Climbing a Mountain

A mountain is defined as a physical feature that rises more than 300 meters (1000 feet) above the surrounding landscape. The tallest mountain in Canada is Mount Logan in the Yukon at 5959 meters (19,551 feet).

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Mountains store water on their peaks in the form of snow and gradually release it into the valleys below. They also affect climate as air is deflected up and as the air rises it loses its moisture in the form of rain creating the rain shadow effect. The other side tends to be drier.

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There are several mountain ranges on the western side of Canada with the Rocky Mountains probably being the most well known. So we are going to climb Ha Ling Peak, near Canmore, Alberta in the Rocky Mountain Range.

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The lower part of a mountain is mostly broadleaf forests. As you get higher this changes to conifers such as pine and spruce.

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The trees gradually thin out until it is mostly small alpine plants, and the top is bare rock. Mountains are gradually worn down by water (flowing and freezing), wind, and even the roots of plants splitting the rock.

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As you climb a mountain, the temperature drops about 6 degrees Celsius for every 1000 meters. The height can also have an effect on your body as there is less oxygen available as you go higher making you feel breathless and dizzy.

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Coming back down the mountain was probably harder than going up.

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Here are some friends we met along the way: A Rocky Mountain Goat and a Bighorn Sheep.

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Activity: Mountains are made of rock, but it’s not quite that simple. There are lots of different kinds of rock. The Rocky Mountains are made of mostly limestone, dolomite, sandstone and shale. What kinds of rocks do you have where you live? Here is a website that may help you to identify them: Geology.com

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