Regional Conditions for Southern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Today-1″ | N/A
Apr 24 -2″ | N/A
Apr 23 0″ | 15-25 SW
9400′     04/02 at 13:00
40.6℉
E - 2mph
Gusts 14mph
8880′   04/25 at 12:00
47℉
82″ Depth
Bottom Line: This week expect classic spring snowpack conditions, with great variability throughout the day and between aspect and elevation. Ideally the snowpack will be mostly frozen and stable in the morning, and then it will inevitably soften and lose strength through the day. Be diligent with route finding and snowpack assessment, anticipate changing conditions, pay attention to unexpected findings, and have a safe route to bail at any time. Consider terrain you will have to travel across or underneath later in the day when natural wet slides may occur or be easier to trigger. See our forecast page for general spring snowpack and travel advice.

Past 5 Days

Wed Apr 10

None
Fri Apr 12

None
Mon Apr 15

None
Fri Apr 19

None
Mon Apr 22

None

Avalanche Activity- Southern Gallatin

Out of Advisory Area
Emigrant Peak
Wet slab and large wet loose near Emigrant
Incident details include images
Emigrant Peak
WS-N-R3-D2.5-I
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.2648, -110.7010
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "recent wet slab by Emigrant peak as well as a large wet loose (very similar avy activity noted across the valley, and i would guess similar activity in some of the fx zones).  Wet slab 3-5’ crown estimation, all look connected/pulled out upon one another,..."


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Beehive Peak
Skier triggered wind slabs in Beehive
Incident details include images
Beehive Peak
SS-ASc-R1-D1-S
Elevation: 9,500
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.3534, -111.4060
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail on 4/11/19: "We found reactive storm slabs and touchy windslabs near ridgelines. We kicked off a small windslab in 4th of July from the top of the couloir. Attached is a photo of the crown to give you a depth perspective. It was about 6 feet across and 3-4 inches deep."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Gallatin

Displaying 1 - 40 of 4.6116860184274E+18
  • Debris from an older wet loose slide observed 4/20/19. Estimated to be a week old. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Observed 4/20/19. Crown estimated 3-5' deep. Above freezing temperatures, sunshine and rain created a wet and weak snowpack. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Observed 4/20/19. Crown estimated 3-5' deep. Above freezing temperatures, sunshine and rain created a wet and weak snowpack. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • From e-mail on 4/11/19: "We found reactive storm slabs and touchy windslabs near ridgelines. We kicked off a small windslab in 4th of July from the top of the couloir. Attached is a photo of the crown to give you a depth perspective. It was about 6 feet across and 3-4 inches deep."

  • Below 3-5" of new snow there is a supportable frozen crust on top of a wet snowpack on most slopes. Avalanches are mostly confined to the new snow on top of this crust (wet loose, dry loose, wind slabs). However, where the snowpack did not freeze below the new snow, or when this crust melts, deeper wet slides are possible. Photo: GNFAC

  • Outside Cooke City up Zimmer Creek, a skier spotted this cornice fall which triggered a small pocket down low. Photo: F. Madsen

  • Many wet loose and wet slab avalanches were seen near Zimmer Creek (north of Cooke City) on south and east aspects. Temperatures were warm at 10,000 feet. Photo: F. Madsen

  • This photo near Lionhead, is indicative of the wet loose avalanches we are seeing on many low elevation, south facing slopes throughout our advisory area. Daytime temperatures near 50F will make avalanches like this more frequent and widespread in the coming days.

  • A snowmobiler saw this recent activity on Saturday 3/9/19 on Cedar Mountain near Big Sky.

  • This slide was triggered on a steep (40 deg) southeast facing slope at Round Lake outside Cooke City. It failed 8" deep on a layer of graupel and small facets. An adjacent hill slid at the same depth beforehand. This layer is not on most slopes, but as this slide shows it is on some. Doug was in the area and dug a pit in the crown soon after it was triggered. Photo: J. Fritz

  • This slide on the NE face of Blackmore was triggered by the second skier. It was 8-12" deep and 100' wide and likely failed on small faceted crystals underneath the new snow. No one was caught. Going one at a time was good travel behavior that can save our lives when things go wrong.

  • A snowmobiler triggered this slide on the afternoon of 3/2/19 behind Sage Peak in the southern Madison Range. Photo: J. Hillier

  • We received this report of an unusually large natural avalanche in the East Mill Creek drainage: " First time in 17 years we have had an avalanche come into our road. Natural, maybe from a point release that fractured new snow about 20 inches at the crown, propagated 50 yards, ran about 300 feet without stepping down, leaving about 5 foot deep debris. A new 2 inches is covering the debris that likely went during this afternoons warming."  Photo and comments: L. Watson

  • A large snowmobile triggered avalanche in the Gravelly Range (Outside of advisory area) on February 10th, 2019.

    From email: "One rider was involved in the incident and was fortunate to be on the upper left side of the bowl when he saw the slide start. ... the crown was about 325 wide and varied in depth from 1 to 4 or 5 feet.  The ridge line was wind loaded and this was an issue we had discussed as a group and wanted to avoid.  We had read the reports for the day and knew that wind loading as well as a persistent week layer were both concerns. .... The rider involved entered the area from around where the road switchbacked and did not realize what was above him due to reduced visibility."

  • Snowmobilers in the Lionhead area got unstable test results, easily propagating fractures in ECT tests on a weak layer buried about 50 cm deep. Photo: J. Norlander

  • Crown of avalanche that was triggered by a group of four skiers. Two were partially buried (1 injured, 1 killed) on 1/25/19. They were all ascending and near the top of the path when the avalanche broke. The top two skiers held onto trees as the avalanche pushed by them. Photo: GNFAC

  • Overview of avalanche path where a group of four skiers were caught, and two were partially buried (1 injured, 1 killed) on 1/25/19. Crown is marked by black line and location of partial burial/deceased is tip of red arrow. The other partially buried skier was 200' lower. They were all ascending and near the top of the path when the avalanche broke. The top two skiers held onto trees as the avalanche pushed by them. Photo: GNFAC

  • "One small slide on a N asp at head of Bacon rind creek, elev 8750,  had a crisper look than most of the others observed, suspect more recent." Photo: M. Best

  • This graph shows snow water equivalent (SWE) by date at the primary SNOTEL sites that we use in the GNFAC region. From October 1st, 2018 to January 12th, 2019. Steeper lines indicate bigger storms and flatter lines indicate periods of little to no snow. A large storm at the beginning of Novermber laid down a 1-3 foot base. Relatively dry and cold weather through November caused much of that snow to become weak. This weak snow was buried by a series of storms. Avalanches were seen during and following many of these storms. During dry weather between storms, more weak layers formed on the surface of the snowpack and were subsequently buried. (Graph created by GNFAC from NRCS provisional data).

  • In Cabin Creek (1/10/19) we found a recently buried layer of surface hoar as well as the weak, sugary snow that makes up the bottom 1.5' of the snowpack in the southern ranges. Avalanches are possible to trigger on the sugary facets near the ground. Both of these weak layers will persist and cause avalanches when we get more snow and wind loading. Photo: GNFAC

  • February 2, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.

  • This was a recent snowmobile triggered avalanche In Tepee Basin, southern Madison range. This slide failed on facets near the ground and ran into a terrain trap. With more snow and wind in the forecast, it will be important to make conservative terrain selections. Photo: GNFAC 

  • We rode into Cabin Creek behind Sage Peak (via Taylor Fork) and found 2.5' of snow. The lower half was weak, sugary and unsupportive. The upper half was a slab of recent snow that collapsed with moderate force (ECTP 11). Our sled's tracks easily broke through 2.5' of snow to the ground, a sign of poor snowpack structure. Photo: GNFAC

  • Snow bikers in the northern Gallatin Range "witnessed a very reactive new snow layer in all wind loaded areas." (12/30). Photo: J. Polus

  • The snowpack at 9,000' above Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone is 60-70cm (~2 feet) deep. It is mostly weak, sugary facets and will struggle to support the weight of future storms. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier reported a recent slab avalanche at Ernest Miller in the southern Madison. This is a good reminder that as you move further south in our advisory area, we are seeing a thinner and generally less stable snowpack. Photo: C. Grote

  • A skier in the southern Gallatin found a buried layer of surface hoar that propagated in stability tests. This surface hoar layer has been found at several locations in the advisory area. Photo: S. Reinsel

  • A skier on Ramshorn Peak in the southern Gallatin Range got shooting cracks and observed a recent avalanche in wind loaded terrain. This is a good reminder that isolated instabilities still exist on wind loaded slopes. Photo: C. Kussmaul  

  • Surface hoar crystals growing on top of a thin, faceted snowpack in the Southern Gallatins. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Cracking of fresh drifts was a sign that avalanches were likely on steep, wind loaded slopes on Saddle Peak. Photo: GNFAC

  • Snow water equivalent at SNOTEL stations in the GNFAC advisory areas for the 18-19 season to date. Weak layers formed on the surface of the snowpack during the dry weather (flat section of lines), then they were buried by the recent 10-14" of snow (steep increase at end of graph). Image: GNFAC

  • Climbers triggered this very small wind slab on the way to a climb up Flanders in Hyalite (11/11). A tiny slide to a skier can be bad news for a climber since losing one's balance or getting pushed off a cliff can be deadly. From an email (edited):

    Hyalite Snow Conditions:...we dug two hasty pits on east facing slopes in Flanders....
    8200'- isolated opening in trees in an area on rocks, shallower snow (~50cm). CT12 at the ground, again just tapping on the back of other hand, so not super legit, but did raise eyebrows.  
    8450'- Opening below cliff bands on exposed traverse. Deeper snow (~80-90cm). No concerns other than storm snow and snow coming off of cliff bands. Classic Hyalite shifty winds. We released a small (10-15cm) storm slab on traverse into the climb .  
    Weather: It was snowing and blowing all day.

    Photo: S. Magro

  • From an email:

    "By and large right side up snowpack. Some small facets below the 11/1 ice crust at the ground, but well bonded snowpack overall. Pit observations consistent with hand pits dug throughout the day touring north out of Bridger Bowl." Photo: M. Zia

  • From an email: "ECTP 5 at the top of a chute on the south face of the Texas Meadows knob. Propagated on a layer 15cm from the top of the snowpack." Photo: J. Zimmerer

  • From Instagram:

    "Careful out there this year! While we are lucky enough to have a mostly stable snowpack here in Southwest Montana, we did just find this little wind slab well below the ridge line in Middle Basin. Slowboarder was fine" @chartierk

  • A skier found 80 cm of stable snow on an east facing slope at 9200' in Beehive Basin. Winds created these newborn cornices along the ridge. Photo: T. Allen

  • From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small slab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."

  • From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small lab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."

  • From a tour up Miller Creek: "Good stability and structure found overall.  No collapsing nor cracking experienced, minor wind effect, and only some minor point release avalanche activity noted on the east aspect of Crown Butte." Photo: B. Fredlund

Videos- Southern Gallatin

Weather Forecast Southern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

17 Miles SE Big Sky MT

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: Sunny, with a high near 49. South southwest wind around 7 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 49 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Increasing clouds, with a low around 34. South wind 7 to 9 mph.

    Increasing
    Clouds

    Low: 34 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Scattered rain and snow showers before 9am, then periods of rain showers. Some thunder is also possible.  Snow level rising to 10300 feet in the afternoon. High near 50. South wind 7 to 11 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Scattered
    Rain/Snow
    then Showers

    High: 50 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A chance of rain showers before 7pm, then a chance of snow showers between 7pm and midnight. Some thunder is also possible.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. Blustery, with a west northwest wind 9 to 16 mph becoming southwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance
    Rain/Snow and
    Blustery then
    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 23 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 44. Breezy, with a southwest wind 8 to 13 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph.

    Partly Sunny
    and Breezy

    High: 44 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Snow showers likely, mainly after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. Breezy, with a west wind 16 to 21 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%.

    Snow Showers
    Likely and
    Breezy

    Low: 21 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 40 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 13 to 16 mph.

    Chance Snow
    Showers and
    Blustery

    High: 31 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Blustery.

    Mostly Cloudy
    and Blustery
    then Mostly
    Cloudy

    Low: 14 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    High: 33 °F

The Last Word

For more spring travel advice see this article from our GNFAC forecaster blog.


  <<  This is the most recent forecast.