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Stiletto Peak
Stiletto Peak in the North Cascades seen from Highway 20.jpg
Stiletto Peak seen from North Cascades Highway
Highest point
Elevation 7,660 ft (2,335 m)
Prominence 380 ft (120 m)
Geography
Location Chelan County, Washington, U.S.
Parent range North Cascades
Topo map USGS McAlester Mountain
Climbing
Easiest route Scrambling

Stiletto Peak is a 7,660 ft summit located in the Methow Mountains, a sub-range of the North Cascades in Washington state. It is situated in the Stephen Mather Wilderness on a ridge which also has Switchblade Peak and Jackknife Peak to its east. Stiletto Peak is also located on the border of North Cascades National Park. Precipitation runoff on the north side of the mountain drains into Bridge Creek via Copper Creek, whereas the south side of the mountain drains into the East Fork Bridge Creek.

Climate

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. 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.

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 the various climate differences. These climate differences lead to vegetation variety defining the ecoregions in this area.

Stilletto from Wallaby Peak
Switchblade and Stiletto peaks seen from Wallaby Peak

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.

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