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What is High Country ?
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Art ...
(asandh) - F
What is High Country ? on 05/24/2012 11:58:42 MDT Print View

This thread was sparked by another thread I recently read.

Where does High Country begin ?
in my mind its around 10,000 ft.
but for others it seems to be as low as 7,000 ft.

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Re: What is High Country ? on 05/24/2012 12:30:14 MDT Print View

Who is asking?

It's a state of mind more than an altitude or climate zone. It implies getting above and away from it all.

I tell flatlanders I've been in the High Sierra when I've car camped in Cedar Grove (4500').

I tell my ranger buddies I've been in the High Sierra when I've been off trail to Volcanic Lakes (10,000+')

For BPL, I would say the High Sierra starts shortly after you leave the dayhiker zone, which can be 6,000' (Little Yosemite) or over 10,000' (Horseshoe Meadows). I say shortly after because it depends how fast one can get above and away from it all.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Ecosystem change? on 05/24/2012 12:32:33 MDT Print View

I kind of imagine 'high country' as the point where the forest turns to alpine or tundra.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: What is High Country ? on 05/24/2012 12:44:44 MDT Print View

Nathan - I like your answer, except what you are referring to I would probably call the " Far Country ".

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
High Country on 05/24/2012 13:31:35 MDT Print View

For me it's at or above timberline, the alpine tundra zone.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
What is High Country ? on 05/24/2012 13:32:22 MDT Print View

Seriously? Not a single pot joke yet?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
What is High Country ? on 05/24/2012 13:34:03 MDT Print View

I call "High Country" anyplace that is at or above timberline. My favorite place to be!

Here in the Oregon Cascades, timberline is close to 6,000 feet. In the North Cascades of Washington it's a bit lower, nearer 5,000 feet. In the northern Colorado Rockies it's about 11,000 feet. In Wyoming's Wind Rivers it's about 10,500 feet. In the Rockies there's a low level timberline, which is the altitude below which there is not enough precipitation to support forest. Below that hat it's open country but not high country! We don't have that problem out here on the wet coast!

Of course the exposure of a given location has a lot to do with just where timberline is, which is why I stress the "about."

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/24/2012 13:35:34 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"What is High Country ?" on 05/24/2012 13:41:10 MDT Print View

I consider 'High Country' to be the subalpine/alpine zone, which has the greatest observable change and variation in flora and soil composition relative to the high desert elevation (4,000-7,000') that makes up the majority of my state.


Saddle below S. Truchas Peak, Pecos Wilderness, ~12K'

Edited by Eugeneius on 05/24/2012 13:56:56 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
What is High Country? on 05/24/2012 13:47:16 MDT Print View

Roget Lake Pass 11,760 ft.(XC) Are you high? I know some have been higher.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: What is High Country? on 05/24/2012 14:59:16 MDT Print View

Above treeline....

My favorite place

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Appalachians? on 05/24/2012 15:03:41 MDT Print View

I understand it's quite a bit lower in the Appalachians and related ranges than it is in the Rockies, Sierras and Cascades.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Appalachians on 05/24/2012 16:08:23 MDT Print View

I cut my backpacking teeth in the Whites (New Hampshire)

Though treeline is only ~4800' IIRC, it certainly felt like the high country up there.

Here's the famous Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

And here's the Knife Edge on Katahdin a bit further north.

Franconia Ridge

(Old scanned in photos..but you get the idea!)

As with others, my own personal definition of 'high country' is roughly tree line.

Edited by PaulMags on 05/24/2012 16:13:52 MDT.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
High country on 05/24/2012 18:15:54 MDT Print View

Depends on where you are, I guess. We have towns over 10K in Colorado so numbers alone don't mean anything. I never use that term myself. I don't have any particular preference for being above or below tree line so maybe that's why.

jacko vanderbijl

Locale: Shelley Western Australia
Australian High Country on 05/25/2012 09:15:10 MDT Print View

In Australia our "alpine" area is referred to as the High Country. Given our highest mountain is 7310 feet it's pretty obvious it's not very high really. It's all a matter of perspective I suppose....

Jason Malone
(redwood22) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz/Scott's Valley CA
13k - Paramo - Colombia S.A. on 05/25/2012 12:07:31 MDT Print View

Parque Los Nevados

You should check out the coffee growing region in Colombia - great parks there with ranches grandfathered in that serve as hostels.

This is called Parque los Nevados and is in the central range of the Andes. You can definitely get to high country here!

The states with this park are Tolima, Risaralda and Quindio.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
High Country math on 05/25/2012 13:28:54 MDT Print View

I forget which outdoors writer said it but the quote is something like;

"The number of hikers in inversely related to the cube of the distance from the trailhead and the square of the distance above it."

Moral of the story: To get away from crowds go to high country.