Trip Planning for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
Feb 241″ | 25-41 W
Feb 23 0″ | 10-30 W
Feb 22 0″ | 5-20 NW
9420′     02/24 at 15:00
23.5℉
NW - 22mph
Gusts 41 mph
7750′     02/25 at 01:00
28℉
50″ Depth
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer
Bottom Line: Today people can easily trigger large avalanches, potentially from flatter terrain below steep slopes. Moderate to strong wind yesterday and today drifted snow into thicker slabs, keeping the snowpack especially unstable on wind-loaded slopes. Weak layers of facets and surface hoar buried 2-4 feet deep make up the foundation of the snowpack, and are as weak as we’ve seen. The best plan is to avoid riding on or beneath slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

Past 5 Days

Tue Feb 20

Considerable
Wed Feb 21

Considerable
Thu Feb 22

Considerable
Fri Feb 23

Considerable
Sat Feb 24

Considerable

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Remotely triggered avalanche Lionhead
Incident details include images
Lionhead Ridge
HS-AMr-R3-D2-O
Elevation: 8,900
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 44.7145, -111.3180
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

On 2/16/24 we saw a fresh avalanche in Watkins Creek that we think was triggered remotely during the day by a group riding in a flat meadow above, where we saw their tracks at least 150 feet away (photo). This slide was 2-3' deep and 100-150' feet wide, breaking on old sugary snow. HS-R3/4-D2-O. We rode along the flat terrain above the avalanche and could feel our sled tracks punch through the supportable slab into weak snow at the bottom of the snowpack.

We felt a couple collapses while sitting on our sleds, and saw a couple long shooting cracks while riding. We dug a snowpit in Targhee creek on a northwest facing slope at 9,435'. We had an ECTP27 below a 2.5' deep slab, sitting on 1.5' of weak sugary snow.


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Natural Avalanches at Lionhead
Lionhead Ridge
N-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,000
Coordinates: 44.7145, -111.3180
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

On 2/16/24 GNFAC forecasters rode up Denny Creek below Lionhead Ridge, then around to the north, through Watkins Creek and into the top of Targhee Creek. We saw a lot of old and recent avalanches that happened at various times over the last week, including during an avalanche warning on 2/15, in a wide variety of terrain. On lower elevation, generally non-wind-loaded terrain in the trees we saw at least 4 avalanches that were at least 2' deep and 100' wide. Near ridgelines there were many avalanches, harder slabs, at least 2' deep breaking hundreds of feet wide.


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Hebgen Lake
Large whumps, Hebgen Lake
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Hebgen Lake
Elevation: 8,200
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 44.8381, -111.3430
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

 A small whumpf in the skin track was followed by a massive one a few minutes later. I can count on one hand the number of times I got whumpfs in a skin track...rare indeed. The second one was so big it had us both deeply concerned. We peeled off the skin track after deciding to not cross a gully and soon found debris from a sizeable avalanche that released a couple days ago about 500' above us. We dug in the flank and had 100cm of snow, 60 cm new from last week. The snowfall during the Avalanche Warning, doubled the depth and more than doubled the snow water equivalent of the snowpack. It was a large load and avalanches are breaking underneath the new snow.

Karl was using his 100 cm long Norwegian Battle Saw (pic)...a bit overkill.


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From email: "We noticed a multitude of slides on north- and east-facing slopes, many of which seemed to have been from the prior weekend. I snapped a picture of one on the opposite side of the drainage that was a couple of feet deep. Adjacent to it was some more debris." 

  • On 2/16/24 we saw a lot of old and recent avalanches that happened at various times over the last week, and in a wide variety of terrain. On lower elevation, generally non-wind-loaded terrain in the trees we saw at least 4 avalanches that were 1-2' deep and at least 100' wide. Near ridgelines there were many avalanches, harder slabs, at least 1-2' deep breaking hundreds of feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/16/24 we saw a lot of old and recent avalanches that happened at various times over the last week, and in a wide variety of terrain. On lower elevation, generally non-wind-loaded terrain in the trees we saw at least 4 avalanches that were 1-2' deep and at least 100' wide. Near ridgelines there were many avalanches, harder slabs, at least 1-2' deep breaking hundreds of feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw a fresh avalanche in Watkins Creek that we think was triggered remotely during the day on 2/16 by a group that was riding in a flat meadow above, where we saw their tracks at least 150 feet away (photo). This slide was 2-3' deep and 100-150' feet wide, breaking on old sugary snow. HS-R3-D2-O. Photo: GNFAC

  • A pit in the flank of an avalanche above Hebgen Lake. The stripe in the picture delineates the new snow over the unstable, old, faceted snow. This interface is where avalanches are occurirng. Karl Birkeland was using his 100 cm long Norwegian Battle Saw...a bit overkill. Photo: GNFAC

  • Crossing onto the debris of a large avalanche that likely released a couple days ago above Hebgen Lake. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skiers saw an entire bowl filled with shooting cracks where weak layers failed but the slope was not steep enough to avalanche. Photo: H Darby

  • An avalanche that failed a couple of days ago at Hebgen Lake. Photo: H. Darby

  • A group of riders triggered this large avalanche on Lionhead Ridge as they traveled in nearby terrain that was much less steep. Photo: T. Urell

  • From obs: "There were shooting cracks everywhere, and it looked like the cracks propagated into a slab that would have broken up more if the slope had been steeper. It almost looked like a crevasse field with how many cracks there were. Photo is included but I don't think shows just how broken up that "relatively benign" terrain was. I have never seen anything like that before! " Photo: H. Darby

  • Two natural avalanches that likely happened in the last 24-48 hours. 500' wide. "Crown line extends basically the entire ridge in the background." Photo. H. Darby

     

  • The crown of a natural avalanche likely happened in the last 12 hours. This avalanche broke 200' wide, 3-4' deep, and ran "almost full path" to the trees below. Photo: H. Darby

     

     

  • Avalanche along Lionhead Ridge that appeared to be several days old. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche on Lionhead Ridge that appeared to be several days old. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche in Targhee Creek that appeared to be several days old. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • A slide in Watkins Creek broke across three avalanche paths/gully features and was one of the larger slides we've seen this season, looking to have piled up debris 10+ ft deep. Looks to have broken in the last 24 hours. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • A slide in Watkins Creek broke across three avalanche paths/gully features and was one of the larger slides we've seen this season, looking to have piled up debris 10+ ft deep. Looks to have broken in the last 24 hours. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche that looks to have been remotely triggered at Lionhead in the last 24 hours. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche that looks to have been remotely triggered at Lionhead in the last 24 hours. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • Do you like to hike? Do you like to ski? Then the King & Queen of the Ridge is for you. Hike, ski and raise money for the Friends of the Avalanche Center in their 2nd biggest fundraiser of the year. Join the effort to promote and support avalanche safety and awareness! Fundraising prizes for top 5 individuals who raise over $500. No racing is necessary to compete for the fundraising prizes. Info to fundraise is HERE or donate here. Race participants for the [insert dates] event must register separately with Bridger Bowl here.

  • Riders on Lionhead Ridge spotted this natural avalanche that occurred on January 21. 

  • This natural avalanche failed the morning of January 21 on a steep slope at Lionhead. Photo: GNFAC

  • On Sawtelle Peak, Island Park, when the clouds lifted we could see a crown of a snowmobiler triggered slide that occurred yesterday. It broke on the buried surface hoar and facets about 1.5 feet under the surface. Recent snow and wind-loading has created dangerous avalanche conditions. Photo: GNFAC

  • On Sawtelle Peak, Island Park, when the clouds lifted we could see a crown of a snowmobiler triggered slide that occurred yesterday. It broke on the buried surface hoar and facets about 1.5 feet under the surface. Recent snow and wind-loading has created dangerous avalanche conditions. Photo: GNFAC

  • On Sawtelle Peak, Island Park, when the clouds lifted we could see a crown of a snowmobiler triggered slide that occurred yesterday. It broke on the buried surface hoar and facets about 1.5 feet under the surface. Recent snow and wind-loading has created dangerous avalanche conditions. Photo: GNFAC

  • From facebook message: "Multiple remote triggers across this slope."

    Up Targhee Creek, near Lionhead Ridge. 1/18/24 Photo: R. Schlueter. 

  • From facebook message: "Multiple remote triggers across this slope."

    Up Targhee Creek, near Lionhead Ridge. 1/18/24 Photo: R. Schlueter. 

  • From facebook message: "Multiple remote triggers across this slope."

    Up Targhee Creek, near Lionhead Ridge. 1/18/24 Photo: R. Schlueter. 

  • This avalanche likely occurred in the last couple days. It was on a NE facing slope and is indicative of a weak and unstable snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche on Ski Hill likely ran during the avalanche Warning last week (1/10/24). Photo GNFAC

  • Riders in Lionhead triggered a small avalanche 20' away while "cutting down a hill". Photo: J. Anderson

  • A small crown on an east facing that has been filled in by wind in Lionhead. Photo: Z. Moser

  • From obs: "We observed widespread shooting cracks on all ridges and all NE facing slopes. Cracks would propagate up to 200’ in front." O. Robinson

  • Cornices easily broke while walking near them and avalanched onto the slope below. The slope below had already avalanched from a remote trigger below the ridgeline. Photo: GNFAC

  • Top gray streak: Weak surface hoar buried by new snow. Second gray streak: Old surface hoar that is still visible. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Shooting cracks that propagated in all directions, 50' wide. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Shooting cracks while approaching Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Doug Chabot pointing to a layer of buried surface hoar that failed while isolating an extended column test, ECTPV. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • From obs on 12/25: "I veered off the existing skin track and experienced a sizeable collapse on the NE side of the ridge.  I'd estimate the collapse extended roughly 30 feet in either direction.  I continued along this path and experienced one additional collapse." Photo: J. Hobson

Videos- Lionhead Range

WebCams


Rendezvous Ski Trail, W. Yellowstone

Snowpit Profiles- Lionhead Range

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

High Wind Warning February 25, 12:00pm until February 26, 05:00pmWinter Storm Warning February 25, 11:00pm until February 26, 11:00pmClick here for hazard details and duration High Wind Warning Winter Storm Warning
  • Overnight

    Overnight: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Patchy blowing snow. Partly cloudy, with a low around 19. Breezy, with a west southwest wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 19 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28. Windy, with a southwest wind 21 to 26 mph increasing to 28 to 33 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 48 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 28 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow, mainly after 10pm.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly after 8pm. Low around 25. Windy, with a south southwest wind 33 to 38 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow Likely
    and Blowing
    Snow then
    Snow and
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 25 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times.  Widespread blowing snow. High near 25. Windy, with a southwest wind around 38 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Blowing
    Snow

    High: 25 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly before 8pm. Low around 6. Windy, with a southwest wind 29 to 34 mph becoming north northwest 17 to 22 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 50 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 6 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Snow.  High near 11. Blustery, with a west northwest wind 13 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Snow and
    Blustery

    High: 11 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. Breezy, with a west wind 17 to 22 mph becoming southwest 11 to 16 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph.  Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    Low: 0 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 16. South southwest wind 13 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Chance Snow

    High: 16 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 15 °F

The Last Word

On Thursday Ian rode in the Independence Mine area (up the Main Boulder, outside our advisory area) to check out the snowpack conditions before the Sweet Grass County Recreation Association Poker Ride tomorrow. Watch our video for a snowpack update. Avoiding riding on and staying out from under slopes steeper than 30 degrees would be a wise choice if you’re headed up to join in the fun this weekend.

02 / 23 / 24  <<  
 
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