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Mount Cowen Climber's Log

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awhite28Exhilarating  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 17, 2014

awhite28

What an exhilarating climb! Camped at Elbow Lake and did the climb and the hike out the next day. Went up without a rope but was glad to have it to rappel off the top on the way down, and very thankful to have climbing partners more experienced than myself. Gorgeous, awesome mountain.
Posted Aug 18, 2014 9:15 pm

JLuthanenSummit  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 4, 2013

JLuthanen

Single day push, 7am TH leave time, 9:30pm return time. Elbow Lake was a breeze and got there in 3.5hrs. Had NO IDEA how rough / long the slog was from there really - got up within 50ft of summit on one side, and 10ft from other but without trad gear, wasn't worth the final push. Topped out around 2:30? Lots of picking your way doggedly back down through loose scree on the way out. Excited to potentially come back with fishing gear as both the lake and the stream on the way in look to be packed with trout ...
Posted Aug 5, 2013 1:15 am

ianc82Normal Route. One long Day.  Sucess!

ianc82

Climbed with my friend James B in one long day. Camped at TH on Sept 31 and started around 5:30 am next day. Summited at exactly 2:00. Intermittent dark clouds eddying through the peaks around us yielded small amounts of graupel. And was somewhat concerning during the middle of our climb. Precip waned quickly though and the sun came out for the summit with tremendous views!
Posted Oct 2, 2012 10:46 pm

PanamaRedEpic!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 29, 2011

PanamaRed

Climbed Cowen via the normal route. What a fun scramble! The view from the top was amazing. Did the trip in 2 days. Great weather!!!
Posted Sep 30, 2012 1:46 am

musicman82Great Peak!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 10, 2012

musicman82

Climbed the standard route with Morlow; I passed on the last seven or eight feet due to crappy boots with no grip and poor arm strength - it just wasn't worth risking a fall and a bounce! Wonderful route and one of the most beautiful mountains I've climbed - it's definitely a special place.
Posted Jul 12, 2012 11:42 pm

MorlowStandard route  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 10, 2012

Morlow

Climbed Cowen today via the standard route, with musicman82 (Tim). Really, really fun climb. We camped at Elbow Lake and went up the following morning. Loads of fun class 3-4, some steep snow, and the last few moves up to the summit were really fun too.
Posted Jul 11, 2012 3:06 am

FRhoderickNE Arete  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 26, 2011

FRhoderick

Great route and near perfect weather. Very few folks in the cirque. Wonderful place.
Posted Sep 27, 2011 11:11 pm

crathkopfGood Intro to MT  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 3, 2011

crathkopf

Excellent climb! I just moved out here and wanted to get a taste of the local flavor. I don't have any climbing partners yet so I was relegated to soloing the Standard Route. Started at about 6 am from the car, 5,600 ft, 12 hrs, 4 blisters, and a casual nap on the summit later I was driving home. Thats why I moved to Montana! Still looking for partners if anyone out there wants to get after it with me.
Posted Sep 16, 2011 7:24 pm

timstabStandard route, numerous other couloirs  Sucess!

timstab

Excellent place to spend the weekend climbing and skiing.
Posted Sep 9, 2009 2:03 pm

rogerrootsA Great Climb in a Great Range  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 28, 2008

rogerroots

Five long hours on the trail before reaching Elbow Lake. It was "an RV park" according to one of my fellow climbers. There were at least 20 other people camping at the lake on the Saturday afternoon when we arrived. We decided to hike up another half mile to an unnamed lake to the south of the Cowen ridge. There the 4 of us found a mountain paradise. We camped for 2 nights and had the lake to ourselves. Lots of firewood and the beauty of "Eenie" staring down upon us.

On the morning of the 27th, three of us decided to try our luck at Cowen's rarely climbed east side. One of our party took one look at the vertical lines of Cowen from that side and said So Long. Myself and another climber began climbing up a narrow couliour between Cowen and "Moe."

Soon, my partner turned back and I was left to try to make it to the Cowen/Moe saddle alone. I took a dangerous snowbank route straight up with no ice axe for about 150 feet. I had to kick 3 times to get each foothold and 3 times with each gloved hand. By the time I got to the top of the snow I was scared and my fingers were completely numb. Had I slipped near the top of the snowbank, I suppose I would have slid well beyond the bottom of the snow and would likely have bounced over the rocks below and over the cliff to my death.

Anyway, I worked my way out of a couple of jams and made it over the saddle. I tried to make the Cowen summit by way of the south ridge but was stopped by a deep steep chasm. I finally decided to try to climb "Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Moe." I only made it to two summits, however (later learning they were "Moe" and the "South Summit" of Cowen).

On one pitch of Moe, I had to climb about 30 feet of near verticle crack by cramming my gloved hands into the crack and trusting them to hold my weight. My learning curve was steep.

That night, all of us regathered at our private lake and determined to climb Cowen by the conventional (westish) route the nextday. We made it over the waterfall wall to the unnamed frozen lakes directly below Cowen by around noon on the 28th. Two of us decided to make the final push without water or daypacks.

We worked our way up the treacherous couliour to the left of the summit and then zigzagged across the face of the mountain, haphazardly following cairns placed by unknown others. We were poor route selectors and ended up trying a fairly steep pitch toward the left of the summit.

My partner had had enough about 100 feet from the summit. He stayed put while I executed a couple fairly technical moves straight upward and ultimately found the ledge where climbers approach the final summit cap from the northwest side. For some reason, I missed the conventional notch route to the summit and went all the way around the cap to a fairly dangerous granit knob. I foolishly climbed to the summit by a route that I know now is climbed by very few.

It was only when I tried to figure out how to get down that I found the actual normal notch route on the northeast side. Then I discovered the much easier route that my partner and I had missed during our descent. I hollered out to my partner that I could guide him to the summit using the conventional route fairly easily.

He agreed to try it by the easier route (which was occasionally marked with cairns). The two of us summited at around 3:00 p.m.--my second summit of Cowen in one hour.

--Roger Roots, Livingston, Montana
Posted Jul 31, 2008 1:22 pm

wyomtmanLooong Day!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 7, 2004

wyomtman

Northeast arĂȘte, car to car with my good friend Rob. The story of is adventure is best told around a camp fire. Beautiful cirque with a life time of climbs. Highly recomemded!
Posted Dec 12, 2007 4:17 pm

CBakwinCowen Climb  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 12, 2006

CBakwin

Climbed this on a BEAUTIFUL day with two great guys from the Trailhead RT 12 hours.
Posted Jul 17, 2006 1:42 pm

Zac FinleyJust to Elbow Lake  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 27, 2005

Zac Finley

I'm not sure if I should be signing the "climber's log" especially since I didn't even intend to climb Cowen in the first place. I made the hike solely to reach Elbow Lake, not really even knowing that Mount Cowen towered right above its banks. Although I had to make the trek alone, just the hike to Elbow Lake was wonderful. The spring time wild flower dominated the trail. It took me just over 4 hours to reach Elbow Lake from the trailhead. I spent a couple hours wondering around the lake. I plan on making the trip up again next summer, but hopefully making it an overnighter with a climb up Mount Cowen as well.
Posted Feb 21, 2006 7:22 pm

tristan_mtRoute Climbed: Standard Route Date Climbed: July 21, 2004  Sucess!
The day started off perfect, and the weather held. We started from the trailhead at about 8 o'clock and made it to Elbow by about 12. We made the decision to try to camp at the upper lake (above 10,000 FT) to increase our chances on making it to the top.



When we finally made the 1,500 foot scramble to the upper lake, we decided that the weather was holding perfectly and to make a shot at the summit. We made our way above the "pond above the upper lake," keeping to the left side. Above there, there is a noticeable chute that drops down toward the pond. We followed the chute knowing that the true summit was directly above.



We topped out on the ridge, and decided to go down about 30 feet to get on the face. Once on the face it got a little sketchy. We moved across the face, back and forth following the fairly self explainitory route to within 100 feet of the actual summit. At that point it is helpful to move to climbers right across the face. Within 30 feet of the top it becomes necissary to wrap around the peak (still climbers right) to get next to the summit block. From there, there is only one reasonable climb to the top, yet it is surely a little hairy.



However, we made it and the views were astounding. Even better we made it down safely. Then we decided to pack up camp and move back to the more hospitable Elbow Lake. That was a good move. Overall it was a great climb, and got my adrenaline going more than once. Good luck to every one else, and stay safe.
Posted Jul 23, 2004 12:41 am

bakcastRoute Climbed: Standard - South Face Date Climbed: June 27th, 2004  Sucess!

bakcast

Started early from Elbow lake in a stew of clouds. We were barely able to see the route on the way up as the clouds kept rolling in and out of the basin. It was cold the night before and the snow was relatively solid. Traversing the south face from snow to ice to rock numerous times was the most treacherous part of the climb but the exhilirating exposure was well worth the effort.



The clouds in the basin cleared 100 feet from the summit giving us a nice view of our surroundings. The route itself was more difficult than we had assumed it would be. My guess is that this is an entirely different climb later in the summer as the rock appears to be very solid. Can't wait to try more routes up there!
Posted Jun 29, 2004 11:00 am

gatoRoute Climbed: Standard Route Date Climbed: September 2003  Sucess!

gato

Car-to-car in 16:07, fast and light. Intended to do the NE Arete, but snow (up to 6"+) and ice forced us onto the standard route. Views from the top were fantastic. Beautiful day with a strong team. Go Team Squishy Toes!
Posted Sep 15, 2003 11:36 am

b.Route Climbed: South Face, NE Arete (2005) Date Climbed: July 2002, September 2004, July 2005  Sucess!

b.

We were there to climb the NE Arete, but the weather did not cooperate. This was an excellent consolation prize. The exposure near the summit is exhilarating! And the view across Paradise Valley and down into Yellowstone was worth the 9 mile price of admission.



I did the standard route again in September 2004 with about 8 inches of fresh snow. Back again in July 2005 and finally got over to the NE Arete. Great route, solid rock when needed, enough protection, and all fun.
Posted Aug 21, 2003 2:37 pm

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