Prairie Mountain

On 24 December 1994, I accompanied Ron Martin and Tara Sawchuk for a hike up Prairie Mountain in the Elbow Valley region of Alberta's Kananaskis Country.  We had no route-finding difficulties, and we even had the entire mountain all to ourselves.  The weather was fantastic, and the company was even better.  It was a great way to spend Christmas Eve.
Hard to imagine no one else being on this trail! Ron and Tara look enthusiastic about climbing Prairie Mountain on Christmas Eve.
Where's all the snow?? Tara and Ron get their first look at the upper mountain from a clearing along the trail.
Gorgeous day in the mountains! Ron hikes across open slopes near the summit.  At far left is Mount Bryant.
Wait a sec...Tara doesn't drink beer!! Ron, Tara and Sonny share a couple of beers on top of Prairie Mountain.
Cheers! Ron and Sonny cross beers on the summit cairn.

Those beers are starting to take effect...

Ron, Tara and Sonny perform synchronized spinning on top of Prairie Mountain.

Sun Ice jacket, sweat pants, and Nike light hiking shoes--I'm quite the fashion statement! Sonny feels compelled to climb something on Prairie Mountain using his hands.
Love the Bangles! Tara walks like an Egyptian.
Story of my life... Sonny feels like roadkill after the strenuous hike.
Nearly twenty years after my first ascent of Prairie Mountain, I was back for a repeat visit on 8 November 2014 along with Dinah Kruze and Bob Spirko.  We actually had a different objective elsewhere at the start of the day, but a closed access road forced us to settle for Prairie Mountain instead.  Unlike my first ascent, the trail was very busy on this day; Prairie Mountain has become Calgary's equivalent of the Grouse Grind in Vancouver.  It was actually fun socializing on the trail with all sorts of strangers and some not so strange (we ran into Bill Kerr on our way down).  The open ridge before the summit was no less windy twenty years later, but the summit cairn had certainly grown in size.  The weather was again fantastic for the time of year, and the same could be said about the company.  Here is hoping that I will still be around in another twenty years to climb Prairie Mountain for a third time!
Where were you two 20 years ago?? Dinah and Bob are eager to start hiking.
The trail is just as steep twenty years later! Bob and Dinah climb up a steep section of the trail.
Mind the cornice! Dinah and Bob break out of the trees.
That cairn has grown considerably in 20 years! Bob and Dinah check out the views just beyond the 2208-metre summit of Prairie Mountain.
Damn! Forgot to bring the beers!! Sonny joins Dinah and Bob for a group photo near the summit.

Pretty good views for a modest amount of effort!

Some notable mountains visible behind Nihahi Ridge include Mount Blane (at extreme left with its distinct sub-peak, the Blade), Mount Romulus (topped with line of snow at far left), and Fisher Peak (centre).

Where's Mount Cornwall?? Banded Peak, Outlaw Peak and Mount Glasgow are visible to the southwest.
Maybe it's time for another visit soon... Moose Mountain dominates the northern view.
Calgary's version of the Grouse Grind? Total Distance:  7.2 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  3 hours 21 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  699 metres

GPX Data