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Bearcat Ridge
Emerald Park Peaks.jpg
Bearcat Ridge high point, west aspect
Highest point
Elevation 7,960 ft (2,430 m)
Prominence 644 ft (196 m)
Isolation 1.08 mi (1.74 km)
Parent peak Emerald Peak 8,422 ft
Geography
Bearcat Ridge is located in Washington (state)
Bearcat Ridge
Bearcat Ridge
Location in Washington (state)
Bearcat Ridge is located in the United States
Bearcat Ridge
Bearcat Ridge
Location in the United States
Location Chelan County
Washington, U.S.
Parent range Chelan Mountains
North Cascades
Cascade Range
Topo map USGS Lucerne
Type of rock hornblende quartz diorite, granodiorite
Climbing
First ascent  

Bearcat Ridge is a 7,960+ft (2,430+m) mountain ridge located in the Chelan Mountains, in Chelan County of Washington state. It is situated on the boundary of Glacier Peak Wilderness, on land managed by Wenatchee National Forest. Its nearest higher peak is Emerald Peak, 1.1 mi (1.8 km) to the south-southwest, and Cardinal Peak is positioned 1.76 mi (2.83 km) to the south. Precipitation runoff from the ridge drains into nearby Lake Chelan via Emerald Creek and Bearcat Creek. Bearcat Ridge forms the high divide between these two creek valleys.

Climate

Most weather fronts originate in the Pacific Ocean, and travel northeast toward the Cascade Mountains. As fronts approach the North Cascades, they are forced upward by the peaks of the Cascade Range, causing them to drop their moisture in the form of rain or snowfall onto the Cascades (Orographic lift). As a result, the North Cascades experiences high precipitation, especially during the winter months in the form of snowfall. During winter months, weather is usually cloudy, but, due to high pressure systems over the Pacific Ocean that intensify during summer months, there is often little or no cloud cover during the summer.

Geology

Bearcat Ridge is composed primarily of granodiorite and hornblende quartz diorite, minerals of the Cardinal Peak pluton.

Emerald Peak saddle
Bearcat Ridge from Emerald Park

The North Cascades feature some of the most rugged topography in the Cascade Range with craggy peaks, spires, ridges, and deep glacial valleys. Geological events occurring many years ago created the diverse topography and drastic elevation changes over the Cascade Range leading to the various climate differences. The history of the formation of the Cascade Mountains dates back millions of years ago to the late Eocene Epoch. With the North American Plate overriding the Pacific Plate, episodes of volcanic igneous activity persisted. Glacier Peak, a stratovolcano that is 23 mi (37 km) west of Bearcat Ridge, began forming in the mid-Pleistocene. In addition, small fragments of the oceanic and continental lithosphere called terranes created the North Cascades about 50 million years ago. During the Pleistocene period dating back over two million years ago, glaciation advancing and retreating repeatedly scoured the landscape leaving deposits of rock debris. The "U"-shaped cross section of the river valleys are a result of recent glaciation. Uplift and faulting in combination with glaciation have been the dominant processes which have created the tall peaks and deep valleys of the North Cascades area.

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