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Introduction to Washington County Highpoints

by John Roper

Washington’s 39 county high points range from the sublime to the ridiculous. We have a wonderful state up here with all sorts of fascinating topography, so there’s something for everyone. The WA cohps could be classified in groups. For additional information see the trip reports and maps at www.cohp.org.

The Volcanoes
Mount Rainier, the most dominant mountain in the lower 48, draws the state
highpointers here. Our other four volcanoes, Baker, Glacier, Adams, and
Saint Helens top out Washington’s next four highest counties, or used to,
before Saint Helens blew on May 8, 1980 and relinquished her crown to a
kiss-your-sister liner on the shoulder of Adams.

The Real Mountains
Bonanza Peak 9511’ is the highest non-volcanic peak in the state and has the
reputation of topping one of the hardest counties in the contiguous US to
climb. Mountaineering skills including rock and/or glacier experience are
also required on Buckner, North Gardner, “Big Horn” (Lewis cohp), Olympus,
Daniel, Gray Wolf, and Stone.

Eastern Washington and Columbia River Mountains
This group includes a number of gentle, but pleasant woodsy rollers north of
the Columbia River: Gypsy Peak, Abercrombie, and Copper Butte, and four
along the Oregon border in the Blue Mountains above the Snake River: Oregon
Butte, Diamond, Ray Ridge, and Lewis. Along the Idaho border are Mount
Spokane, a paved drive-up, and Tekoa, a rough drive-up. Other cohps rising
above the Columbia include Lilienthal, Badger, Rattlesnake Hills, and Indian
Rock.

The Logging Counties
Southwest Washington has been mauled by clearcuts, including the flanks of
Grays Harbor cohp (a liner), Pacific cohp, Huckleberry, Goat, and Quiemuth.

The Island Counties
Mount Constitution is a very special place that has been called the “finest
marine view in America.” Camano Island is known for its 5 closed contour
silliness, private property, and nettles. Gold Mountain is the cohp of
Kitsap, almost an island.

The Wheat Counties
Rolling wheatfields top the highest land in Adams and Franklin Counties, and
Grant County is a sage hill.

Unique County
“Sturgeon Fin” is a cute little basalt cockscomb on the Clark County line,
approached via a trail through a glorious wildflower meadow (the result of a
1902 forest fire), and would be my recommendation for a group climb at the
convention.