The state of
Washington is graced by majestic mountain ranges, including the
Cascades, the Olympics and the Coast Range. The volcanoes of the
Cascades have always been popular mountains to climb, as they offer
colossal vistas of the beautiful northwest landscape, are often close
to metropolitan communites, and usually have at least one relatively
easy route to the top. In addition, although the highest peak in
the Cascades, Mt. Rainier, tops out at "only" just over 14,410 feet,
and many of the major volcanoes measure barely 10,000 feet, the
surrounding valleys are just barely at sea level, making the mountain
tower over the surrounding areas. The vertical gains are
equivalent to most of the major peaks worldwide, as the starting
elevation for most peaks varies from 2,700 feet for Mt. St. Helens
(winter ascents) to 6,000 feet (Mt. Adams), making most of the
elevation gains from 5,000 to 9,000 feet. To compare, Mt.
Everest rises "only" 11,000 feet from base camp, while Pikes Peak, the
greatest elevation gain of any Colorado "14er" rises only 4,200 feet
from the trailhead. In the cascades, even the lowly Mt. St.
Helens (8,365 feet) rises 5,665 feet from it's Marble Mountain
Mountains lie in the far northwest corner of Washington state, taking
more rainfall than anywhere in the continental U.S. Here, in
Olympic National Park, exists the only temperate rain forest in the
lower 48. The jagged peaks of the Olympics paint a majestic
backdrop for the state's major metropolitan area, Seattle, and the
surrounding communities. Here, Mt. Olympus is king, rising 7,945
feet high, with the demanding summit climb including a grueling
18-mile approach hike through the Hoh Rain Forest, followed by a
8-mile summit attempt, for a round-trip total of 52 miles, gaining
7,345 feet from the trailhead elevation of 600 feet, 6,500 of it in
the final eleven miles of the ascent.
information on Mountaineering in Washington State, visit the
organization or Climbing
Washington, a website dedicated to the subject.
To read about
our summits of peaks in Washington State, click on the links at left.
Each site includes a trip report, a photo gallery, and information
about the route climbed, with links to other relevant information on