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Magic Mountain (Washington) facts for kids

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Magic Mountain
Summit of Magic Mountain.jpg
The sharp summit of Magic Mountain
Highest point
Elevation 7,610 ft (2,320 m)
Prominence 530 ft (160 m)
Isolation 0.86 mi (1.38 km)
Parent peak Hurry-up Peak (7,821 ft)
Location Skagit County, Washington, U.S.
Parent range North Cascades
Cascade Range
Topo map USGS Cascade Pass
Type of rock Magic Mountain Gneiss
First ascent 1938, Calder Bressler, Ralph Clough, Bill Cox, Tom Myers
Easiest route scrambling + glacier travel

Magic Mountain is a 7,610-foot (2,320-metre) mountain summit located on the shared boundary of Skagit County and Chelan County in Washington state. It is part of the North Cascades Range, a subset of the Cascade Range. Magic Mountain is situated southeast of Cascade Pass on the shared border of North Cascades National Park and Glacier Peak Wilderness. The nearest peak is Pelton Peak 0.4 miles (0.64 km) to the northeast, and the nearest higher peak is Hurry-up Peak 0.83 miles (1.34 km) to the south. The Yawning Glacier and Cache Col Glacier rest on its northern flank. Magic Mountain is at the northern end of the Ptarmigan Traverse. Surface runoff on the north side the mountain drains into the Stehekin River, while precipitation drains into the Cascade River from the southwest side.


Magic Mountain is located in the marine west coast climate zone of western North America. 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 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. Because of maritime influence, snow tends to be wet and heavy, resulting in high avalanche danger.


The North Cascades features some of the most rugged topography in the Cascade Range with craggy peaks and ridges, deep glacial valleys, and granite spires. Geological events occurring many years ago created the diverse topography and drastic elevation changes over the Cascade Range leading to the various climate differences. These climate differences lead to vegetation variety defining the ecoregions in this area.

Cascade pass
Magic Mountain to right

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.

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