Avalanche Incidents

Bridger Range
Fairy Lake
Skier triggered avalanche and partial burial near Fairy Lake
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Fairy Lake
SS-ASr-R3-D1.5-O
Aspect: NE
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 1

"The slide occurred near Fairy Lake in the Bridgers. Specifically, it occurred on a NE face just below the first set of switchbacks on the summer trail, where the slope steepens significantly. I was out early touring solo hoping to catch sunrise from the bowl. I'd just started traversing north along the base of the face when I saw a small slab release behind me which sent some sluff across my tracks, I turned to descend to some lower angle terrain, and saw another small release (20-30ft wide) in front of me. As I started to descend the whole face let go from about 150ft above me and funneled towards me. It carried me about 100ft downslope, luckily through an open patch in the trees. I was buried up to my chest, with both my arms free. From what I could see from the bottom, the crown looked to be about 4-8 inches tall, and was about 200ft across."


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Southern Madison
Taylor Fork
Skier Triggered avalanche near Taylor Fork
Incident details include images
Taylor Fork
HS-ASu-R3-D2.5-O
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: NE
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an email:

"We remote triggered this deep slab on our ascent. 10000 feet on ne aspect, slope around 40 degrees. Recently loaded and failed on advanced facets above an October ice crust. In places pulled the crust to the ground. As-hs-r3-d2.5 plus. Crown 2-3 feet flanks 400 ft. Spooky settlement."


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Southern Madison
Skyline Ridge
Snowmobiler triggered on Skyline Ridge
Incident details include images
Skyline Ridge
HS-AMu-R2-D2.5
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 44.9162, -111.2200
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an email:

" There was a avalanche on Sunday in Cabin Creek, it appears that a few rider's were high marking an open face, didn't see it happen but I did observe rider's from a distance in that area."


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Northern Madison
McAtee Basin
Snowmobiler triggered avalanche in McAtee
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
McAtee Basin
HS-AMu-R3-D1.5-O
Elevation: 9,280
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.1838, -111.4420
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
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Cooke City
Mt. Abundance
Snowmobiler triggered Mt. Abundance
Incident details include images
Mt. Abundance
HS-AMu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,500
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0632, -110.0110
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
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Out of Advisory Area
Snowmobile triggered avalanche in Little Belts
Incident details include images
HS-AMu-R3-D2.5-O
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 46.9058, -110.5850
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Avalanche triggered by snowmobilers in the Little Belts on Thursday (1/10). This is outside of our advisory area, but shows many of the mountains in Montana have a weak and unstable snowpack. Photo: N. Boyer


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Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Avalanche on Lionhead Ridge
Incident details include images
Lionhead Ridge
SS-AMu-R3-D2.5-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: E
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From a FB message:

"... on the way out if town in the truck we saw that Lionhead had a big slide before airplane hill. Must have been this morning because we didn't notice it yesterday."


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Northern Gallatin
Portal Creek
Cracking/collapsing and human triggered slide, Portal Creek
Incident details include images
Portal Creek
SS-AM-R1-D1-O
Coordinates: 45.2599, -111.1380
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Riders up Portal Creek in the northern Gallatin Range experienced cracking and collapsing and possibly triggered a small avalanche. They were riding at night. Photo: N. Donovan


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Lionhead Range
LIONHEAD AREA
Snowmobiler triggered slide in Lionhead
Incident details include images
LIONHEAD AREA
SS-AMr-R2-D2
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 44.7333, -111.3250
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A snowmobiler triggered this small, but deep avalanche as he rode under the slope.

From his email, "We were riding as a group of 5. All with beacons ,shovels, probes and 4 with inflate packs. The hill broke as I was side hilling. I was just ahead of it and not knocked off the sled."


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Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Natural and remotely triggered avalanches near Lionhead
Incident details include images
Lionhead Ridge
SS-AMr-R3-D2
Aspect: E
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Snowmobilers near lionhead witnessed three avalanches on Jan 7, 2019. One natural and two remotely triggered.

From email: "We had been climbing a safe slope adjacent to this slide... 24 inch crown and about 200 feet wide... Occurred at 1:38PM on an easterly wind loaded slope...The third slide... was triggered when the group passed below a short steep slope. We were well spaced and using safe practices when the number 6 sled in line remote triggered the avalanche. It flowed across our tracks and was about 12 inches deep. No one was caught or threatened.... on a southeast aspect."


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Northern Madison
Middle Basin
Skier Triggered Avalanche in Middle Basin
Incident details include images
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Middle Basin
SS-ASu-R3-D2-O
Elevation: 9,400
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.3332, -111.3830
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

We found this fresh skier triggered avalanche in Middle Basin today 1/5/19. East aspect. 9,400’ elev. It broke 1-2’ deep on weak, sugary facets. We had stable results in our stability tests (so did another group nearby), but this slide and recent reports of collapsing in the area indicate an untrustworthy and unstable, poor snowpack structure. 

This avalanche was triggered by the second skier down the slope. Nobody was caught.


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Bridger Range
Ross Peak
Avalanche near Ross Peak/Throne
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Ross Peak
HS-AMu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.8670, -110.9540
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A rider reported: "I had just rode up and was on my way down when it broke off right beside me. I was approximately 80 yards to the north of the slide when it broke."


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Centennial Range
Reas Peak
Snowmobile triggered avalanche near Reas Peak
Incident details include images
Reas Peak
SS-AMu-R2-D1.5-O
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 44.5298, -111.4930
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "This was a snowmobile triggered slide in a S aspect in the Blue Creek Drainage SE of Reas Peak in the Centennials.  No one was caught and no injuries"


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Southern Madison
Tepee Basin
Snowmobile triggered in Tepee Basin
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Tepee Basin
SS-AMu-R2-D1.5-O
Coordinates: 44.8887, -111.1580
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
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Bridger Range
The Throne
Cracking and avalanching from ski cuts, Bridgers
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
The Throne
SS-R1-D1
Coordinates: 45.8829, -110.9510
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Slides were skier triggered. Wind-loaded from new snow. They triggered two in that area on the steeper rollovers. One in that main south facing chute and another on the face above sled parking.


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Cooke City
Mt Republic
Natural avalanche and human triggered avalanches; Cooke
Incident details include images
Mt Republic
SS-N-R1-D2-I
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.0051, -109.9570
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A natural avalanche was seen on the Fin of Mt. Republic on 12/31(Mon). Skiers also remotely triggered 2-4 inch deep avalanches in the new snow from 100+ feet away in Yellowstone National Park on 12/30 (Sun).

Also, " One skier triggered slide on a west aspect of Woody also observed, from yesterday (12/30) (6-12" deep and 50' wide)."


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Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobiler triggered avalanche in 3rd Yellowmule
Incident details include images
Buck Ridge
SS-AMu-R1-D1.5
Aspect: E
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A snowmobiler triggered this slide in the 3rd Yellowmule of Buck Ridge on Monday (12/31). It was an east facing slope.


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Cooke City
Mt. Abundance
Snowmobiler triggered on Mt Abundance
Incident details include images
Mt. Abundance
SS-AMu-R1-D2-O
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0790, -110.0200
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

The avalanche on the south face of Mt Abundance was set off at about 2:00 pm on Thursday. A rider realized he triggered a slide on his way back down the slope. It was estimated to be at least 1+ foot deep, 100 feet wide, and ran 100 feet slope distance. It was big enough to bury a person.

This depth (est. 1+') is similar to the faceted layer that was unstable near Lulu Pass the day before (ECTP22).


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Out of Advisory Area
Emigrant Peak
Skier triggered on Emigrant Peak
Incident details include images
Emigrant Peak
HS-ASu-R3-D3-O
Elevation: 9,800
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.2629, -110.7070
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
From an email:
 
This was triggered Christmas Eve day while skinning up a ridge in the mountains east of Emigrant Peak. It broke about 8' back from the cornice/drift right near my ski tips. I instinctively did a quick drop and roll away even though it was unnecessary. Pretty pulse quickening. I didn't get great pictures as I was heading up the ridge and the light was bad. You can pick out the debris flow by its lighter shade of white and see chunks of cornice/slab that got hung up in the starting zone.
 
North Facing aspect at approx. 9800' on a west to east ridge.Slope angles are 35-40. Crown varied from 1-3'. Hard slab on the the cornice propagated to two other small starting zones and pulled the cornices and all the faceted snow near the ridgeline. Avalanche ran about 800'. 
 
The last few week's weather has really weakened what was starting off to be a decent base.  Now the winds have capped a a lot of zones with a hard slab pockets.
 

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Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobiler triggered wind slab
Incident details include images
Buck Ridge
HS-AMu-R1-D2
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A snowmobnler triggered this avalanche in the 2nd Yellowmule of Buck Ridge. No one was caught.


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Bridger Range
Bridger Peak
Bridger Peak Avalanche
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Bridger Peak
HS-ASc-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 8,700
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.7699, -110.9390
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0; Killed: 0

This wind slab avalanche released as a result of an intentional ski cut. The initial slab that released triggered a larger slab that ran close to 2000 feet. From the skier:

"At around 12:30 I ski cut the top of a NE facing gully on Bridger Peak, roughly 35°. A hard slab broke 6”-12” deep, around 100’ wide. This broke a secondary slab on a NNE aspect adjacent to the first one, around 300’ wide. The slide ran through trees and a gully, traveling close to 2000’ vertical into some lower angle terrain. It broke on the layer of facets that formed last week during the cold weather."


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Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobiler triggered wind slab on Buck Ridge
Incident details include images
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Buck Ridge
HS-AMu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,400
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.1821, -111.4130
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

This avalanche was around the corner from the snowpit we dug in 2nd Yellowmule. It looked as though it was triggered about the same time we were digging. The slide failed on near-surface facets that formed 10 days ago that are underneath a hard slab of wind-drifted snow.


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Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobile triggered avalanche on Buck Ridge
Incident details include images
Buck Ridge
HS-AMu-R3-D2-O
Elevation: 9,100
Coordinates: 45.1633, -111.3100
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A snowmobiler triggered this slide yesterday while sidehilling on the leeward side of a ridge. Estimated crown was about 50' wide and broke about 12-18” deep.


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Bridger Range
Truman Gulch
Cracking and "whumphing" drifts, Bridgers
Incident details include images
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Truman Gulch
AS-O
Aspect: W
Coordinates: 45.8172, -110.9310
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Strong winds created 12-18" thick wind drifts that collapsed on buried facets and surface hoar. We had one crack 30' wide as we left a snowpit.


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Cooke City
Republic Creek
Skier triggered small wind slab
Republic Creek
SS-ASc-R1-D1-I
Aspect: SW
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an email:

  • Triggered small windslab in SW facing gulley at 9000' approximately 6" by 20'wide
  • No collapsing or cracking of the snowpack observed, other than the isolated wind slab.

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Northern Gallatin
Hyalite - main fork
Ice climber triggered wind slab in Hyalite
Incident details include images
Hyalite - main fork
HS-AF-R1-D1-I
Aspect: W
Coordinates: 45.4292, -110.9550
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
From an email:
"Hit a small, unstable pocket while hiking in Hyalite today. We were traversing under the cliff band between Dielectric Breakdown over to Alex's Solo 1. The layer broke at a boundary between older snow and recently wind-transported slab. No consequences his time, but it is a great reminder of how quickly conditions can change when you're hiking. In the wrong terrain, a slide like this could be really bad."

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Northern Gallatin
Hyalite - main fork
Ice climber triggered small wind pocket Hyalite
Incident details include images
Hyalite - main fork
SS-AFc-R1-D1-I
Aspect: NW
Coordinates: 45.4395, -110.9620
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "The wind picked up after noon today and we observed moderate amounts of blowing snow at and above tree line. My climbing partner and I were able to trigger a small loaded pocket between slot corner and curtains, 30 deg, NNW aspect, which failed 6 inches deep and 15 ft wide on diurnal facets (old snow surface). The slab didn't move much due to the stubborn angle..."


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Southern Madison
Imp Peak
Skier triggered wind slab, Southern Madison Range
Incident details include images
Imp Peak
SS-ASu-R1-D1-I
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Skiers descending Imp Peak in the southern Madison Range triggered this small wind slab. This is bull's eye information that larger slides are possible on wind loaded slopes. 


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Northern Madison
Beehive Basin
Skier triggered wind slab in Beehive
Incident details include images
Beehive Basin
SS-AS-R2-D1.5
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.3525, -111.4000
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "We encountered very localized loading that easily fractured and propagated uphill on a south aspect (photos) then bailed on the E/NE facing run we had hoped to ski, due to a 12-18" slab at the top, obvious wind loading throughout the whole thing (9900'-10300'), and the aforementioned obvious signs of instability. When we turned around, another similar-sized (4-8" by 10-20') slide had occurred on the same aspect as the one we had triggered. Neither ran more than 100' or so."


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Northern Madison
Beehive Basin
Skier triggered loose snow in Beehive
Incident details include images
Beehive Basin
L-ASu-R1-D1-S
Elevation: 9,500
Aspect: SW
Coordinates: 45.3448, -111.3880
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "triggered a small wet slide in the Going Home chute coming back into Beehive, and we observed another natural wet slide on a similar aspect that had occurred since we toured past in the morning. Wind was light or calm all day and wind effect was minimal even at ridgelines." 


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Northern Madison
Bear Basin
Skier triggered new snow avalanche
Incident details contain video
Bear Basin
SS-ASu-R2-D2-I
Coordinates: 45.3498, -111.3850
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "Today while skiing Bat Ears Couloir in Bear Basin we encountered fast moving 12" deep wind loaded sluff however, it didn't step down."

Second e-mail: "Upon entering the couloir I performed a ski cut and released an 8 inch deep slab that was about 12 feet wide that ran about 700 vertical. Then we skied the slide path down and safely returned into beehive by exiting down bear basin. "


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Northern Gallatin
Mt. Bole
Skier triggered wet loose in Hyalite (Mt. Bole area)
Incident details include images
Mt. Bole
WL-ASu-I
Elevation: 9,500
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.4237, -110.9960
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an email:

Today, at around 11am, my partner preformed a ski cut on the top of a gully. The area he cut was south facing and in direct sunlight. The slough from his cut gained momentum and formed a small avalanche that went down the entire gully and apron, taking all of the previous days snow with it. The avalanche went on the old snow sun-crust, and new snow interface. We ascended from the back and found very stable results in both our pits, although they were both high and north facing. No one was caught or injured.

I had already skied down part of the slope in another gully, that was entirely shaded, and produced no snow movement.


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Cooke City
Lulu Pass
Snowmobile triggered slide, Lulu Pass Cooke City
Incident details include images
Lulu Pass
SS-AMu-R1-D1-O
Elevation: 9,500
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.0699, -109.9580
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A snowmobiler triggered this small wind slab near Lulu pass outside of Cooke City. Wind loaded slopes are main avalanche concern across the advisory area. 


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Northern Gallatin
Flanders Creek
Climber triggered wind slab in Flanders
Incident details include images
Flanders Creek
SS-AFu-R0-D1-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.4429, -110.9320
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Climbers triggered this very small wind slab on the way to a climb up Flanders in Hyalite (11/11). A tiny slide to a skier can be bad news for a climber since losing one's balance or getting pushed off a cliff can be deadly. From an email (edited):

Hyalite Snow Conditions:...we dug two hasty pits on east facing slopes in Flanders....
8200'- isolated opening in trees in an area on rocks, shallower snow (~50cm). CT12 at the ground, again just tapping on the back of other hand, so not super legit, but did raise eyebrows.  
8450'- Opening below cliff bands on exposed traverse. Deeper snow (~80-90cm). No concerns other than storm snow and snow coming off of cliff bands.  Classic Hyalite shifty winds.  We released a small (10-15cm) storm slab on traverse into the climb .  
Weather: It was snowing and blowing all day.

Photo: S. Magro


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Northern Madison
Middle Basin
Snowboarder triggered wind slab in Middle Basin
Incident details include images
Middle Basin
SS-ARu
Coordinates: 45.3365, -111.3810
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From Instagram @chartierk:

"Careful out there this year! While we are lucky enough to have a mostly stable snowpack here in Southwest Montana, we did just find this little wind slab well below the ridge line in Middle Basin. Slowboarder was fine"


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Northern Gallatin
Hyalite - main fork
Ice climber triggered small slab in Hyalite
Incident details include images
Hyalite - main fork
SS-AFu-R1-D1-S
Aspect: W
Coordinates: 45.4398, -110.9540
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Ice climber triggered. From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small slab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."


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