Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Dec 90″ | 20-40 S
Dec 8 0″ | 15-25 W
Dec 7 0″ | 25-55 SW
9400′     12/10 at 2:00
6 ℉
SW - 20 mph, Gusts 28
5 " New
8880′     12/10 at 01:00
14℉
31″ Depth
Bottom Line: The primary avalanche concern is slides breaking in drifts of wind-blown snow. Watch out for and avoid these wind drifts, or carefully check to see how they’ve bonded before riding steep slopes. We also can’t yet rule out the possibility that there are weak layers on some slopes. Dig and look for weak layers hiding 1-2 ft deep.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Mon Dec 5

Moderate
Tue Dec 6

Moderate
Wed Dec 7

Moderate
Thu Dec 8

Moderate
Fri Dec 9

Moderate

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Madison
Cedar Mtn.
Small natural avalanches on Cedar
Incident details include images
Cedar Mtn.
SS-N-R1-D1
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.2268, -111.5120
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Two small natural avalanches observed on likely wind loaded easterly aspects on slopes around Cedar Mountain at roughly 8,000’. 


More Avalanche Details
Northern Gallatin
Lick Creek
Skier triggered wind-load
Incident details include images
Lick Creek
SS-ASc-R1-D1-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.5243, -110.9560
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Observed active windloading on the eastern side of Lick Creek today.

12-18 inch slab broke easily when ski cut and a small but very reactive cornice was rapidly building.


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Ross Peak
Two skiers caught in avalanche on Ross Peak
Incident details include images
Ross Peak
SS-ASu-R2-D1.5
Elevation: 8,500
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.8586, -110.9560
Caught: 2 ; Buried: 2

Two skiers triggered an avalanche while ascending the Banana Couloir on Ross Peak on the morning of 12/5/22. The skiers were approximately 150 ft from the top of the couloir. The avalanche broke 20 ft above the upper skier. The slide broke in wind drifted snow 6 inches deep and approximately 30 ft wide, across most of the couloir. The lower skier was waiting in a "safe spot on the side" but was also caught by the slide. The slide ran ~600 vertical feet, pulling out a deeper pocket of snow (1.5-2 ft deep) midway down the path. Both skiers were fully submerged as they were carried, but ended up partially buried near the toe of the debris. One skier had snow packed into his mouth and underneath his eyelids. They returned to the trailhead under their own power. 


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 26
  • I dug a pit above Silken Falls in the gulley. I found a weak layer of facets breaking about 10" under a wind slab (ECTP15). We did not get any cracking, but the terrain is very serious and even a small slide could be deadly. We did not feel comfortable center punching up the gully. Given how much traffic the gullies are getting, I do not think it is widespread, but it's out there and could avalanche.

    Wind and snow this weekend may make this layer more unstable, so it's important to be careful crossing exposed terrain. Either rope up or tun around if it is suspect.

     

  • Two small natural avalanches observed today from the YC. Both on likely wind loaded easterly aspects on slopes around Cedar Mountain at roughly 8,000’. Photo: Yellowstone Club Ski Patrol

  • Two small natural avalanches observed today from the YC. Both on likely wind loaded easterly aspects on slopes around Cedar Mountain at roughly 8,000’. Photo: Yellwostone Club Ski Patrol

  • Toured up to the NE shoulder on Mt. Blackmore yesterday. Winds were strong and variable, but mostly gusting from the S-SW. A lot of snow was moving around, skin tracks were filled in very quickly, and you could actively see small cornices starting to build on the lee side of the ridge. Photo: H. Darby

  • Saw a group of skiers trigger a small wind slab avalanche on an eastern aspect at around 8,300' in the main fork of Hyalite in "Candy Land" just south of the climb Big League Chew at 2:00pm on Saturday (11/26). Crown looked to be around 2" to 1' and 90' wide. The slide ran maybe 100'. No skiers were caught. Photo: Anon

  • Saw a group of skiers trigger a small wind slab avalanche on an eastern aspect at around 8,300' in the main fork of Hyalite in "Candy Land" just south of the climb Big League Chew at 2:00pm on Saturday (11/26). Crown looked to be around 2" to 1' and 90' wide. The slide ran maybe 100'. No skiers were caught. Photo: Anon.

  • From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." Photo BSSP

  • From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." Photo BSSP

  • Crown of skier triggered slide at Bridger on 11/27: "NE face. Rollover around 35 degrees mellowing throughout the run. The face had tracks from earlier today before i triggered the slide. I was able to self arrest and stop myself before being carried. The crown was around 20-25 ft wide and the slide ran roughly 100ft downhill before stopping. Both myself and my partner skied away unharmed."

  • From observations: "The snow was getting warm on my way up 4th of July couloir (pinwheels coming off lookers right wall started around 11:30) top half took a long time due to deep snow so I was suspicious of the pinch. Ski cut it during the descent (12:30p) and set off a wet slide (point release) that picked up quite a bit of steam as it came out the bottom. Big enough to injure/bury a skier." Photo: Anonymous

  • At 1:30pm on 11/23 I intentionally triggered a fresh drift of snow in a narrow avalanche path along the edge of the north bowl at Bridger. Northeast aspect at 7,600’ elevation. The crown was 6-8” deep consisting of snow that fell today, 20’ wide and ran 250’ vertical. SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-I. Photo: GNFAC

  • At 1:30pm on 11/23 I intentionally triggered a fresh drift of snow in a narrow avalanche path along the edge of the north bowl at Bridger. Northeast aspect at 7,600’ elevation. The crown was 6-8” deep consisting of snow that fell today, 20’ wide and ran 250’ vertical. SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-I. Photo: GNFAC

  • Big Sky ski patrol triggered these slides with explosives on 11/22 during routine avalanche mitigation work. The avalanches were hard slabs that averaged 12" deep and broke on a weak layer above a crust on top of snow that fell in October. Photo: BSSP

  • Big Sky ski patrol triggered these slides with explosives on 11/22 during routine avalanche mitigation work. The avalanches were hard slabs that averaged 12" deep and broke on a weak layer above a crust on top of snow that fell in October. Photo: BSSP

  • From IG message: "We saw a few decent sized point releases in the same zone on Sunday, 11/20, the day after the wind slab. All occurred on SW aspect within approx 15 min at 2:30. The air temp rose noteably shortly before and the sun was baking the SW aspect. Wind slab from 11/19 is on the far right, two point releases on the left". Photo: M. Zenker

  • Toured into divide basin on Friday. Looking at the north face of hyalite peak we saw a slide that went to the ground, and was about 150 feet wide. It possible this slide propagated further, but severe wind loading was actively occurring and it was hard to tell if the crown had been filled back in. We dug a pit at 9300 feet on a SÉ aspect and found a 80-100 cm HS and right side up snow pack with minor faceting below a crust 30 cm from the bottom. 

  • This natural avalanche of wind blown snow narrowly missed hitting two skiers.

    Photo: Anonymous

  • Photo: @M. Stem

  • From obs: "Skied Hyalite Peak today and found a wind slab ~10cm deep. Ski cut a small cornice below the main face and broke a small slide that carried ~20’ with little energy with a ~25’ wide crown" Photo: C. Crowe

  • From obs: "Photos of a small wind slab avalanche (R1 D1)  from yesterday at approximately 7800 feet on the northern end of bradleys meadow. The slide was initiated by the second skier and although the rest of the slope was <30 degrees the starting zone was a NE facing steep cross loaded wind pillow just below the ridge. 

    As my friend was skiing down he saw a crack propagate up and to his left and was able to stop on the side of the path as the snow ran past him. The  crown was approximately 30-40 feet and ran about 100 feet." Photo: G. Roe

  • From IG: "Remotely skier trigger wind slab up on white worm near sac bowl". Photo: C. Howell

  • While traveling up the Fairy Lake road, we observed the aftermath of an avalanche in October Bowl. The avalanche was D2-D3, start zone was at approximately 9000 ft, north east aspect, crown depth and width is unknown. Photo: H. Bigos-Lowe

  • Skiers found a thin snowpack that is beginning to weaken (facet). Read observation here. Photo: T McCutcheon.

  • Skiers in Beehive Basin noted small wind drifts forming as they toured. Slopes loaded by wind-drifted snow are the most likely place to trigger an avalanche right now. Photo: C Ellingson

  • The Headwaters Snow Stake at Big Sky Resort was buried in new snow on Sunday. 

  • Evidence of wind-loading creating the conditions for avalanches in the Bridger Range. Cracking is an indicator of instability. The observer noted this was "Nothing consequential," but this shows that unstable drifts are forming. They will be more consequential where there is more snow and as the wind creates larger drifts. Photo: E Smith

WebCams


8800' Camera, Lone Peak view

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Snowpit Profiles- Northern Madison

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 5. Wind chill values as low as -15. Breezy, with a south wind around 24 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.

    Partly Cloudy
    and Breezy

    Low: 5 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -10. Windy, with a south wind 24 to 33 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph.

    Decreasing
    Clouds and
    Windy

    High: 21 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Wind chill values as low as zero. Breezy, with a south southeast wind 20 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Breezy

    Low: 16 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Snow likely, mainly after 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23. South wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 23 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow.  Low around 10. South wind 10 to 13 mph becoming north northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 23 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow

    Low: 10 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow.  High near 13. North northwest wind 9 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow

    High: 13 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. North northwest wind around 10 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 0 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A chance of snow, mainly before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 8. North northwest wind 9 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Chance Snow

    High: 8 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A slight chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 0 °F

The Last Word

Watch our playlist of YouTube videos to get caught up on our avalanche concerns this season.

12 / 8 / 22  <<  
 
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