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Mount Whitney
MOUNT WHITNEY is the highest summit in the contiguous United States and the Sierra Nevada , with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). It is on the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties, 84.6 miles (136.2 km) west-northwest of the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. The west slope of the mountain is in Sequoia National Park and the summit is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail which runs 211.9 mi (341.0 km) from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley . The east slope is in the Inyo National Forest in Inyo County
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List Of Mountain Types
Mountains and hills can be characterized in several ways. Some mountains are volcanoes and can be characterized by the type of lava and eruptive history. Other mountains are shaped by glacial processes and can be characterized by their shape. Finally, many mountains can be characterized by the type of rock that make up their composition
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Granite
GRANITE ( /ˈɡrænᵻt/ ) is a common type of felsic intrusive igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture. Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. The word "granite" comes from the Latin
Latin
granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a holocrystalline rock. Strictly speaking, granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume, and at least 35% of the total feldspar consisting of alkali feldspar , although commonly the term "granite" is used to refer to a wider range of coarse grained igneous rocks containing quartz and feldspar. The term "granitic" means granite-like and is applied to granite and a group of intrusive igneous rocks with similar textures and slight variations in composition and origin
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First Ascent
In mountaineering , a FIRST ASCENT (abbreviated to FA in guidebooks) is the first successful, documented attainment of the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route . First mountain ascents are notable because they entail genuine exploration, with greater risks, challenges, and recognition than climbing a route pioneered by others. The person who performs the FIRST ASCENT is called the FIRST ASCENSIONIST. In free climbing , a first ascent (or first free ascent , abbreviated FFA) of a climbing route is the first successful, documented climb of a route without using equipment such as anchors or ropes for aiding progression or resting. CONTENTS * 1 History * 2 Related terms * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links HISTORYThe details of the first ascents of even many prominent mountains are scanty or unknown; sometimes the only evidence of prior summiting is a cairn , artifacts, or inscriptions at the top
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Cretaceous
The CRETACEOUS ( /krᵻˈteɪʃəs/ , krə-TAY-shəs ) is a geologic period and system that spans 79 million years from the end of the Jurassic Period 145 million years ago (mya ) to the beginning of the Paleogene Period 66 mya. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era . The Cretaceous
Cretaceous
Period is usually abbreviated K, for its German translation Kreide (chalk). The Cretaceous
Cretaceous
was a period with a relatively warm climate , resulting in high eustatic sea levels that created numerous shallow inland seas . These oceans and seas were populated with now-extinct marine reptiles , ammonites and rudists , while dinosaurs continued to dominate on land. During this time, new groups of mammals and birds , as well as flowering plants , appeared
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Geologic Time Scale
The GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata (stratigraphy ) to time, and is used by geologists , paleontologists , and other Earth
Earth
scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth\'s history . The table of geologic time spans, presented here, agrees with the nomenclature , dates and standard color codes set forth by the International Commission on Stratigraphy
Stratigraphy
. Evidence from radiometric dating indicates that Earth
Earth
is about 4.54 billion years old . The geology or deep time of Earth's past has been organized into various units according to events which took place in each period. Different spans of time on the GTS are usually marked by changes in the composition of strata which correspond to those, and indicate major geological or paleontological events, such as mass extinctions
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Mountain Range
A MOUNTAIN RANGE also called MOUNTAINS or MOUNTAIN BARRIER/BELT/SYSTEM, is a geographic area containing numerous geologically related mountains . A mountain system or system of mountain ranges, sometimes is used to combine several geological features that are geographically (regionally) related. On Earth, most significant mountain ranges are the result of plate tectonics , though mountain ranges are formed by a range of processes, are found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System
Solar System
and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets . Mountain
Mountain
ranges are usually segmented by highlands or mountain passes and valleys . Individual mountains within the same mountain range do not necessarily have the same geologic structure or petrology
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United States Geological Survey
The UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS, formerly simply GEOLOGICAL SURVEY) is a scientific agency of the United States
United States
government . The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States
United States
, its natural resources , and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology , geography , geology , and hydrology . The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility. The USGS is a bureau of the United States
United States
Department of the Interior ; it is that department's sole scientific agency. The USGS employs approximately 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston , Virginia . The USGS also has major offices near Lakewood , Colorado
Colorado
, at the Denver Federal Center , and Menlo Park , California
California

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Normal Route
A NORMAL ROUTE or NORMAL WAY (French : Voie Normale; German : Normalweg) is the most frequently used route for ascending and descending a mountain peak . It is usually the simplest route. In the Alps, routes are classed in the following ways, based on their waymarking, construction and upkeep: * Footpaths (Fußwege) * Hiking trails (Wanderwege) * Mountain trails (Bergwege) * Alpine routes (Alpine Routen) * Climbing
Climbing
routes (Kletterrouten) and High Alpine routes (Hochalpine Routen) in combined rock and ice terrain, ( UIAA ) graded by difficultySometimes the normal route is not the easiest ascent to the summit, but just the one that is most used. There may be technically easier variations. This is especially the case on the Watzmannfrau , the Hochkalter and also Mount Everest
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Yosemite Decimal System
The YOSEMITE DECIMAL SYSTEM (YDS) is a three-part system used for rating the difficulty of walks, hikes, and climbs. It is primarily used by mountaineers in the United States
United States
and Canada
Canada
. The Class 5 portion of the Class scale is primarily a rock climbing classification system, while the Classes 1-3 are used mainly in hiking and trail running . Originally the system was a single-part classification system. In recent years, Grade and Protection categories were added to the system. The new categories do not apply to every climb and usage varies widely. The grades are subjective, reflecting the first ascensionist's opinion of the climb's difficulty. There are also systematic regional differences in grading within the United States. While primarily considered a free climbing system, an aid-climbing designation is sometimes appended
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Tree Line
The TREE LINE is the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing. It is found at high elevations and in frigid environments. Beyond the tree line, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions (usually cold temperatures or lack of moisture). :51 The tree line should not be confused with a lower TIMBERLINE or FOREST LINE, which is the line where trees form a forest with a closed canopy . :151 :18 At the tree line, tree growth is often sparse and stunted, with the last trees forming densely matted bushes, known as krummholz (German for "twisted wood"). :58 The tree line, like many other natural lines (lake boundaries, for example), appears well-defined from a distance, but upon sufficiently close inspection, it is a gradual transition in most places. Trees grow shorter towards the inhospitable climate until they simply stop growing
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Alpine Climate
ALPINE CLIMATE is the average weather (climate ) for the regions above the tree line . This climate is also referred to as a MOUNTAIN CLIMATE or HIGHLAND CLIMATE. CONTENTS * 1 Definition * 2 Cause * 3 Distribution * 4 Monthly variability * 5 See also * 6 References DEFINITIONThere are multiple definitions of alpine climate. One simple definition is the climate which causes trees to fail to grow due to cold. According to the Holdridge life zone system, alpine climate occurs when the mean biotemperature of a location is between 1.5 and 3 °C (34.7 and 37.4 °F), which prevents tree growth. Biotemperature is defined as the temperature, except all temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) are treated as 0 °C (32 °F), because plants are dormant below freezing
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Great Basin Divide
The GREAT BASIN DIVIDE is the western continental divide that separates the Great Basin
Great Basin
from the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
watershed. The water divide is the perimeter of the largest set of contiguous endorheic watersheds of North America
North America
, including six entire USGS
USGS
watershed subregions . For example, the San Joaquin River
San Joaquin River
subregion that drains to the Pacific is adjacent to the Great Basin's Mono-Northern Mojave subregion and central Lahontan subregion, and their triple point is on the Great Basin
Great Basin
Divide. REFERENCES * ^ A B "USA Lower 48 Triple Divide Points". PeakBagger.com. Retrieved 2011-11-13. * ^ "Boundary Descriptions and Names of Regions, Subregions, Accounting Units and Cataloging Units". USGS.gov. Retrieved 2010-06-07
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Polemonium Eximium
POLEMONIUM EXIMIUM, the SKYPILOT or SHOWY SKY PILOT, is a perennial plant in the phlox family ( Polemoniaceae ) that grows at high altitudes (mostly above 10,000 feet (3,000 m)). It is endemic to the Sierra Nevada in California where it grows in the talus of the high mountain slopes. Wildflower enthusiasts consider it to be among the best of the Sierra wildflowers, and highly rewarding to find. CONTENTS * 1 Habitat and range * 2 Description * 2.1 Growth pattern * 2.2 Leaves and stems * 3 Inflorescence
Inflorescence
and fruit * 4 References * 5 External links HABITAT AND RANGEIt mostly occurs at elevations from 10,000 to 14,000 feet (3,000 to 4,300 m) in the Central and Southern Sierra Nevada. It mostly occurs in colonies in stark surroundings, above 10,000 feet (3,000 m), in rocky areas that appear mostly devoid of soil, and rarely in association with other plants
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Contiguous United States
The CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES consists of the 48 adjoining U.S. states plus Washington, D.C. (federal district ), on the continent of North America . The term excludes the non-contiguous states of Alaska
Alaska
and Hawaii
Hawaii
and all off-shore United States
United States
territories and possessions , which are American Samoa
American Samoa
, Guam , the Northern Mariana Islands , Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
, and the U.S. Virgin Islands . The greatest distance (on a great circle route) entirely within the 48 contiguous states is 2,802 miles (4,509 km, between Florida
Florida
and the state of Washington ); the greatest north-south line is 1,650 miles (2,660 km)
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Happy Isles
Coordinates : 37°43′54″N 119°33′31″W / 37.73171°N 119.558694°W / 37.73171; -119.558694 The Merced River in Happy Isles
Happy Isles
Topographic map of Happy Isles
Happy Isles
area HAPPY ISLES is a group of small isles in the Merced River in Yosemite National Park , California
California
, USA. They are located at the easternmost end of the Yosemite Valley floor. This scenic spot is the starting point for the Mist Trail , and is also the northern trailhead for the John Muir Trail . Happy Isles