Regional Conditions for Southern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Feb 155″ | 15-20 SW
Feb 14 10″ | 15-30 SW
Feb 13 6″ | 20-30 S
9400′     02/16 at 05:00
5.8℉
SW - 3mph
Gusts 11mph
8880′   02/16 at 4:00
10℉
Depth
Bottom Line: Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely on all wind loaded slopes. Areas loaded by west-southwest winds will be the most susceptible to holding wind drifted snow. Human triggered avalanches are also likely on non-wind loaded slopes. During these conditions, avoiding steep slopes and avalanche run out zones is essential. This includes staying off small steep slopes like road cuts and creek beds that may seem harmless during more stable conditions.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Mon Feb 11

Considerable
Tue Feb 12

Considerable
Wed Feb 13

Considerable
Thu Feb 14

High
Fri Feb 15

High

Avalanche Activity- Southern Gallatin

Southern Gallatin
Specimen Creek
Collapsing in Specimen Creek
Specimen Creek
SS
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: " Large collapses on any slope with HS of <1m, one pit at 7500 on W aspect and 19 degrees HS 100 cm, yielded ECTP22 sudden collapse on advanced depth hoar 45cm from the ground. Overall just terrible structure. We had collapsing on both E and W aspects. Large shooting cracks. No other avalanche activity apart from large slide on Ernest Miller from several days ago."


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Snowmobile triggered at Lionhead
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Lionhead Ridge
HS-AMu-R3-D2.5-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: E
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Bacon Rind
Collapse, cracking, and avalanche in distance at Bacon Rind
Incident details include images
Bacon Rind
SS-N-R2-D2
Elevation: 9,600
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 44.9428, -111.1360
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an email, "My partner and I skied up bacon rind with plans on skiing the <30 degree run on the east face of Ernest miller ridge. On our way out there we had a large collapse, and saw shooting cracks.  We dug a pit at 9,150 ft on a E facing slope and got a ECT P16Q1 about 90 cm down.  Before this off in the distance (photo) we saw a massive avalanche in a 35 degree wind loaded NE slope at 9,600. It appeared to be about 1 - 1.5 m deep and 100 ft across."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Gallatin

Displaying 1 - 40 of 4.61168601843E+18
  • 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

  • From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain. Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  • From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Mt Blackmore 11/07
    HN24 - 20cm
    S1 - 8/8 - W (Light)
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain.Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  •  From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Mt Blackmore 11/07
    HN24 - 20cm
    S1 - 8/8 - W (Light)
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain.Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  • Natural wind slab that broke after 3-4 feet of new snow over 6 days. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Natural avalanche activity was widespread in Hyalite on Tuesday 11/6. Obs from e-mail: "The newest snow (about 18", I'd guess past 48hrs) is touchy soft slab. The top 8 inches also exhibit a storm slab-like quality.  There appears to be a very slight density change between the two.  Top 8" fracture and propagate cracks readily on gentle terrain, whereas in steeper terrain, the deeper slab (again, about 18" down) was propagating as I was skinning up the headwall in the steep creek drainages and steeper features nearby. Lots of natural activity on steeper terrain, but vis was limited. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Natural avalanche activity was widespread in Hyalite on Tuesday 11/6. Obs from e-mail: "The newest snow (about 18", I'd guess past 48hrs) is touchy soft slab. The top 8 inches also exhibit a storm slab-like quality.  There appears to be a very slight density change between the two.  Top 8" fracture and propagate cracks readily on gentle terrain, whereas in steeper terrain, the deeper slab (again, about 18" down) was propagating as I was skinning up the headwall in the steep creek drainages and steeper features nearby. Lots of natural activity on steeper terrain, but vis was limited. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • From the MSU Backcountry Club Instagram page:

    Warning! This is a current, fresh, crown in the northern Bridgers! Every aspect had a visible crown and avi debris! This crown was 56cm at it deepest and over 8 meters long. ECTP21@53 and CT24@54 on the overlying slab. Photo: @msubackcountryclub More Details.

  • This avalanche was observed on the morning of Friday 11/2. It broke from a natural trigger in the Big Couloir at Big Sky Resort. New snow fell and was drifted into slabs overlying older, hard layers of snow from October. The resort is not open and no people were in the area of the avalanche at that time. Photo: Big Sky Resort More details

     

  • POWDER BLAST
    26 October 2018

    BUY TICKETS HERE

    Join us for the best fundraiser of the year! All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Avalanche Center which supports avalanche awareness, education and information throughout southwest Montana.

    Your $35 donation gets you an unforgettable evening at the Emerson Cultural Center.

    Grizzly Outfitters of Big Sky is title sponsor of this year's 20th Annual Powder Blast. Mystery Ranch, World Boards, Community Food Co-op, Highline Partners and Spark R&D are key sponsors along with Alpine Orthopedics, Stronghold Fabrication, Werner Wealth Management, Scott Lawson Dentistry, and Knoff Group Real Estate. Additional support comes from Javaman, Edward Jones, Massive Design, Bountiful Table and Katabatic Brewing. 

    Beer from Katabatic Brewery and Wine from Montana Ale Works

    Dinner by Bountiful Table

    Music by Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs and the best silent auction of outdoor gear in the valley!

  • Wet slab avalanche in the Centennial range. Multiple days without freezing created widespread wet slides last week (5/6-5/11). Photo: @waxeman

  • Wet slab avalanche in the Centennial range. Multiple days without freezing created widespread wet slides last week (5/6-5/11). Photo: @waxeman

  • Wet slide carnage observed off of Skyline Ridge near Cabin Creek May 11/12. Many days of above freezing temperatures created widespread wet slide activity over the previous week. Photo: B. Lukens

  • Wet slide carnage observed off of Skyline Ridge near Cabin Creek May 11/12. Many days of above freezing temperatures created widespread wet slide activity over the previous week. Photo: B. Lukens

  • Massive cornices create a few hazards as they warm and weaken under the spring heat. They become easier to trigger, can break naturally, and form dangerous, deep cracks along ridgelines. From e-mail: "The crack was up to 30' deep, and had pulled large pieces of vegetation from the ridgeline it used to be attached to." Photo: S. Reinsel

Videos- Southern Gallatin

Weather Forecast Southern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

17 Miles SE Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Scattered snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 11. Wind chill values as low as zero. Southwest wind around 6 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 50%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Scattered
    Snow Showers

    Low: 11 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -5. South southwest wind around 7 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    High: 21 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2. South wind around 6 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    Low: 2 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 13. Wind chill values as low as -5. East southeast wind 5 to 7 mph becoming north in the morning.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    High: 13 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow showers before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around -8. North wind 3 to 6 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow Showers
    then Mostly
    Cloudy

    Low: -8 °F

  • Washington's
    Birthday

    Washington's Birthday: A 20 percent chance of snow showers after 11am.  Mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near 9. North northwest wind 3 to 5 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow Showers

    High: 9 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around -11. Light and variable wind becoming southwest around 5 mph after midnight.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: -11 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 16.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 16 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow showers after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around -2.

    Slight Chance
    Snow Showers

    Low: -2 °F

The Last Word

The Friends of the Avalanche Center and Montana State Parks installed an avalanche danger sign outside Cooke City. It sits next to the beacon checker and will be seen by riders and skiers as they head out of town.


  <<  This is the most recent forecast.