Another way of relating to this is to realize that when at Sunrise, elevation 6,400', the alpine zone begins within just 600 feet whereas at Paradise, elevation 5,400', the alpine zone while beginning at 500 feet lower is still 1,100 feet higher. This, in part, contributes to the rarified feeling upon arriving at Sunrise.

These differences, of course, attribute to the distribution of plants and blooming times. While one is aware of these differences after spending considerable time hiking all sides of the mountain it is still generally assumed the subalpine begins at about 5,000 feet and you are into an alpine environment without trees and low growing plants at about 7,000 feet. Above 8,500 feet expect very few, if any, plants unless you're into lichen.

The grouping of flowers by elevational zones for this web site has been somewhat discretionary but placement is generally guided by where the pictures were actually taken or where it is felt that the flower is most likely to be seen around Mt. Rainier. For example, Blackwell includes Mountain Sorrel (Oxydria digyna) in the forest zone but specifies its distribution ranges from 4,000' - 13,000'. The pictures in this site are taken on rocky slopes in the alpine zone. Also, Mountain Sorrel is abundant and frequently seen along the Burroughs Loop Trail at around 7,000 feet; hence its placement in the alpine zone.

According to Biek, "Flora of Mount Rainier National Park", Mountain Sorrel is also known from 9,000 feet on Wapowety Cleaver on the southern slope between the Kautz Glacier and the Van Trump Glaciers.

 

 

 

........................................................................Slogging up Mt. Ruth, elev. 8,690'

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