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Cathedral Peak (Washington) facts for kids

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Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Peak from Apex Pass.jpg
Cathedral Peak seen from Apex Pass
Highest point
Elevation 8,606 ft (2,623 m) NAVD 88
Prominence 989 ft (301 m)
Listing List of Highest Mountain Peaks in Washington
Cathedral Peak is located in Washington (state)
Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Peak
Location in Washington (state)
Cathedral Peak is located in the United States
Cathedral Peak
Cathedral Peak
Location in the United States
Parent range Okanogan Range
North Cascades
Cascade Range
Topo map USGS Remmel Mountain
Type of rock Granite
First ascent 1901 by Carl W. Smith and George O. Smith
Easiest route Scrambling class 3 Southwest slope

Cathedral Peak is an 8,606-foot (2,623-metre) mountain summit located in Okanogan County in Washington state. It is part of the Okanogan Range which is a sub-range of the North Cascades. The mountain is situated in the Pasayten Wilderness, on land administered by Okanogan National Forest. The nearest higher peak is Grimface Mountain, 2.6 miles (4.2 km) to the north in Cathedral Provincial Park in Canada. The Pacific Northwest Trail traverses below the south slope of Cathedral Peak as it crosses Cathedral Pass. Less than a mile to the opposite side of the pass stands Amphitheater Mountain. Precipitation runoff from Cathedral Peak drains west into Cathedral Fork, or east into Cathedral Creek.


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 west side of the North Cascades experiences higher precipitation than the east side, 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 North Cascades features 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. 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.

Climbing Routes

Established rock climbing routes on Cathedral Peak:

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