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Bunker Boulders

Matt Lutey approaches the Bunker Boulders, rock climbing in Hawaii.

Those black spots up there on the hillside are boulders.

Matt Lutey on Angel's Boulder, Oahu, Hawaii rock climbing.

Some are big enough to climb.

Tree at a Hawaii bouldering location, Mokuleia Oahu

Further up the hillside you come to this freaky area.

Matt Lutey bouldering in Oahu, Hawaii

Matt Lutey at the Bunker Boulders. Rock climbing and bouldering in Mokuleia on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Up here, lies the Iceberg.

Bunker Boulders is another new bouldering spot that’s being developed on Oahu. Credit goes to fellow rock climbers Angel Munoz and Phil Langford for bushwhacking through the hillside and finding this great collection of boulders. As they explored the area they came across some old military bunkers built into the hill and that’s how the place got its name.

I cruised out here with Matt a couple weeks ago and he showed me the three main boulders. But there are more rocks to climb in this area and probably many more that remain undiscovered.

Waves were going off on all north shores in Hawaii that day.

We got distracted a bit with the sight of some monks that rolled up in a Lexus. They ran down to check out the waves.

The first boulder you’ll come across is the warm up boulder. It’s small and the problems on here are easy so Matt suggested we skip it.

This is called Angel’s Boulder. (Named after Angel Munoz, who found it.) It’s big and the problems (“problem” = rock climbing route on a boulder) on it are hard.

Matt checks to make sure all the holds he needs are dry.

He starts with the traverse. Stand start, then work your hands to the left along the lip. You’ll need to heel hook the lip with your right foot to get to your left hand to a crimp. Then cut your feet, and move them over to the left as you work your way to the center of the boulder. It’s not easy and you’ll need a spotter to keep moving the pad below you as you traverse.

Top out here.

There’s also a problem along the arete (the part of the boulder with chalk all over it.) And a direct route straight up the middle of the boulder. That’s what matt is working on above.

A squall appeared to the west which gave us a reason to sit under the overhang of Angel’s Boulder and drink a beer. It quickly passed through without soaking us too much.

Looking to the left of Angel’s Boulder you’ll see more rocks. We made our way up there.

This is the Undercling Boulder that Matt found the week before.

He got the FA (FA = first ascent) on this boulder and came to repeat it. It’s always good to repeat problems to confirm their difficulty level.

This problem is cool. It starts low on the right side and you bump your right hand up the side and to the lip of the rock.

Hanging off your right arm and with your heel hooked on the start hold, bring your left hand up to hold in a small crack.

Bump your left hand up to the lip and you can cut your feet. But control the swing so you don’t pop off the rock. (Especially if the person that’s supposed to be spotting you is taking pictures of you instead.)

Kick the right leg up over the lip.

And rotate your body over the lip to top out.


This is the view of this problem from the front. Matt has bumped his right hand up along the lip of the boulder. His weight is all being supported by that right arm and a right foot heel hook. His left foot is “flagged” out and hanging in the air. Now, he has to let go of his left hand hold and slowly move the left arm up to get his fingers in that crack towards the top. From there he can bump is left hand to higher up to the lip and he’ll be secure.

Once he’s hit the lip, his feet can cut and he’ll place them back on the face of the rock. Then he’ll be able to top out.

Now at the top, he can enjoy the view the monster North Shore swell.

This view.

I gave the problem a shot. It’s within my skill level but I would need to get a little bit stronger to complete it.

Next up, the Iceberg. We made our way further up the mountain over a “trail” of loose rocks.

And here it is. Once of the coolest looking boulders I’ve seen on the island.

A huge tree is growing out of the side of this rock.

The Iceberg gets it’s white color from this lichen of some sort growing on it. Even with a wire brush, it doesn’t come off so this might not be the best rock to climb on.

But the color and the giant split down the middle of it made this boulder look awesome.

The boulder problem on the Iceberg starts with these two tiny holds. It’s a high-ball (a very tall boulder problem) that Matt has completed before. But today, he would make another attempt at it.

They are tiny crimps that you can barely dig your fingertips into.

The the holds follow this thin crack.

Matt Lutey, Hawaii rock climber.

Matt makes his way halfway up the boulder.

As the sun sets, he’ll use a headlamp for the next attempts.

You can see that this rock face is not overhanging. That’s a good thing since the holds are so small.

Matt’s left hand is handing on by the very tips of his fingers.

Matt looks up towards the top and realizes there’s a long way to go, his spotter (me) is next to him, not below him, and we don’t really have enough pads for a long fall.

He escapes to the left and rests in the large crack.

We were losing light fast and at this point we had made our way much further up the mountain. It was time to pack up and hike back to the car.

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This story was last modified on March 25, 2013. (Originally published in February 2012.)

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