Regional Conditions for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 20-30 SW
Apr 22 2″ | 5-15 ENE
Apr 21 3″ | 5-15 NE
9400′     4/23 at 9:00
34 ℉
SW - 13 mph, Gusts 24
0 " New
8880′   04/23 at 11:00
50℉
62″ Depth
Bottom Line: This week expect classic spring snowpack conditions, with great variability throughout the day and between aspect and elevation. Ideally the snowpack will be mostly frozen and stable in the morning, and then it will inevitably soften and lose strength through the day. Be diligent with route finding and snowpack assessment, anticipate changing conditions, pay attention to unexpected findings, and have a safe route to bail at any time. Consider terrain you will have to travel across or underneath later in the day when natural wet slides may occur or be easier to trigger. See our forecast page for general spring snowpack and travel advice.

Past 5 Days

Wed Apr 10

None
Fri Apr 12

None
Mon Apr 15

None
Fri Apr 19

None
Mon Apr 22

None

Avalanche Activity- Northern Madison

Bridger Range
Bridger Bowl
Widespread large natural wet loose in Bridgers
Incident details include images
Bridger Bowl
WL-N-R2-D1.5-S
Elevation: 8,000
Coordinates: 45.9072, -110.9750
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Today (4/19/19) there were more and larger wet slides in addition to those that slid yesterday. Activity started before noon and slides were D1.5-D2 wet loose. One wet slab released north of Bridger Peak around 1400, probably from a cornice fall. There was widespread activity in addition to yesterday's slides on all slopes from Bridger Peak through Frazier Basin.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Fan Mountain
D3s on Fan and Cedar Mtn., Cornice/slab and wet loose at Big Sky
Fan Mountain
WL-N-R2-D3-O
Elevation: 10,500
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.2957, -111.5130
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From BSSP: "There was considerable cornice growth... in most cases, natural failure sometime early morning, triggering recent wind slabs. Shots were producing very local results, with the exception of orbit in the gum wall, failing size 2 on storm/old snow interface. Also, low on the west wall, an east aspect, we had a 2’ crown triggered by cornice failure. This failed on a maybe week-old interface and partly filled the terrain trap. Similar stubborn results were observed on route, but once warmed up, these slabs became active in lenin, dirtbag wall, and hanging valley triggered on skis this afternoon. The upper a-z’s, pinnacles, and dirt bag wall were problematic with natural wet loose failure in most areas by late afternoon, running on previous melt/freeze crust. 

In the backcountry, fan mtn and cedar mtn failed well into older layers on east aspects from cornice failure, up to size 3-sizeable avalanches."


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
BRIDGER RANGE
Natural wet loose slides Bridgers
Incident details include images
BRIDGER RANGE
WL-N-R2-D1.5-S
Elevation: 8,000
Coordinates: 45.8068, -110.9230
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Observed widespread natural wet loose slides, D1-D2, from Bridger Peak to north of Frazier Basin. Biggest on E-SE aspects in large terrain in northern Bridgers. Wet snow on NE up to 8,000 feet. Saw one maybe recent (poor viz) D2 slab in bowl south of Naya Nuki and some fresh small cornice fall/slabs at ridgeline. Widespread, but nothing major destructive.


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Northern Madison

Displaying 1 - 40 of 4.6116860184274E+18
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    Link to donate to the Friends of GNFAC: https://www.givebiggv.org/organizations/friends-of-the-gallatin-national-forest-avalanche-center

  • This slide occurred around 1400hrs on 4/19/19 with sunshine and temps above 50 F. Photo: GNFAC

  • Activity from 4/19/19. Photo: GNFAC

  • Activity from 4/19/19. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skiers saw this crown on Saturday (4/13) in the N. Bridgers. Photo: M. Gaffney

  • Recent spring snow has created instabilities that are confined to within the new snow. Areas such as ridgelines where fresh drifts form should be approached with caution. Cornices and fresh wind slabs should be avoided after fresh snow and/or strong wind. Photo. M. Gaffney

  • Debris from a wet slide that occurred about a week ago. This group also noticed multiple recent crowns and point releases on south to southwest facing slopes in the nearby Dudley Creek drainage. Photo: D. Proudfoot

  • Photo: GNFAC

  • From e-mail on 4/11/19: "We found reactive storm slabs and touchy windslabs near ridgelines. We kicked off a small windslab in 4th of July from the top of the couloir. Attached is a photo of the crown to give you a depth perspective. It was about 6 feet across and 3-4 inches deep."

  • Snowpit dug at Bridger Bowl on Monday (4/8). Heavy snow and rain are creating dangerous avalanche conditions. Photo: BBSP

  • Below 3-5" of new snow there is a supportable frozen crust on top of a wet snowpack on most slopes. Avalanches are mostly confined to the new snow on top of this crust (wet loose, dry loose, wind slabs). However, where the snowpack did not freeze below the new snow, or when this crust melts, deeper wet slides are possible. Photo: GNFAC

  • This wet avalanche crossed the Dudley Creek trail and took out a portion of a fence on private land. It barely missed hitting the house. Photo: J. Cummins

  • The wet avalanche crossed the Dudley Creek trail and took out a portion of a fence on private land. It barely missed hitting the house. Photo: J. Cummins

  • This wet avalanche ran almost all the way to the road near the Dudley Creek trailhead. Photo: J. Cummins

  • Large debris pile near the Dudley Creek trailhead from a wet avalanche last week. Photo: J. Cummins

  • Snowmobile-triggered slide near Fairy Lake on Saturday (3/30). New snow was drifted into small wind slabs that may remain reactive in isolated areas.  Photo: P. Cronin

  • Debris pile from the wet slab avalanche on Yellow Mtn. Photo: T. Vanyo

  • The debris gouged down to the ground along the track of this wet slab avalanche on Yellow Mtn. Photo: T. Vanyo

  • Start zone of a loose wet avalanche that triggered a wet slab on Yellow Mountain sometime in the last two days. Photo: T. Vanyo

  • From instagram: "Easily triggered 3" soft slabs/loose snow slides. NW facing Northern Madison around 11,000' Ran 400' on sun crust. At least 3 intentionally triggered." Photo credit: B. Gill

  • This wet slab failed within the past week on a west aspect in Beehive Basin. Photo: GNFAC

  • Outside Cooke City up Zimmer Creek, a skier spotted this cornice fall which triggered a small pocket down low. Photo: F. Madsen

  • Many wet loose and wet slab avalanches were seen near Zimmer Creek (north of Cooke City) on south and east aspects. Temperatures were warm at 10,000 feet. Photo: F. Madsen

  • Wet slab avalanches will be a growing concern as free moving water travels through the snowpack. This problem is most likely on mid to low elevation slopes that have a shallow snowpack and poor structure. Be aware of wet slabs as temperatures warm and the snowpack becomes increasingly unstable. Photo: GNFAC 

  • Warm temperatures are causing large cornices to lose strength. Be cautious when traveling on slopes below cornices and give them a wide berth along near ridgelines. Photo: GNFAC 

  • Above freezing temps and direct sunshine are creating unstable conditions on steep sun-exposed slopes. This problem is most common in steep rocky terrain or areas with a shallow and weak snowpack. Move to shadier aspects or away from steep terrain if point releases are occurring. Photo: GNFAC 

  • This photo near Lionhead, is indicative of the wet loose avalanches we are seeing on many low elevation, south facing slopes throughout our advisory area. Daytime temperatures near 50F will make avalanches like this more frequent and widespread in the coming days.

  • Slab avalanche that broke on Fan Mountain near Big Sky on 3/15/2019. Photo taken on 3/18/2019. Photo: J. Hageness.

  • This avalanche ran on Friday (3/15) near Big Sky. It was probably triggered by a cornice fall during warm temperatures late in the day. Photo: E. Howard

  • 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

  • "A few small wet loose releases were observed in areas without skier traffic but were confined to the top couple of inches on top of our previous high pressure surface.  The attached pic is the largest of those wet loose results and was a size 1 in Buffer Chute, in the Upper A-Z’s and occurred after that terrain had closed for the day." Photo: BSSP

  • On Friday (3/15) dry loose avalanches were easily triggered on steep terrain in Hyalite. Six inches of recent snow easily slid on crusts buried below it, and was drifted into small wind slabs near ridgelines. These types of small slides are typically not large enough to bury a person, but are dangerous if they catch and carry you over cliffs or into trees. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier reported watching a group trigger this windslab near Beehive Peak. Slab was 6-8" thick, 100' wide, and ran for around 600'. Luckily, nobody was caught or buried. This photo was taken near the toe of the debris pile.

  • A skier reported watching a group trigger this windslab near Beehive Peak. Slab was 6-8" thick, 100' wide, and ran for around 600'. Luckily, nobody was caught or buried. Skiers are circled in the bottom left of the frame for scale.

  • On southwest facing slopes in Beehive there was a layer of well developed facets under the melt freeze crust at the surface. If the weather forecast holds true, sunny skies and above freezing temperatures will destroy these. If they get buried deeply they could be a future problem. Photo: GNFAC

  • This deep slab avalanche appeared to have been triggered by skiers on Saturday (3/9) or Sunday (3/10). It shows the type of terrain to avoid in order to avoid triggering a big avalanche: Variable snow depth, complex and rocky. Photo: D. Sandberg

  • This deep slab avalanche appeared to have been triggered by skiers on Saturday (3/9) or Sunday (3/10). It shows the type of terrain to avoid in order to avoid triggering a big avalanche: Variable snow depth, complex and rocky. Photo: D. Sandberg

  • This deep slab avalanche appeared to have been triggered by skiers on Saturday (3/9) or Sunday (3/10). It shows the type of terrain to avoid in order to avoid triggering a big avalanche: Variable snow depth, complex and rocky. Photo: T. Grande

  • This deep slab avalanche appeared to have been triggered by skiers on Saturday (3/9) or Sunday (3/10). It shows the type of terrain to avoid in order to avoid triggering a big avalanche: Variable snow depth, complex and rocky. Photo: T. Grande

  • On Saturday (3/9) skiers observed multiple large natural avalanche crowns near Wilson Peak and Dudley creek in the northern Madison Range. They appeared to break on weak layers near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: G. Egnew

Videos- Northern Madison

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: A slight chance of rain and thunderstorms between 4pm and 5pm.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. West wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Slight Chance
    T-storms

    High: 46 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A chance of rain and snow, mainly after 5am.  Increasing clouds, with a low around 32. West wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Rain/Snow

    Low: 32 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A chance of rain and snow before 5pm, then a chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 42. West southwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Chance
    Rain/Snow

    High: 42 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 26. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 17 to 22 mph decreasing to 9 to 14 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph.

    Partly Cloudy
    and Blustery
    then Mostly
    Clear

    Low: 26 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Southwest wind 9 to 18 mph becoming northwest in the morning.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 44 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 31 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A chance of snow before 9am, then a chance of rain and snow between 9am and noon, then rain after noon. Some thunder is also possible.  High near 43. Windy.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Chance
    Rain/Snow and
    Breezy then
    Rain and
    Windy

    High: 43 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Rain likely before 7pm, then snow likely. Some thunder is also possible.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Breezy.

    Rain/Snow
    Likely and
    Breezy then
    Chance Snow

    Low: 28 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A chance of snow.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 40. Windy.

    Chance Snow
    and Windy

    High: 40 °F

The Last Word

For more spring travel advice see this article from our GNFAC forecaster blog.