Most wouldn't suspect, but the largest mountain escarpment (continual rise) in the lower 48 states is the 10,834 foot Mt. San Jacinto on the western edge of Palm Springs, CA. Leaving from behind the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Skyline Trail starts at around 450 feet elevation and continues to the top of the tram, with around 8,000 feet of vertical gain. Then it's another 2,500 feet gain to the summit. http://www.yelp.com/biz/cactus-to-clouds-hike-mt-san-jacinto-peak-palm-springs Another, more mountaineering, more difficult approach is ascending the 10,000 vertical foot north face from the small village of Snow Creek. It's is best to do this route over two days. The first day's hike is in the desert, taking you to the snow tongue. Camp there and in the morning put on your crampons, grab your ice ax and start the 6,000 foot vertical snow and ice climb. All within 8 miles of downtown Palm Springs. Sometimes on the top of San Jacinto there is 25 feet of snow. Talk about juxtaposition.