Cayuse-Mennecke-Teetors Traverse by Livingston Douglas

This multi-peak climb and ridge traverse covers Peak 5913 (Cayuse Peak), Peak 5780 (Mennecke Peak), and Peak 6021 (Teetors Peak). The climb begins and ends at the junction of Long Tom Ranch Road and Prairie Road. The elevation at this junction is 4,780 feet. This multi-peak climb and ridge traverse covers 11.0 miles with 4,150 feet of elevation gain round trip. It is almost entirely off-trail and requires a lot of ups and downs on the long ridge traverse. USGS Long Tom Reservoir, Syrup Creek


Park along Prairie Road near the unsigned junction with Long Tom Ranch Road. This junction is located 7.4 miles up Prairie Road from US-20. Long Tom Ranch Road is so overgrown and disused that it is easy to miss this junction. The elevation here is 4,780 feet.

The Climb

From the junction at Prairie Road, hike up Long Tom Ranch Road (an overgrown, grassy, 2-track jeep road) for ¼ mile to a parking pullout on a minor saddle. Leave the road here and scramble north then northwest up through sagebrush to reach the southeast ridge of Point 5618. Descend west-northwest down a ridge/face to approach a minor saddle. To reach the saddle, skirt the left/south side of a minor point that lies just above the saddle. Once you reach the saddle, scramble southwest up more scrub to reach a gentle ridge point at a corner. Turn right/northwest here and descend to another saddle.

From this saddle, climb west to a minor ridge point. Descend northwest slightly to another saddle then continue northwest to yet another ridge point. Descend north from this ridge point to a final saddle at the base of Peak 5913/Cayuse Peak. Follow the ridge north then northwest to reach the rocky outcrop that is the high point of this peak. Scramble up a crumbly, 10-foot chute to reach the summit. Note that the gentle bump 50 yards north of this rocky outcrop is five feet lower than the top of the rocky outcrop.

Leave the rocky summit, descend the chute, and skirt the right/east side of the rocky outcrop to return to the ridge crest. Continue northward a short distance to reach a gentle hump that serves as a ridge corner. From this corner, turn left/southwest and descend the ridge to a minor saddle. This ridge section is somewhat steep in spots, but isn’t too bad. From the minor saddle, continue southwest along the ridge crest to cross a minor ridge bump. From this bump, descend west directly down to a critical pass at 5,500 feet. This pass has an ATV road crossing it, an ATV road that will be critical on the return trip.

The terrain to this point has been open scrub/sagebrush with some ground scree/gravel mixed in. From the narrow pass, scramble west up the ridge to a large, gentle ridge point that serves as a corner point. Follow the ridge crest up-and-down over three more ridge points to descend to a final saddle that sits below beautiful, rugged Peak 5780/Mennecke Peak. The terrain on the ridge traverse to this point is easy, short scrub and broken rock. From the final saddle, climb northwest up the steep ridge to reach the elongated, narrow summit ridge. Scramble north to the summit high point. The summit area is a narrow ridge crest characterized by minor talus fins protruding from the ground.

From the summit of Mennecke Peak, you can see Peak 6021/Teetors Peak far off in the distance to the northwest. It is just over a mile (as the crow flies), but it seems much farther away than that for some reason. There is a prominent east summit that is also visible and must be crossed on the way to the true summit of Teetors Peak. Descend the steep north ridge of Mennecke Peak to a minor saddle, then scramble up over a broad, easy ridge hump to descend to yet another saddle. This saddle lies at the base of the east face of Teetors Peak and is a critical one to remember on the return trip, because it is the departure point from which you must descend east to reach an ATV trail that heads south and leads back to the critical pass just west of Cayuse Peak, the first summit in today’s journey. But more on that later.

From the saddle, climb northwest up a steep face of short scrub and loose scree/gravel. You will soon emerge on the curved south ridge of the east summit of Teetors Peak. Head north then northwest on this tedious ridge through thicker scrub to reach the east summit. Descend west to a saddle then cross an old, dilapidated cattle fence to then bash your way southwest up a slope of thick willows and aspens. You will emerge at the east end of the summit area. From here, scramble west then northwest another ¼ mile over two more false summits to reach the true summit of Peak 6021/Teetors Peak. The summit high point has a triangulation post and some wiring laying on the ground, along with a torn-down summit cairn.

From the summit of Teetors Peak, retrace your steps back to the saddle at the base of the hump just north of Mennecke Peak. While you can re-climb the hump and descend to the saddle just below Mennecke Peak, that is not necessary. Just descend east on the left/north side of a gully to reach an ATV road/trail. Do what you can to avoid the worst of the thick brush. This descent route drops about 200 feet to reach the old road. Follow the ATV road/trail south over a few shoulders and through a few gullies to get back to the narrow pass at the base of the west ridge of Cayuse Peak.

From the pass, retrace your route up over Cayuse Peak and back down to Long Tom Ranch Road via the long, undulating, curvy ridge crest. You will be happy to set your feet back on a road again. Follow the road for ¼ mile back down to Prairie Road and your vehicle.