Summit Fever (Part Two) – Beebys Knob(1442m)

“On a Mish” #389 Summit Fever (Part Two). Beebys Knob(1442m). Richmond Range. 12.8.2023. The most recent movie about Mt Everest was an excellent representation of what summit fever can do to perfectly sane people. Climbers that are well aware of turn-back times and the dangers of a downclimb with no energy left in the tank. ‘The top is only a few steps away’ gets repeated over and over again in your brain and thoughts of safety get ignored. Time will cease to exist and all that matters is getting to the top. I have had a couple of times when I have caught a bout of summit fever, but that was back when my body worked properly. Nowadays my broken bits restrict me from getting to the summits of most mountains. Well that was until I began a mish up the Beebys Knob Track and I started to feel the beginnings of a fever taking over the sensible thinking part of my brain…

The cold forest sent chills through my sore back and hip, and this meant a slow grind before I warmed up. Luckily the higher I got the better the views became. Nothing like a bit of mountain motivation to keep the legs moving.

When I started out I saw a sign saying that the edge of the farmland that needed to be crossed was about 1.5km away. I can get there, I thought. So I now had a target to aim for and I was going to get there no matter what.

The snow on the ground crunched under my boots and in places I would drop down into a deep drift. This added more of a challenge to a challenge I was hoping was going to be easier!

I slipped into a meditation-like state and the motion of draggin my left foot, followed by dragging my right foot, repeatedly. Muscle memory did its thing and before I knew it I had passed the edge of the farm. I was still feeling ok so I decided to push on to a small section of forest located on the crest of the first mound on the ridge to Beebys Knob. I thought about pausing to take photos, but I thought that might throw my rhythm out. So onward I pushed.

Sometimes a map will make something look a lot easier than it really is. Before my injury I would study maps and choose my routes based on the quickest way to my target. These days I look for the easiest way up across or down, and on Beebys Knob I thought there was much less up than expected. Luckily the views up the Rainbow Valley kept my mind occupied and worked as a distraction to my screaming hip and back.

I have to say that my little sidekick was doing a lot of the work for me, and if it wasn’t for Ernie my forward progress would have only taken me a faction of the way. He may be small but his little legs have a surprising amount of power!

After cresting the first knob of three the forest closed in around me. This part was flatish and my plan of finishing here changed to finishing when I got above the forest. Or so I thought.

It was just after the forest that I got my first view of the true summit of Beebys Knob and Just like when I started I thought it was far too far away for me to get to. I decided I would aim for the second knob on the ridge which sat just south of the true summit.

To get to the top of the unnamed knob I had to leave the trail and hit the snow and tussock. Sinking into the odd deep drift made the going slow and in places Ernie nearly disappeared. The going was tough and I had to stop many times to catch my breath and rest my weary broken bits. The summit of the knob seemed to take forever to get to but finally I dragged myself to the top and once there I got a good view of the way to the top of Beebys Knob. I should have called it a day there and then but my mind was now infected with summit fever and now after thinking I wouldn’t make it twenty metres up the track I was staring at a very reachable mountain top…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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