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Washington State Triple Divide Points

Minimum basin size of 100 square miles

RankPeak Elev-Ft Basin 1Basin 2Basin 3Range (Level 5)Ascent Date
1.Mount Rainier-Southeast Crater Rim14,200PuyallupNisquallyColumbiaMount Rainier Area 
2.Mount Cameron-Middle Peak7120DosewallipsDungenessElwhaNorth-Central Olympic Mountains 
3.West Peak-Northeast Ridge7120QuinaultDosewallipsElwhaCentral Olympic Mountains 
4.Del Campo Peak6610SkagitSnohomishStillaguamishMountain Loop Area 
5.Mount Noyes6173QuinaultQueetsElwhaCentral Olympic Mountains 
6.Dishpan Gap North5892SkagitSnohomishColumbiaGlacier Peak-North Stevens Pass Area 
7.Bear Pass Peak5833HohQueetsElwhaCentral Olympic Mountains 
8.Windy Gap North5520PuyallupDuwamishColumbiaSouth Cascade Crest 
9.High Divide-Soleduck Park5300QuillayuteHohElwhaNorthwest Olympics 
10.Meadow Mountain-Northeast Peak5125DuwamishLake WashingtonColumbiaSouth Cascade Crest 
11.South Silver Peak5040SnohomishLake WashingtonColumbiaSouth Cascade Crest 
12.Chehalis-Skokomish-Quinault Triple Divide4480ChehalisQuinaultSkokomishSouthern Olympic Mountains 
13.Columbia-Nisqually-Deschutes Triple Divide3800Deschutes [WA]NisquallyColumbiaMount Rainier Area 
14.Lookout Peak-South Ridge3400ChehalisDeschutes [WA]ColumbiaMount Rainier Area 

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List Description

To be on this list, a peak must be the triple divide point of three basins of rivers that reach marine water, and the smallest of these basins must be over 100 square miles. This last condition excludes what could easily be hundreds of peaks that are triple divides that involve tiny coastal creeks. Even some relatively well-known rivers like the Hamma-Hamma have areas under 100 square miles.

Mount Rainier, if taken as single massif, is the triple divide of the Columbia, Puyallup, and Nisqually. But there is a small crater at the summit of Rainier that forms a small (35 acre) basin that neither drains to the ocean nor is over the size threshold. So the three triple divides on the Rainier crater rim (Puyallup-Nisqually-Crater; Nisqually-Columbia-Crater; and Puyallup-Columbia-Crater) do not make this list.

So, with Rainier excluded, the remainder of the list is almost entirely a bunch of very obscure and unnamed hills, points, and sub-peaks. Del Campo Peak is the only well-known summit on the list, and Mount Noyes in the Olympics the only other one that even has an official name. West Peak, a major Olympic summit, is very close to being a triple divide (the Olympic Climbers Guide says so), but looking closely at the map shows that the real hydrographic junction is a couple hundred yards northest of the summit.

For the jaded Washington peakbagger looking for a new challenge, this list might be a worthwhile objective—it has an innate geographic appeal to it, and a manageable number of peaks, most of which are rarely climbed or even known about.

 


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