Plateau Mountain

elevation: 2,515 m. height gain: 550 m.
area: South Kananaskis,AB map 82 J/2

Ref: Drew and Mark in the Canadian Rockies.
quick way up

We aimed for the open slope.
Hike: RT 4.75; 2.25 up. On a camping trip with the hounds, what a great way to spend Christmas! We wanted to include our dogs on our last outing of 2011, the "dog friendly" Front Ranges seemed appropriate. Aware of the Chinook conditions, we hoped the south-west facing ascent slope would be denuded of snow. As we drove on icy hwy 532, we noticed the mild temperature and strong winds. We parked near an open slope we chose to follow up to the ridge, it was clear of snow. After putting the dog's booties on, we plowed through the trees in shin-deep snow. This short section didn't warrant the use of snowshoes, we reached the open slope in little time. We occasionally stumbled, pushed by wind gusts but the dogs didn't appear to mind the wind at all as they went along ahead of us. We gained height quickly, once on the ascent ridge the grade lessened. From this point, the wind was pushing us in the back, travelling was pleasant. When we reached the plateau, the wind intensified. We passed the "gas station" and walked on the road towards the summit cairn over a kilometer away. We hurried and when we reached the cairn, Fab and I pulled out a blanket each, some wind breakers and treats for the dogs. Once they were bundled up, we put on our own layers and took pictures. By now, it was snowing and the sun had disappeared. After a short pause, we engaged in a hasty retreat. Instead of backtracking down the ascent ridge, we dipped down in a drainage. This alternate descent turned out nice, it granted a fast and sheltered return to the road. We glissaded where we could. Lower down, small cliffbands were filled with enough snow to continue straight down. We stepped on the road, greeted by fierce wind and horizontal snow. I'm sure that even the dogs were happy to see the truck in the distance.
a bit of snow

Didn't bother with snowshoes for this short section.

open slope

Minimal snow on the open slope.

gaining height

Gaining height quickly.

rupert likes it

It's really windy but I like it!

ascent ridge

The grade eases on the ascent ridge.

poor weather coming

Poor weather heading our way...

gas station

Plodding towards the summit, past the buildings.

summit cairn

At the top with no shelter, dogs all bundled up, merry Christmas!

view north

Looking north along the plateau.

hasty retreat

Hasty retreat off the plateau, buildings visible to the left.

plowed road

The road to the "gas station" is plowed.

dipping off the ridge

We dip down from the ridge following a drainage.

nice alternate descent

The alternate descent is fast and less windy.

bad weather now

The ascent ridge behind Daisy.

firm snow

The snow is firm enough to bum slide.

back on the road

Walking to the truck, it's super windy!!!
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