Regional Conditions for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Feb 200″ | 10-15 N
Feb 19 2″ | 5-20 N
Feb 18 0″ | 5-15 W
10,000′     02/21 at 01:00
12.5℉
NW - 4mph
Gusts 13mph
9100′   02/21 at 1:00
11℉
85″ Depth
Bottom Line: With blue skies, light winds, and plenty of soft snow left to find, it’s going to be a very pleasant day in the mountains and it’ll be easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency. But don’t forget that we’re just on the tail end of an intense and long lasting avalanche cycle. Recent avalanche activity is a clear sign that avalanches remain possible. The weak layers near the ground need more of a break in loading before we can trust them. Conservative terrain choices remain prudent.

Past 5 Days

Sun Feb 16

Moderate
Mon Feb 17

Moderate
Tue Feb 18

Moderate
Wed Feb 19

Moderate
Thu Feb 20

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Cooke City Area

Cooke City
COOKE CITY
Snowmobiler triggered small avalanche near Goose Lake
Incident details include images
COOKE CITY
SS-AMu-R1-D1.5
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0202, -109.9380
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

"A small slide approx 100 ft wide ran about 40 vertical feet. Crown was 3-4 feet deep. Aspect, SE. Trigger unknown however tracks indicate it was likely a snowmobile trigger."


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Woody Ridge
Large natural on E side Woody Ridge, Cooke
Woody Ridge
SS-N-R1-D2-O
Elevation: 10,200
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 44.9739, -109.9240
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an observation, " Climax slid quite large several days ago. We could get a good look at the crown because of the wind, but I’m guessing it was a wind slab that stepped down."

"Climax" is the what the locals call the large east face on Woody Ridge above Hayden Creek.


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
COOKE CITY
Small natural and human triggered avalanches in Cooke
Incident details include images
COOKE CITY
SS-N-R2-D2
Coordinates: 45.0202, -109.9380
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

1. "...a fresh avalanche observed out there today.  A south aspect around 9400', estimated to be 2-3' deep and 75' wide. Also observed 2 thinner wind slab avalanches that also ran naturally within the last 48 hrs, and were both about 1' deep and 50' wide.  One was a SE aspect, and one was a North aspect." See attached photo Natural avalanche 2-3' deep.

2. "We’ve seen many instances of cracking and wind slab breaks the past two days riding in Cooke, most happened as we sledded past or down the slope. The 1st and 2nd photo are 4” deep breaks at most. The last photo/slide we observed today, S facing slope, not sure how it was triggered, a foot deep crown at most." See attached photos Small 1' deep, Human triggered 1&2.


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Cooke City Area

Displaying 1 - 40
  • "A small slide approx 100 ft wide ran about 40 vertical feet. Crown was 3-4 feet deep. Aspect, SE. Trigger unknown however tracks indicate it was likely a snowmobile trigger." Photo: Reed Youngbar

  • Cooke City is getting deep! The total snow height is 315 cm. Our pit results on Scotch Bonnet were a variety of ECTNs in the upper layers of the snowpack. When placing our probe for stability tests we could feel the weak snow near the ground as our probes just dropped through the lower 60 cm of the snowpack. I am still worried about the deep layers, but it has been a while since they performed and it seems like it will take a big trigger (i.e. a cornice drop), a big storm to add weight, or some really bad luck to trigger one of the monster avalanches on the basal facets. Photo: GNFAC

  • We rode into Lionhead and found good stability. A sledder highmarked up the hill and then came down right next to us, confirming our results. Wind-loading from yesterday is still a concern, and so are the facets near the ground, although less so than a couple weeks ago. Photo: GNFAC

  • "I observed this collapse & propagation as I stepped over some wood in the skinner on the north ridge of Mount Ellis this morning, ~8000’, due East. I was tailing Chabot and his partner, and they had passed this way just minutes before." Photo: D. Rider

  • Natural avalanches on a west aspect at about 8300' a few miles west of Cooke City. These slides are about 2' deep and 30-50' wide. Photo: B Fredlund

  • "...a fresh avalanche observed out there today.  A south aspect around 9400', estimated to be 2-3' deep and 75' wide." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • "S facing slope, not sure how it was triggered, a foot deep crown at most." Photo: S. Strenge
     

  • "We’ve seen many instances of cracking and wind slab breaks the past two days riding in Cooke, most happened as we sledded past or down the slope." This slide is 4" deep. Photo: S. Strenge

  • "We’ve seen many instances of cracking and wind slab breaks the past two days riding in Cooke, most happened as we sledded past or down the slope." This slide is 4" deep. Photo: S. Strenge

  • On private property, this small child triggered a slide and climbed out of the debris, not buried. A very close call! On the heels of this large snowstorm there are possibilities of children getting caught on road cuts or any open hill!  Photo: Anonymous

  • We triggered this avalanche in the second Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on 2/6/2020 It is on a small roll/cornice "in the flats". It broke within the current 2-3' storm snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • A snowmobiler triggered this avalanche in the second Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on 2/6/2020 It is on a small roll/cornice "in the flats". It broke within the current 2-3' storm snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural crown that broke within the current 2-3' storm on a small terrain feature. It is in the second Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on 2/6/2020. Photo: GNFAC

  • The Nose of Town Hill avalanched on Feb. 1 due to the strong SWerly winds and looked to be triggered by a cornice fall (estimated 2-3' crown, about 75-100' wide).  Photo: B Fredlund

  • SEerly aspect around 8600'.  A thinner, smaller storm slab, triggered by dry loose from above. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • SWerly aspect around 9500'.  Deep slab, mid-slope.  I'd estimate that crown to be about 4-6' deep. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Winds Friday night transported snow creating fresh drifts that avalanched naturally over the weekend. This one on the east side of Woody Ridge appears to be 2-3' deep and 50' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • From email (1/30/2020): "2 natural avalanches that ran last night, just west of Cooke City.  Both slides were on easterly aspects around 9500'."

  • From email (1/30/2020): "2 natural avalanches that ran last night, just west of Cooke City.  Both slides were on easterly aspects around 9500'."

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. This is near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. This is near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. This is near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. Triggered from where Alex is standing. Near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: L. Browning

  • We triggered an avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slides could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • The 10' deep avalanche in 2nd Yellowmule is almost completely filled in now. In its place are massive cornices overhanging the slope. Give these beasts a lot of extra room as they can break back far from the edge. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands in a snowpit in Beehive Basin. Avalanches are getting harder to trigger, but in more shallow areas we are still finding a poor snowpack structure. The stability test scores are climbing higher, but still propagating and we did not ski the adjacent slope. Photo: GNFAC

  • February 1, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). This is the Friends of the Avalanche Center’s second biggest fundraiser of the year. Come on out and help us raise money by hiking and skiing laps on the ridge. Prizes, camaraderie and a good time is guaranteed. Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.

  • From email:

    "I wanted to make you aware of a snowmobile triggered slide in Lionhead today. Fortunately, I was not injured, was able to stay completely on top, climbed through the majority of the snow wash after seeing it begin to break, and relatively slowly slid down with the last of the moving snow while still on the machine. When I came to a stop, I stood up and was completely free of the snow. Our group is trained in avalanche safety, practiced beacon use prior to leaving town in the morning, were wearing avy gear, and were very fortunate that this ended up the way it did. 

    A clear reminder that this can happen to any of us and to be careful out there."

    Photo: Anonymous 

  • A large natural avalanche observed on the southwest face of Wolverine Peak. Photo: D. Wycoff

  • A large natural avalanche observed on the northwest face of Median Peak. Photo: D. Wycoff

  • Spotted the crown on our way down from Ripcurl yesterday, we got a closer look today when we toured into High Hayden. N aspect 10200' Photo: H. Coppolillo

  • Spotted the crown on our way down from Ripcurl yesterday, we got a closer look today when we toured into High Hayden. N aspect 10200' Photo: H. Coppolillo

  • This cornice triggered avalanche was on a NE facing slope at 9700'. It broke 300' wide, 3-6' deep and 150' vertical. It likely broke on 1/15 or 1/16/2020. Photo: GNFAC

  • The avalanche broke at the ground when it was triggered by a cornice fall. It broke 3-6' deep and 300' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche occurred on a heavily wind-loaded slope from a cornice fall. The area is to the north of Lulu Pass and Scotch Bonnet. Photo: GNFAC

  • Another view of the large natural avalanche on Mt Fox that occurred on 1/14/2020. Photo GNFAC

  • Another view of the large, hard slab avalanche that was snowmobiler triggered on 1/16/2020. Photo: GNFAC

  • "A south and southeast aspect of Mt. Wolverine around 9,500'-10,000'.  I'd estimate the lower crown to be about 3' deep.  And timing of the event maybe around Jan. 16.?" Photo: B. Fredlund

  • The crown of this snowmobiler triggered avalanche tapered to a thin slab. These thin areas of the slope are prime zones to trigger a slide from. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche was triggered on 1/16/20. The crown was measured 15' deep and was knife hardness wind slab. The slide broke on a layer of faets that is found on many slopes in our forecast area. Photo: GNFAC

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

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Mostly clear, with a steady temperature around 6. Wind chill values as low as -10. West northwest wind around 10 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 6 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 32. Wind chill values as low as -10. West wind 8 to 13 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 32 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 8. Wind chill values as low as -10. West wind 10 to 13 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 8 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 31. Wind chill values as low as -5. West southwest wind around 9 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 31 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 10. West wind 6 to 8 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 10 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 32.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 32 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow likely, mainly after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around 2 inches.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 15 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow.  High near 22. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

    Snow

    High: 22 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 8 °F

The Last Word

On Saturday, three motorized snowbikers were caught in an avalanche in Colorado and two were killed. We are deeply saddened by this accident. You can read the preliminary accident report here. Please take the time to learn what we can from this and all accidents. Stay safe if you are getting into the mountains today.