Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today7″ | 10-30 NW
Feb 5 0″ | 15-30 SW
Feb 4 0″ | 25-45 W
9400′     2/06 at 8:00
13 ℉
NW - 15 mph, Gusts 39
3 " New
8880′     /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

Northern Madison
Deer Creek
Small whumphs and triggered wind slab
Deer Creek
SS-ASc-R1-D1
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.3186, -111.2560
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Toured/ skied on S though E aspects between 6000' and 8200' and observed the following:

...

-Several localized whumphs 

...

-Stomped one freshly wind-loaded rollover on micro-terrain and released a small (15 cm - 30cm thick) windslab

 


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Lone Mountain
Skier triggered slide in Lone Mountain backcountry
Lone Mountain
Coordinates: 45.2777, -111.4510
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A 2’ storm snow avalanche in the Chippewa Notch area was apparently triggered by a rider. It propagated significantly across complex terrain, and ran through plenty of terrain traps/trauma trees.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobiler triggered on Buck Ridge
Incident details contain video
Buck Ridge
SS-AMu-R3-D2-I
Elevation: 9,300
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.1719, -111.3800
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From FB message: I triggered this one Thursday night (2/2/23). Got lucky it didn't gain speed and sack on itself. Been in this zone 1000 times, never seen it slide, always gotta be on your game... NE aspect in Beaver Creek.


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • 2/4/23: We dug a pit near the top of our ascent on a west aspect at 9,100'. HS was 160cm and we found surface hoar buried 55cm deep (105cm above ground). It did not propagate or easily break in our tests, but it was a clear stripe in the wall and may have contributed to the adjacent large avalanche last weekend. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Avalanche (possibly sled/human triggered) on an easy to northeast facing slope around 9300 feet.  There were lots of sled tracks on the slope, which is located just out of the wilderness at the far end of Buck Ridge.  Slide and sled tracks appeared to be from after the weekend storm and were covered with light snow from the last couple days.  Noted lots of wind transported snow along buck ridge this afternoon. Photo: K Marvinney

  • From IG “Beehive basin on an east/ northeast slope. Photo was taken at 3:15 in the afternoon.” Photo: JP

  • Took a drive up and around the Yellowstone Club and saw this slide today. I think that is Cedar Mt with Pioneer Ridge in front and to the left. Stay safe out there. Photo. B. Rode

  • From IG message: "Another one today. Back of buck creek. Triggered 100 yards above where I crossed below it in the safe zone, after I went by. No burials."

  • From obs 1/28/23: "While snowmobiling up Little Bear we witnessed this natural avalanche. There was 2-3' of new snow." Photo: J. Otis

  • From obs 1/28/23: "There were numerous debris piles, point releases, and crowns on the north face of Elephant and the northeast face of Blackmore this morning.  Most of them appeared to have run during the storm (1/27) and had been covered by at least 6 inches of new snow." Photo. S. Regnerus

  • From IG:

    Fairy lake today (1/27/23), remote trigger from top of the ridge

    About 2-2.5ft deep about 75-100 ft wide

     

  • We saw this rider triggered avalanche along the road to Buck Ridge. It was triggered today, 1/27/23. 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

  • From Big Sky Ski Patrol 1/21/23: "skier triggered a surface wind slab in Wyoming Bowl that broke 8-12” deep. It propagated to an estimated 150’ wide- SS, R1/D1.5... The slide was small, no one was hurt, and the avalanche was reported (which we appreciate), with no further public involvement other than the trigger."

  • Natural soft slab release likely in the last 36 hours. Seen from in-bounds at the Yellowstone Club. Avalanche location at 45.2116512 N 111.47811 W at the headwaters of Muddy Creek. 

  • 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

  • Sinking waist deep into faceted snow in the 1st Yellowmule. GNFAC photo. 1/13/23


     

  • Darren Johnson was a passionate skier, patroller, and wildland firefighter and this fund helps his memory live on. During the week of January 16, 2023, there are two events happening to help spread awareness about the DJ Fund and generate donations for the next recipients to attend National Avalanche School in October 2024. The first event is at the Independent Theatre on Tuesday, January 17. This charity event has a $10 entry fee which includes a raffle ticket to a silent auction. On Thursday, January 19, join us at Beehive Basin Brewery for a raffle and pint night in which $1 from every pint sold goes into the DJ Memorial Fund.

    To donate to the Darren Johnson Avalanche Education Memorial Fund visit djmemorialfund.org, or join us at these two exciting events hosted by Yellowstone Club Ski Patrol. Huge thanks to all who have sponsored and donated to these events.

  • A rider triggered a small avalanche in First Yellowmule on Sunday that broke approximately 6-8" deep, 60' wide, and ran 20'. Photo: D. Kristensen

  • While skiing around our boundaries I observed well developed surface hoar that was relatively widespread in undisturbed areas. The photo included seemed to go well with the fx. Photo: J. Aid

  • Snowmobile triggered slide (~1ft deep and ~20x20 ft) at the head of Muddy Creek (NE Aspect, 9400 ft) off Buck Ridge. Looks like it was likely triggered on Sunday (Jan 1st) in a shallow spot near rocks. Photo: GNFAC (1/3/2023)

  • Jan 3, 2023: Dug a pit and found weak and unstable snow. We backtracked to the ridge. A recent avalanche from 2 days ago involved new, windblown snow. 

  • Natural avalanche on 1/1/23 on Saddle Peak. Appeared to involve the new, wind-drifted snow. Photo: BBSP

  • 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

  • Surface hoar south to south east aspects, potentially more aspects, will confirm later this afternoon. 

  • 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

  • Big Sky Ski patrol triggered this very large deep slab avalanche with explosives during routine mitigation work on 12/28/22. Photo: BSSP

  • Large avalanche in the 2nd Yellow Mule that is probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • A large avalanche in the 2nd Yellow Mule that was probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw two large avalanches in the 2nd Yellow Mule that were probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Hard slabs on heavily wind-loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We dug in the second yellow mule, NE aspect 9,300' and HS was 93 cm. Here we had ECTP26 on the layer of facets near the bottom of the snowpack.

    We saw two large avalanches in the 2nd Yellow Mule that were probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Hard slabs on heavily wind-loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • At Buck Ridge there was a stout ice crust (maybe a rain/mist crust) about 10cm down that is not a problem at the moment, but notable due to being widespread and unusual for our normally dry 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

  • Today we toured up Beehive Basin to Prayer Flags and down into Bear Basin. We found moderate winds transporting snow at Prayer Flags. We also observed a recent small natural avalanche that broke just below the cornice at prayer flags (9200'). It was unclear if a cornice collapse triggered the avalanche. We did not go to the crown, but estimated it to be about 20-30 feet wide, 6-8 inches deep, and running less than 100 feet. Photo: J. Breen

  • Obs 12/17: "Saturday afternoon on the way back into town snow was moving in the Spanish peaks. Nice light" 

  • From obs: 12/16: "I thought this would be interesting to share but while driving around Gallatin gateway today I noticed multiple small wind pockets that released in steep draws in the gateway foothills area." Photo: M. Gaffney

  • Cornice dropped in Slats and propagated slab at a weak layer of facets around 70cm height from ground. Dug a snow pit of 140cm and got etc results on the same layer ECTP26 stubborn but holds a large consequence. Photo: Z. Bailey

     

  • Cornice dropped in Slats and propagated slab at a weak layer of facets around 70cm height from ground. Dug a snow pit of 140cm and got etc results on the same layer ECTP26 stubborn but holds a large consequence. Photo: Z. Bailey

     

  • 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

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

  • Today

    Today: A 30 percent chance of snow before 11am.  Patchy blowing snow before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 19. Wind chill values as low as zero. Northwest wind 16 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow
    then Mostly
    Cloudy

    High: 19 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 12 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23. Wind chill values as low as zero. West southwest wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    High: 23 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Snow likely, mainly after 11pm.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly after 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. Wind chill values as low as -5. Windy, with a south southwest wind 18 to 23 mph increasing to 25 to 30 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Snow Likely
    and Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 13 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times.  High near 15. Breezy, with a west wind 20 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

    Breezy. Heavy
    Snow then
    Snow Likely

    High: 15 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2. West northwest wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 2 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 19. Southwest wind 10 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 19 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 7. South wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 7 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 27.

    Sunny

    High: 27 °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.

02 / 5 / 23  <<  
 
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