Trip Planning for Southern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today5″ | 10-30 NW
Feb 5 0″ | 17-21 S
Feb 4 0″ | 20-35 SW
9460′     02/06 at 10:00
14.4℉
- 22mph
Gusts Unknown mph
9000′     /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

Southern Madison
Taylor Fork
Many natural slides in Taylor Fork
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Taylor Fork
HS-N-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,400
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.0659, -111.2820
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

We rode to the Taylor Fork weather station (near Pika Point on the rim of Sunlight Basin) and noticed a few slides along the way. At the weather station we could see that the north end of the basin natural avalanched: the slopes from where the cornices end in Sunlight Basin past Pika Point. It broke up to 2.5 feet deep on an old layer of facets and surface hoar. The slide was R2 D2, 3-400 feet vertical and at least 750 feet wide. It was a large Hard Slab. We spent time at the crown digging, making a movie and getting cold. No surprises, just great to see a real avalanche. We also saw smaller slides looking west from the station, close by. Afterward, we rode to the Sage/Carrot divide in deep snow; hero riding. Skyline Ridge was obscured in clouds.

On the drive back to Bozeman we could see many slides on road cuts and on slopes across the river; low elevation avalanches that we don’t get to see often.

The avalanche recorded in this form is the one in Sunlight Basin that we made the movie about.


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • 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."

  • 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."

  • 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

  • A photo of a skier-triggered avalanche above Hebgen Lake. Photo: S. Reinsel

  • 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.

  • We found a layer of preserved surface hoar that propagated failure in the Taylor Fork. This will be something to watch with incoming snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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. 

  • From obs: "While riding a small NNE facing slope near the trail on Buck Ridge, a snowboarder triggered and followed a cornice slide that propagated approximately 75 feet and slid about 20' vertical. The one rider was caught and carried approx. 10' and ended up buried upright, waist deep with no injuries."

     

  • From obs: "While riding a small NNE facing slope near the trail on Buck Ridge, a snowboarder triggered and followed a cornice slide that propagated approximately 75 feet and slid about 20' vertical. The one rider was caught and carried approx. 10' and ended up buried upright, waist deep with no injuries."

     

  • From email: "I came across this older avalanche yesterday when I was guiding a group in the Kirkwood area, it’s an area in the Cabin Creek drainage. It looked to be an older natural slide probably just after the last storm cycle a few days to almost a week ago now. North, North East Aspect. Approximately 39 degree slope (Because of a creek with open water just below the slide, I couldn’t get close enough to accurately measure the slope)". Photo: J. Norlander

     

     

     

  • Small deep avalanche in Cabin Creek. Likely broke 1/1/23. GNFAC photo.

     

  • Small deep natural avalanche in Cabin Creek. Likely broke 1/1/23. GNFAC photo.

     

  • From instagram: "Right off the trail at tepee creek just before the cabin. A natural slide about 2ft crown". Photo: M. Neu

  • From FB message: “Near Sage Creek/Sage Mountain in carrot basin. This was a east facing, wind loaded slope. Snowmobile triggered below the rock line. No burials.”

  • From FB message: “Near Sage Creek/Sage Mountain in carrot basin. This was a east facing, wind loaded slope. Snowmobile triggered below the rock line. No burials.”

  • From FB message: “Near Sage Creek/Sage Mountain in carrot basin. This was a east facing, wind loaded slope. Snowmobile triggered below the rock line. No burials.”

  • Skiers at Bacon Rind observed widespread surface hoar. Photo: S. Gill

  • 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 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

  • Snow above collapsed into the trench from my sled, looked to have broken on a weak layer about 1.5’ down. 

  • Natural avalanche in Sage Basin. Appear to have broken on a layer of facets underneath the new snow. Photo taken 12/28/22. Likely occurred early morning or overnight. Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural avalanche in Sage Basin. Appear to have broken on a layer of facets underneath the new snow. Photo taken 12/28/22. Likely occurred early morning or overnight. 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

  • 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

  • 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

     

  • From obs 12/3/22: "Looking east from the top of [Ernie Miller] ridge, we noted another crown on a west aspect that looked to be about 100' wide and deep." Photo: H. Darby

  • From obs 12/3/22: "Looking toward Ernie Miller ridge, we noted an old crown in the main bowl just below the summit. It was on an E-NE aspect, 200 or more feet wide and looked to be filled in with new snow but was still visible." Photo: H.Darby

  • From obs 12/3/22: "Toured up to Bacon Rind today and skied meadows off of the ridge. Dug a pit at 8700' on a W aspect. HS was 70cm. We got an ECTP12 45 cm up from the ground at the interface between wind packed snow and a layer of .5-1mm facets and mixed forms. That layer made up the bottom 45cm of the snowpack in that area. Dug another pit at 8800' on an E aspect. HS was 115cm. We got an ECTP 14 50cm up from the ground on that same interface as described above. The bottom 50cm of the snowpack looked to be facets and mixed forms. The upper 65cm in that area was a mixture of different layers of wind packed grains that ranged from F to 4F hardness." Photo: H. Darby

  • From obs 12/3/22: "Toured up to Bacon Rind today and skied meadows off of the ridge. Dug a pit at 8700' on a W aspect. HS was 70cm. We got an ECTP12 45 cm up from the ground at the interface between wind packed snow and a layer of .5-1mm facets and mixed forms. That layer made up the bottom 45cm of the snowpack in that area. Dug another pit at 8800' on an E aspect. HS was 115cm. We got an ECTP 14 50cm up from the ground on that same interface as described above. The bottom 50cm of the snowpack looked to be facets and mixed forms. The upper 65cm in that area was a mixture of different layers of wind packed grains that ranged from F to 4F hardness." Photo: H. Darby

  • We just installed a new Beacon Checker at the Fir Ridge Trailhead which leads into Teepee Basin and Cabin Creek. Thanks Jim Norlander for installing it! Photo: J. Norlander

  • 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

WebCams


Raynolds Pass, Looking N

Snowpit Profiles- Southern Madison

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Southern Madison

Extended Forecast for

20 Miles S Big Sky MT

  • Today

    Today: A 40 percent chance of snow before noon.  Patchy blowing snow between 11am and 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 24. Northwest wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow
    then Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 24 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind 9 to 14 mph becoming south southwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 12 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 23. South southwest wind 13 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 23 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Snow likely, mainly after midnight.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly after 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Wind chill values as low as -5. Windy, with a south southwest wind 23 to 28 mph increasing to 29 to 34 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 41 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Snow Likely
    and Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 14 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow.  High near 18. Windy, with a west wind 24 to 29 mph becoming west northwest 31 to 36 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Windy. Snow
    then Snow
    Likely

    High: 18 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 1. Blustery, with a west northwest wind 19 to 29 mph decreasing to 7 to 17 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 36 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Blustery then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 1 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 21. South southwest wind 7 to 11 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 21 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 5. South wind 11 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 5 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 28.

    Sunny

    High: 28 °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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