Regional Conditions for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Apr 270″ | 15-30 WSW
Apr 26 0″ | 15-30 SW
Apr 25 0″ | 5-20 WNW
10,000′     04/29 at 16:00
N - 111mph
Gusts 111mph
9100′   08/05 at 8:00
-1″ 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. Abundant snowfall over the winter with more spring snow to come makes avalanches possible into summer.

Past 5 Days

Fri Apr 17

Mon Apr 20

Fri Apr 24

Mon Apr 27

Sat May 2


Avalanche Activity- Cooke City Area

Photos- Cooke City Area

Displaying 1 - 40
  • This year's report documents all the work we did this past winter. You can read or download a report HERE.


  • "...some wet slides from Tuesday/Wednesday (5/26-5/27) up W Fork Rock Creek." Photo: S. Magro

  • From (5/17/20): "...WS - ASu - R3 - D2 - I SE face of Middle Basin Peak starting at 10,000' Estimated SZ of 30° Slab depth of about 8". We were out too late in the day and chose to ignore a number of observational warnings. We were lucky and remotely triggered the avalanche below us."

  • A very large natural wet slab ran on the afternoon of 5/19 at the Yellowstone Club. (Screenshot from the Y.C. Timberline chair webcam)

  • From obs: "Here are a few snaps from yesterday (5/2/20), looking into the Absaroka from up on Emigrant. Fair bit of smaller, pockety wet slab activity in steep, rocky terrain near the middle/upper transition. I didn't see anything larger than D2 or any activity in true upper elevation terrain." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs: "Here are a few snaps from yesterday (5/2/20), looking into the Absaroka from up on Emigrant. Fair bit of smaller, pockety wet slab activity in steep, rocky terrain near the middle/upper transition. I didn't see anything larger than D2 or any activity in true upper elevation terrain." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs: "Here are a few snaps from yesterday (5/2/20), looking into the Absaroka from up on Emigrant. Fair bit of smaller, pockety wet slab activity in steep, rocky terrain near the middle/upper transition. I didn't see anything larger than D2 or any activity in true upper elevation terrain." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs (5/3/20): "N facing gulley, probably similar results from the Pine Creek avalanche posted on 4/29. Avalanche appears to be natural and possibly a couple days old. Ran about 400’ wide in the cone and damned up the creek with massive cement-like debris. There were more similar avalanches on N facing aspects the more I traveled. The skinning was isothermic and sloppy as each step fell through the snowpack to the ground"

  • From obs. (5/2/20): "Some recent wet slab avalanches were observed around Cooke City yesterday.  North and south aspects to mid elevations... not sure of the exact timing, but attached is a photo of one, a southerly aspect around 9,000'." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From e-mail (5/1/20): "...the mountains are coming unglued with the 4 nights of no freeze and heavy rain.  My party ventured up pine creek to take a look and found this big one that ran either yesterday or last night. 

  • From April 30, 6 pm to May 1, 6 pm. Give Big is a fund-raising campaign to rally support for local non-profits. Get more info and donate to the Friends of the Avalanche Center's campaign here.

  • From obs (4/26/20): "....a wet slide from a n-ne couloir up mission creek near elephant head in the absarokas between 10-11:30 this morning. Snow did not freeze over last night and was heavily saturated early this morning before the sun rose." Photo: @laura_delray

  • All surfaces except the upper North faces were getting wet and sticky. We observed lots of wet loose avalanches actively happening on SE-E facing slopes. We found some cold buffy snow on north-facing slopes, not amazing skiing. There was one small crown on a steep East facing slope that looked to be from the most recent storm but everything else was loose wet. Small wind slabs from the last snow seemed to be glued down today. Photo: S. Jonas

  • From IG obs (4/19/20): "Saw quite a few natural wet slides back in Middle Basin over the past two days, April 17-18. Witnessed several break loose naturally after about 2pm on anything from SW to SE slopes." Photo: @joshpelczar

  • Fresh drifts broke naturally along the ridgeline which became long running wet slides. 4/17/20. Photo: GNFAC

  • Pinwheels of snow indicate the surface is wet and losing strength. These were observed at Bridger on 4/17/20, caused by a skier crossing above. Photo: A. Crawford

  • From IG message (4/10/20): "Huge cornice release on north face of Blackmore today around 11am. North face was not hot yet but I am guessing the rocks on the back side transferred the heat?" Photo: @graeme.emerson

  • From obs (4/8/20): "My partner and I noticed this slide as we summited 10602 at approximately 10:30am, which is when I took the first photo and was able to capture the full runout. After our descent of the peak, we skinned back up to the slide to get a better look (the second photo). The slide appeared approximately a day old, with a crown 1-2 feet deep, on an almost directly north-facing aspect at 10200" elevation. It broke right along the rocks that had heated up in the sun, and was around 200-300 feet at its widest. We did not get close enough to determine which layer failed (suspected wind from the heavy wind-crust in the neighboring area), but the debris at the bottom indicated it was a wet slide." Photo: L. Ippolito

  • From obs on 4/6/20: "I got tagged by a small point release today. Skinning up the Republic Mountain ridgeline I had stopped to pull skins because it was apparent from hand-pit that the new snow was not bonding well with the old snow interface. I was looking down slope so didn’t actually see the release, but think it was a natural point release that I just happened to be standing in the way of, at least I didn’t feel any collapse so it didn’t seem like I had remotely triggered it.  

    Restricted to new snow ~ 6” deep and ran for about 80 vertical feet. Point release in rock band at  ~8,980 to toe at where I was standing at 8,900’ on ESE aspect on ~35° slope ( 45.004, -109.942). IWx: Overcast, warm (35°+), calm, snowing heavy at time (0.6 SWE at Fisher Creek SNOTEL in 10 hr.)."

  • Cornice triggered avalanches in Mundy's Bowl at Bridger Bowl. Unsure if natural or skier triggered from the ridgeline. Observed the morning of 4/5/20. Appear to be dry slab/loose. Photo: T. Gittins

  • Close up of a crystal from the surface hoar layer buried 2-3 feet deep north of Bridger Bowl and throughout most of the advisory area.

    From 4/3/20: "I dug a quick pit at ~7450’ on a protected east 36 degree slope - HS 240cm...ECTP18@175 on 3-6mm preserved surface hoar (photos -1mm grid)... All results repeated identically in a second ECT... Seeing the reactive SH layer I opted out of skiing anything that had a distinct rollover or was steeper..." Photo: Z. Miller

  • From email (4/4/20): "...east aspect, around 9700'.  The crown looked to average about 2' deep, and it was about 400' wide. I'd estimate that this avalanche happened on April 1 or 2.  (2-3 days ago)". Photo: B. Fredlund

  • A skier triggered this avalanche on Saddle Peak on Thursday, April 2. No one was caught. It appears to have broken under the new snow. Big avalanches in big terrain are usually unsurvivable.  Photo: GNFAC

  • From email on 4/2/2020 "fresh, natural slab avalanche this morning.  Estimated to be about 50' wide.  A north facing aspect around 9700'.  It looks to have been triggered by a sluff that came off the steep rocky terrain above."

    Photo: B. Fredlund


  • The annual fundraiser, Give Big Gallatin Valley, will be held 6 p.m. on April 30 to 6 p.m. May 1. The Friends of the Avalanche Center are participating again this year!

  • This tree near the north ridge shows no signs of wind during the storm. Photo: PC

  • "I skied near Quake Lake today, and observed several signs that the snowpack has not adjusted to this last storm yet. While ascending, several drifts collapsed under my weight, and I observed a very recent natural slide on a wind-loaded, east facing slope at about 9200'." Photo: Sam Reinsel

  • 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

Videos- Cooke City Area


Soda Butte Lodge, looking West

Soda Butte Lodge, looking East

Weather Forecast Cooke City Area

Extended Forecast for

2 Miles NNE Cooke City MT

  • Today

    Today: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. Calm wind becoming south around 6 mph in the afternoon.

    Sunny then

    High: 72 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 47. East northeast wind around 6 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 47 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 73. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the morning.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Chance

    High: 73 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 47. South southwest wind 6 to 8 mph.

    Slight Chance
    T-storms then
    Mostly Clear

    Low: 47 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 71. South southwest wind 6 to 11 mph.

    Sunny then

    High: 71 °F

  • Friday

    Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 44.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 44 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 73.


    High: 73 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 44.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 44 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 74.


    High: 74 °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 and enjoyable spring and summer. See you next Fall!