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Martin Peak
Martin Peak is located in Washington (state)
Martin Peak
Martin Peak
Location in Washington (state)
Martin Peak is located in the United States
Martin Peak
Martin Peak
Location in the United States
Highest point
Elevation 8,511 ft (2,594 m)
Prominence 2,111 ft (643 m)
Isolation 2.34 mi (3.77 km)
Parent peak Bonanza Peak (9,511 ft)
Location Glacier Peak Wilderness
Chelan County
Washington, U.S.
Parent range North Cascades
Topo map USGS Holden
Type of rock schist, marble
First ascent 1936
Easiest route class 4 scrambling

Martin Peak is an 8,511-foot (2,594-metre) mountain summit located in the North Cascades, in Chelan County of Washington state. Martin Peak is situated 80 miles northeast of Seattle, and 3 mi (4.8 km) northwest of Holden, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, on land managed by the Wenatchee National Forest. Martin Peak ranks 56th on Washington's highest 100 peaks, and 54th on the "Bulger List". The nearest higher neighbor is Bonanza Peak, 2.35 miles (3.78 km) to the west, and Riddle Peak lies 3.7 miles (6.0 km) to the east-southeast. Precipitation runoff from the mountain and meltwater from the glacier in the east cirque drains into nearby Lake Chelan via Railroad Creek and Company Creek. Topographic relief is significant since the southern aspect of the mountain rises 4,900 feet above the Railroad Creek Valley in approximately 2 mi (3.2 km). The first ascent of the peak was made in July 1936 by Ida Zacher Darr.


Lying east of the Cascade crest, the area around Martin Peak is a bit drier than areas to the west. Summers can bring warm temperatures and occasional thunderstorms. 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. With its impressive height, Martin Peak can have snow on it in late-spring and early-fall, and can be very cold in the winter.


Bonanza Peak from Seven Fingered Jack
Martin Peak (upper right) and Bonanza Peak (left) seen from Seven Fingered Jack

The North Cascades features some of the most rugged topography in the Cascade Range with craggy peaks, 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. These climate differences lead to vegetation variety defining the ecoregions in this area.

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 16.5 mi (26.6 km) west-southwest of Martin Peak, 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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