The morning started off brisk and a bit overcast, but we got a neat look at our objective from the
road we were walking in along. The entrance is actually from the equestrian parking lot at
the end of the Sheep River Valley road from Turner Valley.
The Spirko route calls out fording the river, but we skipped that and just went to the bridge,
another km down the road. For further reference (if we do this scramble again), keep going after
the bridge until you get to the washed out bridge on the next creek. Then turn left, follow the
cairn and stay on the ridge the whole way up. We turned left immediately after the bridge here
and found ourselves going up super steep mossy tree areas, or as my buddy Graham likes to call
it, 'multi-sensory nature experiences', or bushwhacking.
After finding a large cairn from navigating via Mapster, we were back on the 'trail' and heading
in the right general direction. This is the view looking across the Sheep River to Mt Burns, a beast
of an outing according to Graham, and one I'll need to eventually do.
Nice look across the Sheep River Valley to Mt Burns.
Looking back at Gibraltar mountain, a big square block of rock. Can you tell this valley was
Shortly after we got out of the forest, the clouds dropped and started getting really moist. Here's
Dan climbing the steep scree up to the very rocky and blocky ridge we followed for a few km.
Dan says 'who needs hard shell jackets when I look this good?'
Some of the ridge was very steep and committing, so we'd drop down one side of the gendarme, only
to discover that the other way was a smarter option. This cliffside turned us back and we eventually
decided that it was almost always smarter to follow the climber's right option when presented with
an unattractive rock climb.
Trying to figure out how to get to the top through the cloud.
Some of the rock forms along the ridge with heavy lichen and lots of pea soup.
Unnamed peak between Shunga La She and Gibraltar.
Shortly after descending back on the ridge, the fog quickly enveloped us again. I did find this
interesting wildflower which had the texture of almost plastic. It is really close to the ground
and I almost thought the petals were leaves instead of flowers. Ben Gadd failed me on this one, but
Alberta Wildflower app *may* call this out as Ledge Stonecrop or Western roseroot.
We found this little guy, a male spruce grouse on the trail near our exit to the car. Grouse are
the 'chickens of the mountains' and they always surprise me that they haven't gone extinct due to
their complete lack of timidness. I could have grabbed this one with my hands and stuffed him
into my backpack, in spite of all of his pecking.
He was quite spry
And even chased us a little
For anyone who knows the history on the name 'Shunga La She', please send it along. All I could
find was a call out that Japanese Shunga or 'Spring Pictures' are basically Japanese woodblock prints
that are erotic in nature.
Route is HERE in Garmin Connect
GPS track in Google Earth showing where we used more of the scree slope when we could actually
see through the fog contrary to the route up where we 'handrailed' the ridge the whole way up since
visibility was limited to about 20 m at best. Dan's data is far better than my Ultratrac data,
but the route is still pretty obvious here.