Regional Conditions for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Mar 270″ | 20-25 W
Mar 26 6″ | 10-15 W
Mar 25 12″ | 15-25 W
9400′     3/28 at 1:00
15 ℉
W - 12 mph, Gusts 20
0 " New
8880′   03/28 at 1:00
20℉
66″ Depth
Bottom Line: Recent snow and strong winds have created dangerous avalanche conditions. Winds yesterday were stronger than expected, gusting up to 35 mph out of the west. These strong winds rapidly built cornices and heavily wind loaded many slopes. Many avalanche were reported yesterday on wind-loaded slopes. Avoid wind-loaded slopes today. If the new snow becomes wet, it will slide easily and far on the ice crusts beneath it.

Past 5 Days

Mon Mar 23

Low
Tue Mar 24

Moderate
Wed Mar 25

Considerable
Thu Mar 26

Considerable
Fri Mar 27

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Northern Madison

Northern Madison
Beehive Peak
Many natural and skier triggered wind slabs in N. Madison
Incident details include images
Beehive Peak
SS-R2-D2
Coordinates: 45.3539, -111.4050
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Many natural and skier triggered avalanches were reported on wind loaded slopes in the Northern Madison Range on 3/26/2020.

Dudley Creek: "Was up Dudley creek today. Northern madison. Saw 2 step down avalanches on ne aspect high elevation... One ... seemed cornice triggered within 12 hrs of our tour this morning (3/26). The 2nd avalanche is in the lower photo and was probably skier trigger intentional.... It looks like they triggered a fresh wind slab under ridge, maybe ski cut, which stepped down into some older layers"

Beehive & Middle Basins:

-Two natural wind slabs observed on west facing slopes near the ridgeline in Beehive.

-4 skier triggered slides in the new snow on wind affected slopes in Beehive and Middle (observed/triggered by multiple parties)


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Bridger Bowl
Natural avalanches in the new snow, Bridger Range
Incident details include images
Bridger Bowl
SS-N-R1-D1-I
Coordinates: 45.8156, -110.9230
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

1. Saw some really cool small avalanches today at Bridger. There was an obvious cycle last night on a density change, it wasn't sliding on the crust. The instability had decreased by 10 am and we couldn't get anything to move. Really cool to see such thin soft slabs propagating up to 50 ft. Good piles of debris under steep chutes.

2. Soft slabs were reactive on rocky south easterly aspects where sun crusts had formed.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Gallatin
Mt Blackmore
Human Triggered Soft Slab Avalanches - Mt Blackmore
Incident details include images
Mt Blackmore
SS-ASc-R1-D1-S
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.4444, -111.0040
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Snowfall throughout the afternoon fluctuated between S1 - S5 (during brief squalls). The winds started out moderate and from the west but calmed by the last lap ~5 pm. The new snow (from last night/this morning) was fairly well bonded to the sun/melt-freeze crust below, but the storm came in subtly upside down. Today’s snowfall (accumulating ~3” while skiing between 1-530) was light. Right along the ridgeline, we triggered 4 predictable small storm slabs 4~6” deep on the upside-down storm snow from last night/this morning, but surprisingly not on the old crust. They were each 5-10m wide x 5m long and only ran ~5m vertically. 


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Northern Madison

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From email: "Was up Dudley creek today. Northern madison. Saw 2 step down avalanches on ne aspect high elevation... One ... seemed cornice triggered within 12 hrs of our tour this morning (3/26). The 2nd avalanche is in the lower photo and was probably skier trigger intentional.... It looks like they triggered a fresh wind slab under ridge, maybe ski cut, which stepped down into some older layers"


    Photo: L. Frye

  • Two natural avalanche in Beehive Basin. The obvious avalanche was observed by skiers mid-day. There is another crown in the shadows of an avalanche that occurred earlier in the day.

    Photo: J. Caton

  • From obs: "An avalanche was triggered by a skier on the East facing wall of Beehive Basin. The slide broke on the crust layer from last week. The crown was roughly 100' wide."

    Photo: C. Samuels

  • In the Bridger Range, avalanches released naturally on a density change in the new snow sometime Tuesday night (3/24). Photo: E. Knoff

  • In the Bridger Range, avalanches released naturally on a density change in the new snow sometime Tuesday night (3/24). Photo: E. Knoff

  • Snowfall throughout the afternoon fluctuated between S1 - S5 (during brief squalls). The winds started out moderate and from the west but calmed by the last lap ~5 pm. The new snow (from last night/this morning) was fairly well bonded to the sun/melt-freeze crust below, but the storm came in subtly upside down. Today’s snowfall (accumulating ~3” while skiing between 1-530) was light. Right along the ridgeline, we triggered 4 predictable small storm slabs 4~6” deep on the upside-down storm snow from last night/this morning, but surprisingly not on the old crust. They were each 5-10m wide x 5m long and only ran ~5m vertically. Photo: Z Miller

  • This is a photo of a small roof avalanche near Island Park. Warming temperatures cause water to percolate through the snow which lubricates the sliding surface. Roof avalanches have injured and killed people in the past, just one more thing to worry about. Photo: M.E. 

  • Dave Zinn digs a hand pit along the ridge to assess how the new snow is sticking to the ice crust. Photo: GNFAC

  • "Was out today and found buried surface hoar 10-15 cms down. Some previous natural activity on this layer on steeper north aspects with very shallow soft slabs, but mostly dry loose at this point. Not much slab formation since the last ppt event. This could be a problem when more snow and wind in the next few days." Photo: T. Woodward

  • Obs: "School bus size cornices over Easterly portions of Lionhead Ridge. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the largest cornices were about 20-25' tall. We dug a few pits on East Facing slopes between 9,000-9,500 ft with the worst result being an ECTN-21 however these Cornices are primed and ready to fall with the abundant sunshine and warming weather." Photo: JR

  • From e-mail: "Natural wet slides... caused us to back off our plan of heading that way and ski a north, shady aspect instead. On a southern aspect. 9000ft. 1:30pm. We dug a hasty pit and observed a weak layer about 1m down. The facets were beginning to round." Photo: K. Master

  • From IG post with #gnfacobs: "I triggered a small windslab, mid slope on the north face of Wilson. It was a a pretty stubborn slab that broke above me. Cross loaded from lookers right. 6-8” deep." Photo: B Gill

  • From IG post with #gnfacobs: "I triggered a small windslab, mid slope on the north face of Wilson. It was a a pretty stubborn slab that broke above me. Cross loaded from lookers right. 6-8” deep." Photo: B Gill

  • Natural avalanche north of Beehive peak, next to North Twin behind the Fourth of July couloir. Looks to have broken on weak layers near the ground. May have been concern triggered. Observed 3/19/2020. Exact timing of release is unknown. Estimated 3/16/2020.

    Photo: G. Dittmar

  • Natural avalanche north of Beehive peak, next to North Twin behind the Fourth of July couloir. Looks to have broken on weak layers near the ground. May have been concern triggered. Observed 3/19/2020. Exact timing of release is unknown. Estimated 3/16/2020.

    Photo: G. Dittmar

  • From south of Big Sky yesterday 3/17 about 9:00, just north of Buck Ridge at 8500'. Large surface hoar on northerly aspects. Photo: Spence

  • We dug near the top of Bacon Rind and found 155cm of snow. Our primary concern is with the upper snowpack. As it warms and wets we can expect an increase of avalanche activity on the ice crusts. Facets are still dry and soft at the bottom of the pack and I got this layer to break with an ECTP29. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skier triggered wet, loose avalanche in Dudley Creek (R1/D1). Photo: Anonymous

  • Natural wet snow avalanche in Dudley Creek. Likely occurred on Monday, March 16th. Reported as a size R3/D3. Photo: Anonymous

  • Natural wet snow avalanche in Dudley Creek. Likely occurred on Monday March 16th. Reported as a size R3/D3. Photo: Anonymous

  • Spencer Jonas, GNFAC intern, in a snowpit in Beehive Basin. We found over 6 feet of snow and just dug our the top 4 feet to assess the stability. The new snow is bonding well and there were no signs of instability. Photo: GNFAC

  • Cornices have grown rapidly in the last few days. These will be susceptible to breaking and could trigger pillows of wind slabs under them. Photo: Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol

  • Strong wind stripped snow off many slopes above treeline. Photo: GNFAC

  • This naturally triggered avalanche likely happened Tuesday morning. Strong wind loaded slopes and made huge cornices. Photo: GNFAC

  • The winds blew the new new into wind slabs that avalanched naturally yesterday. This photo was taken at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday (3/10) by Evan Schock.

  • Very small avalanches in the new snow at Buck Ridge, seen on the morning of 3/10/2020. These slides were <6" deep and around 10' wide.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • After a jump turn into a ski cut to one of those protected spots, my partner triggered a storm slab about 4” thick that propagated from the edge of our boot pack on one wall of the chute to the other wall about 20/30’ across and then ran the rest of the chute onto the apron about 300’ below us. No one was caught or injured. We skied out of the chute on the crust bed surface and spent the rest of the day enjoying some low angle trees. The chute was around 40° at 9,000’-9,500’ and west facing. Photo: C. Oshiro-Leavitt

  • After a jump turn into a ski cut to one of those protected spots, my partner triggered a storm slab about 4” thick that propagated from the edge of our boot pack on one wall of the chute to the other wall about 20/30’ across and then ran the rest of the chute onto the apron about 300’ below us. No one was caught or injured. We skied out of the chute on the crust bed surface and spent the rest of the day enjoying some low angle trees. The chute was around 40° at 9,000’-9,500’ and west facing. Photo: C. Oshiro-Leavitt

  • Dry loose avalanches on Blackmore. The snow stayed surprisingly cold and dry throughout the day. Photo: R Rustigian

  • A falling cornice triggered a large slide in the wet snow on an east facing slope up Hyalite. It was north of Mt. Blackmore and west of History Rock. Photo: R. Parsons

  • A google earth view of the cornice triggered location, 

    45.4626N, -111,0219W
    8766'

    Photo: R. Parsons

  • From obs.: "photo of “Avalanche Peak” just south of Lava Lake driving north on HWY 191, all likely from yesterday (3/6)." Photo: S. Jonas

  • Point releases across highway from Bacon Rind. 3/6/2020.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Point releases across the highway from Bacon Rind. 3/6/2020

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Wet slide in Buffalo Horn Creek. 3/6/2020.

    Photo: A. Norlander

  • New cornice drop in 2nd Yellowmule. Cornices are growing to enormous sizes, stay far back from the edge as they could break back farther than you expect and could trigger avalanches on slopes below. Photo: GNFAC

  • Overview of an avalanche triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. The debris piled 8' deep on the road, which creates a terrain trap. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche was triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking up the path of an avalanche triggered on 2/27/2020 at 8:30 p.m. by a groomer between Storm Castle and Swan Creeks in the northern Gallatin Range. The driver was ok, but the machine did a full barrel roll and was very badly damaged. Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Northern Madison

WebCams


8800 Camera, Lone Peak view

Golf Course

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 3am.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. West wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.  Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 15 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26. West wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.  New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 26 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. South southwest wind 9 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 17 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 30 percent chance of snow after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 29. South southwest wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Chance
    Snow

    High: 29 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. South southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 22 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. South southwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 29 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Snow likely, mainly after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. South southwest wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 21 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. Southwest wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph.

    Snow Likely

    High: 29 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

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

    Chance Snow

    Low: 15 °F

The Last Word

This article in Powder Magazine about backcountry skiing during the COVID-19 pandemic is worth a read.

The Gallatin County Health Department and the Montana Department of Health and Human Services websites have up-to-date information on all things Coronavirus related.