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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Cow Heaven

This was a "plan B" destination from our original WS of Oakes peak.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The road was bare to Marblemount but the ranger station road had a tree down and 5-6" of new snow on it.  we needed awd and 4x4 to get to the ranger station and going to the actual trailhead  beyond that was not an option for our vehicles.

We originally were scheduled for Oakes peak but due to the 2.5-3' of new snow the avalanche danger was very high. Also, road access was starting to become an issue just getting to Marblemount, much less farther east and then up a logging road.  As we were meeting at the ranger station already, the group opted to do a snowshoe up Cow Heaven (the trailhead is 300 yards away from there).  

The trail was snowy but in great shape with only  an occasional tree down.  About 2500' we lost the trail in the deepening snow and headed straight up instead.  We needed snowshoes shortly after this point.  

We did not intend to get to the top of cow heaven due to the avy slopes and instead was shooting for a sub peak about 4.4k' that was to the SE of the summit.  Due to the rapidly deepening snow we never quite got to that point, encountering snow so fresh and deep that the person trail breaking often had the snow at chest level on steeper sections.  At some point the body plowing was becoming "un fun" and we opted for turning back a couple hundred feet below the sub peak destination.  

The return to the cars was uneventful.  Round trip distance - 8.8 miles. Gain - 3850'.