The mountains of western North America are spectacular and diverse, from sheer walls of crumbling black limestone in the Canadian Rockies, to smooth glacially polished granite in the Wind River Range, to gargantuan ice-clad volcanoes in the Cascades. These great bastions of rock, snow, and ice, still very much wild and untamed, provide an incredible arena for adventure, exploration, and challenge. Over the past three years, I have devoted thousands of hours to exploring these vast wild places, climbing high peaks, steep cliffs, and frozen waterfalls. In doing so, I studied the rich geologic history of the mountains. This thesis project is a compilation of stories and images from those adventures, along with the stories of the mountains themselves: how the rocks were formed, thrust skyward, and sculpted over the ages into their present, glorious form. The photographic and detailed narrative of the geology and adventures is on a new website called Cloud Piercers, which currently features three geologically diverse mountain massifs: (1) Mount Rainier, an active volcano in the Cascade Range of Washington; (2) Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, within a terrain of folded Paleozoic sedimentary rocks; and (3) the Wind River Range of Wyoming, composed mostly of Archean metamorphic and granitic rocks. This website will be expanded in the future as the geologic studies and adventures continue.
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