Lusk Ridge (Hunchback Hills)

Interesting Facts: 

If there are "interesting facts" about Lusk Ridge, I don't know of them.

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Hiking
Technical Difficulty Level: 
3
Endurance Level: 
High
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, May 4, 2018

There isn't a ton to say about this hike to be honest with you. Phil and I were planning a much "sexier" peak for Friday, May the 4th (be with you), but due to lingering snow and uncertainty about the winds that were forecast, we changed our minds a few times and finally settled on an "easy" backup of Lusk Ridge / Hunchback Hills for the day. I'll let my photos do most of the talking on this trip report other than to say it was an enjoyable hike on a beautiful day, but not something that's likely done very often for good reason. blush

 

Most folks do only the Hunchback Hill hike that's listed in Daffern's book and detailed on Bob Spirko's site but we decided to do the entire Lusk Ridge loop, including many sub peaks along the way. Making our day slightly silly was the fact that the Powderface Trail road was still closed, necessitating a long walk back along the road at the end of the day, padding our stats to over 22km of distance! Base training for later season I suppose...

 


[Looking back down at the Dawson PRA parking lot (C) from a nice access ramp we followed up Lusk Ridge East summit.]


[This hike is mostly forested, so you have to be expecting slightly muted views compared with wide open mountain vistas. We enjoyed interesting rock formations that cropped up unexpectedly every once in a while. We did not, however, enjoy the mosquitoes that plagued us up Lusk Ridge East!!]


[Forest floor detritus is always interesting.]


[Faint trails kept us entertained between light bushwhacking. It was never truly horrible 'whacking, thank goodness!]


[A view over Sibbald Creek Trail towards Deer Ridge and Eagle Hill.]

 
[Unexpected views off Lusk Ridge East summit looking back over the first forested bump we hiking over. Cox Hill at distant right is going to show up all day on photos. ++]


[Phil takes in the forest scenery looking over the Powderface Trail towards Cox Hill.]


[After a very enjoyable first hour or so of open forest hiking to the summit of Lusk Ridge East, we started encountering way more snow than we expected.]


[Interesting tracks - too small for bear.]

 
[A rare break from the snow slog, looking towards Lusk Ridge. ++]


[We did get interesting views towards the front ranges including north towards Grotto, Fable and Morrowmount.]


[Orient Point looks fairly dry with End Mountain and Association Hill in the foreground.]

 
[Don't be deceived. That "little bit of snow" is waist deep in spots! Looking towards Lusk Ridge main summit.]


[Tiara and Belmore Brown Peak.]


[Phil makes the ridge traverse look way more interesting than it was.]

 
[Looking back towards Lusk Ridge East summit.]


[Midnight Peak at right, Midday to it's left.]

 
[Every once in a while we got some pretty decent views. Cox Hill at left and the South Peak of Lusk directly above Phil's head here - still a long way to go! ++]


[Looking past Mount Kidd on the left and The Tower in the distance at center.]


[The Fortress and Gusty Peak show up between Midday (L) and Midnight (R) peaks.]


[Belmore Brown, Tiara, Boundary Ridge and Boundary Peak from L to R.]

 
[Enjoying a nice viewpoint along the ridge. ++]


[Some fun scrambling on interesting rocky ridges intersecting our route.]


[A surprising amount of snow-suck.]


[Looking towards yet another bump along the ridge.]

 
[Some pretty decent views. Barrier Lake in the distance right of center. Lusk Ridge south (Hunchback Hill) at distance left is our final peak of the day. ++]

 
[A surprising number of Kananaskis and front range peaks visible from here including (L to R), Baldy West, Sparrowhawk, Wind, Mary Barclays, Lougheed III, Lougheed II, Lougheed I, Baldy, Skogan, Jewell Peak, Grant MacEwan, McGillivray, Grotto, Yates, Gap and Fable among others of course. ++]


[Costigan looms across the CMC Valley to the north.]


[Orient Point with End Mountain and Association Hill in front.]


[Black Rock Mountain.]


[Mount Yamnuska with Morrowmount and Wendell looming in the background.]


[Mount Fable is very distinctive.]


[Kidd, Tower, Ribbon and Bogart (L to R).]

 
[Traversing over towards South Lusk (oos to the left) with our best views of the day.]


[The odd patch of snow definitely slows down our progress!]


[Interesting highpoint before South Lusk.]


[Looking towards our last peak of the day - South Lusk Ridge or Hunchback Hill.]

 
[Looking along our entire traverse. Cox Hill now at distant right.]

 
[Another great pano lining the front ranges from Tiara at left to Yamnuska at right. ++]


[My favorite part of the entire day was this open ridge traverse towards South Lusk in warm sunshine with great views.]

 
[Looking back at our traverse (R to L).]

 
[Moody skies over Barrier Lake. ++]

 
[Looking at the remainder of our descent down South Lusk. Cox Hill at left with Jumpingpound Ridge also at left. Bryant, Nihahi Ridge and Tiara at distant center and right.]


[The route follows an escarpment (to our left) through forest.]


[Despite appearances it was fairly easy and there were so many ribbons it was impossible to go off route!]


[We thought we were done with snow at this point. It felt like summer again here - hot and dry as we descent to the Lusk Pass trail.]


[This sucked. The Lusk Pass trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail) was covered in up to knee deep snow!]


[Looking back up the Lusk Pass trail - what a nightmare with snow! When is this crap going to finally melt?!]


[A long walk out along the Powderface Trail which has been closed all winter and doesn't open for a few weeks yet.]


[What a coincidence! The road is being cleared literally as we walk it. :)]


[At least it was a glorious afternoon. But the road did get boring about about 5km.]

 

Overall I would never repeat Lusk Ridge and I would likely not even recommend it unless you're a geochacher. Sure! It has some decent and unique views of the front ranges, but it's manky and not very pleasant for a lot of the route. Of course, if you did it without snow and parked a vehicle at each end you wouldn't suffer from postholing hell and road walking purgatory either...

Summit Elevation (ft): 
6,759
Elevation Gain (m): 
1050
Round Trip Time: 
8.50
Total Distance (km): 
22.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 1 : you fall, you're stupid
Difficulty Notes: 

No difficulties other than some routefinding and choosing the right conditions (early or late season).