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Sperry Peak
Sperry Peak of Cascade Range.jpg
Sperry Peak
Highest point
Elevation 6,120 ft (1,870 m)
Prominence 720 ft (220 m)
Geography
Parent range North Cascades
Cascade Range
Topo map USGS Silverton
Geology
Age of rock 260 to 370 million years
Type of rock metamorphosed sandstone shale, conglomerate
Climbing
First ascent 1927 by Norval Grigg and Art Winder
Easiest route Scrambling Southwest slope

Sperry Peak is a 6,120+ft (1,870+m) mountain summit located in the South Fork Stillaguamish River Valley near the western edge of the North Cascades, in Snohomish County of Washington state. It is located 2.5 miles (4.0 km) east of Barlow Pass near the Mountain Loop Highway and the Monte Cristo area, on land managed by the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Its nearest higher peak is Vesper Peak, 0.74 miles (1.19 km) to the west, and between them share a high connecting ridge. The peak was named for A. D. (Dick) Sperry, a Silverton mining prospector during the 1890s. The Dick Sperry Picnic Area is near the historic site of the abandoned Sperry-Iverson mine near Silverton.

Climate

Sperry Peak snow
Sperry Peak seen from Sunrise Mine Road

Sperry Peak 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. Due to its temperate climate and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, areas west of the Cascade Crest very rarely experience temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) or above 80 °F (27 °C). 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.

Geology

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 various climate differences.

Sperry Peak north face
Sperry Peak, north face

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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