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From Guanella Pass, the ridgeline consisting of Mount Evans, the Sawtooth, and Mount Bierstadt shows off the first snow of winter, under a dramatically cloudy sky. At 14,265 feet, Mount Evans (on the left) is the highest peak in the Chicago Peaks Massif, and is the closest 14er to Denver, and can be seen from over 100 miles away. In the middle, the jagged peak of The Sawtooth stands at 13,780 feet, on a ridge or arete between Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt, which is another "14er" at 14,060 feet, and is the right-most peak in this image. These three peaks were all part of the Mount Evans Batholith, which was carved by glaciers into a landscape of glacial cirques and canyons. The seven deep cirques around Mount Evans are the deepest cirques in the Colorado Rockies, and usually feature tarns (or glacial lakes) at their bases, including Echo Lake, Abyss Lake, and Summit Lake.
This image was taken from a vantage point near the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, which connects the small towns of Georgetown and Grant, Colorado. In the foreground, the krummholz of Engelmann Spruce (picea engelmannii), Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa), and Bristlecone pine (pinus aristata) are interspersed with the bare branches of Dwarf Willow (Salix herbacea) at the border between treeline and the alpine tundra.
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December 15th, 2012
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