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Big Chiwaukum facts for kids

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Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum.jpg
Big Chiwaukum
Highest point
Elevation 8,081 ft (2,463 m)
Prominence 3,681 ft (1,122 m)
Big Chiwaukum is located in Washington (state)
Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum
Location in Washington (state)
Big Chiwaukum is located in the United States
Big Chiwaukum
Big Chiwaukum
Location in the United States
Parent range Chiwaukum Mountains
Wenatchee Mountains
Cascade Range
Topo map USGS Chiwaukum Mountains
Type of rock Schist
Easiest route Scrambling Class 3

Big Chiwaukum is a prominent 8,081-foot (2,463-metre) mountain summit located in Chelan County of Washington state. Big Chiwaukum is situated northeast of Frosty Pass, and within the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Big Chiwaukum is the highest peak in the Chiwaukum Mountains, a subset of the Cascade Range. In the Wenatchee dialect, Chiwaukum means many little creeks running into one big one. Its nearest higher peak is Cashmere Mountain, 10.35 mi (16.66 km) to the south-southeast. Precipitation runoff from Big Chiwaukum drains into tributaries of the Wenatchee River.


Most weather fronts originate in the Pacific Ocean, and travel east toward the Cascade Mountains. As fronts approach, 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 Cascades experience 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.


The Alpine Lakes Wilderness features some of the most rugged topography in the Cascade Range with craggy peaks and ridges, deep glacial valleys, and granite walls spotted with over 700 mountain lakes. Geological events occurring many years ago created the diverse topography and drastic elevation changes over the Cascade Range leading to the various climate differences.

Big Chiwaukum blue sky
Big Chiwaukum

Big Chiwaukum is composed of schist, part of the Nason terrane laid down 210 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 last glacial retreat in the Alpine Lakes area began about 14,000 years ago and was north of the Canada–US border by 10,000 years ago. The "U"-shaped cross section of the river valleys are a result of that 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 Alpine Lakes Wilderness area.

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