A great way to experience two of the best descents in Kananaskis and some of the most scenic terrain. This traverse takes you from the Black Prince drainage, up and over both Purple Knob and Hero Knob.
Distance: 10.2km return
Elevation Gain: 1169m
Physical Difficulty: 4
Technical Difficulty: 3
Avalanche Terrain Rating: Challenging
Map: 82 J/11
To Get Here: From Canmore, take Smith Dorrien / Spray Lakes Trail for 55km to Black Prince Parking on your right. Alternatively, take HWY 40 and exit on Spray Trail to reach the parking lot.
Route Description: This route starts at the Black Prince Parking area and terminates at the Sawmill Parking Area. From the Black Prince Parking Lot, head SW across the flats and cross the Creek. Follow an old logging road to the right, as it climbs up to the West. Continue half a kilometer down this road. watching for a narrow ski trail that breaks off to the right, dropping down to the creek. Cross the creek and follow a drainage towards the Black Prince fan. As you climb the drainage, you'll come across a large slide path. Manouver to lookers right of the slidepath and continue up towards Purple Knob's SE ridge. As you approach the ridge, Purple Knob's back bowl will come into view. This slope is steep with a number of slide paths that terminate in the bowl and cornices hanging overhead. Make sure the snow is stable before you enter this area. Work your way up to the low point on the Purple Knob Col. From the Col, enjoy a great run to the valley floor, in order to pick up the Hero Knob uptrack. Climb back up the headwall until you can gain the ridge that leads to Hero Knob's summit. Alternatively, from the first bench on the Purple Knob descent, traverse NW across a very steep slope to gain the upper ridge that leads to Hero Knob's summit. This slope involves an exposed steep traverse. Be sure of conditions before venturing out on this slope. Follow the ridge until you can traverse into Hero Knob's col. Enjoy the final descent back down to valley bottom and follow the drainage out to the Sawmill Parking Area.
Return to Backcountry Skiing Areas (click here)