Kari, Dinah and I set out to climb Shunga-la-she but the pinnacles and window on the southeast ridge of Mount Burns proved to be a bigger draw. Although the elevation gain was only 700 m, the rock features made for a fascinating scramble. (Access: Drive to the end of HWY 546, west of Turner Valley, and park at the upper parking lot at Junction Creek day-use area.)
We hiked west on the 4x4 road, the Sheep River Trail. After a few minutes, we found a break in the trees where we could see a window. We continued up the road and passed a scree slope in the trees. About 45 minutes from the trailhead, we left the road and started bushwhacking up the slope (GR574073). Animal trails assisted and in a short time we emerged from the trees.
We were on a broad ridge. Ahead was good scree leading to a cliff band interrupted by pinnacles. We hit a couple of dead ends before finding a way through the pinnacles. After climbing out, we were on a scree slope leading to a ridge. We crested the ridge and hiked west to a high point on the ridge. After a short stay, we started to head back. Instead of returning to the pinnacles, however, we continued east along the ridge. Finding the window which we couldn't see was a trick. When we reached a point above where we thought the window would be, we dropped down. It was steep (note the contours on the map!) but we eventually made it to the window.
I was hoping we could go through the window but it was a vertical drop on the other side. However, after dropping down and reaching the treeline, it was only 200-300 m to the road.
In 2004 we returned followed the ridge as far as we could before turning back because of cliffs.
Route is clockwise. Pinnacles (P), Window (W).
Ascent ridge: the pinnacles are in the centre. The summit is out of sight behind the cliffs.
The pinnacles: we found a way up between the two pinnacles in the
middle of the photo.
Starting up through the pinnacles
The pinnacles were a maze and it took us a few minutes to find
a way up and out
Fun scrambling in the pinnacles
Leaving the pinnacles behind. Shunga-la-she in the background
The way along the ridge is barred by cliffs
Heading back along a goat track
After climbing down we'll followed the base of the cliff band
Going along the cliff base we hoped to get above the window
We headed down to the window
Mostly it was a steep slope but here we paused on a bit of gentle terrain
Kari and Dinah at the window
Looking back at the pinnacles as we head to the trail
We stopped to warm up by a fire
82 J/10 Mount Rae