Fir waves

Example of fir waves on one of the hills around Katahdin as seen from the Knife Edge. These form when one tree falls and the resulting gap exposes trees on the leeward edge to higher winds. They are more likely to die and expand the gap downwind. Then young trees start to grow in the wind shadow and are protected from the winds. The combination of dying trees and growing trees make up the fir wave in the direction of the prevailing wind. OK, enough of a lesson for you, see Wikipedia for more info and links to articles on this if you are really interested.


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Matt Worster

Matt Worster - Nov 1, 2006 6:45 pm - Hasn't voted


. . . as Stephen Clark (guidebook author) calls them. I saw this picture and knew immediately it had to be in Baxter State Park - the only place I've seen this. It shows up very clearly on Google Earth, too!

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Nov 1, 2006 7:02 pm - Hasn't voted


Cool, thanks. I did see where this also occurrs in the Adirondacks apparently too (see that Wikipedia link). I've never seen it out west though, personally just in Baxter too.

Matt Worster

Matt Worster - Nov 2, 2006 1:04 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Re:

Yep, I stand corrected. I just saw some of Nartreb's photos in the Whites and realized I have stood in those same places and seen (duh) the same thing. I guess it just always looks so stark around the Katahdin/Owl area.


nartreb - Nov 1, 2006 7:03 pm - Hasn't voted

South Brother, I think

seen across the Saddle.

Edit: yep, that's definitely South Brother. Compare this photo and also this one

PS Fir waves are found in New England, New York, Quebec, and also in Japan. Examples from all but the last can be found in the Fir Waves album (to which I've attached this photo).

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Nov 2, 2006 4:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: South Brother, I think

Yep, I would agree. I was on the Knife Edge and you can see the top of the Saddle Trail in this photo. So beyond would be S. Bro.

Cool photo album.


Tahawus - Aug 26, 2008 11:35 pm - Voted 10/10

Excellent Picture

Great contrasts between the expansive alpine terrain and of the fir waves on South Brother in the background. Wish I had this knid of weather when I was up there! Cheers.

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Aug 27, 2008 12:12 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Excellent Picture

Thanks for the nice words. I'll be heading back to New England in the next month, love to get out there during Autumn.


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