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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Hayden

The longest ridge (Beuzenberg Peak)

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

I've had this one in my back pocket for a while now,

A couple of weeks ago I put it off.

I really wanted it to be a winter adventure and a little patience paid off.


Beuzenberg Peak caps Stag Saddle, the highest point of the Te Araroa. It's one of the most prominent peaks in the Tekapo area and stands at a whopping 2070 metres above sea level.


After falling short of the summit on my last outing I was determined to prove myself,

This meant an early start.

Billy and I hit the road at 5:30am under the guidance of my one remaining headlight 😆


As you can imagine there wasn't much to see, but once the sky had opened up I thought it'd be rude not to snap a picture of the sun rising upon Mt Cook.



The road to Tekapo isn't known for it's cuisine, though the Greedy Cow Cafe does serve Cromwell's own Sanga's pies.

The finest pies in all the land.


Across the lake was my mountain,up above the church.



Our trail began at the entrance to Roundhill Ski Area, I had hoped to drive a little further but a fair chunk of chain had other plans😅


 

We followed the gravel road for 3km before turning onto the Te Araroa, which was scattered with frozen tarns and patches of white.

I've missed this😌

I love the contrast in the terrain, the way the rock cuts through the snow at altitude looks wicked 👌🏽



After an hour or so the track met the river, I'd spotted someone removing his boots to cross the Coal River.

If you've been following my escapades you already know my stance on crossings 😝

This one was rather wide and limited in the way of stepping stones.

We opted to scale the bank around a slip to win the first round.


Further up stream we were forced to call it even, finding a section of calm, shallow water to wade through🥲

We were soon able to regain the lead and

Had the running water beat 2/1 by basecamp.



Camp Stream Hut is charmingly rustic.

With six bunks, a cast iron fireplace and no shortage of stored firewood it seemed ideal.

We arrived just after lunch and set ourselves up for what would be a late night in the hills.



From Camp Stream Hut you can either walk through a valley or along a ridge to Beuzenberg.

We took the ridge and began a steady ascent after jumping Camp Stream.


From the ridge I spotted someone in the distance, it looked as if they were headed to Mt Hope across the valley.

I have to assume it was the same guy I'd spotted at Coal River earlier.

He kinda just hung out on top of that hill for a bit before heading back in the direction of the hut.

Maybe we have a Flatmate🤷🏻‍♂️🤔



Oh and⏬🙌🏻



The crisp air made for an ideal walking temperature and we were making good time but I dubbed this the longest ridge for a reason.

That peak was deceivingly far away😅


 

The way the snow parted towards the peak was mesmerizing, Billy compared it to a yin and yang symbol which seemed fitting.

I ran out of water by this and was chomping snow 😂



The sun was getting real low but my spirits were high.

Only a measly hundred and fifty metres stood between us and the top.


The snow here had become more compact and I wasn't sinking in as much, but my socks were compromised a while ago😅

Boots are only waterproof to the top of the boot apparently🤷🏻‍♂️



We summited in the golden hour.

I was on top of the world again.

Everything else in my life pales in comparison to moments like these, this is holy ground.


I decided to go with a signature D Generation X crotch chop to commemorate this adventure.


Action shots only !



Watching the sun set behind Mt Cook was a priveledge, I'd never seen it from this angle before and I never realized just how thick it is.


 

The walk back was similar to the drive in, with one headlight😆 this time strapped to my beanie,

It was getting rather cold🥶

Hopping rocks across the stream was questionable in the dark but we made it.

I lost feeling in my hands filling my water bottle up😅


Crossing the stream meant we were only ten minutes from the hut and I was looking forward to a hot drink and dry socks🤗


We were met with another head torch, we had company🤨

It wasn't who we were expecting, whoever we were trailing earlier in the day was long gone.

A couple of people our age had made themselves at home.

They'd lit the fire but it produced more smoke inside than heat🤦🏻‍♂️

We ended up just letting it go out.


I settled for a hot cup of tea and contemplated cooking dinner, I brought one of my favourite dehydrated meals ( spicy beef nachos ) with me but ended up just going to sleep.

I was exhausted🥱



Sunday was very leisurely, we'd already completed the mission and the only thing I had to get back for was work tomorrow😮‍💨


I don't usually eat breakfast out here but felt I owed my body some nutrients.

I brought a packet of " cooked breakfast " with me this time.

Someone recommended it and despite resembling vomit it was rather tasty.


We left the hut mid morning as the valley defrosted, our little toes froze through the river and we noticed a path above the river similar to ours yesterday.


 

That path had it's moments🤷🏻‍♂️

I got this really cool shot of Beuzenberg.

I also got stabbed by a gang of thornbushes🥲

Billy went back to the marked route but I was far too stubborn, I hadn't climbed halfway up this hill just to turn around😂


It did eventually link up with the marked track, it just passed through some shit that I hadn't seen when I chose it😅



The weather took a turn around mid day but that didn't really bother me, I was on the home stretch.

Just a few km's down this gravel road and I've got heating😌



As much as I love it out there I can't tell you how good it is to see the car sometimes☺️

And yeah that car's gonna take me back to work but it's also going to take me to Prospector's 🍔


Sometimes everything doesn't feel so bad😏

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