Regional Conditions for Southern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 15-35 SW
Dec 17 0″ | 15-30 S
Dec 16 0″ | 25-35 S
9400′     12/18 at 07:00
19.2℉
S - 15mph
Gusts 27mph
8880′   12/18 at 1:00
25℉
29″ Depth
Bottom Line: Hard slabs 12-18” thick rest over sugary, weak facets on wind loaded slopes. Avalanches are possible to trigger today and wind loaded slopes should be carefully assessed or avoided.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Thu Dec 13

Considerable
Fri Dec 14

Moderate
Sat Dec 15

Moderate
Sun Dec 16

Moderate
Mon Dec 17

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Southern Gallatin

Southern Madison
Ernie Miller Ridge
Large natural avalanche on Ernest Miller Ridge
Incident details include images
Ernie Miller Ridge
N-R3-D3-O
Elevation: 9,500
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 44.939500, -111.1480000
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
More Avalanche Details
Southern Gallatin
Ramshorn Peak
Cracking in southern Gallatin Range
Incident details include images
Ramshorn Peak
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Gallatin

  • 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

     

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  • 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

  • From e-mail: "Photo of a couple of recent wet slab avalanches, just north of Silver Gate (on Mineral Mtn.). On a south aspect, around 9100'. The one on looker's left ran on April 23rd I think, and the one on looker's right April 27 or 28th. That's all the slab avalanches I've observed with these warm temps. Not a ton of wet loose activity to be seen either. Snowpack is holding in there!" Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Natural wet loose avalanches that slid during multiple days of well above freezing temperatures. Wet loose slides like this can run long distances and carry a lot of force. Multiple days with high temperatures of 50-60 F and overnight lows in the mid-30s to 40 F created a wet snowpack and wet slab and wet loose avalanches slid naturally. Photo: GNFAC

  • This small wet slab avalanches slid during multiple days of well above freezing temperatures. Though small, it is large enough to bury a person and would carry a lot of force. Multiple days with high temperatures of 50-60 F and overnight lows in the mid-30s to 40 F created a wet snowpack, and wet slab and wet loose avalanches slid naturally. Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural wet slab avalanche that ran during multiple days of well above freezing temperatures (4/26-4/28). Multiple days with high temperatures of 50-60 F and overnight lows in the mid-30s to 40 F created a wet snowpack and wet slab and wet loose avalanches slid naturally. Photo: GNFAC

  • Wet avalanches ran naturally last week during above freezing temperatures and sunshine after the last storm. Slides like this will be possible when the snowpack softens in the afternoon and will become more likely if the snowpack doesn't freeze overnight. Wet slides can run long distance and carry a lot of force. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Recent snowfall followed by spring sunshine and above freezing temperatures created natural wet slab and wet loose activity. More slides like this are possible if temperatures do not freeze overnight, during heavy rain, or after the next snowfall. Photo: B. VandenBos

     

  • Cornices are massive and will break naturally with above freezing temperatures and hot, spring sun. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Cornices are massive through the advisory area and will break naturally with above freezing temperatures and hot, spring sun. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Cornices are a significant hazard this time of year. As temps warm above freezing, these overhanging masses of snow will become increasingly unstable. They can break farther back than you might expect and trigger large avalanches on the slopes below. They can fail naturally or with human triggers. 

  • This slide was triggered by the first skier of day off Saddle Peak. The skier was caught and carried 1,500 vertical feet. He was buried with his hand sticking out of snow. Unfortunately, he did not have a partner and was buried for over an hour. He did not survive. Photo: R. Gregoire   

  • This slide on Saddle Peak resulted in a fatality. It was triggered by a solo skier who was caught and buried. The slope was heavily wind loaded and the slide failed on a thin ice crust. Photo: R. Gregoire

  • Wet loose avalanches will be a growing concern as spring progresses. Sunshine, above freezing temps and rain can all produce dangerous wet snow avalanches. Watch for signs of instability such as roller balls, small point releases and wet snow above your boot top. Avoid being on or underneath steep slopes if signs on instability are observed. Photo: BBSP 

Videos- Southern Gallatin

Weather Forecast Southern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

17 Miles SE Big Sky MT

Winter Weather Advisory December 18, 05:00pm until December 19, 12:00pm
Click here for hazard details and duration
Winter Weather Advisory
  • Today

    Today: Snow.  High near 30. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow and
    Breezy

    High: 30 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow.  Areas of blowing snow. Low around 23. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Snow and
    Areas Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 23 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 50 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11am.  Areas of blowing snow before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. Breezy, with a west wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Areas
    Blowing Snow
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    High: 29 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. South southwest wind 9 to 11 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 16 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 31. South southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 31 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    and Breezy
    then Mostly
    Cloudy

    Low: 21 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 30 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. Southwest wind 9 to 11 mph.

    Chance Snow

    High: 29 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 12 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 23 °F

The Last Word

Check out our new “Avalanches and Snowpits” menu item where we list all the reported avalanche activity.


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