Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) in Northern California's Warner Mountains

Warner Mtn. Whitebark Pines

15. Southern Warner Mountains

16. South Warner Wilderness

17. Cedar and Bald Mountains

18. Mount Vida

A few highlights of the Warner Mountains include:

  • Fire evidence found in almost every survey plot.
  • Wilderness stands the most extensive by area in northern California.
  • NO evidence of white pine blister rust found.
  • One interesting pattern is the higher mortality on north-facing slopes—often as high as 60% for lodgepole and 20% for WBP.

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Southern Warner Mountains

This area is difficult to access due to poor signs and rocky roads (4wd is needed). That being said, once there the hiking is easy as the mountains are generally flat-topped. Mortality is striking with nearly 60-70% of lodgepole and 15% of whitebark having been attacked by mountain pine beetles.

Buck Mountain
High mortality on the north-facing slopes on Buck Mountain—most of the dead trees are lodgepole pine.

South Warner Wilderness

Wow! This is a spectacular wilderness area. The striking contrast of the gentle west slopes and the steep eastern flanks of the range were complimented by vast stands of whitebark pine. These are the most contiguous stands of this species in northern California and will be a vital location for monitoring and understanding this species into the future.

Eagle Peak - Warner Mountains
Looking toward Eagle Peak from camp. Pure whitebark pine stands abounded for many square miles.

Eagle Peak Summit
From the summit of Eagle Peak, whitebark pine were healthy and even expanding their range into north-facing cirques where decreased snow-pack and lengthening growing seasons are opening up new habitat, even at 9,900 feet.

Warner Mountain wilderess
Another interesting phenomenon was the down-slope expansion of whitebark pine along some of the lower elevation (~7,000') ridgelines of the wilderness. This may be due to both fire suppression and grazing in these areas. Emerson Peak is the high point just left of center with Buck Mountain in the back right.

Cole Peak
High mortality on north-facing slopes was common throughout the Warner Mountains—here a mixture of lodgepole and whitebark on the north slopes of Cole Peak.

Cedar and Bald Mountains

This is a small and healthy population in the central Warner Mountains just north of highway 299 and Cedar Pass. Bald Mountain has the larger stands but trees are continuous along the ridgeline to Cedar Mountain (which has the best views and amazing cliff formations).

View from Bald Mountain
Bald Mountain is not bald on the north and east (pictured here) slopes where wind-swept whitebarks share space and time with western white and lodgepole pine. The Surprise Valley is to the left and center (east) and the South Warner Wilderness on the right (south).

Mount Vida via the Highgrade Trail

This area is very similar to the southern Warners at Buck Mountain discussed above. High elevation flat-topped peaks are a melange of live and dead trees across miles of plateaus and ridgelines. Most of the mortality is in the lodgepole but western white and whitebark pine are also affected by mountain pine beetle attacks.

Looking east from Mt. Vida
The east and north slopes of Mount Vida show the signs of extensive mountain pine beetle attacks.

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