Trip Planning for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Apr 300″ | NA
Apr 29 3″ | NA
Apr 28 1″ | NA
8775′  04/03 at 10:08
23℉
SW - 7mph
Gusts 10mph
7750′   09/26 at 22:00
56℉
0″ Depth
Bottom Line: Spring weather can be highly variable and create a mix of avalanche problems to watch out for. Snow conditions and snow stability can change drastically from day to day or hour to hour. Anticipate rapid change and plan accordingly. Plenty of snowfall over the winter with more spring snow to come makes avalanches possible into summer.

Snow Observations- Island Park & Lionhead

Northern Gallatin
Emigrant Peak
Emigrant peak observations
Snow Obsdrvation includes images

Triggered a small slide underneath the cornice of the southeast chute off of Emigrant peak. The slide was 50 ft wide,  4 inches deep, and ran for about 100 ft. The slide was not large enough to knock you off your feet (D1). The latest storm had deposited about 12 inches of new snow underneath the cornice. 
 

other older slides were visible on a wind loaded NW oriented slopes at the bottom of the basin. Still feels like winter out there with lots of light snow up high!

Full Snow Observation Report
Cooke City
COOKE CITY
Roller-ball to point release to wet slide
Snow Obsdrvation includes images

We saw a point release that mobilized a slab of new snow on an East facing slope off of mt fox in cooke city. 
 

cool example of a roller ball turning into a point release and into a wet slide avalanche. The new snow had heated up considerably during the day on Sunday. There were some older crowns below a cornice to the north of mt fox (second photo) with slide debris that extended down the whole face (600ft). Likely slid during a storm within the last week

Full Snow Observation Report

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Natural avalanche that occurred at Bridger early on 5/9/22. There were many similar depth natural crowns along the ridge that broke within the recent snow that fell over the weekend.

  • Crown of a natural avalanche that occurred at Bridger on 5/9/22. There were many similar depth natural crowns along the ridge that broke within the recent snow that fell over the weekend.

  • Natural wet loose avalanche in Beehive Basin. Occurred on Wednesday 5/4 after new snow fell on Tuesday.

  • Wet loose snow avalanches of recent 6" of snow. They likely occurred when the sun came out Wednesday morning, or at the end of the storm on Tuesday. GNFAC

  • "5/3/22 at approximately 4:00pm a storm slab avalanche occurred in beehive basin on a west aspect @9000 ft. This slab was 6-8” deep and propagated around 50’. No one was buried, however we aren’t sure if anyone was caught because we were not the party who triggered this avalanche. We did witness the party drop in but quick went out of sight." Photo: H. Bigos-Lowe

  • On 4/18/22 near Cooke City we witnessed natural rollerballs and pinwheels by 11 am, and a couple wet loose slides below cliffs on southerly slopes around noon, and were able to easily trigger pinwheels on west-southwest aspects around 1230-1pm. Photo: GNFAC

  • A large drift on the Ramp just north of Bridger Bowl. Photo: GNFAC

  • Drifts cracked and slid on steep rollovers north of Bridger Bowl. Photo: K Hammonds

  • An avalanche on Wilson Peak that caught two skiers and injured one on 4/3/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 3/27/22 Big Sky ski patrol witnessed many natural wet slides in closed terrain. Photo: BSSP

  • "We also conducted avalanche mitigation on our Cabin’s Road at 4:30pm. The snowpack in this zone doesn’t get skied and is representative of the backcountry. The slope is ENE around 8,400’. Several wet slab avalanches were produced with explosives and ski cutting. The avalanches ranged from R4/D2 to R2/D1. They all hit the road and several crossed, and buried, the Cabin’s Road. Although most of this mitigation was done with explosives, it took minimal effort with skis to get snow moving. The crowns were 2-3’ deep and ran on the ground." Photo: YCSP

  • "A wet loose avalanche was seen in the Apron (closed terrain that hasn’t been opened this season) around 3:00pm. It was an R2/D2 on a east facing slope around an elevation of 8,500’." Photo: YCSP

  • Natural wet slab avalanche on Cedar Mtn. Observed 3/26/22. Photo: J. Gerardi

  • From obs 3/26/22: "Freezing temps overnight created breakable crust in the morning which quickly deteriorated as the day warmed. (Temps rose surprisingly faster than we anticipated.  Experience large whumphs while ascending the NW shoulder of Electric Pk. at 9600 ft. Without hesitation we turned back and skied out the skin track. The snow became very rotten and we penetrated to boot-tops often while exiting." Photo:  S. Miller

  • On March 26 many natural wet slides occurred in closed terrain at Bridger Bowl. Photo: BBSP

  • We saw this natural avalanche on 3/19/22 appeared to be within 24 hours old and triggered by cornice fall that broke out a slab below. Northeast aspect at 8,800' on Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche on 3/19/22 appeared to be within 24 hours old and triggered by cornice fall that broke out a slab below. Northeast aspect at 8,800' on Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche on 3/19/22 appeared 24-48 hours old and triggered by cornice fall that broke out a slab below. North aspect at 10,000' behind the top of Targhee Creek near Lionhead. Photo: GNFAC

  • At Lionhead, east wind was blowing up the normal starting zones and moving snow. Once it switches westerly the wind loads will create instability. There is 10-12" of powdery snow to blow around. Photo: GNFAC

  • Wet slides occurred near Quake Lake on 3/3 or 3/4. Photo. T. Hansen

  • Doug Chabot performing an ECT in a 6 foot deep, generally stable snowpack near Tincup Pass in the Centennial Mountains (outside Island Park). 3/2/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • We dug a pit at 9,000' on an east facing slope on Sawtelle Peak on 2/24/22. Our old pit from 1/12/22, almost 6 weeks ago, is still plainly visible in the foreground. It has been a dry 6 weeks!  Photo: GNFAC

  • From message 2/20/22: "Triggered this slide yesterday a few miles from two top. 1.5 foot crown."

  • From message 2/20/22: "Triggered this slide yesterday a few miles from two top. 1.5 foot crown."

  • This is the slope that avalanched and killed a snow bike rider (motorized) on 2/19/22. Photo is from the Search and Rescue team who were leaving the site as it was getting dark, and did not have time to gather more info. Click link below for more details. Photo: B. Zavora

  • We saw this fairly recent, very small cornice fall avalanche on Cedar Mtn. on 2/12/2022. Photo: GNFAC

  • Chris Hericks, snow ranger on Beaverhead Deerlodge NF, points to the lower of two surface hoar layers. We are finding similar layering throughout our entire forecast area. The top 18" of the snowpack is weak and will quickly become unstable when it snows. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown is not visible (it is down and right) but the X marks the approximate spot the rider was found. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown was measured 4-11 inches deep and 75 feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at a weak layer of facets that the avalanche propagated on. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at the crown from below. Photo: GNFAC

  • On Sunday, February 6, Gallatin Country Sheriff Search and Rescue and the GNFAC responded to a avalanche in Lionhead. A snowmobiler was killed on a small steep slope when a shallow avalanche carried him into a terrain trap of trees. Photo: GNFAC

  • This morning while ascending a line on Sawtooth Mountain (Lower Novocain) we triggered an avalanche (ASu-SS-R2-D2-O)  that caught and carried my partner an estimated 180M and partially buried him. His leg and hand were unburied and excavation of the head was done in less than 2 minutes of the incident. The avalanche only involved new snow from the last 48hrs and was triggered on a MF crust/facet combo 30cm down(formed 1/30/22). The avalanche was 30cm at its deepest and 20-30M wide and ran 250M. We were lucky to find both skis and poles a little ways downslope. No injuries were sustained.

    We both agree that we were trying to outsmart the instability that was present on steeper S facing terrain and should have turned around much sooner, we were very lucky. There was 30+cm HST in favored areas and the high winds from 1/31/22 formed some sensitive windslabs in specific areas. 

     

  • Graph of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) at SNOTEL sites in the GNFAC forecast area from October 1, 2021 to January 30, 2022. It highlights the extended dry conditions in January that contributed to weak layers forming at the top of the snowpack. GNFAC

  • We rode at Lionhead today (Jan. 29, 2022) and found very weak snow on the surface which is not a problem now, but will be when we get more snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Settlement rings around the base of trees near Cooke City, January 15, 2022. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Ian Hoyer stands in the 7 foot deep snowpit we dug to look at layering and stability. Stability was good. We dug at 9300' off the Sawtelle Peak Road to keep tabs on stability since we put out warnings and basic information for this area on our Trip Planning page. Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Island Park & Lionhead

Snowpit Profiles- Centennial Range

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast- Island Park

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Mostly clear, with a low around 46. Southeast wind around 6 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 46 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 66. South southwest wind 6 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 66 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 45. South southwest wind 6 to 10 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 45 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 67. East southeast wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 67 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of rain after midnight.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. South southeast wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Partly Cloudy
    then Slight
    Chance Rain

    Low: 46 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 50 percent chance of rain, mainly after noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 58. South southeast wind 7 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Rain then
    Chance Rain

    High: 58 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: A 40 percent chance of rain.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. South southwest wind 6 to 15 mph becoming north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph.

    Chance Rain

    Low: 38 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A chance of rain, mainly after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 50. Northwest wind 6 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Chance Rain

    High: 50 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A slight chance of rain before midnight.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 37.

    Slight Chance
    Rain then
    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 37 °F

The Last Word

Thank you to everyone that sent in observations, read the advisories, took an avalanche class or donated money, time or gear. Our success is directly related to community support and the Forest Service. Have a safe spring and summer! See this article for some general spring travel advice.

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