logo

Lusk Ridge (Hunchback Hills)

Moody skies over Barrier Lake.

Summit Elevation (m): 2066
Trip Date: Friday, May 4, 2018
Elevation Gain (m): 1050
Round Trip Time (hr): 8.5
Total Trip Distance (km): 22.5
Quick ‘n Dirty 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).
Technical Rating: OT3; YDS (Hiking)
GPS Track: Download
Mapwhat3words


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.

Lusk Ridge Route Map

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.

Forest floor detritus is always interesting.
Looking towards Lusk Ridge main summit.
Enjoying a nice viewpoint along the ridge.
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.
My favorite part of the entire day was this open ridge traverse towards South Lusk in warm sunshine with great views.
Moody skies over Barrier Lake.
Moody skies over Barrier Lake.
A long walk out along the Powderface Trail which has been closed all winter and doesn’t open for a few weeks yet.

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.

Lusk Ridge
74 photos
Looking back down at the Dawson PRA parking lot (C) from a nice access ramp we followed up Lusk Ridge East summit.
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.
This hike is mostly forested, so you have to be expecting slightly muted views compared with wide open mountain vistas.
Forest floor detritus is always interesting.
Forest floor detritus is always interesting.
Faint trails kept us entertained between light bushwhacking. It was never truly horrible 'whacking, thank goodness!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interesting tracks - too small for bear.
A rare break from the snow slog, looking towards Lusk Ridge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tiara and Belmore Brown Peak.
Phil makes the ridge traverse look way more interesting than it was.
Phil makes the ridge traverse look way more interesting than it was.
Looking back towards Lusk Ridge East summit.
Looking back towards Lusk Ridge East summit.
Midnight Peak at right, Midday to it's left.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Belmore Brown, Tiara, Boundary Ridge and Boundary Peak from L to R.
Enjoying a nice viewpoint along the ridge.
Enjoying a nice viewpoint along the ridge.
Some fun scrambling on interesting rocky ridges intersecting our route.
Some fun scrambling on interesting rocky ridges intersecting our route.
A surprising amount of snow-suck.
A surprising amount of snow-suck.
Looking towards yet another bump along the ridge.
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.
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
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
Costigan looms across the CMC Valley to the north.
Costigan looms across the CMC Valley to the north.
Orient Point with End Mountain and Association Hill in front.
Orient Point with End Mountain and Association Hill in front.
Black Rock Mountain.
Black Rock Mountain.
Mount Yamnuska with Morrowmount and Wendell looming in the background.
Mount Yamnuska with Morrowmount and Wendell looming in the background.
Mount Fable is very distinctive.
Mount Fable is very distinctive.
Kidd, Tower, Ribbon and Bogart (L to R).
Kidd, Tower, Ribbon and Bogart (L to R).
Traversing over towards South Lusk (oos to the left) with our best views of the day.
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!
The odd patch of snow definitely slows down our progress!
Interesting highpoint before South Lusk.
Interesting highpoint before South Lusk.
Looking towards our last peak of the day - South Lusk Ridge or Hunchback Hill.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Looking back at our traverse (R to L).
Moody skies over Barrier Lake.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
At least it was a glorious afternoon. But the road did get boring about about 5km.

2 thoughts on Lusk Ridge (Hunchback Hills)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.