Saturday, November 26, 2011


Winter came early in Anchorage and we are on pace for record setting snowfall in November. Skiing has been terrific in town and in the mountains, but it has also been down-right cold. On Saturday morning, I had training at North Bivouac at 8 AM: -15°F. By that night, I would be swimming in a warm tropical ocean. It was time to recharge the batteries to take on the long winter.

Goodbye Turnagain Arm

We opted to forego the big city feel of Honolulu and Waikiki for the laid back atmosphere of the North Shore. Days were spent barefoot while laying out, swimming, or drinking over-sized / over boozed icy cocktails. Doors were left open at night and island breezes and crashing waves serenaded us to sleep. Country being the country, roosters gave us a 90 minute heads up of the impending dawn.

Mokuauia Island is about 300 yards from the beach at Malaekahana Bay. It's a straight-forward wade/swim once we avoided the Hawaiian Monk Seal that was sleeping on the beach. The island itself blocks most of the surf so getting out there is easy, but I was glad to have some reef shoes as the bottom is sharp and uneven.

Our Private Beach on Mokoauia Island

Barcode gave me the inside line on a nice rock to jump off of into Waimea Bay. It's a 20-25' launch into the warm blue ocean. After a few hours of swimming/jumping/napping it was time head into Hale'iwa for food and trinkets. On the walk out I noticed lots of chalk marks on the long black wall. This crag had dozens of routes right along the beach. The sand was softer than any crash pad. Most of the the routes seemed to 5.8 / 5.9, but there were definitely a few that were more difficult.

Sussing a Difficult Problem

It'd be worth it to bring some climbing shoes if you ever make it to Oahu. A harness and rope would also be a good idea for some of the longer routes, but there is plenty to keep you busy for a morning without ever getting more than 10' off the sand.

Topping Out on a Difficult Problem

Something More my Speed

Returning to the airport was difficult. Winter's icy grasp lay in wait just 5 hours away. But so did faceshots, northern lights, good friends, and down jackets. But that didn't stop me from praying that I'd get bumped.