Regional Conditions for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Mar 190″ | 20-30 N
Mar 18 0″ | 5-10 ENE
Mar 17 0″ | 5-15 NW
10,000′     03/20 at 01:07
25.1℉
SE - 2mph
Gusts 6mph
9100′   03/20 at 1:00
20℉
92″ Depth
Bottom Line: Avalanches are unlikely today. The combination of warm days and below freezing temperatures at night has been good for stability. Small wet loose avalanches could run on crusts as they break down this afternoon. A week out from the last snowfall triggering a dry snow avalanche is unlikely but not impossible. Keep up good travel practices to minimize the consequences if you do trigger a slide.

Past 5 Days

Fri Mar 15

Low
Sat Mar 16

Low
Sun Mar 17

Low
Mon Mar 18

Low
Tue Mar 19

Low

Avalanche Activity- Cooke City Area

Cooke City
Fisher Mtn.
Small snowmobile-triggered W. side Fisher Mtn.
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Fisher Mtn.
HS-AM-R1-D1-G
Elevation: 9,800
Aspect: W
Coordinates: 45.0649, -109.9630
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0; Killed: 0

We saw a small slab avalanche on the west side of Fisher Mountain that was triggered by a snowmobile a few days ago. The slab failed on a weak layer near the ground, in a spot where the snowpack was exceptionally thin. There was a smaller, more recent loose wet slide on the same slope about 50 feet away. Photo: GNFAC


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
COOKE CITY
Avalanches in new snow in Cooke City
Incident details include images
COOKE CITY
SS
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

These are observations from Doug Chabot's field trip on 3/8, Friday:

  1. One 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.
  2. A slide under the cornice on the northeast face of Abundance looked to be 1 foot deep and 200' wide.
  3. A snowboarder reported triggering an 8" deep slab on the south face of Scotch Bonnett in one of the Rasta's.

More Avalanche Details
Northern Gallatin
Mt Blackmore
Skier triggered avalanche on Mt. Blackmore
Incident details include images
Mt Blackmore
SS-ASu-R2-D1.5-I
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.4455, -111.0040
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an email:

"I’d like to report an avalanche incident that occurred today, 3/6, around 2 PM on the NE face of Mt. Blackmore in the Hyalite Canyon area. On the approach, I dug a pit at 9400’ and found a very stable and deep snowpack, with a somewhat definite weak layer in between high and medium density snow about 8” deep. The layer did not slide or propagate in an extended column pit test, so my partner and I decided do ski the direct line from the summit. I skied first, making a ski cut just below the ridge line that did not result in any sloughing. I skied the line without mishap. My partner followed, traversing onto a shallow, steep pocket, releasing the avalanche. It propagated down and out in both directions, resulting in a v-shaped crown about 100’ across and 8-12” deep. The slide ran from around 9800’ to 9400’. My partner was not caught and was able to traverse out and ski down safely."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Cooke City Area

Displaying 1 - 40 of 4.61168601843E+18
  • A small wet loose and slab avalanche on a SW facing slope near Daisy Pass. These slides were observed on March 17th, 2019. The wet loose looked at least a day or two old, the small slab a bit older. The slab broke ~18" deep at the ground, near some rocks. This slope had an unusually shallow snowpack.

  • Low angle metal roofs have heavy, thick slabs of snow that built up during persistent cold temperatures. These slabs will slide during warm temperatures. Be on the lookout for overhead hazard and be cautious where you walk or park your car during warm sunny days. An additional urban hazard are large icicles are that will break during warm days. Photo: A. Schauer

  • This very small avalanche was triggered by a snowmobiler today (Monday, March 11) on the north side of Fisher Peak. It was steep and shallow and is indicative of  potentially triggering deeper slabs from rocky, thin areas. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche was triggered by a snowboarder on Friday (March 8). Small facets under the new snow were reactive for a short period of time. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche was likely triggered on Friday (March 8). Small facets under the new snow were reactive for a short period of time. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • 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.

  • Photo was taken on March 5 from the avalanche cycle that ended March 1. A large slab avalanche off Woody Ridge from Hayden Creek near Cooke City. Photo: K. Oberholser

  • Large avalanche on a south facing slope above snow lake. Observed March 4th, likely ran during the storm the previous week. Photo: B. Zavora.

  • Deep slab avalanche that ran full path off of East Fox Mountain. 8-10' crown. Observed March 4th, likely ran during the storm the previous week. Photo: B. Zavora

  • A skier saw this recent natural slab avalanche on a east aspect around 9,700' near Cooke City. He also saw another large slab avalanche on the ENE side of Miller ridge just below 10,000'. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From the email: "Had a good look around from the Lamar Valley up to Cooke first thing this am, and the epicenter of the avalanche activity appeared to be around Mt. Horinday and Barronette Peak.  Lots of slab avalanches on the east face of Barronette.  Most looked to be about 1-2' deep.  Much quieter the further up valley toward Cooke City you went." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • 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

  • This natural avalanche was observed between Cooke City and Silver Gate. Heavy snow and strong winds are creating unstable conditions in the mountains around Cooke City. Photo: B. Fredlund 

  • On the afternoon of February 25th, a natural avalanche was seen on Town Hill above Cooke City. It appears to be 2-3 ft deep.

  • Small, deep avalanche triggered by the fifth rider on the slope (2/19/2019).

  • A skier unintentionally triggered these avalanches on Sheep Mountain outside of Cooke City. The skier deployed his airbag and was only partially buried and uninjured. The X marks where he was caught and the O where he was buried. More details are on the Incidents page.

  • This avalanche on Crown Butte failed after multiple sleds had crossed the slope. From the email: "This one broke about 10 minutes after we’d been sledding below and across it. You can see our tracks going into it. Spooked us. The crown up top looked pretty deep, maybe 3 or 4 ft". Photo: S. Strenge

  • This avalanche on Crown Butte failed after multiple sleds had crossed the slope. From the email: "This one broke about 10 minutes after we’d been sledding below and across it. You can see our tracks going into it. Spooked us. The crown up top looked pretty deep, maybe 3 or 4 ft". Photo: S. Strenge

  • After riding all over the Cooke City area this was the only new avalanche we saw. It looks as though snow sluffing off the cliffs likely triggered a slide in the new snow from this week. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche failed naturally sometime between Feb 13-15 after recent wind and storm loading. SE aspect, 9400 ft elevation, 2-4' deep. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • We saw this crown at 1545 on 2/15/19 after viewing this slope at least twice earlier in the day. We went to the avalanche on 2/16. It appeared to be triggered by a cornice fall and broke 4-8' deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this crown at 1545 on 2/15/19 after viewing this slope at least twice earlier in the day. We went to the avalanche on 2/16. It appeared to be triggered by a cornice fall and broke 4-8' deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • This large deep slab avalanche broke on Mt. Henderson on the afternoon of 2/15/19 during strong winds. New snow and strong wind this past week has formed fresh drifts that are easy to trigger. This heavy, steady wind loading pushed deep weak layers to break. With more heavy loading from new snow and wind we will see more large avalanches like this. Photo: GNFAC

  • New snow and strong wind this week created fresh drifts that are easy to trigger. This small slide we triggered is a sign that drifts on larger, dangerous slopes are ready to avalanche. Photo: GNFAC

  • "Observed a couple of small, natural avalanches out there today (wind loaded SE aspects on Mineral Mountain, about 8,800', just outside of Cooke City)." Photo: B. Fredlund 

  • We found 6 feet of snow in a non-wind drifted slope near Lulu Pass (Rasta Chutes) outside Cooke City. This south facing slope at 9600' was stable, but 2 days ago a snowmobiler triggered the entire south face of Abundance, which caused me to pause and still be conservative since these slopes are very similar. Photo: GNFAC

  • This slide was triggered by a snowmobiler near Daisy Pass last weekend (2/2/19).

  • This slide was triggered by a snowmobiler near Daisy Pass last weekend (2/2/19).

  • Avalanche triggered by snowmobiler on 2/9/19 on south face of Mt. Abundance near Cooke City (9,500’). One rider was on the slope and another was at the bottom. Both were able to get out of the way and not caught.

  • Avalanche triggered by snowmobiler on 2/9/19 on south face of Mt. Abundance near Cooke City (9,500’). One rider was on the slope and another was at the bottom. Both were able to get out of the way and not caught.

  • Avalanche triggered by snowmobiler on 2/9/19 on south face of Mt. Abundance near Cooke City (9,500’). One rider was on the slope and another was at the bottom. Both were able to get out of the way and not caught.

  • Avalanche triggered by snowmobiler on 2/9/19 on south face of Mt. Abundance near Cooke City (9,500’). One rider was on the slope and another was at the bottom. Both were able to get out of the way and not caught.

  • There's a new avalanche sign next to the beacon checker on the road out of Cooke City. Snowmobilers and skiers will pass it on their way to Lulu and Daisy Pass. It has the daily avalanche danger and a map showing the location of all the avalanche fatalities. This sign was a team effort between the GNFAC, the Friends of the Avalanche Center, and Montana State Parks (FWP). A big thanks goes out to Seth McArthur of FWP who made the sign. Photo: L. DeMarcus

  • 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

  • Natural avalanches seen January 21st.

    From email: "avalanche crowns on the shoulder of Mt. Republic from this morning.  (saw the powder cloud at about 8:30am).  I estimate the upper crown to be 1-3' deep and about 100' wide.  Northerly facing terrain."

    Photo Credit: B. Fredlund

  • Natural avalanches seen January 21st.

    From email: "avalanche crowns on the shoulder of Mt. Republic from this morning.  (saw the powder cloud at about 8:30am).  I estimate the upper crown to be 1-3' deep and about 100' wide.  Northerly facing terrain."

    Photo Credit: B. Fredlund

  • Near Lulu Pass the winds were loading slopes with new snow. We got cracking as we skinned uphill. The new snow is not bonding well to the old snow surface. Photo: GNFAC

  • The mountains near Cooke City got 8-10" of new snow since yesterday (1/17). We rode around Daisy and Lulu pass and saw small loose snow avalanches. With more wind and snow, avalanche danger will increase and we expect larger slides of new and wind-drifted snow, which may break deeper on buried weak layers. Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Cooke City Area

Weather Forecast Cooke City Area

Extended Forecast for

2 Miles NNE Cooke City MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Clear, with a steady temperature around 19. Northeast wind around 6 mph becoming east southeast.

    Clear

    Low: 19 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 48. Northeast wind 6 to 9 mph becoming southeast in the morning.

    Sunny

    High: 48 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Clear, with a low around 21. Southeast wind around 7 mph becoming northeast in the evening.

    Clear

    Low: 21 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 49. Northeast wind 6 to 10 mph becoming southeast in the morning.

    Sunny

    High: 49 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 22. East wind 6 to 10 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 22 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 30 percent chance of showers after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 49.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Chance
    Showers

    High: 49 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    Low: 25 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain and snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

    Chance Snow
    Showers then
    Chance
    Rain/Snow

    High: 40 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    Low: 23 °F

The Last Word

Spring is here and wet snow avalanches are becoming a daily concern. Anticipate decreasing stability while forming a travel plan. This article from Backcountry Magazine highlights some things look for that indicate when it is time to turn around.