed a hike that no one has completed before. (In modern times at least.)
He hiked the entire length of Oahu’s largest mountain range.
On April 1, 2012, Chase Norton became the first documented person to hike the entire Koolau summit in a single trip.
It took him 8 days. He brought in a two days worth of water and hiked down to streams when he needed to fill up his supply. He carried all his food and camping gear on his back. Nothing was stashed along the trail in advance. He had companions on a couple sections of the trail but for the most part, Chase hiked and camped alone.
When it was done, Chase had traveled by foot from the North Shore of Oahu to the southeast point of the island. From Pupukea to Makapu’u to be more specific. He had covered some 50 miles. With the side hikes needed to collect water, it was probably a bit more. It’s hard for me to imagine trying to even walk that distance on a paved road. Chase did it along the top of a mountain range.
Now, I don’t know how to put this but … this is kind of a big deal. If you’re interested in hiking in Hawaii at least. When you see the Koolaus I’m sure many of you have wondered if anyone has ever hiked the entire thing and if it’s even possible. I know I’ve wondered that and I never knew the answer. But now we know. It’s finally been done and the name Chase Norton is now in the Hawaii hiking record books. (Yes, there are Hawaii hiking record books. And no, that is not at all totally nerdy.)
But even if you’re not interested in hiking, the story of how Chase was able to complete this goal is pretty fascinating. To hike the summit ridge in one shot takes serious mental and physical endurance. And because no one has ever done it before, it took a lot of planning. Four years of planning to be exact. And, one failed attempt from which he learned some major lessons. This was a big project that consumed all of Chase’s free time. Every hike he did for the last four years was done with the purpose of learning the Koolau mountains, finding natural water sources and testing out backpacking gear.
It sounds like a lot of work and it is. But what surprised the heck out of me more was when I asked Chase what activities he was into before he started hiking. I assumed he was a soccer player in college or a runner of some sort. But no, Chase did nothing. Like, he was sedentary. Before he started hiking in Hawaii, he smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, drank beers every night and did nothing active. Then, literally overnight, he switched gears. And over the course of the last four years, Chase has hiked every weekend and transformed himself into a lean healthy endurance athlete who has found his passion in life.
So the lesson we can all learn is that if you move to Hawaii you will become active and healthy and find your passion. Nah nah just kidding. (But seriously, you might.)
In the rest of this post you’ll learn some details about the preparation for this hike, see some photos Chase took during the hike and learn a bit more about the history of this hike. Chase has also written up a day-by-day report on the hike with a full gear list. You can download the PDF here.
DISCLAIMER: Do not attempt what you see in this post. It is extremely dangerous and can lead to death or serious injury. The purpose of this blog post is to tell the story of Chase’s accomplishment and does not serve as a guide of any kind. I am not recommending that you attempt this hike. The website UnrealHawaii.com is for entertainment purposes only.
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