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April 14, 2010
Was up to Black Prince on Sept 1.
Warspite is a puddle, not a lake. The Black Prince Lake is one large, one medium and one tiny puddle.
I suggest you DON'T wait until interp trail signs #9 or #10 to leave the trail if heading up. There is so much trail braiding and false trails, it's a waste. The most prominent trail from #10 heads left/clockwise around the lake, for instance (a bad choice; trust me). Instead, pull off the interp trail on a weak trail that leaves from #8 and quickly becomes flagged and strong and well off the lake edge in the forest. Three muddy, slippery creek crossings must be made before you get to the dry lake inlet (which doesn't look like an inlet). Wade through 5' tall willows to get to the boulder field (and please look for my pole basket in that boulder field).
The old trail from the boulder field to the cascade no longer actually exists, lost to more boulders from the flood. The obvious trail is the one that heads steeply up to the right far away from the waterfall, then finally and mercifully takes a single great switchback left to the waterfall. The whole thing is steep, greasy or marbley; poles essential, especially for the descent. After arriving at the waterfall (a spot with excellent views), one last very vertical pull gets you to the cirque. A side trail to the left leads to the top of the waterfall then peters out; some exposure on collapsing unstable slopes before you get to the waterfall's top (where there's not a great view anyway). Don't bother.
The first cirque is fun to poke around in, and has numerous paths to follow (most of which will steer you wrong if you want to go higher). The easiest ascent higher is the trail on the right side of the major draw on the right; look for some flagging and 4-5 very large cairns including a massive inukshuk. This is not a faint trail at all and has flagging and the occasional pathetic cairn anywhere confusing. We, however, ended up at the top of the draw some 40 vertical meters above the easy trail's entrance, and just continued up through stable boulders and scree, so there are other ways to get higher.
Do note that my altimeter and GPS both show that climb up the last moraine to the vantage points for the lake as 220 m, 70 m more than reported in the book. In fact, I got the total climb from the parking lot as 720 m, 100 m more than the book reports.
In addition to the whistling of marmots and squeaks of pikas, there was constant intermittent substantial rockfall coming from somewhere; we guessed the slopes of Mt. Warspite, but there are so many scree fans up there, it could have been from anywhere.
Larches not yet turning colour.
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