Whitebark Pine info sign:
Because of strong, harsh, and nearly constant winds, many of the trees here are deformed and stunted. The almost never-ending pressure bends trunks and branches so they grow away from the wind.
As the trunks thicken with age they bury the curved bases of the limbs on the windward sides. Buds on the windward side may also die. The combined result is the grotesque, lopsided appearance typical of exposed trees at higher elevations.
The Whitebark Pine of this photo is one of the few kinds of trees which can survive under these severe conditions.