Regional Conditions for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Apr 300″ | NA
Apr 29 0″ | NA
Apr 28 0″ | NA
8775′     1/29 at 3:00
24 ℉
N - 0 mph
Gusts 0 mph
7750′   06/24 at 23:00
52℉
0″ 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. Plenty of snowfall over the winter with more spring snow to come makes avalanches possible into summer.

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Centennial Range
Sawtelle Peak
West of Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Surface was boiler plate leaving Island Park. We rode up high to the ridge (9200’) to the west of Sawtelle Peak and dug on a NE facing slope, 9,200', 6' of snow on the ground. Weak, sugary snow is on the surface (near-surface facet) and the main issue with the new snow. The new snow won't stick to the old surface and avalanches will be likely. Sugary depth hoar facets are still felt in the bottom 40 cm but it’s stable for now. Snowpack is very similar to Lionhead. Danger is Low today, but when the new snow arrives through the weekend the avalanche danger will rise.  I imagine it will not bond on many slopes and it will not be obvious where the NSF will be buried.  Tomorrow will be vastly different than today.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Idaho
Centennials: poor stability

I haven’t gotten a chance to write up my observations from the Centennial’s last Saturday but with this storm that’s occurring down there I thought it was important to reach out and let you know what I saw. The melt freeze crust from a few weeks ago and the rain crust from earlier in the season are still very present in the snow pack. There is about a 2 inch slab on top of the newest melt freeze crust that fractured on isolation. Should be a sporty couple days down in the centennials.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Hellroaring

Observed 125 cm snow at 8200' on NE aspect. ECT showed propagation on each crust. South aspect at 7500' had ~65cm snow depth with similar crust but less reactivity. In general observed poor structure and poor strength everywhere.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials
Incident details include images

Snow above the rain crust is starting to become more of a cohesive slab. No recent avalanches were observed.

Full Snow Observation Report
Cooke City
Republic Creek
Republic Creek, Woody Ridge Zone 2

We did a short tour yesterday in the middle of the storm into the Republic Creek drainage. Skies were overcast with light to heavy snow falling at times. Winds were gusting at times 60-80 mph, enough to blow you over if you weren't careful. Variable snowpack, wet and heavy down low until about 8800 feet then it got colder and less dense but was blowing around all over the place. The new snow was setting up very slabby in places with cracking expanding outward from the skin track and storm snow easily sliding at every kick turn. We did not dig a pit and instead opted to bail out at about 9400 feet and ski tighter trees back down to the creek bottom and home. The winds had stripped snow on the windward side with some larger drifts on the leeward side. However, in the basin, winds were coming from every direction at times. Not a very scientific observation but wanted to share what it was like in the storm up there yesterday. Caution really needs to be practiced as there are dense storm slabs sitting on large surface hoar/facets that had setup from the days of high pressure and winds may have deposited large amounts of snow in places.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials
Incident details include images

Rain crust is still very present in the snowpack. Two natural slab avalanches on north aspect of Reas Peak, one from recent storm and one from previous storm. Photo is from a snowmobile triggered avalanche from 1/9/21, you can see the party and one of the members riding the adjacent slope. Snowpit attached as well.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Tin Cup Creek/Willow Creek Drainage

Yesterday I snowmobiled form the Keg Springs trailhead to Tin Cup Pass on Willow Creek. From the limited visibility we did not see any natural avalanche activity. We dug one pit on the Idaho side of the Centennials and found the total snow depth was 70cm and there were 2 distinct crusts in the snowpack and a fair amount of depth hoar. The pit profile was as follows:

70cm-55cm First Hardness
54cm-50cm 4 Finger
49cm-48cm Knife
47cm-25cm Fist (facets)
24cm-23cm Knife
22cm-0cm Fist (depth hoar)

Test Results: ECTN 12@49CM, ECTN 14@24CM

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Idaho
Island Park South West Aspect Tyler Creek Area
Incident details include images

Seemingly unsafe snowpack here in island park. A few very firm crust layers. One facet layer near the base which propagated. Two crust layers, both knife hardness, were stacked in each other with a small amount of facets between them. This layer went on CTE 8. I wasn't able to attach it but I will send it separately. We weren't in avalanche terrain today so there were no other observations.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Near Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Road cut south facing slope of 42 degrees, triggered intentionally by a guide, shows about 12 inches of windblown soft slab on top of a faceted layer (in this case more extreme due to aspect and inclination toward the sun) but was triggered only by chopping a hand into the snow a few times. This same faceted layer (the uppermost layer of a thick faceted layer of 1-2 fee) exists throughout the snowpack.

Also, the bottom-most layers of snow are very faceted and conditions have not occurred yet to set the snow for a base. Walking around your feet go right to the ground even in areas where snow is 2+ feet deep. There are many rock/tree hazards lurking under the soft snow because of this, two people in our group damaged their a-arms.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Near Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Lower elevation plateau with low snow accumulation due to consistent wind-scouring, consists of about a foot of faceted snow with a dense wind-blown slab on top.

Full Snow Observation Report

Avalanche Activity- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Photos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From obs: 5/9/21: "Yesterday we went to check out the new snow in Beehive Basin... Looking down into the face of Peruvian, we observed a natural dry loose slide that released from the ridge... We observed an increase in wind speed throughout the morning, and a shift in wind direction from west to southwest in the early morning moving to west to north west by the late morning. The combination of variable and high winds with the amount of new snow available for transport created a noticeable increase in the hazard of wind slabs on all aspects we observed during the morning..." Photo: E. Schreier

  • From obs: 5/9/21: "Yesterday... While traversing... along the north ridge of 10602 [in Beehive], we triggered a small wind slab  that carried down into Peruvian, which then released another small wind slab on a northeast aspect of the face (photo). The crown height of this wind slab was measured at 60cm at it's deepest point, and approximately 30ft wide by 10ft long. Looking down into the face of Peruvian, we observed a natural dry loose slide that released from the ridge. We observed an increase in wind speed throughout the morning, and a shift in wind direction from west to southwest in the early morning moving to west to north west by the late morning. The combination of variable and high winds with the amount of new snow available for transport created a noticeable increase in the hazard of wind slabs on all aspects we observed during the morning..." Photo: E. Schreier

  • Small wet loose slide that a skier triggered, running over an older crown from prior days. East aspect, 10,000'. From 5/7/21. Photo: D. Britt

  • Photo of a large natural wet avalanche in Taylor Fork, NNW aspect around 9,000' elevation near Koch Peak, on 5/3/21. Photo: D. Britt

  • From email 5/2/21: "Small but plentiful wet snow avalanches in Cooke City today. Didn’t see any that were broke on a deeper scale." Photo: K. Goodyear

  • From obs: "I traversed the Bridger range yesterday (4/28/21). The alpine start was good and solid but I saw lots of recent avalanches that looked super wet, some that had broken a couple feet deep. Conditions were pretty stable until about 1300 when that most recent snow layer started to really want to slide on the crust. Once I was in the meadows between Baldy and the M, at about 1400, I started hearing/feeling really wet "whumps". Photo: J. Harrison

  • From obs: "I traversed the Bridger range yesterday (4/28/21). The alpine start was good and solid but I saw lots of recent avalanches that looked super wet, some that had broken a couple feet deep. Conditions were pretty stable until about 1300 when that most recent snow layer started to really want to slide on the crust. Once I was in the meadows between Baldy and the M, at about 1400, I started hearing/feeling really wet "whumps". Photo: J. Harrison

  • From obs 4/28/21: "Observed numerous natural wet loose slides probably occurring over the past 48 hours on NW-W-S aspects mid-elevation. Point releases from rock bands and couloirs shedding. Photo for example, which shows W facing bowl with slides visible from US-89 in Paradise Valley. These are between 8500’ and 9500’ on an unnamed peak just northeast of Dexter Point." Photo: T. Benson

  • From obs (4/18/21): "...class split and dug three pits, one on NE, one on N, and one on NW at 7623'. HS averaged around 70 - 100 cms... The NE and NW facing pits showed rounding depth hoar and no sudden CT results. None of the ECTs fractured or propagated. The N facing slope still had preserved advanced depth hoar 3 mm in size (see image)..." Photo: J. Quinn

  • From obs 4/9/21: "...we saw widespread natural wind slabs on N-NE eastern slopes in the Northern Absarokas (photo). Winds increased throughout the morning, and evidence of wind transport became more apparent at higher elevations. We found that on aspects unaffected by wind loading, the new snow layer was not cohesive and only saw minor sluffing." Photo: E. Schreier

  • Skiers had a collapse which made this crack on a south facing slope with a shallower, wet snowpack around 9,000' near Cooke City. Photo: J. Redfield

  • This wet slab was reported on 4/4/21 around 8,200' elevation in the Main Boulder drainage south of Big Timber, outside of our advisory area. It happened that day or very recently during extended above freezing temperatures. Photo: G. Smith

  • Extreme winds on 3/28/21 transported snow that fell over the past week into fresh wind slabs. Photo: BSSP

  • From obs 3/28/21: "Saw this slope which frequently slides had been triggered on our way out last night [lower left in photo]. Slid to the ground but I expect it was mostly new snow as there is a larger old crown visible further uphill... I did see two other small pocket slides yesterday also in new snow on bed surfaces of older slides... General snowpack is getting very deep now but a thick junk layer remains at the ground everywhere I dug sleds out." Photo: J. Gerardi

  • From obs: "Deep slab avalanche in Blackmore Basin that appeared to break on the depth hoar near the bottom of the snowpack. It was on a wind loaded NE facing slope at approx. 9,500 and looked to break on a slope in the 35-40 degree range. The crown was about 8'-10' deep and 200' wide. It broke to the ground and ripped out several small trees." Photo: JR Mooney

  • Ian and Dave stop to do a quick stability test as they hunt for a layer of weak snow 1-2 feet under the surface. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs: "On our way up the summer trail route to Hyalite Peak our party of three remotely triggered a small avalanche from the skin track at around 9,600ft on a east facing aspect. The storm slab went about 4 inches deep and 150-200ft across a small roll over feature. We were about 150ft away when we triggered the slide." Photo: C. Kussmaul

  • The snowpack in the Centennials is remarkably similar to the Lionhead area outside West Yellowstone: 6 feet of snow at 9,200 feet. The stability will get worse with snow this weekend (19-21 March) because the surface snow is week and the new snow will not bond to it (near-surface facets). Photo: GNFAC

  • Seen from near Ennis on 3/4/21. On Finger Mountain in the southern Madison Range. Photo: D. Frohman

  • We saw these recent wet loose avalanches on 3/6/21. SW aspect, 9,100'. They likely ran during above freezing temperatures between 3/3 and 3/5. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs: "Small D1 avalanche on south-eastern aspect around 7800ft. Looks like solar released on older layer a day or two ago."

    Photo: M. Mailly

  • From obs: "While touring above the canyon this morning, I noticed a very recent wet slide (would guess this incident occurred yesterday afternoon, March 4th). This was a skier triggered slide on a E aspect at an elevation of 7200. This slide was roughly 50 feet wide and ran about 50 feet, I estimated this crown to be 2-3 feet deep, slid all the way to the ground. This occurred below a steep roller."

    Photo: T. Saulnier

  • Wet loose avalanches released in the warm sunshine on Tuesday, March 2nd. We expect many more in the coming days. Photo: S. Jonas

  • Sled Skiing in Third Yellow mule... after an air onto the slope the impact from landing resulted in a fracture and failure to / near the ground... in addition, a remote trigger occurred on adjacent slope... 200-300 ft to the skiers right. No body was caught in either slide. Skier that initiated failure was moving at high speed and was beyond slide path before majority of snow movement began. Photo: W. Miller

  • Sled Skiing in Third Yellow mule... after an air onto the slope the impact from landing resulted in a fracture and failure to / near the ground... in addition, a remote trigger occurred on adjacent slope... 200-300 ft to the skiers right. No body was caught in either slide. Skier that initiated failure was moving at high speed and was beyond slide path before majority of snow movement began. Photo: W. Miller

  • Sled Skiing in Third Yellow mule... after an air onto the slope the impact from landing resulted in a fracture and failure to / near the ground... in addition, a remote trigger occurred on adjacent slope... 200-300 ft to the skiers right. No body was caught in either slide. Photo: W. Miller

  • This avalanche was triggered on Sunday, 2/28, when a skier released another slide 2-300 feet away. It broke at the same time. No one was caught. This was in the Third Yellow Mule on Buck Ridge.  Photo: W. Miller

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • There was 6' of snow off the ridge in the Bridger Range on an east facing slope. The top 2 feet were recent wind drifting that broke clean in our stability test which indicated unstable conditions (ECTP18). We expect similar conditions and instability with wind-loaded slops throughout our forecast area. Photo: GNFAC

  • In the last 24 hours (2/28) 12" of low density powder and 40-50 mph west wind made it easy to trigger wind-drifted snow. Alex kicked these drifts which cracked and moved. We expect similar conditions and instability with wind-loaded slops throughout our forecast area. Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche occurred on a slope that was wind drifted with cross-slope winds. It was a NE facing slope at 9,000 feet and likely ran over the weekend (2/20). Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche was likely triggered by a falling cornince in the last day or two. The slope is in the Wilderness and was seen from the boundary. Wind drifted snow is a concern in this area. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/13/21 riders reported they triggered this avalanche, and remotely triggered two other slides. Nobody was injured. One partially buried.

  • On 2/13/21 riders reported they triggered this avalanche, and remotely triggered two other slides. Nobody was injured. One partially buried.

  • Sledders triggered this slide on 2/6/21 in West Targhee Creek near Lionhead. No one was caught.

  • A snowmobiler triggered this avalanche on Monday (2/1/2021) at Lionhead. No one was caught. Photo: Anonymous

  • A snowmobiler triggered this avalanche on Monday (2/1/2021) at Lionhead. No one was caught. Photo: Anonymous

Videos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 44. North wind around 7 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 44 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 2pm.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 67. North wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Sunny then
    Chance
    Showers

    High: 67 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 44. North wind 9 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 44 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 67. North wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 67 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 45. North northeast wind 9 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 45 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 72. North northeast wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 72 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 48. North northeast wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 48 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Sunny, with a high near 76. North northeast wind 8 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 76 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Clear, with a low around 50.

    Clear

    Low: 50 °F

The Last Word

Thank you to everyone that sent in observations, read the forecasts, 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 spring and summer!