Regional Conditions for Southern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Mar 190″ | 10-20 N
Mar 18 0″ | 0-10 N
Mar 17 0″ | 10-20 SW
9400′     03/20 at 03:00
28.1℉
N - 1mph
Gusts 7mph
8880′   03/20 at 1:00
26℉
85″ 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- Southern Gallatin

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
Southern Madison
Taylor Fork
Natural Avalanches in the Taylor Fork area
Incident details include images
Taylor Fork
SS-N-R2-D2-O
Coordinates: 44.9641, -111.3170
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A snowmobiler sent in a photo of multiple natural avalanches near Woodward Mtn. He also reported large avalanches near Pika Point and Skyline Ridge that failed at the ground. Photos: P. Honsinger


More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Sage Peak
Snowmobile triggered behind sage peak
Incident details include images
Sage Peak
SS-AMu-R3-D2-I
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Gallatin

Displaying 1 - 40 of 4.61168601843E+18
  • A snowmobiler saw this recent activity on Saturday 3/9/19 on Cedar Mountain near Big Sky.

  • 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.

  • A snowmobiler triggered this slide on the afternoon of 3/2/19 behind Sage Peak in the southern Madison Range. Photo: J. Hillier

  • 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

  • A large snowmobile triggered avalanche in the Gravelly Range (Outside of advisory area) on February 10th, 2019.

    From email: "One rider was involved in the incident and was fortunate to be on the upper left side of the bowl when he saw the slide start. ... the crown was about 325 wide and varied in depth from 1 to 4 or 5 feet.  The ridge line was wind loaded and this was an issue we had discussed as a group and wanted to avoid.  We had read the reports for the day and knew that wind loading as well as a persistent week layer were both concerns. .... The rider involved entered the area from around where the road switchbacked and did not realize what was above him due to reduced visibility."

  • Snowmobilers in the Lionhead area got unstable test results, easily propagating fractures in ECT tests on a weak layer buried about 50 cm deep. Photo: J. Norlander

  • 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

  • "One small slide on a N asp at head of Bacon rind creek, elev 8750,  had a crisper look than most of the others observed, suspect more recent." Photo: M. Best

  • This graph shows snow water equivalent (SWE) by date at the primary SNOTEL sites that we use in the GNFAC region. From October 1st, 2018 to January 12th, 2019. Steeper lines indicate bigger storms and flatter lines indicate periods of little to no snow. A large storm at the beginning of Novermber laid down a 1-3 foot base. Relatively dry and cold weather through November caused much of that snow to become weak. This weak snow was buried by a series of storms. Avalanches were seen during and following many of these storms. During dry weather between storms, more weak layers formed on the surface of the snowpack and were subsequently buried. (Graph created by GNFAC from NRCS provisional data).

  • In Cabin Creek (1/10/19) we found a recently buried layer of surface hoar as well as the weak, sugary snow that makes up the bottom 1.5' of the snowpack in the southern ranges. Avalanches are possible to trigger on the sugary facets near the ground. Both of these weak layers will persist and cause avalanches when we get more snow and wind loading. Photo: GNFAC

  • February 2, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.

  • This was a recent snowmobile triggered avalanche In Tepee Basin, southern Madison range. This slide failed on facets near the ground and ran into a terrain trap. With more snow and wind in the forecast, it will be important to make conservative terrain selections. Photo: GNFAC 

  • We rode into Cabin Creek behind Sage Peak (via Taylor Fork) and found 2.5' of snow. The lower half was weak, sugary and unsupportive. The upper half was a slab of recent snow that collapsed with moderate force (ECTP 11). Our sled's tracks easily broke through 2.5' of snow to the ground, a sign of poor snowpack structure. Photo: GNFAC

  • Snow bikers in the northern Gallatin Range "witnessed a very reactive new snow layer in all wind loaded areas." (12/30). Photo: J. Polus

  • The snowpack at 9,000' above Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone is 60-70cm (~2 feet) deep. It is mostly weak, sugary facets and will struggle to support the weight of future storms. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier reported a recent slab avalanche at Ernest Miller in the southern Madison. This is a good reminder that as you move further south in our advisory area, we are seeing a thinner and generally less stable snowpack. Photo: C. Grote

  • A skier in the southern Gallatin found a buried layer of surface hoar that propagated in stability tests. This surface hoar layer has been found at several locations in the advisory area. Photo: S. Reinsel

  • A skier on Ramshorn Peak in the southern Gallatin Range got shooting cracks and observed a recent avalanche in wind loaded terrain. This is a good reminder that isolated instabilities still exist on wind loaded slopes. Photo: C. Kussmaul  

  • Surface hoar crystals growing on top of a thin, faceted snowpack in the Southern Gallatins. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Cracking of fresh drifts was a sign that avalanches were likely on steep, wind loaded slopes on Saddle Peak. Photo: GNFAC

  • Snow water equivalent at SNOTEL stations in the GNFAC advisory areas for the 18-19 season to date. Weak layers formed on the surface of the snowpack during the dry weather (flat section of lines), then they were buried by the recent 10-14" of snow (steep increase at end of graph). Image: GNFAC

  • Climbers triggered this very small wind slab on the way to a climb up Flanders in Hyalite (11/11). A tiny slide to a skier can be bad news for a climber since losing one's balance or getting pushed off a cliff can be deadly. From an email (edited):

    Hyalite Snow Conditions:...we dug two hasty pits on east facing slopes in Flanders....
    8200'- isolated opening in trees in an area on rocks, shallower snow (~50cm). CT12 at the ground, again just tapping on the back of other hand, so not super legit, but did raise eyebrows.  
    8450'- Opening below cliff bands on exposed traverse. Deeper snow (~80-90cm). No concerns other than storm snow and snow coming off of cliff bands. Classic Hyalite shifty winds. We released a small (10-15cm) storm slab on traverse into the climb .  
    Weather: It was snowing and blowing all day.

    Photo: S. Magro

  • From an email:

    "By and large right side up snowpack. Some small facets below the 11/1 ice crust at the ground, but well bonded snowpack overall. Pit observations consistent with hand pits dug throughout the day touring north out of Bridger Bowl." Photo: M. Zia

  • From an email: "ECTP 5 at the top of a chute on the south face of the Texas Meadows knob. Propagated on a layer 15cm from the top of the snowpack." Photo: J. Zimmerer

  • From Instagram:

    "Careful out there this year! While we are lucky enough to have a mostly stable snowpack here in Southwest Montana, we did just find this little wind slab well below the ridge line in Middle Basin. Slowboarder was fine" @chartierk

  • A skier found 80 cm of stable snow on an east facing slope at 9200' in Beehive Basin. Winds created these newborn cornices along the ridge. Photo: T. Allen

  • From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small slab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."

  • From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small lab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."

  • From a tour up Miller Creek: "Good stability and structure found overall.  No collapsing nor cracking experienced, minor wind effect, and only some minor point release avalanche activity noted on the east aspect of Crown Butte." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain. Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  • From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Mt Blackmore 11/07
    HN24 - 20cm
    S1 - 8/8 - W (Light)
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain.Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  •  From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Mt Blackmore 11/07
    HN24 - 20cm
    S1 - 8/8 - W (Light)
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain.Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  • Natural wind slab that broke after 3-4 feet of new snow over 6 days. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Natural avalanche activity was widespread in Hyalite on Tuesday 11/6. Obs from e-mail: "The newest snow (about 18", I'd guess past 48hrs) is touchy soft slab. The top 8 inches also exhibit a storm slab-like quality.  There appears to be a very slight density change between the two.  Top 8" fracture and propagate cracks readily on gentle terrain, whereas in steeper terrain, the deeper slab (again, about 18" down) was propagating as I was skinning up the headwall in the steep creek drainages and steeper features nearby. Lots of natural activity on steeper terrain, but vis was limited. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Natural avalanche activity was widespread in Hyalite on Tuesday 11/6. Obs from e-mail: "The newest snow (about 18", I'd guess past 48hrs) is touchy soft slab. The top 8 inches also exhibit a storm slab-like quality.  There appears to be a very slight density change between the two.  Top 8" fracture and propagate cracks readily on gentle terrain, whereas in steeper terrain, the deeper slab (again, about 18" down) was propagating as I was skinning up the headwall in the steep creek drainages and steeper features nearby. Lots of natural activity on steeper terrain, but vis was limited. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • From the MSU Backcountry Club Instagram page:

    Warning! This is a current, fresh, crown in the northern Bridgers! Every aspect had a visible crown and avi debris! This crown was 56cm at it deepest and over 8 meters long. ECTP21@53 and CT24@54 on the overlying slab. Photo: @msubackcountryclub More Details.

  • This avalanche was observed on the morning of Friday 11/2. It broke from a natural trigger in the Big Couloir at Big Sky Resort. New snow fell and was drifted into slabs overlying older, hard layers of snow from October. The resort is not open and no people were in the area of the avalanche at that time. Photo: Big Sky Resort More details

     

  • POWDER BLAST
    26 October 2018

    BUY TICKETS HERE

    Join us for the best fundraiser of the year! All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Avalanche Center which supports avalanche awareness, education and information throughout southwest Montana.

    Your $35 donation gets you an unforgettable evening at the Emerson Cultural Center.

    Grizzly Outfitters of Big Sky is title sponsor of this year's 20th Annual Powder Blast. Mystery Ranch, World Boards, Community Food Co-op, Highline Partners and Spark R&D are key sponsors along with Alpine Orthopedics, Stronghold Fabrication, Werner Wealth Management, Scott Lawson Dentistry, and Knoff Group Real Estate. Additional support comes from Javaman, Edward Jones, Massive Design, Bountiful Table and Katabatic Brewing. 

    Beer from Katabatic Brewery and Wine from Montana Ale Works

    Dinner by Bountiful Table

    Music by Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs and the best silent auction of outdoor gear in the valley!

Videos- Southern Gallatin

Weather Forecast Southern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

17 Miles SE Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Clear, with a steady temperature around 24. South southeast wind around 6 mph.

    Clear

    Low: 24 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 51. South southeast wind 3 to 5 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 51 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Clear, with a low around 19. Southeast wind 3 to 5 mph.

    Clear

    Low: 19 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 50. Light and variable wind becoming east around 6 mph in the afternoon.

    Sunny

    High: 50 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 19. East northeast wind around 6 mph becoming light and variable  after midnight.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 19 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A slight chance of snow showers after noon, mixing with rain after 2pm.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Light and variable wind becoming south southwest around 6 mph in the morning.  Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Slight
    Chance
    Rain/Snow

    High: 44 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Southwest wind around 6 mph.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    Low: 26 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Snow showers likely, mainly after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

    Snow Showers
    Likely

    High: 37 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Cloudy, with a low around 24.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    Low: 24 °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.