WASHINGTON'S HIGHEST PEAKS
with 400 Feet of Prominence
Photos © John Roper 2004
<400: Bulger Top 100 peak with less than 400 feet of prominence
Peaks with the same elevation have the same rank
MESAHCHIE/PANTHER PEAK" (L) 8795' P2235
KATSUK PEAK/MOUNT HOLYOKE' (R) 8680+ P440
from WNW, on Gendarmes/Kimtah' Peak on Ragged Ridge. Panther Creek (L), Fisher Creek (R). Both the 1949 and 1961 editions of the "Climber's Guide to the Cascade and Olympic Mountains of Washington" had the same barebones beta:
"Ragged Ridge (ca.7600-8400)
An E.-W. ridge of high, barren peaks located on the Fisher-
Panther Creek divide.
Route. Base camp is made in the Fisher Creek basin 1 1/2
miles W. of Easy Pass (22 miles from Diablo Dam). All the
peaks are easily ascended by rockslides on their S. slopes from
Joe and Joan Firey and John and Irene Meulemans were the first to explore this ridgetop, and on July 5th, 1966 made the first ascent of unnamed Peak 8795, the highest peak on Ragged Ridge, above Panther Creek, dubbing it "Panther Peak."
A few years later, a proposal altered the names that the first-ascent parties had applied to this peak, and three other 8000+ foot peaks along the crest, to Chinook jargon terms that in English translation are spatially incorrect. George C. Shaw's 1909 dictionary, "The Chinook Jargon," gives these meanings for the new choices: "Katsuk" translated as "the middle or centre of anything." "Mesahchie" (the worst word the Indians had) meant "bad; wicked; evil; vile; sin; bitter; cruel; depravity; dissolute; dung; filthy; immodest; nasty; obscene; vice; insolence; unworthy; unruly; iniquity; unrighteous; naughty." "Kimtah" indicated "behind; after; afterwards; last; since; back; rear; subsequent; younger." "Cosho" was "hog." These Top 100 peaks deserve better, but those are the names on the maps now.
Winter aerial photos of Ragged Ridge by John Scurlock: 1 2 3
USGS aerial photo
OVAL PEAK 8795' P2715
from SW, on Gray Peak
FORTRESS MOUNTAIN 8760+ P1680
from SE. Fortress "grew" more than any other peak in the Top 100 on the updating of the 15-minute to 7.5-minute maps. It lept 86 feet skyward, from 8674' on the 1944/63 15-minute USGS Holden quad (the map the Bulgers used), to 8760+ on the "new" 1988 7.5-minute USGS Suiattle Pass quad.
MOUNT LAGO 8745' P3265
Lage Wernstedt, possibly on the first ascent of Mount Lago, his namesake, about 1926,
but probably something else. This photo is from the Dottie (Adele) Wernstedt Graham
and Doris Burn collection. Lage named Dot Mountain and Lake Doris for his wife and daughter.
Lage Wernstedt (1878-1959: 81 years), photo taken about 1935.
Swedish-born Lage (pronounced "Loggy") was a North Cascades explorer extraordinaire (largely in the Methow), surveyor, climber, photographer, unique name-bestower, mechanical engineer, map-maker, Yale-trained forester, inventor of aerial stereoscopic photography to produce contour maps, and an originator of the smoke-jumpers. All of this was discovered by mountain scholar and historian, Harry Majors, and published in his 1975 classic, "Exploring Washington," now unfortunately out of print, where Harry documents 4769! fascinating historic facts, most previously unknown, about all of Washington, each pinpointed precisely by numbers on 27 different 60-minute, one-degree maps (equal to four pages in DeLorme) that cover the entire state. Harry postulates that Lage holds the record for "the most first ascents of major peaks in the North Cascades at 77." Lage Wernstedt's name has been associated by his photographs in 1925 and 1926 with actual (or near) first ascents of up to 13 Top 100 peaks: Lago, Osceola, Carru?, Blackcap, Lost, West Craggy, Big Craggy?, Ptarmigan (HMM, not FB), Lake, Logan, Black, Azurite?, Silver Star.
ROBINSON MOUNTAIN 8726' P1686
from NW, near Wildcat. Underexposed, but a favorite shot, since it shows the Crusoe Couloir that Reed Tindall and I did as a new route on Robinson, on June 16, 1985. We descended from the pass on the right, down across the snowy basin, to the base of the snow couloir that shoots up to just right of the summit. Just a matter of time before the skiers find it, but it was dangerously icy in June. (Sky Sjue and Phil Fortier sniffed out this route on 6/15/05. Phil's report.)
COLCHUCK PEAK 8705' P665
from Argonaut side. Dragontail on (R).
COLCHUCK PEAK 8705'
from Colchuck Lake
STAR PEAK 8690' P1170
from East, on Hoodoo. Note rock glacier.
REMMEL MOUNTAIN 8685' P4365
from NW, on Amos Peak' (aka North Andrews). Andrews Creek on right. Jerry Baillie finished the Bulger List here in 2002, two months after breaking his ankle.
MOUNT HOLYOKE/KATSUK PEAK 8680+ P440
from SE, atop Arriva.
(L) to (R): Ragged End (Cosho), Gendarmes (Kimtah) , Mount Holyoke (Katsuk), Panther (Mesahchie).
Joe Vance finished the Bulger Big Boys on Katsuk in 1988.
USGS Aerial photo on Terraserver
North Cascades Peak Baggers (NCPB), Chris Roper
and John Roper, on first ascent of Mount Holyoke
(Chris' alma mater), August 22, 1968.
SAHALE PEAK 8680+ P80
the little point on the right, and on the Bulger List by virtue of being a high non-volcanic summit with a map name. Forbidden Peak (L), Boston Peak (C). From Hidden Lake with two of my favorite people, son Aaron, and Gary Mellom, my long-time Newhalem climbing buddy.
Map The locals call it a peak, the map calls it a mountain.
Winter aerial photos of Sahale by John Scurlock: 1 2 3 4
CANNON MOUNTAIN 8638' P838
Click for Photos:
P400' Peaks # 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100
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Copyright 2004, John Roper, All Rights Reserved.