Regional Conditions for Southern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Mar 270″ | 10-20 SW
Mar 26 3″ | 5-10 NW
Mar 25 6″ | 15-40 W
9460′     03/27 at 14:00
60.0℉
NW - 0mph
Gusts 1mph
9000′   03/27 at 23:00
18℉
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

Moderate
Fri Mar 27

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Southern Madison

Southern Madison
Quake Lake
Natural windslabs near Quake Lake
Quake Lake
SS
Coordinates: 44.8524, -111.3920
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Natural avalanches near Quake Lake, observed on 3/26/2020.

From email: "I observed several small natural slides originating on recently-loaded, corniced ridgelines. These all ran substantial distances, but did not pick up much snow or step down from the new snow."


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
Northern Madison
Wilson Peak
Skier triggered wind slab on Wilson Peak
Incident details include images
Wilson Peak
SS-ASu-R2-D1.5-I
Elevation: 10,100
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.3270, -111.3250
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

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


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Madison

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Today we rode into the Taylor Fork and Lionhead areas to remove our weather stations for the season. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • From e-mail: "...some wet loose avy activity observed today just west of Cooke City (south aspect, around 8200').  Overall though, minimal wet avalanche activity observed with this significant warm up..." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From obs: "On Thursday my group skied a few lines off the Lee side of skyline. Generally, all stability observations but one were good except for 1. We were skinning cross slope along the top of the apron toward the bottom of a couloir on the north aspect of White Peak to recon the couloir for possible ascent and skiing. As we approached the opening of the couloir, a large collapse occurred on a firm wind slab and a crack shot out across the bottom of the couloir an unknown distance. (We deemed it unwise to further investigate given the slope angle was nearly 40 degrees. It was quite puzzling the slope did not slide upon collapse and we were not about to further poke that bear.)

    Photo: Z. Ferry

  • 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

  • From an email, "It did look like the east face of Ramshorn Peak slid pretty recently. The blowing snow and clouds weren't conducive to good pictures but you can see the crown line below and to the right of the summit. Looked like a cornice fall triggered it." Photo: B. Richards

  • 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

  • Looking down 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

  • From obs form: "While approaching Black Mountain from Pine Creek Lake.... We skied South aspect and as it warmed we triggered D1 R1 slabs that ran slow and short." Photo: T. Hoefler

  • From email: "Photo attached of a natural avalanche from yesterday, just south of Cooke City.  It's on an E, NE aspect, with a crown around 9,300'.  Looks like it occurred yesterday am, as a result of a cornice fall." B. Fredlund

  • Skiers saw this 2-4' deep natural crown on Sunday 2/23/20. Photo: from IG @skishot

  • "Avalanche debris we encountered while skinning up the access road. It piled roughly 15-20 feet onto the road." Photo: T. Papritz

  • "Very large and destructive deep slab just north of emigrant peak on a east-facing aspect. The debris likely ran over 1000 vertical feet and stopped towards the bottom right of the image. We think the smaller slide on the far right was triggered as a secondary slide as a result." Photo: T. Papritz

  • "Very large and destructive deep slab just north of emigrant peak on a east-facing aspect. The debris likely ran over 1000 vertical feet and stopped towards the bottom right of the image. We think the smaller slide on the far right was triggered as a secondary slide as a result." Photo: T. Papritz

  • From IG #gnfacobs post: "An avalanche from early Tuesday (02/18) morning caused by a natural cornice fall. Note the step down partway down the path. ENE @ 9700. Ran 1300’." Photo: A. Whitmore

  • "I had been riding trees most of the day down low and moved up to about mile marker 10 later in the day. Did a side hill through open trees and stopped on top of this slope. Watched it all propagate and slide below me." Photo: anonymous

  • Debris pile from the slide in Taylor’s Fork, crown of about 5-6’ and about 100' wide. Human triggered. Photo: Matt Seifert

  • Slide in Taylor’s Fork, crown of about 5-6’ and about 100' wide. Human triggered. Photo: Matt Seifert

  • Surface Hoar in Taylor Fork on 2/13/2020.

  • "...were up in Tepee today, we saw a couple small slides the one below look to be caused from a snowmobiler and we saw one other one high on the Whites peak ridge that looked to be a natural slide or maybe caused from a piece of cornise that broke off.  The rest of the ridge along White Peak also looked to be loaded up." Photo: J. Norlander

  • On 2/9/20 we saw deep avalanche crowns throughout the Bridger Range. These broke at various times throughout the recent storm that deposited 4 feet of snow with over 4" of SWE in the last week. This photo shows crowns from avalanches that broke across the entire drainage of Truman Gulch. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/9/20 we saw deep avalanche crowns throughout the Bridger Range. These broke at various times throughout the recent storm that deposited 4 feet of snow with over 4" of SWE in the last week. This photo shows debris from avalanches that broke across the entire drainage of Truman Gulch. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw a group of six snowmobilers who said they triggered these slides in McAtee Basin on the left side of the meadow on Saturday, Feb 8. I didn't see tracks up on the hill or sidehill tracks so they may have triggered the slope from the flats below. The debris runs all the way to bottom of the hill. Photo: K Peaslee

  • We saw a group of six snowmobilers who said they triggered these slides in McAtee Basin on the left side of the meadow on Saturday, Feb 8. I didn't see tracks up on the hill or sidehill tracks so they may have triggered the slope from the flats below. The debris runs all the way to bottom of the hill. Photo: K Peaslee

  • We saw a group of six snowmobilers who said they triggered these slides in McAtee Basin on the left side of the meadow on Saturday, Feb 8. I didn't see tracks up on the hill or sidehill tracks so they may have triggered the slope from the flats below. The debris runs all the way to bottom of the hill. Photo: K Peaslee

  • "Noted two SS-D1.5/2 naturals (presuming based on lack of any sort of tracks) on Wheeler, typical spots for these conditions, both SE aspect around 8000'." Photo: G. Antoniolli

  • "Noted several avalanches (NW aspect ~ 8800') off of Elephant that traveled quite far into the trees where the summer trail typically runs, all appear to be new snow, D1- D2 in size, average 2' crowns, running on old/new interface from  Feb 2. They appear to have run midstorm, sometime yesterday (photos 1,2,3).  Above 9000', W Winds were crafting fresh wind slabs that were most reactive on a midstorm crystal/density change that buried a layer of stellars ~ 1' deep in shallower spots,  topped with denser snow." Photo: G. Antoniolli

Videos- Southern Madison

WebCams


Raynolds Pass, Looking N

Weather Forecast Southern Madison

Extended Forecast for

20 Miles S Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. West southwest wind around 10 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 13 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as zero. West southwest wind 9 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 25 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly between 10pm and 5am.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. South southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 18 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly between noon and 3pm.  Partly sunny, with a high near 26. South southwest wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 26 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. South southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Snow

    Low: 24 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow likely, mainly after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31. South southwest wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Snow
    Likely

    High: 31 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a low around 18. Breezy, with a southwest wind 18 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.  New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    Low: 18 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 26. West southwest wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Snow Likely

    High: 26 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A chance of snow, mainly before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 10 °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.