Regional Conditions for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 5-10 SW
Mar 2 0″ | 10-25 SW
Mar 1 0″ | 15-25 SW
8775′     1/29 at 3:00
24 ℉
N - 0 mph
Gusts 0 mph
7750′   03/03 at 13:00
46℉
59″ Depth
Bottom Line: The biggest avalanche concern remains weak, sugary snow at the ground. It is still there, still weak and still capable of avalanching. Even without recent avalanches or other signs of instability be aware that facets at the ground have a long history of fooling us. Slopes avalanche when we do not expect it. That's why we carry rescue gear, travel one at a time and watch one another; sometimes our assessment is wrong and we need a safety net. Additionally, above freezing temperatures will dampen the snow surface. On slopes getting the full power of the sun I expect wet snow to loosen and slide on steep slopes.
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer

Past 5 Days

Sat Feb 27

Considerable
Sun Feb 28

Considerable
Mon Mar 1

Considerable
Tue Mar 2

Moderate
Today

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Lionhead Range

Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Third Yellow Mule / Skier triggered slide + sympathetic
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Buck Ridge
SS-ASu-R2-D1.5-O
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.1912, -111.4430
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

https://www.instagram.com/p/CL4xIk5n8PZ/

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. 2 pits where dug prior to riding terrain. One on adjacent slope, we went through to ECT 30 and continued to hammer on the column through 40 wacks of double fist, full force before failure occurred 30 cm above ground. Second pit was dug on slope where slide was initiated... same results, very hard to get failure to occur. Snowpack depth varied from 125 - 180 cm in the area... our pits were dug in depths of around 125 cm and 170 cm respectively.


More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Cabin Creek
Snowbike triggered avalanche, Red Canyon near W. yellowstone
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Cabin Creek
HS-AMu-R4-D2-O
Coordinates: 44.8949, -111.2280
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

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


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Beehive Basin
Splitboarder triggered, caught and killed in Beehive
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Beehive Basin
HS-ARu-R4-D2.5-O
Elevation: 9,100
Aspect: SW
Coordinates: 45.3269, -111.3840
Caught: 2 ; Buried: 1; Killed: 1

On February 14, 2021, two splitboarders triggered an avalanche in Beehive Basin north of Big Sky. They were skinning up the slope when they triggered the avalanche. Both members of the party were caught, but Boarder 1 was able to grab trees and not be buried. Boarder 2 was carried approximately 300 feet downslope where he hit a tree and was critically injured. He was partially buried, entangled around a tree with his head downhill. Boarder 1 heard his partner’s screams, called 911 and went to his aid. He administered first aid and worked to keep him warm and calm. Gallatin County Sheriff Search and Rescue in Big Sky (GCSAR) left the trailhead within 45 minutes of the 911 call, skied to the scene and began providing care. A GCSAR helicopter arrived soon afterward and the injured boarder was short hauled to Big Sky Fire Department and medical care. Boarder 2 died from his injuries that night. The avalanche was 300 feet wide, 500 feet vertical and averaged 2 feet deep. It broke on a layer of facets and near the ground. Read the full accident report here: https://www.mtavalanche.com/accident/21/02/16


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Lionhead Range

Displaying 1 - 40
  • 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.

  • Snowmobile triggered slide on Lionhead Ridge in Upper Watkins drainage on 2/11/2021.

  • Natural avalanche on Lionhead Ridge in upper Watkins Creek. Likely broke on Sunday 2/7.

    Photo: GNFAC (2/10/2021)

  • 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

  • This small avalanche was below the corner of Lionhead peak. It was one of the smaller slides during the avalanche cycle that occurred 1/29 and 1/30. Photo: GNFAC

  • The avalanche broke in the new snow, but stepped down into deeper layers (sugary facets) mid-path. This can occur when there are multiple weak layers in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • Every path along the shoulder of Targhee Peak (Lionhead area) avalanched naturally during the storm 1/29 and 1/30. Photo: GNFAC

  • This steep north facing slope avalanched about 3 weeks ago on depth hoar when a snowmobiler triggered it. It got reloaded with new snow and wind drifts and avalanched a second time! Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche occured on a NE facing slope at 8600". It was 2' deep, 500' wide and 250' vertical. The avalanche broke on a thin layer of facets during the storm. SS-N-R3-D2-O. Photo: GNFAC

  • On the north end of Lionhead Ridge is Airplane Bowl. The crown line extends across the entire bowl on the right with a separate avalanche on the left. Photo: GNFAC

  • Take a close look at the picture and you'll see crowns from the far left to the far right of the photograph. Photo: GNFAC

  • Many avalanches broke under the new snow and also deeper on facets. These natural slides occurred on 1/29 and 1/30. Photo: GNFAC

  • Stepping out of my skis I sunk to the ground. The snowpack is weak and unsupportable. Large grains of sugary facets (depth hoar) make up the bottom third of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche on 1/23/21. It likely occurred in the past week. SE aspect at 9,200', Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche is on the east side of Lionhead Ridge. Trigger is unknown; elevation is 9,000'. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche was likely triggered by a snowmobiler on 1/9/21. It is on Ski Hill and the slope avalanched in between the two avalanches that Dave and Doug triggered earlier. It failed on depth hoar; east facing, 8,000'. Photo: GNFAC

  • This small avalanche was likely triggered by a passing snowmobiler on 1/9/21. This is located south of Airplane Bowl, NE aspect at 9000'. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche likely released with the snowfall and wind on Wednesday (1/13). It is east facing and the lowest half of the snowpack is facets. Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • A snowmobiler triggered slide on the east side of Lionhead Ridge to the north of Airplane Bowl. Photo: Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • A snowmobiler triggered slide on the east side of Lionhead Ridge adjacent to a slope called Dead Tree Hill. Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • We remotely triggered (from 30' away) this avalanche at Ski Hill in the Lionhead area. These are red-flags! Stay off of and out from under steep slopes until the avalanche conditions improve. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche from 50 feet away. We were walking on a low-angle slope, collapsed the slope, and where the pitch got steeper, we had an avalanche. This is an obvious sign of dangerous instability. If you are on steep slopes it is LIKELY that you will trigger an avalanche. Today, we triggered two avalanches. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier kicked off a larger than expected cornice as they skinned up the ridge on the W side of Beehive basin on Sunday (12/20/20).

  • Doug intentionally triggered this wind-loaded sidehill. Weak, faceted snow broke under a 1' deep soft slab of windblown snow. Small avalanches like this are indicators of instability on bigger slopes. These conditions can be found throughout the southern Gallatin, southern Madison, Lionhead and Centennial Ranges. Photo: GNFAC

WebCams

Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: Sunny, with a high near 31. South southwest wind around 9 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 31 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 17. Light and variable wind becoming northeast 8 to 13 mph in the evening.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 17 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 36. Northeast wind 8 to 13 mph becoming light and variable.

    Sunny

    High: 36 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 15. Southwest wind around 9 mph becoming southeast after midnight.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 15 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 32. East wind 9 to 11 mph becoming south southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 32 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. South wind around 11 mph becoming east southeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 18 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 20 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11am.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 34. East southeast wind 11 to 16 mph becoming south southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 34 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A chance of snow, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. South southwest wind 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 19 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A slight chance of snow after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 28.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 28 °F

The Last Word

The video recording of Dave’s recent talk on “Rethinking Avalanche Terrain from a Strategic Perspective” is now available. It’s worth your time to watch it. There is a little something for everyone.