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The Green Boulders

Massive exposed boulders.

I’ve never seen free standing boulders this big on Oahu. You can see that one is the size of a house. This area is a new bouldering spot and has been dubbed The Green Boulders.

The overhang.

The rock is solid but let’s hope that this one doesn’t come crashing down anytime soon.

Traverse to a top out.

Once we clean off the dirt around the holds, there will be many lines to climb.

The Northern Whale project.

On this exploratory outing, we scouted the area, established one solid boulder problem and worked on a couple projects (project = a boulder problem that has yet to be completed). The main takeaway was that this place is legit. And we need to come back with more people, more crash pads and more machetes.

The Green Boulders are located in one of the small valleys on the North Shore. (We don’t know the name of the valley yet.) Matt (the man behind Waimea Bay Bouldering) heard about it through one of his climbing buddies and scouted it a week ago but didn’t do too much climbing. Then last Sunday, he brought Joe, Brian and I out there with pads and a rope to see what this place really has to offer.

What we saw blew us away.

Getting to the boulders, for now at least, is not easy. You have to bushwhack your way through overhead California grass, vines and rocks that trip you, low tree branches and huge spiders. All this with packs and crash pads on your back. Thankfully, Matt brought a huge machete. A weed whacker would have been nice.

Joe can barely be seen through the dense grass.

After 40 minutes of bushwhacking you make your way to a stream bed and rock hop for another 20 minutes until you reach the back of the valley.

Suddenly the valley opens up and you see these amazing boulders. One, the size of a single family home with another, the size of a U-Haul truck, sitting on top of it. The fallen rock forms this insane over-hanging high-ball boulder problem.

We surveyed the area for a while and found routes all over the place.

Matt warmed up a bit on the slab to get a feel for the top out.

The place is gorgeous.

This is another warm up problem. It’s a short route with Hueco (as in Hueco Tanks) looking holds. You start down by the pads and top out over the boulder.

This short problem Matt did next is a pretty tough one. I have no idea how he held on to some of those slopers (sloper = a hold that you cannot wrap your fingers around…think palming a basketball).

You can also traverse around this giant boulder to warm up.

This is the Northern Whale project. It’s a direct line from a sit start, over the point of the arête (arête = thin edge or ridge of a rock) and to a top out directly over the arête.

I gave it a go but didn’t really get anywhere. I think I got the first move and fell.

In case you were still wondering why it’s called The Green Boulders.

Brian got the FA (FA = first ascent, i.e., he’s the first person to ever complete this route) and named the problem Northern Lights. Matt then repeated the route. Sit start then traverse up the lip to the arete. Mantel over the lip and top out over the face using the arete and the tiny finger holes.

This top out, btw, is no joke. The face looks so blank once you come up from the mantel.

We then decided to check out the overhanging boulder. With the boulder being such a high-ball, the only way to check out the holds (without dying) was to rope up.

Where should we tie the rope guys? Oh, that tree over there.

We used a 30 foot webbing tied around a tree as an anchor and tossed down the top-rope.

Now it was time to get a better look at this boulder.

Just getting up to the boulder was a challenge. We were worried about where the climber would swing if he fell.

Matt finally made it on to the rock and investigated the holds. They were full of dirt but there were holds.

One hold had a huge black wasp living in it. Like massive. Maybe a 3 inch wingspan. Joe tapped around it to shoo it away but while it would eventually fly away, it would come back a couple minutes later and hover around the hole like a Blackhawk helicopter.

During the times that the massive 6 inch wasp was out of the way, we managed to get some climbers on this part of the boulder. Brian figured out that he could probably jump start this problem from a ledge on the sidewall. There was a big jug for his left hand and the wasp nest for his right hand.

Once on the boulder, Brian climbed up a bit and suddenly let go. He said he felt a crunch in one of the holds as he grabbed it. Not sure if it was another wasp or a spider.

Joe tried out the jump start and stuck it. You don’t have to jump super high, but you have to jump out far enough that it’s pretty sketchy.

Matt stuck the jump start as well.

It looked like there were enough holds to make the top out. But it would not be easy.

We found that when you fall, you swing straight out so it was actually pretty safe.

After all those jump starts, that enormous foot-long wasp never did come back but because of it, we’re calling this the Black Wasp Project.

When we were done climbing for the day we checked out the area beyond the main boulder and overhang. There’s a bunch more boulders scattered throughout the valley.

And at the back of the valley there’s what looks like a dried waterfall. We suspected that during heavy rain, this waterfall gets huge. And there was a ton of fresh debris scattered throughout the stream bed that looked like signs of a strong flash flood.

We wanted to give ourselves at least and hour of daylight to get back to the car so we packed up our gear and bushwhacked our way back out of the valley. It was an epic day of exploring and rock climbing in Hawaii.

Getting here:

I can’t post directions yet because I have no idea how to describe how we got here. We lost the trail a few times and just had to push through California grass and trees. We plan to go back and clear the trail more and ribbon the best approach. Once that’s done I’ll add directions to this post.

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This story was last modified on March 25, 2013. (Originally published in June 2011.)

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