The Ruby Mountains are a unique mountain range in several ways. One unique quality is the range’s predominance of whitebark pine trees. Most mountain ranges like the Sierra Nevada and Uintas are thickly forested with various pines, spruces and firs, with only a narrow band of whitebark pines along the very top of the range, in the harshest growing conditions. In the Rubies, whitebark pines are the most common pines carpeting the upper slopes, along with limber pines. Only pinyon pines are more common and they are found only along the bottom edge of the slopes. …Whitebark pines across the West are under threat of large scale die-off because of white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle, dwarf mistletoe, and drought stress. Some western mountain ranges have lost 80 percent of their whitebark pines.