Regional Conditions for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
Apr 270″ | N/A
Apr 26 0″ | N/A
Apr 25 0″ | N/A
8775′     3/27 at 10:00
17 ℉
SE - 4 mph
Gusts 7 mph
7750′   06/05 at 8:00
58℉
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

None
Mon Apr 20

None
Fri Apr 24

None
Mon Apr 27

None
Sat May 2

None

Avalanche Activity- Lionhead Range

Photos- Lionhead Range

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 (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 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

  • Skiers in Beaver Creek in southern Madison Range on 4/12/20 reported: "...There were probably a couple dozen [wet slides] in total, including several small ones that ran into Beaver Creek road. Every solar aspect had multiple slides from the past few days of warm weather, at elevations from the road up to 10000', but none were larger than any my partner and I observed near Lionhead on 4/9 (≤D2)." Photo: S. Reinsel

  • 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

  • Wet slab near Lionhead. Observed 4/9/2020.

    Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Wet slab near Lionhead. May have been snowmobile triggered. Observed 4/9/2020. 

    Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Cornice triggered wet slab near Lionhead. Observed 4/9/2020. 

    Photo: G. Antonioli

  • From email: "On Tuesday,  April 7th my group noticed a slab avalanche above our route back to the parking lot. The coordinates of the slide are 44.7184217, -111.3190452. There were snowmobile tracks directly to the right (NW) of the slide. The slide was considerably wide , more than100 yards." Photo: H. Marcussirounian

  • From email: "On Tuesday,  April 7th my group noticed a slab avalanche above our route back to the parking lot. The coordinates of the slide are 44.7184217, -111.3190452. There were snowmobile tracks directly to the right (NW) of the slide. The slide was considerably wide , more than100 yards." Photo: H. Marcussirounian

  • Photo: L. Ippolito

  • 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

  • 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

  • From obs. (4/4/20): "Rode Tepee today... Got ECTP 24 & 25 on a thin layer of SH... We also saw a few cornice drops that pulled out small slabs, new snow only..." Photo: E. Knoff

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Today on the east side of Lionhead Ridge we found a layer of weak, near-surface facets buried under a foot and a half of new snow. This is definitely something to watch out for especially on wind-loaded slopes. Photos: GNFAC

  • Enormous cornices overhanging Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

Videos- Lionhead Range

WebCams

Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

  • Today

    Today: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. Southwest wind 7 to 12 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 31 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Slight Chance
    T-storms then
    Slight Chance
    Showers

    High: 68 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms, then a chance of showers after midnight.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. South southwest wind 8 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 30%.

    Slight Chance
    T-storms then
    Chance
    Showers

    Low: 46 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A chance of showers before 9am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 9am and noon, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. Some of the storms could be severe.  High near 56. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 15 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

    Severe
    Thunderstorms
    then Severe
    Thunderstorms
    and Breezy

    High: 56 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm.  Low around 37. South southwest wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%.

    Showers

    Low: 37 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Rain showers before 9am, then rain and snow showers between 9am and noon, then snow showers after noon. Some thunder is also possible.  High near 39. South southwest wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Rain/Snow
    then Snow
    Showers

    High: 39 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Rain and snow showers, becoming all snow after 9pm.  Low around 29. South southwest wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Rain/Snow
    then Snow
    Showers

    Low: 29 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow showers. Some thunder is also possible.  High near 32. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Showers

    High: 32 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Snow showers likely, mainly before midnight. Some thunder is also possible.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Snow Showers
    Likely

    Low: 26 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A chance of snow showers before 3pm, then a chance of rain showers.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 40.

    Slight Chance
    Snow Showers
    then Chance
    Rain/Snow

    High: 40 °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!