Climb Hunchback Hill 435554 while you can

When driving up Hwy. 68 from Hwy. 40, I have always had my eyes drawn to the north ridge of this hill because it is open for the most part.  How to reach the bottom of it without a horrific bushwhack through deadfall? That problem was solved when a logging road was pushed up the valley to its west, which is marked as Stony Creek on the topo map. Actually the road and its offshoots extend to the valley to the northeast. Up there, on the north side of the hills there is a HUGE  area of clearcut that can’t be seen from the highway.

Hunchback Hill

The top, looking west.

The road starts at 418565. And you need follow it uphill only to the bend at 428560. From here either climb onto the ridge to the east and follow it SSE over a crag-lined  top to a col, or climb diagonally right below the ridge and top  to gain the col. Either way, the going is a pleasant mix  of  meadow, and aspen-pine mix with grass underfoot. From the col head up through a belt of open trees to a glade where a trail starting from the bottom left-hand corner takes you up through a few more trees into the big meadow. We went up the ridge proper at the left edge of the grass where it was less steep. On top is a flat meadow with inukshuk and a metal post with flagging used as a marker by heli-yoga groups. When doing the Hunchback Horseshoe, the route crosses this hill closer to the tree edge. But no need to look for the summit in the trees. This flat  is the best place to stop and admire the view to the west and north. We spent a good hour  here, doing nothing much, just enjoying the fine Fall day. A breeze wasn’t apparent, but  lying on my back, I watched hawks spiralling up into the deep blue until they were lost to sight, and fluffy white seedheads wafting across my vision from west to east. It was hard to leave. Especially as we weren’t going back the same easy way, but  instead were trying out the NE ridge which proved to be riddled with deadfall and alder. We didn’t bother marking it on the map.

Being north facing, this logging road and others would be good for snowshoeing and skiing. Not so sure about the ridge. Anyway, it will be fun  to try it out. But best do it soon before the road is rehabilitated.

Hunchback Hill map

Shows ridge route. You can also (especially on the descent) traverse below the ridge to/from the col.

1 comment… add one
  • thepassionatehiker Oct 21, 2012, 5:08 pm

    Didn’t do this particular route but did hike up to Hunchback Hills summit today per route #76 in Kananaskis Country Trail Guide 4th Ed Vol.2. Great hike, good flagging in central portion as far as first viewpoint (altho no – or very limited – flagging visible on lower slopes from equestrian campsite). 4-6 inches new snow up there today. Views of swirling cloud and mountaintops appearing and disappearing. Awesome sight. Highly recommended hike. Look forward to trying out Hill 435554 per your route above.

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