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Lusk Ridge
Hunchback Hills, Centre Hill

Kananaskis, Alberta
April 10, 2022

Distance: 7.0 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 571 m

I wasn't exactly lusting after Lusk Ridge when Sonny Bou invited me to climb it, but I agreed, although reluctantly. Conditions wouldn’t be optimum, not with stubborn snow clinging to the north aspects of our route, and with deteriorating weather forecasted. However, I looked forward to a new hike and seeing familiar faces: along with Sonny were Shaun Luong, Andrew Chinnick, Wendy Kadar and her dog Ruthie. Lusk Ridge is a high point in the Hunchback Hills.

Our trip began off of Highway 68 on an old skid trail, a temporary access for logging equipment. A footpath runs up the left side, dodging logging debris, or slash as loggers call it. At a clearing, the path turns left and continues up a clearcut valley. At the end of the valley, we turned left. A short but steep climb brought us to a cleared ridgetop. We paused to view Barrier Lake in the distance before continuing along the ridge.

The ridge threw a few minor obstacles at us – dense trees and outcrops – but the crusty snow offered the greatest challenge. It was supportive except when it wasn't, and we would suddenly plunge to our knees or thighs. But time and again, we reacted to our misfortunes with gales of laughter rather than cries of frustration.

Eventually we stumbled onto the big meadow below the summit. It had started lightly snowing earlier, but now, just when we should have had fine views, a snow squall veiled the scenery. We passed a large cairn, crossed the meadow and entered the forest to look for a slightly higher point.

We postholed to an uncertain summit indistinguishable on a flat expanse in trees. Viewless, snowing and cold, it was pointless to tarry, so we headed back. We followed our route, except for missing a critical turn that caused us to run into deadfall and deep snow, but that just added to our adventure.

KML and GPX Tracks
Sonny's Trip Report

We parked at the trailhead

Hiking up the skid trail

The path turns left at a clearing

The summit soon appeared ahead

We ascended the ridgeline from the left

We reached the ridge by ascending the slope on our left at the end of the valley

After a steep hike, Shaun reaches the ridgetop. The summit bump is in the centre.

Looking west from the ridge: Barrier Lake left. Yates Mountain comes to a point above Horton Hill (mouse over). Right is Horton Ridge.

We continued up the ridge

After crossing a hundred metres of supportive snow, Shaun and I sank to our thighs and resorted to crawling the last few metres

We continued along the ridge

We encountered gnarled trees and outcrops along the ridge

We were far from the summit when it began snowing

Sonny comes up a snowy slope

We finally reached the edge of the meadow below the summit

It began snowing in earnest

The summit is somewhere in the trees

Looking for the summit

Me, Sonny, Shaun, Wendy, Ruthie and Andrew on the summit or thereabouts

We took a break after coming down from the summit

The snow was too deep for postholing, so Andrew and Wendy slid down (mouse over for a close-up

82 O/2 Jumpingpound

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