After hiking the Kelso Dunes we had plenty of time the same day to snag a tiny peak also in the Mojave Desert. Teutonia Peak consists of giant granite blocks arranged in a jagged ridge. There are three peaks: North, South and Centre. Centre Peak is the highest.
From the trailhead, Teutonia Peak rises above a profusion of Joshua trees, the highest concentration on the planet. We marveled at the odd trees as we hiked down the trail to Teutonia. And we enjoyed the wild life. A rabbit disappeared into the underbrush. Lizards scattered underfoot. A few birds flitted about.
The trail led to the ridge crest where it ended abruptly. After looking around we realized we had to drop down the east side to reach the South and Centre Peaks. (We eschewed North Peak as it's a class 5 climb.) Shin went for Centre Peak. Although only a class 3 climb, he had to jump across an abyss, a leap that made him nervous. If it made Shin nervous, it was out of the question for Dinah and I. Instead we scrambled up South Peak which was marginally lower than Centre Peak. After taking a panorama from the South Peak, I looked for Shin. I expected to see Shin on Centre, but he had disappeared.
When we caught up with Shin he was excited. He had seen a gray fox. After descending Centre Peak, he had passed below South Peak and ended up farther south on the ridge where we ran into him, and where he had seen the fox. Then Dinah and I saw the fox too. The three of us started down the ridge where we spotted it, but the cunning animal outfoxed us and disappeared into the rocks.
By then, it was time to turn back. Rather than retrace our steps back along the ridge to the trail, we dropped down the east slope of Teutonia and made our way through the Joshua trees. Looking back, Teutonia Peak was not a lofty goal to achieve so much as a granite playground to explore.
The trail passes through Joshua trees.
Approaching Teutonia Peak
Starting up the ridge
Superb desert scenery
Pretty cool rock too!
We drop down the east side.
Dinah works her way around granite boulders.
It's hard to determine where the South and Centre Peaks are.
Jagged north ridge ends with the balanced rock.
The notch above Dinah separates South and Centre Peaks. Shin heads to Centre Peak.
Dinah and I will go to the notch to climb South Peak.
Dinah climbs the notch between the South and Centre Peaks.
60 km northwest: in line with the balanced rock, is the Kingston Range.
North: Clark Mountain, Mescal Range and Stripe Mountain
After climbing down, Dinah looks back at South Peak.
Looking for the fox at the south end of the ridge
Descending from the south end
Kessler Peak lies east on the other side of Cima Road
Towering Joshua trees
Cima Dome1:24,000 Topo (3.6 mi, 5725 ft, 735 ft)