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Warspite North Ridge and Black Prince Lake
Kananaskis, Alberta
September 5, 2020

Distance: 12.0 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 914 m

Black Prince Lake is a delightful hike that's reached by hiking the west side of a cirque, up a terminal moraine. But a bigger draw, at least for me, was the east side of the cirque, the north ridge of Mount Warspite. The ridge extending from Warspite comprises a few high points, but the northernmost point is not a point at all, just a gentle ridge accessed by hiking a steep slope. In short, reaching the cirque puts two attractive objectives within easy reach. (Mount Warspite dominates the end of the cirque, but that's in the realm of scramblers.)

Joining me on this trip were Zora, Kari, and Jonathan. We parked at Black Prince day-use area and followed the trail to Warspite Lake. The lake wasn't much, practically a pond, but we left the trail to take a closer look. After taking photos, we made our way to the far end of the lake where we picked up the trail to the cirque.

The trail more or less follows Warspite Creek. The creek disappears above Warspite Cascade, but fortunately the trail doesn't. It continues climbing before levelling off as it enters the expansive cirque. On our left was our first objective, the north ridge. Steep rock slabs extend to the crest, but deeper into the cirque, a vegetated slope rises to a col. After a relentlessly steep climb, we reached the col, turned left and hiked along the ridge to the top.

We whiled away an hour on the summit ridge. Some of it was spent ambling 250 m to the end of the ridge to peer down at Warspite Lake, but much of it basking in the sun. Eventually we roused ourselves and studied our next objective. On the other side of the cirque lay Black Prince Lake, partly hidden by a terminal moraine we had to climb.

We returned to the col, passed the spot where we first reached the ridge and found an orange scree run extending well down the slope. We quickly dropped down most of the way before angling left, almost a direct line to the lake via the cirque.

From the cirque, we climbed 130 m to the top of the moraine where we could gaze down at Black Prince Lake. Again we took advantage of the fine weather to spend a long time by the lake.

Descending from the lake was a breeze. We followed a trail down to the cirque and back to the main trail. A popular hike, we passed people going up to the cirque, perhaps even going to the lake, but none, I'm sure, would venture to the pleasant ridge we were on.

KML and GPX Tracks

A few minutes after starting, we crossed a bridge

We got our first look at the north ridge from the trail

We made our way to Warspite Lake

Zora and Jonathan were busy taking photos

After leaving the lake, we made our way along the bushy trail

The trail crosses a rock field

Following the trail up the valley

Looking back at the rock field

The trail veers away from the creek before swinging back to it

Coming to Warspite Cascades

Not much water runs down this time of year

View of the cirque after we came out of the trees

We headed to the vegetated ramp that climbs to the col

We'll ascend the patch of red vegetation high up the slope

The north ridge extends above us

Looking up the slope from the red patch

Looking down at the cirque

Reaching the col

Following the ridge to the summit

Almost at the summit

Zora, Jonathan, Kari and me on the summit

Looking back at Jonathan, just a dot on the summit, from the north end of the ridge

Looking down at Warspite Lake (mouse over)

The terminal moraine on the right partly hides Black Prince Lake

Heading back to the col

Starting down the scree slope. Mount Black Prince on the right.

The scree extends well down the slope

Partway down we left the slope and, assisted in part by sheep trails, we angled down to the cirque

Looking back before reaching the cirque

Starting our ascent up the moraine from the cirque

Looking back

Jonathan (centre) crosses a boulder field before the lake

Black Prince Lake

Mount Warspite is at the end of the cirque

The north ridge is on the left

Taking photos on the moraine

Following the path down to the cirque

The trail reaches the cirque and returns to the main trail

Looking back at the north ridge from below the cascades

82 J/11 Kananaskis Lakes

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