Regional Conditions for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 10-25 NW
Feb 26 0″ | 10-30 NW
Feb 25 0″ | 10-40 N
8775′     2/24 at 23:00
9 ℉
NW - 7 mph
Gusts 19 mph
7750′   02/27 at 15:00
31℉
55″ Depth
Bottom Line: The snowpack is generally safe. A few rogue wind slabs might be triggered, but these would be small. Sugary facets at the ground remain an afterthought since it would take a large load or getting extremely unlucky to trigger a slide. This zone has not gotten much snow lately and its good stability reflects that lack of loading. In general, triggering avalanches is unlikely.

Past 5 Days

Sun Feb 23

Low
Mon Feb 24

Moderate
Tue Feb 25

Low
Wed Feb 26

Low
Today

Low

Avalanche Activity- Lionhead Range

Southern Gallatin
Specimen Creek
Small natural wet loose and wind slab in S. Gallatins
Specimen Creek
WL-N-R1-D1
Elevation: 8,500
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0265, -111.0480
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an obs on 2/23/20: "...today toured up above 9000 ft on Meldrum and some surrounding hills.... No cracking, collapsing, or naturals observed aside from some small wet loose that occurred yesterday in steep S rocky terrain at 8500 ft.... HS 150+ with depth hoar 130 down. The new snow will be falling on a variety of snow surfaces from crusts (E-S-W) to wind board (ridgelines) to NSFs (N). Temperatures warmed to above freezing today to at least 9000 ft. Winds increased to moderate out of the west by 1400 with some wind transport occurring at ridgelines."

From another group on Electric Peak on 2/23/20: "One recent natural avalanche near the ridgeline roughly 30 cm deep probably due to wind loading (D1) and a handful of natural loose wet (D1) avalanches on southerly aspects. Dug a quick pit on the face (10700’ NE 30 degree slope HS 190cm) and got an ECTP23 @ 35 below the surface on a hardness change below a 1F fresh windslab... Also, bulletproof windboard below the first roll (@10200’) and cranking winds!"


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
LIONHEAD AREA
Snowmobile triggered small slope Lionhead
LIONHEAD AREA
SS-AMu-R2-D2
Coordinates: 44.7292, -111.3230
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From IG message: "Was riding up lions head today. Was on the same channel as another group and a member of their group came over the radio and said that he had to roll his sled and it triggered/buried his sled. Didn’t get much more info but he was very spooked over the radio. Looked hard on our way out and couldn’t find the slide."


More Avalanche Details
Out of Advisory Area
Emigrant Peak
Many large, destructive slides on Emigrant Peak
Incident details include images
Emigrant Peak
HS-N-R4-D3-O
Elevation: 9,800
Coordinates: 45.2630, -110.7070
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

[date of activity roughly estimated] From email on 2/22/2020: "The mountains around Emigrant Peak have certainly reached their tipping point. Skinning up in the morning we witnessed the debris of more than a dozen avalanches on all aspects, more than I have ever seen in a single day. Many of these avalanches were extremely large and powerful deep slabs that broke towards the ground, likely to have released within the past week. Slides were running to the end of their runout zones and carried with them many trees that were torn to shreds."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Lionhead Range

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Skiers saw this 2-4' deep natural crown on Sunday 2/23/20. Photo: from IG @skishot

  • 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

  • Slide in Taylor’s Fork, crown of about 5-6’ and about 100' wide. Human triggered. Photo: Matt Seifert

  • 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

  • We saw a group of six snowmobilers who said they triggered these slides in McAtee Basin on the left side of the meadow on Saturday, Feb 8. I didn't see tracks up on the hill or sidehill tracks so they may have triggered the slope from the flats below. The debris runs all the way to bottom of the hill. Photo: K Peaslee

  • We saw a group of six snowmobilers who said they triggered these slides in McAtee Basin on the left side of the meadow on Saturday, Feb 8. I didn't see tracks up on the hill or sidehill tracks so they may have triggered the slope from the flats below. The debris runs all the way to bottom of the hill. Photo: K Peaslee

  • We saw a group of six snowmobilers who said they triggered these slides in McAtee Basin on the left side of the meadow on Saturday, Feb 8. I didn't see tracks up on the hill or sidehill tracks so they may have triggered the slope from the flats below. The debris runs all the way to bottom of the hill. Photo: K Peaslee

  • "Noted two SS-D1.5/2 naturals (presuming based on lack of any sort of tracks) on Wheeler, typical spots for these conditions, both SE aspect around 8000'." Photo: G. Antoniolli

  • "Noted several avalanches (NW aspect ~ 8800') off of Elephant that traveled quite far into the trees where the summer trail typically runs, all appear to be new snow, D1- D2 in size, average 2' crowns, running on old/new interface from  Feb 2. They appear to have run midstorm, sometime yesterday (photos 1,2,3).  Above 9000', W Winds were crafting fresh wind slabs that were most reactive on a midstorm crystal/density change that buried a layer of stellars ~ 1' deep in shallower spots,  topped with denser snow." Photo: G. Antoniolli

  • "Natural avalanche. North facing slope. Around half mile wide. Photos don't show half of the slide. Broke on the ground facets. Crown was between 3 and 15 feet deep. We didn't get a photo of the deepest crown. Ripped trees out around 5" diameter." Photo: Reed Malmstrom

  • "Natural avalanche. North facing slope. Around half mile wide. Photos don't show half of the slide. Broke on the ground facets. Crown was between 3 and 15 feet deep. We didn't get a photo of the deepest crown. Ripped trees out around 5" diameter." Photo: Reed Malmstrom

  • "Natural avalanche. North facing slope. Around half mile wide. Photos don't show half of the slide. Broke on the ground facets. Crown was between 3 and 15 feet deep. We didn't get a photo of the deepest crown. Ripped trees out around 5" diameter." Photo: Reed Malmstrom

  • 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

  • I took out my binoculars from our cabin on the west shore of Island Park Reservoir and noticed this huge slide in the bowl south of Reas peak. Started at the little tree band below the ridge, takes out 1/3 of the bowl, and runs into the Blue Creek terrain trap. I assume this is a natural avalanche as I don’t see tracks (hard to see in this light). Photo: M Elstad
  • I took out my binoculars from our cabin on the west shore of Island Park Reservoir and noticed this huge slide in the bowl south of Reas peak. Started at the little tree band below the ridge, takes out 1/3 of the bowl, and runs into the Blue Creek terrain trap. I assume this is a natural as I don’t see tracks (hard to see in this light). Photo: M Elstad
  • Hebgen/West Yellowstone snow rangers and Montana State Parks installed this beacon checker at the trail into Lionhead Ridge. It is a great asset to promote avalanche awareness in our area. Photo: J. Norlander

  • From riders involved: "Yesterday we were the ones in the big sky avalanche. There was no markings on the spot we were climbing. Further down the mountains there were climbs at the same angles of this slope. Thankfully the rider was above the slide when it started and managed to stay on top. Rider walked down the debris and we found the sled lower down in the trees. No injuries." Photo: Anonymous

  • From riders involved: "Yesterday we were the ones in the big sky avalanche. There was no markings on the spot we were climbing. Further down the mountains there were climbs at the same angles of this slope. Thankfully the rider was above the slide when it started and managed to stay on top. Rider walked down the debris and we found the sled lower down in the trees. No injuries." Photo: Anonymous

  • From obs. form: "[slope] Was marked up previously. We parked out near the bottom and a few guys not in our group start climbing. So we watch them climb. It breaks out. Guy ditches the sled and manages to stay up top. Sled goes down with the slide. Then the snow breaks in 2 other spots creating more slides." Photo: C. Carlson

  • 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.

  • Small snowmobiler triggered avalanche in McAtee Basin. From Instagram: "I watched a snowmobiler set this avalanche off today" T. Chamberlain

  • Small snowmobiler triggered avalanche in McAtee Basin. From Instagram: "I watched a snowmobiler set this avalanche off today" T. Chamberlain

  • 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 

  • Snowmobiler triggered avalanche near Reas Peak on Sunday, 1/19/20. He was able to ride through it uphill. Photo: R. Gravatt

  • Snowmobiler triggered avalanche near Reas Peak on Sunday, 1/19/20. He was able to ride through it uphill. Photo: R. Gravatt

  • From obs: "I was on the west side of Pioneer Mtn digging a pit for YC Ski Patrol. I heard a few groups of snowmobiles cruising around the foothills of cedar. I turned and saw two snowmobilers cresting the ridge above the slide pictured as the debris was settling down. The sledders enjoyed the view for a few minutes before turning back the way they came and stumbled upon the slide they had unknowingly triggered. They skirted around the side of the crown and stopped for a few minutes. Based on the height of the rider off his sled, I would estimate the crown to be roughly 10’ at its max height. NE aspect below Cedar" Photo: J. Marcinko

  • Fresh wind slabs releasing naturally near the top of Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

  • This was an older slide on Lionhead Ridge. It broke 3 to 4 feet deep and propagated on a buried weak layer. Probably from a few days ago. Photo: GNFAC

  • With only 3" of new snow overnight, a cornice triggered a large avalanche at Lionhead early this morning. It broke 3 to 4 feet deep and propagated on a buried weak layer. This is the only stability test we need today, human triggered avalanches possible and the management strategy is to avoid steep slopes or be clear about your risk tolerance if you are poking into avalanche terrain. Photo: GNFAC

  • With only 3" of new snow overnight, a cornice triggered a large avalanche at Lionhead early this morning. It broke 3 to 4 feet deep and propagated on a buried weak layer. This is the only stability test we need today, human triggered avalanches possible and the management strategy is to avoid steep slopes or be clear about your risk tolerance if you are poking into avalanche terrain. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • Natural avalanche observed on 1/17 in Airplane Bowl off of Lionhead Ridge.

    Photo: P. Smith

  • The snowpack in Lionhead is a respectable 6' deep. The facets near the ground are gaining strength and we were unable to get them to break in our tests. Stability is improving! Photo: GNFAC

  • We visited the avalanche that was triggered by a snowmobiler and partially buried 2 people on January 4th. The crown was 10 feet at the deepest part. Photo: GNFAC

  • We visited the avalanche that was triggered by a snowmobiler and partially buried 2 people on January 4th. The crown was 10 feet at the deepest part. Photo: GNFAC

WebCams

Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Mostly cloudy during the early evening, then becoming mostly clear, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as zero. West southwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 12 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 28. Wind chill values as low as zero. South southwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 28 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 18. South southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 18 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Snow likely, mainly after noon.  Patchy blowing snow after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26. South southwest wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Snow Likely
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 26 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Snow likely.  Patchy blowing snow before midnight. Cloudy, with a low around 13. Southwest wind 13 to 17 mph becoming north northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Likely
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 13 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 18. North wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 18 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 1. North wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 1 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A slight chance of snow after noon.  Sunny, with a high near 19. Southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Sunny then
    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 19 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Snow likely, mainly after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 9.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 9 °F

The Last Word

This article is intense and has some good lessons in it: A skier shares what happened the day he lost his wife to an avalanche.