Regional Conditions for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Today6″ | 15-50 SW
Mar 30 2″ | 10-25 SW
Mar 29 1″ | N/A
10,000′     03/31 at 14:00
20.2℉
W - 8mph
Gusts 37mph
9100′   03/31 at 15:00
27℉
Depth
Bottom Line: The mountains have 5-8” of heavy new snow with more snow expected today. Fresh wind slabs and avalanches in the new snow are easy to trigger. Avalanches can break deeper on weak layers 1-2 feet down. Danger will increase through the day. Make conservative decisions and travel cautiously. Assume the new snow is unstable and plan your route accordingly, to avoid avalanche terrain.

Past 5 Days

Fri Mar 27

Considerable
Sat Mar 28

Moderate
Sun Mar 29

Moderate
Mon Mar 30

Moderate
Today

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Cooke City Area

Cooke City
Goose Creek
Skier triggered wind slab near Cooke
Incident details include images
Goose Creek
SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-O
Coordinates: 45.0931, -109.9510
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Skier triggered avalanche in Goose Creek.

From obs: "Wind Loaded slope. 2ft Crown. 100ft wide. firm, crusty bed surface. The avalanche was released by a ski cut."


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
COOKE CITY
Natural avalanche in Cooke
Incident details include images
COOKE CITY
SS-R2-D1.5
Coordinates: 45.0202, -109.9380
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From email on 3/27/2020 : "natural slab avalanche I observed today near Cooke City.  An easterly aspect around 9,400'.  I'd estimate the crown to be 2-3' deep and about 100' wide.  Looks like it was triggered by a cornice fall (2-3 days ago?)."


More Avalanche Details
Northern Gallatin
Mt Blackmore
Human Triggered Soft Slab Avalanches - Mt Blackmore
Incident details include images
Mt Blackmore
SS-ASc-R1-D1-S
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.4444, -111.0040
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Snowfall throughout the afternoon fluctuated between S1 - S5 (during brief squalls). The winds started out moderate and from the west but calmed by the last lap ~5 pm. The new snow (from last night/this morning) was fairly well bonded to the sun/melt-freeze crust below, but the storm came in subtly upside down. Today’s snowfall (accumulating ~3” while skiing between 1-530) was light. Right along the ridgeline, we triggered 4 predictable small storm slabs 4~6” deep on the upside-down storm snow from last night/this morning, but surprisingly not on the old crust. They were each 5-10m wide x 5m long and only ran ~5m vertically. 


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Cooke City Area

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Cornices on the back side of Sheep mtn are getting huge. Guessing well over 25ft. They are right above a play area to the west of Ovis lake, and round Round lake. Photo: R. DeSilva

  • This surface hoar crystal is almost 1.5 cm (each square is 2mm) and was the weak layer in a few avalanches on Buck Ridge (3/29/20). Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche from afar. It was NE aspect and likely failed on a layer of surface hoar 1-1.5' deep. The Madison Valley is in the background. Photo: GNFAC

  • Sunday (3/29/20) skiers near Fairy Lake saw this cornice collapse that ran for quite a ways in October bowl. Photo: T. Gittins

  • From obs. (3/29/20): "Significant wind started building mid morning, forming even bigger cornices and wind loading many slopes. Noticed this slide on an East/Northeast aspect at the back of the bowl above Maid of the Mist creek, possibly triggered by cornice fall but unknown. Happened between 9:45am and 11:30am today, as at 9:30am it was not there, and when we returned to the spot around 11:30am the slide was visible." Photo: CP

  • From email on 3/27/2020 : "natural slab avalanche I observed today near Cooke City.  An easterly aspect around 9,400'.  I'd estimate the crown to be 2-3' deep and about 100' wide.  Looks like it was triggered by a cornice fall (2-3 days ago?)."

    Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From obs: "Wind Loaded slope. 2ft Crown. 100ft wide. firm, crusty bed surface. The avalanche was released by a ski cut." Photo: Anonymous

  • Snowfall throughout the afternoon fluctuated between S1 - S5 (during brief squalls). The winds started out moderate and from the west but calmed by the last lap ~5 pm. The new snow (from last night/this morning) was fairly well bonded to the sun/melt-freeze crust below, but the storm came in subtly upside down. Today’s snowfall (accumulating ~3” while skiing between 1-530) was light. Right along the ridgeline, we triggered 4 predictable small storm slabs 4~6” deep on the upside-down storm snow from last night/this morning, but surprisingly not on the old crust. They were each 5-10m wide x 5m long and only ran ~5m vertically. Photo: Z Miller

  • This is a photo of a small roof avalanche near Island Park. Warming temperatures cause water to percolate through the snow which lubricates the sliding surface. Roof avalanches have injured and killed people in the past, just one more thing to worry about. Photo: M.E. 

  • Dave Zinn digs a hand pit along the ridge to assess how the new snow is sticking to the ice crust. Photo: GNFAC

  • Obs: "School bus size cornices over Easterly portions of Lionhead Ridge. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the largest cornices were about 20-25' tall. We dug a few pits on East Facing slopes between 9,000-9,500 ft with the worst result being an ECTN-21 however these Cornices are primed and ready to fall with the abundant sunshine and warming weather." Photo: JR

  • From e-mail: "Natural wet slides... caused us to back off our plan of heading that way and ski a north, shady aspect instead. On a southern aspect. 9000ft. 1:30pm. We dug a hasty pit and observed a weak layer about 1m down. The facets were beginning to round." Photo: K. Master

  • From IG post with #gnfacobs: "I triggered a small windslab, mid slope on the north face of Wilson. It was a a pretty stubborn slab that broke above me. Cross loaded from lookers right. 6-8” deep." Photo: B Gill

  • From IG post with #gnfacobs: "I triggered a small windslab, mid slope on the north face of Wilson. It was a a pretty stubborn slab that broke above me. Cross loaded from lookers right. 6-8” deep." Photo: B Gill

  • From south of Big Sky yesterday 3/17 about 9:00, just north of Buck Ridge at 8500'. Large surface hoar on northerly aspects. Photo: Spence

  • We dug near the top of Bacon Rind and found 155cm of snow. Our primary concern is with the upper snowpack. As it warms and wets we can expect an increase of avalanche activity on the ice crusts. Facets are still dry and soft at the bottom of the pack and I got this layer to break with an ECTP29. Photo: GNFAC

  • Small slab avalanche in the upper Republic Valley, a northeast aspect around 10,000'. Photo: B Fredlund

  • Snowmobile triggered avalanche near Lulu Pass. Photo: Anonymous 

  • Snowmobile triggered avalanche near Lulu Pass. Photo: Anonymous 

  • From e-mail on 3/15/20: "At around 1230pm today, everything that was steeper than 35 degrees in star Creek simultaneously slid on east, north, south aspects. Soft slab 6-12" in thickness. Prior to that, it had been snowing S5 for three hours." Photo: B. Zavora

  • Cornices are growing to immense sizes in Cooke City. Try to minimize your time underneath these monsters and stay far away from the edge if you are on ridge tops. Photo: GNFAC

  • Mike Thom, Gardiner District Ranger, stands in a 7-foot deep snowpit at 9900' on Woody Ridge to the south of Cooke City. We found wind-loading to be our primary concern. Facets were still present at the base of the snowpack, but they are stable for now. Photo: GNFAC

  • Strong wind stripped snow off many slopes above treeline. Photo: GNFAC

  • This naturally triggered avalanche likely happened Tuesday morning. Strong wind loaded slopes and made huge cornices. Photo: GNFAC

  • From e-mail: "...some wet loose avy activity observed today just west of Cooke City (south aspect, around 8200').  Overall though, minimal wet avalanche activity observed with this significant warm up..." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Point releases across highway from Bacon Rind. 3/6/2020.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Point releases across the highway from Bacon Rind. 3/6/2020

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Wet slide in Buffalo Horn Creek. 3/6/2020.

    Photo: A. Norlander

  • Overview of an avalanche triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. The debris piled 8' deep on the road, which creates a terrain trap. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche was triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs form: "While approaching Black Mountain from Pine Creek Lake.... We skied South aspect and as it warmed we triggered D1 R1 slabs that ran slow and short." Photo: T. Hoefler

  • From email: "Photo attached of a natural avalanche from yesterday, just south of Cooke City.  It's on an E, NE aspect, with a crown around 9,300'.  Looks like it occurred yesterday am, as a result of a cornice fall." B. Fredlund

  • Small natural wind slabs on Crown Butte. Broke overnight, observed morning of 2/25/2020.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Snowmobile triggered wind slab near Goose Lake. Triggered morning of 2/25/2020. Broke 1-2' deep on a small slope.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs: "Seemed stability was getting better, but did see this minor slide that pulled out on Scotch Bonnet Mountain. Evidently triggered by a snowmobile sometime mid-day Saturday (2/22)." Photo: R. Larson

  • "Avalanche debris we encountered while skinning up the access road. It piled roughly 15-20 feet onto the road." Photo: T. Papritz

  • "Very large and destructive deep slab just north of emigrant peak on a east-facing aspect. The debris likely ran over 1000 vertical feet and stopped towards the bottom right of the image. We think the smaller slide on the far right was triggered as a secondary slide as a result." Photo: T. Papritz

  • "Very large and destructive deep slab just north of emigrant peak on a east-facing aspect. The debris likely ran over 1000 vertical feet and stopped towards the bottom right of the image. We think the smaller slide on the far right was triggered as a secondary slide as a result." Photo: T. Papritz

  • From IG #gnfacobs post: "An avalanche from early Tuesday (02/18) morning caused by a natural cornice fall. Note the step down partway down the path. ENE @ 9700. Ran 1300’." Photo: A. Whitmore

Videos- Cooke City Area

WebCams


Soda Butte Lodge, looking West

Soda Butte Lodge, looking East

Weather Forecast Cooke City Area

Extended Forecast for

2 Miles NNE Cooke City MT

Winter Storm Warning until April 3, 06:00am
Click here for hazard details and duration
Winter Storm Warning
  •  
    Winter Storm Warning until April 3, 06:00am

    NOW until
    6:00am Fri

    Winter Storm Warning

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: Snow showers.  High near 31. West southwest wind around 16 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of around 4 inches.

    Snow Showers

    High: 31 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow showers.  Low around 11. West wind 12 to 17 mph decreasing to 6 to 11 mph after midnight.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches.

    Snow Showers

    Low: 11 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow.  High near 20. West wind around 6 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches.

    Snow

    High: 20 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Snow.  Low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind around 6 mph becoming east in the evening.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around 3 inches.

    Snow

    Low: 4 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Snow.  High near 18. East northeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming north in the afternoon.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow

    High: 18 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around -2.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: -2 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 50 percent chance of snow after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Partly Sunny
    then Chance
    Snow

    High: 25 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10.

    Chance Snow
    then Mostly
    Cloudy

    Low: 10 °F

The Last Word

A recent avalanche in Colorado left a rider with life-threatening injuries, required extensive resources and put rescuers at high risk. Read this article from Outside Magazine about the event, and please adjust your travel habits to respect and conserve our community’s resources.