WA-List » Washington’s 38 County Highpoints

Washington’s 38 County Highpoints

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Geography & Geology

Looking for a summit challenge?   The world’s most famous mountaineers take on the “seven summits,” climbing the highest peak on each continent. Adventurous nomads closer to home try to bag the highest points in all 50 states.  But if you don’t have the money and technical skills for the first goal nor the time for the second, you might still manage to reach the summits listed below.  They are the highpoints in each of Washington’s 39 counties.

Personal note: This may be the first WA-List I ever put together — long before I created the website and probably before any website existed anywhere. About twenty five years ago I was already acquainted with the seven summits when I ran across an article describing the “Highpointers” who scale everything from Alaska’s Mt McKinley to Florida’s highest “peak” (elevation: 345 feet) which is really just a slight rise a few yards from a roadway.  It occurred to me that I could afford neither the time nor money either goal required and thus conjured a poor man’s list: 39 county summits.  I sprawled topo maps on the floor and began comparing little elevation circles one jurisdiction at a time.

It turned out there were only 38 highpoints because King and Kittitas share a peak, and some are simply the slopes of taller peaks in adjacent counties.  I also learned that Skamania’s highpoint had changed in my lifetime. When Mt St Helens blew its top in 1980, it lost 1,322 feet of elevation and the title shifted to one of those slopes where the county line straddles the side of Mt Adams.

For our list today, we dug up my old list and re-analyzed data for the list below, making adjustments as needed.  I’m confident the locations and rankings correct, but source materials sometimes disagreed about numbers in the elevation column.  We pooled all the best sources, though, and feel assured that everything listed below is accurate to within ten feet.  Most should be right on the mark.

So how may county highpoints have I personally bagged in this “poorer man’s” quest?  One.  San Juan County’s Mt Constitution. Yes, although I compiled this list 25 years ago and have seen most of these summits, I have never intentionally set out to plant my flag on them.

WARNING:  If you venture out to claim these summits, then bravo!  Just be sure you remember that not all of the county highpoints are on public land.  Be respectful of landowners’ rights and ask permission when appropriate.

 

HIGHEST POINTS FOR EACH COUNTY IN WASHINGTON

Elevation (feet) County Highpoint
14,411 Pierce Mount Rainier
12,276 Yakima Mount Adams
10,781 Whatcom Mount Baker
10,520 Snohomish Glacier Peak
9,511 Chelan Bonanza Peak
9,114 Skagit Mount Buckner
8,956 Okanogan North Gardner Mountain
 8,920 Skamania Western slope of Mount Adams on the Yakima border
8,000 Lewis Big Horn
7,969 Jefferson Mount Olympus’s west peak
7,960 King & Kittitas Mount Daniel
7,320 Pend Oreille Gypsy Peak
 7,308 Stevens Abercrombie Mountain
7,218 Clallam North side of Gray Wolf Ridge, about 15 miles south of Sequim
7,140 Ferry Copper Butte
6,612 Mason Mount Stone
6,387 Columbia Oregon Butte
 6,379 Garfield Diamond Peak
6,185 Asotin Ray Ridge
5,883 Spokane Mount Spokane
5,823 Klickitat Indian Rock
4,965 Cowlitz Goat Mountain
4,888 Walla Walla Lewis Peak
4,880 Grays Harbor Wynoochee Point
4,254 Douglas Badger Mountain
4,120 Clark Sturgeon Fin on the western ridge of Sturgeon Rock near the Skamania County line
4,009 Whitman Tekoa Mountain
3,629 Benton Unnamed location in the Rattlesnake Hills about 14 miles north of Grandview
3,568 Lincoln Lilienthal Mountain
3,000 Pacific Unnamed location near the headwaters of the Grays River, 15 miles north of Skamokawa
2,922 Thurston Quiemuth Peak
2,899 Grant Ulysses S. Hill in the Beezley Hills
 2,673 Wahkiakum Huckleberry Ridge
2,407 San Juan Mount Constitution
2,100 Adams Karakul Hills
1,761 Kitsap Gold Mountain
1,640 Franklin Unnamed location about 8 miles northeast of Kahlotus near the Adams County line
580 Island Camano Crest

PHOTO of the central core of major peaks in the Olympic Mountains (including Jefferson County’s highpoint) © Steve Campion.

SOURCES: My original list was compiled using USGS topographical maps.  It was tedious and, it turns out, only 90% accurate.  The biggest Cascade peaks were easy to spot, of course, but the lower elevation counties took some guesswork.  For the list above I began with my original list, then began consulting more recent maps, DeLorme’s Washington Atlas, and half a dozen climbing and highpointer websites (which have all appeared in the last 25 years; imagine that. *smirk*).  The most useful of the webistes were County HighpointersPeakbagger, and RhinoClimbs. We consulted The Mountaineers website to mediate one disputed measurement. I didn’t use the official Highpointers site for this list because it deals with states rather than counties, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it. The first man known to reach all the state highpoints in America is said to be Arthur Harmon Marshall (1886-1951), who summited the then 48 states over 17 years.  He started his national adventure in 1919 with — what else? — Washington’s Mt Rainier!

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