The La Sal Mountains house San Juan County’s highest peak, Mt. Peale at 12,721 feet, and Grand County’s highest peak, Mt. Waas at 12,331 feet. When gold fever swept across the United States in the mid-1800s, people flocked to this southeastern edge of Utah, where five towns, at 10,000 feet, were thrown together by folks searching for the sparkling precious metal.
Erosion later exposed the laccolith. The stone—called diorite—began fracturing and eroding into the talus slopes seen today. With this falling, shifting debris came rock glaciers, a phenomenon visible in few Utah mountain ranges. The La Sals happen to be one.
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