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Mount Milton

Easy Snowshoeing Watch For Snowmobiles
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Having spent a lot of time in the Rockies over the last few months Steven and I thought it was time to head further Westwards and head up a peak around Valemount (with the goal of getting some decent pictures of Mount Albreda, an objective for the spring). This was my first time in Valemount and I must say that I was impressed by the wide reaching views once you get above treeline! Our objective for the day would be Mount Milton, which proved to be considerably easier than anticipated as it is an official snowmobile area (hence a very packed down trail).

Setting out from the (exceedingly large) plowed parking lot at the base of Allen Creek we made quick time up the packed down fire-road making it above treeline a little before sunrise. Once above treeline views opened up considerably and our conversation turned to how nicely scramble-able most of the peaks around here look (possibilities about for trips in the summer!). At the first highpoint on the ridge we got a look at the rest of the route (which follows the ridge with a few bypasses to avoid gaining unnecessary elevation) and could see snowmobile tracks leading all the way to the summit. We kept moving along at a decent pace making sure to take ample photo breaks. On the last highpoint before the summit we heard the dull roar of an approaching snowmobile and that sound would be our constant companion for the rest of the day. Most of the snowmobilers who came close to us seemed quite confused what a couple of snowshoe-ers were doing up in the middle of nowhere but didn't stop for a chat. On the summit ridge we wandered around for a while trying to find a cairn and after checking the gps is looks like the official summit is actually the lower northerly bump. We gradually made our way back down towards the fire road at a leisurely pace to give more time for good lighting on Mount Albreda. Eventually the sun was nicely aligned, we snapped some pictures and started the plod back down the fire-road (dodging quite a few swiftly moving sleds!). Once we got back down to the parking lot a couple of the 'sled trail wardens' (not their actual title just what I thought of them as) were somewhat angry at us for not leaving a note on the car saying that we were snowshoeing in the area. Snowmobiles do certainly get top billing in this neck of the woods!

In any case, still a great introduction to the Valemount area. I certainly have to come back to bag some of the loftier peaks nearby soon!


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