Half Moon (Washington)

Half Moon is a 7,960+ ft (2,430+ m) summit located in Okanogan National Forest, in Okanogan County, of Washington state. The mountain is part of the Methow Mountains, which are a subset of the Cascade Range. Half Moon is situated on Kangaroo Ridge which is approximately two miles east and within view of the North Cascades Highway at Washington Pass. Its nearest higher peak is Wallaby Peak, 0.23 mi (0.37 km) to the south.[1] Precipitation runoff from the peak drains into Early Winters Creek, and Cedar Creek, both of which are tributaries of the Methow River.

Half Moon
Half Moon on Kangaroo Ridge.jpg
Half Moon, west aspect
Highest point
Elevation7,960 ft (2,430 m) [1]
Prominence200 ft (61 m) [1]
Coordinates48°30′36″N 120°36′49″W / 48.509867°N 120.613489°W / 48.509867; -120.613489Coordinates: 48°30′36″N 120°36′49″W / 48.509867°N 120.613489°W / 48.509867; -120.613489
Half Moon is located in Washington (state)
Half Moon
Half Moon
Location of Half Moon in Washington
Half Moon is located in the United States
Half Moon
Half Moon
Half Moon (the United States)
LocationOkanogan County, Washington
Parent rangeCascade Range
Topo mapUSGS Silver Star Mountain
Age of rock45 million years old
Type of rock(Rapakivi texture) granite
First ascentbrothers Helmy and Fred Beckey, Walt Varney, June 17, 1942[2]
Easiest routeClimbing class 5+ [3]


The North Cascades features some of the most rugged topography in the Cascade Range with craggy peaks, ridges, and deep glacial valleys. Geological events occurring many years ago created the diverse topography and drastic elevation changes over the Cascade Range leading to various climate differences.

Half Moon seen from Wallaby Peak

These climate differences lead to vegetation variety defining the ecoregions in this area. The history of the formation of the Cascade Mountains dates back millions of years ago to the late Eocene Epoch.[4] With the North American Plate overriding the Pacific Plate, episodes of volcanic igneous activity persisted.[4] In addition, small fragments of the oceanic and continental lithosphere called terranes created the North Cascades about 50 million years ago.[4] Half Moon is located in the Golden Horn batholith and composed of granite like many of the peaks in the Washington Pass area.

During the Pleistocene period dating back over two million years ago, glaciation advancing and retreating repeatedly scoured the landscape leaving deposits of rock debris.[4] The "U"-shaped cross section of the river valleys are a result of recent glaciation. Uplift and faulting in combination with glaciation have been the dominant processes which have created the tall peaks and deep valleys of the North Cascades area.


Most weather fronts originate in the Pacific Ocean, and travel northeast toward the Cascade Mountains. As fronts approach the North Cascades, they are forced upward (Orographic lift) by the peaks of the Cascade Range, causing them to drop their moisture in the form of rain or snowfall onto the Cascades. As a result, the west side of the North Cascades experiences high precipitation, especially during the winter months in the form of snowfall.[2] During winter months, weather is usually cloudy, but, due to high pressure systems over the Pacific Ocean that intensify during summer months, there is often little or no cloud cover during the summer.[2] Because of maritime influence, snow tends to be wet and heavy, resulting in avalanche danger.[2]

See alsoEdit


Half Moon (left) and Wallaby Peak
  1. ^ a b c "Half Moon, Washington". Peakbagger.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Beckey, Fred W. (2009). Cascade Alpine Guide: climbing and high routes, Vol. 3, Rainy Pass to Fraser River (3rd ed.). Mountaineers Books. p. 321. ISBN 978-1-59485-136-0.
  3. ^ "Half Moon", listsofjohn.com
  4. ^ a b c d Kruckeberg, Arthur (1991). The Natural History of Puget Sound Country. University of Washington Press.

External linksEdit