The functional relationship between erosion rate and topography is central to understanding both controls on global sediment flux and the potential for feedback between tectonics, climate, and erosion in shaping topography. Analysis of a high-resolution (10-m-grid) DEM transect across the convergent orogen of the Olympic Mountains reveals a non-linear relation between long-term erosion rates and mean slope, similar to a model for hillslope evolution by landsliding in steep terrain. The DEM data also reveal a relation between mean slope and mean local relief. Coarser-scale (1-km-grid) global analysis of the relation between erosion rate and mean local relief reveals different trends for areas with low erosion rates and tectonically active mountain ranges, with the composite relation being well-described by non-linear models. Together these analyses support the emerging view that erosion rates adjust to high rates of tectonically driven rock uplift primarily through changes in the frequency of landsliding rather than hillslope steepness, and imply that changes in local relief play a minor role in controlling landscape-scale erosion rates in tectonically active mountain ranges.