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Cowboy Mountain

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Cowboy Mountain

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  • Sizing up Cowboy Mountain from the Stevens Pass base area.- Cowboy Mountain
  • A stand of old-growth cedar on the Daisy ski run.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Enjoying solitude on the open ski slopes.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Backcountry snowboarding taxi service.- Cowboy Mountain
  • A backcountry snowboarder enjoying the powder.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Wonderful alpine color schemes.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Jim Hill Mountain (6,765') and Mill Valley to the east.- Cowboy Mountain
  • A snowmobile rendezvous in Mill Valley.- Cowboy Mountain
  • A cloudy view to the south from the summit ridge.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Having some fun with a short glisade.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Traveling the summit ridge.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Summit view to the north with the ski area and Highway 2 below and the Glacier Peak Wilderness beyond.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Cornices on the summit ridge with some clouds rolling in.- Cowboy Mountain
  • Descending the Seventh Heaven ski run.- Cowboy Mountain
  • A look back up at Cowboy Mountain (4,853') on the descent.- Cowboy Mountain
  • - Cowboy Mountain
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Big vistas. Easy route finding.
Cons: 
Snowmobiles on the lower slopes.
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Region:
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Groomed trail: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring
Total Distance: 
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,062.00 ft (1,238.10 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Those who have spent any time at Stevens Pass Ski Area will know Cowboy Mountain well, for its northern flanks make up most of the ski terrain on the “front side” of the resort. With such easy access, the mountain is primarily climbed during winter by backcountry skiers and snowboarders looking for the thrill of a pristine powder run. But when the ski season ends and the chairlifts come to a halt, the resort becomes a snowshoer’s paradise for the remainder of the spring.

The simplest and safest approach to the top of Cowboy Mountain is to travel right up the ski slopes. Beginning at the base area, pick a route that parallels the chairlifts and head south toward the mountain. Novice climbers can stay out in the open or follow under the ski lifts to stay on course, while the more experienced can ramble through thick patches of fir forest. The key is to gain the open slopes below the summit and make for the west end of the long ridge where the Seventh Heaven chairlift terminates. Avalanches tend to assault these upper slopes during warm spring afternoons, so impeccable judgment is required here.

Gaining the summit ridge requires a short but bold climb up past the lift cabin. Once you are on top, skirt east along the crest. Large cornices often line the ridge, so refrain from taking a peek over the cliffs. You will have plenty of scenery to enjoy once the summit is reached, with the Glacier Peak Wilderness to the north, Jim Creek Mountain and the Mill Valley running to the east, and the Skykomish Valley peaks back to the west. You'll also have a decent view of Mount Hinman and Mount Daniel rising out of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness to the south.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Men's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Men's • $431-475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Standard Fit • $189.95-199.95 • Mammut | Amazon | Backcountry

Small Fit • $199.95 • Mammut | Amazon

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Men's and Women's • $179

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

$79.95 • Black Diamond | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Men's • $99.95-181.63 • The North Face | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $99.95-100.00 • The North Face | Backcountry

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Men's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

Men's • $41.32-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $49.95-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(28 within a 30 mile radius)

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(98 within a 30 mile radius)

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