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Prairie Mountain
Kananaskis, Alberta
January 10, 2009

When weather is poor or time is short, Dinah and I climb Prairie Mountain for the exercise. Even in winter, the trail up the southeast ridge is hugely popular. There are several places to start the hike – in the parking lot or on the side of the road east of the seasonal gate – but all the trails soon converge on the ridge.

On this day, the snow-covered trail was well-trodden, but off-trail, the snow was about 15" deep, although the open ridge was largely free of snow. Our round-trip time was 2:30, 15 minutes slower than usual because of the snow.

Prairie Mountain seen from the road

Congested parking is not a recent phenomenon: I took this photo March 20, 1999

Starting up from the trailhead

We soon reach a break in the trees

Swany's Ridge and Îyarhe Îpan in the background

The lower slope is mostly treed

A rock outcrop just over halfway up the mountain offers a flat spot to take a break. It's also the upper fork for an alternative side trail.

A trail on the outcrop leads back to the main trail. Across the valley is Vent Ridge.

The trail continues up the southeast ridge

The grade steepens just before we broke out of the trees

Reaching a viewpoint on the open ridge

The viewpoint is a good place to stop if it's too cold or windy to continue another 800 m to the summit

Hiking up the ridge from the viewpoint.

Following the ridge to the summit

Looking east toward Calgary (mouse over for a close-up)

Looking back along the ridge. Forgetmenot Ridge and Powderface Ridge in the background.

A large cairn sits on the summit. On the right is Moose Mountain.

82 J/15 Bragg Creek

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