Trip Planning for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
Today5″ | 15-27 W
Feb 5 0″ | 15-20 SW
Feb 4 0″ | 25-55 SW
9420′     02/06 at 09:00
17.4℉
NW - 3mph
Gusts Unknown mph
7750′     /00 at
SNOTEL data not available″ Depth
Bottom Line: Northwest-west wind is drifting 4-7” of new snow into thicker slabs. These wind slabs can avalanche under the weight of a person and add weight to buried weak layers which makes large, human-triggered avalanches likely on wind-loaded slopes. Weak layers are buried 1-3 feet below last weekend’s snow and contributed to human-triggered avalanches as recently as Thursday and Friday. Today, slopes that have fresh drifts of snow are dangerous and should be avoided. On non-wind loaded slopes avalanches are less likely, but still possible. Carefully evaluate snowpack stability and only ride steep slopes if you are sure there are no buried weak layers or fresh drifts.
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer

Past 5 Days

Thu Feb 2

Considerable
Fri Feb 3

Moderate
Sat Feb 4

Moderate
Sun Feb 5

Moderate
Today

Considerable

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Avalanches and remote trigger, Lionhead
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Lionhead Ridge
HS
Coordinates: 44.7145, -111.3180
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

As we rode into Lionhead we saw many slides that either ran naturally or from cornice falls. Most of the slides happened Fri or Sat. Winds are blowing strong at all aspects and elevations. Slopes are being loaded further and we triggered a small slide (video) from 50 feet away (aka remotely triggered). This is a serious sign of instability and we were careful to not get on or underneath avalanche terrain.


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Natural avalanches in Lionhead
Incident details include images
Lionhead Ridge
SS-N-R1-D1.5-O
Coordinates: 44.7145, -111.3180
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Observed two recent natural avalanches on 1/25/23 that broke 1-2 feet deep, presumably on a surface hoar layer. There was a couple of inches of snow on each of these slides, so I would place them between three and five days old. The slides were R1-D1.5 in size - 75-100' wide, 1-2' deep, and 100' vertical fall. Photo: GNFAC


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Two Top
Small avalanche off Two Top
Incident details include images
Two Top
SS-AMu-R1-D1-I
Coordinates: 44.6249, -111.2590
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Small avalanche broke while descending to less exposed areas.  Approximately 80 yards wide, 18” deep.  Slid for approximately 90 yards from crown. 


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • As we rode into Lionhead we saw many slides that either ran naturally or from cornice falls. Most of the slides happened Fri or Sat. Winds are blowing strong at all aspects and elevations. Slopes are being loaded further and we triggered a small slide (video) from 50 feet away (aka remotely triggered). This is a serious sign of instability and we were careful to not get on or underneath avalanche terrain.

  • As we rode into Lionhead we saw many slides that either ran naturally or from cornice falls. Most of the slides happened Fri or Sat. Winds are blowing strong at all aspects and elevations. Slopes are being loaded further and we triggered a small slide (video) from 50 feet away (aka remotely triggered). This is a serious sign of instability and we were careful to not get on or underneath avalanche terrain.

  • As we rode into Lionhead we saw many slides that either ran naturally or from cornice falls. Most of the slides happened Fri or Sat. Winds are blowing strong at all aspects and elevations. Slopes are being loaded further and we triggered a small slide (video) from 50 feet away (aka remotely triggered). This is a serious sign of instability and we were careful to not get on or underneath avalanche terrain.

  • Observed two recent natural avalanches on 1/25/23 that broke 1-2 feet deep, presumably on a surface hoar layer. There was a couple of inches of snow on each of these slides, so I would place them between three and five days old. The slides were R1-D1.5 in size - 75-100' wide, 1-2' deep, and 100' vertical fall. Photo: GNFAC

  • Observed two recent natural avalanches on 1/25/23 that broke 1-2 feet deep, presumably on a surface hoar layer. There was a couple of inches of snow on each of these slides, so I would place them between three and five days old. The slides were R1-D1.5 in size - 75-100' wide, 1-2' deep, and 100' vertical fall. Photo: GNFAC

  • Surface hoar can often be seen as a grey stripe on the wall of your snowpit as was the case at Bacon Rind in the Southern Madison Range on 1/23. Photo: GNFAC

  • A natural slide in the back bowls of Lionhead.

  • Dave and Doug rode around and saw multiple natural and 1 sledder triggered slide on Lionhead. Some were thin and just involved news snow and others were deeper and broke on the buried surface hoar layer.

  • Dave and Doug rode around and saw multiple natural and 1 sledder triggered slide on Lionhead. Some were thin and just involved news snow and others were deeper and broke on the buried surface hoar layer.

  • Small avalanche broke while descending to less exposed areas.  Approximately 80 yards wide, 18” deep.  Slid for approximately 90 yards from crown. 
     

  • Small avalanche broke while descending to less exposed areas.  Approximately 80 yards wide, 18” deep.  Slid for approximately 90 yards from crown. 

  • Small avalanche broke while descending to less exposed areas.  Approximately 80 yards wide, 18” deep.  Slid for approximately 90 yards from crown. 
     

     

  • On a Jan. 16 tour into Beehive, we found the concerning layer of feathery surface hoar buried under 6" of snow. It is widespread from Big Sky through West Yellowstone and Cooke City. It has produced avalanches near Hebgen Lake, with more snow, it will likely produce avalanches in Beehive too. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skinned up to the ridge and when we were almost to the top my partner was out front and triggered a noticeable whumpf.    ESE aspect, 8950 ft.

    HS = 135

    SH at 105 cm, ECTP3

    DH at 45 cm, ECTP23

  • Skier unintentionally triggered and was caught in wind slab avalanche on the Y couloir in Sheep Creek Drainage. Skier was carried 10m before self arresting. The slide ran ~250m down and broke across the entire width of the couloir. There were no injuries and skied away. 

  • The snow rangers from the Hebgen Lake Distract standing on the debris of a large avalanche near the Airplane Bowl at Lionhead Area. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • We observed several recent storm and wind slab avalanches from Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • We observed several recent storm and wind slab avalanches from Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • We looked at the avalanche that killed a snowmobiler yesterday (12/31/22) on Crown Butte near Cooke City. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim, and those involved with the rescue and recovery. Photo: GNFAC

  • On the way back to Lionhead.  Came upon this recent avalanche.  Rushed up to the group of 4 guys.  They were fine, not the guys who set it off.  The group of 6 we passed going there set it off.  The group of 4 said they saw these guys ... all on the hill at same time, stuck and climbing around the stuck guy.  All were okay but I hear one guy was shaken up. 4-5ft deep at break by 200-300ft wide, ran 400+ft. Photo: T. Anafarta

  • On the way back to Lionhead.  Came upon this recent avalanche.  Rushed up to the group of 4 guys.  They were fine, not the guys who set it off.  The group of 6 we passed going there set it off.  The group of 4 said they saw these guys ... all on the hill at same time, stuck and climbing around the stuck guy.  All were okay but I hear one guy was shaken up. 4-5ft deep at break by 200-300ft wide, ran 400+ft. Photo: T. Anafarta

  • On December 31, 2022 a snowmobiler was killed in a very large avalanche north of Cooke City, MT. The avalanche occurred near Daisy Pass on Crown Butte on a southeast facing slope at 9,800’. The avalanche appeared to be 2-4' deep, 500' wide, 600' vertical, and broke on weak snow near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • Many slick roofs shed this winter's snow with the above-freezing temperatures. There are some impressive fracture lines at the ice rink in Bogert Park in Bozeman. Photo: GNFAC

  • Alex Marienthal cuts a column for his stability test on Ski Hill in Lionhead. Photo: GNFAC

  • Alex Marienthal points a 5 cm thick weak layer of faceted snow that broke with an ECTP10. Photo: GNFAC

  • This Beacon Checker was installed by the Hebgen District FS snow rangers at the trailhead to Denny Creek and Lionhead Ridge. It was made possible by the family of Bradie Becker in partnership with The Friends of GNFAC. Bradie was killed in an avalanche on Lionhead Ridge on February 6th, 2022. Photo: J. Norlander

  • We dug a pit at 9,000 feet on a SE facing slope above Hebgen Lake. We found weak snow under a slab that broke with an ECTP26. Photo: GNFAC

  • Participants in the West Yellowstone Avalanche Fundamentals Field Session found unstable conditions near "Ski Hill" in the Lionhead area on December 6, indicating that large, human-triggered avalanches are possible. Photo: GNFAC

  • From IG 12/3: "It was natural. Happened last night or this morning. It hadn't slid when we left yesterday. We were first tracks in today, and there were no tracks above or below this slide. Crown at the peak was around 6'. Average 2-3' crown. 10' debris piles at least." Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • From IG 12/3: "It was natural. Happened last night or this morning. It hadn't slid when we left yesterday. We were first tracks in today, and there were no tracks above or below this slide. Crown at the peak was around 6'. Average 2-3' crown. 10' debris piles at least." Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • Lots of avalanche activity. Lots of cracking and propagation from the skis. Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • Lots of avalanche activity. Lots of cracking and propagation from the skis. Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • Lots of avalanche activity. Lots of cracking and propagation from the skis. Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • Lots of avalanche activity. Lots of cracking and propagation from the skis. Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • Lots of avalanche activity. Lots of cracking and propagation from the skis. Photo: R. Malmstrom

  • A snowmobiler noted cracking of the snow surface on the south face of Reas Peak out of Island Park. The wind crust was 3-4" thick and had facets underneath which aided the propagation. Photo: Anonymous

  • 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

  • Observer reported "A number of Avalanche Crowns on an east aspect at 9500 ft." in Tepee Basin.

WebCams


Rendezvous Ski Trail, W. Yellowstone

Snowpit Profiles- Lionhead Range

 

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Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

  • Today

    Today: A 30 percent chance of snow before noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 21. Northwest wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.  Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Partly
    Sunny

    High: 21 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind 10 to 13 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 11 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of snow after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 18. Wind chill values as low as zero. Southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Snow

    High: 18 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Snow, mainly after midnight.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly after 5am. Low around 14. Wind chill values as low as -5. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 17 to 22 mph increasing to 23 to 28 mph after midnight.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Snow and
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 14 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow.  High near 16. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 21 to 28 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 34 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow and
    Breezy

    High: 16 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 0. Blustery, with a west wind 18 to 23 mph decreasing to 8 to 13 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Blustery then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 0 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 16. South southwest wind 7 to 11 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 16 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 2. Southeast wind 9 to 13 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 2 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 24.

    Sunny

    High: 24 °F

The Last Word

Bruce Jamieson’s videos on Snow Science explain heady topics to the layman. Understanding the avalanche dragon helps keep us alive.

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