Regional Conditions for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Apr 270″ | N/A
Apr 26 0″ | N/A
Apr 25 0″ | N/A
8775′     3/27 at 10:00
17 ℉
SE - 4 mph
Gusts 7 mph
7750′   07/10 at 4:00
-1″ Depth
Bottom Line: Spring weather can be highly variable and create a mix of avalanche problems to watch out for. Snow conditions and snow stability can change drastically from day to day or hour to hour. Anticipate rapid change and plan accordingly. Abundant snowfall over the winter with more spring snow to come makes avalanches possible into summer.

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Mt. Jefferson
Incident details include images

We rode around most of the Jefferson area. The area is covered in tracks wall to wall. Reminded me of Teepee basin after a holiday weekend. It was hard to find untracked snow. Really hard. Winds have blown but just didn't have much snow to move. We rode in a lot of avalanche terrain and even climbed several steep chutes. 

Notice a weak layer that produced ECTP15. I saw no signs of this layer in crossing test slopes or riding above another sidehill track
We triggered one wind slab about 10 ft wide and 4-8 inches deep. 
Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Hellroaring yurt, centennial range

we observed approximately 20 inches of new snow from the storm Wednesday 2/5 to Sat 2/8 morning. The storm ended very warm, even with about 10 minutes of rain Sat morning. This formed a thin breakable rain crust up to 9,000 feet. Over the day Saturday, we received an additional 2 inches of low density snow and heavy wind from the NW as a cold front passed. Sunday was clear, calm, cold, but by mid day had warmed south facing slopes to the point of wet roller balls. The only natural slide observed was in the buffalo hump area on a NE facing slope below a cliff band. It looked to be 2 feet deep, 200 feet wide.

Pit data:

On Sunday morning, pit dug on a SE facing slope 8400 feet. 152cm snowpack. ECT 13 broke at 125 cm, Quality 2. This broke on a rain/sun crust. Facets 0-30cm. The crust formed Saturday morning was prevelant and would be of concern after an additional load.

Pit on N facing aspect at 7800 feet showed 180cm depth and stable. Conducted CT and shovel shear with no results. However, Crust from Sat morning rain was evident and could be of concern after additional load.

We found the best conditions to be in protected bowls on West to North to East aspects.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Incident details include images

Spent the afternoon in Hellroaring drainage trekking to the hut. Around 2:30 the clouds cleared allowing us to view higher peaks and bowls. Did not observe any crown lines on steep cut banks above the creek, or higher up. Expected to hear and see more signs of instability, but did not. Suprisingly little wind and drifting during the last storm, 18-24" consolidated new snow in the last 2 weeks as evidenced by accumulation on the hut. Snow depth at 7500' in a SW facing meadow was 150 cm. Fairly close to what the White Elephant Snotel reports just a few miles away. Didn't have time to do pit tests since I was dropping a group off and my dog ruins any sense of an "undisturbed column", however in general this new snow apprears to have developed into a very dense and stiff slab 18-25" everywhere likely hiding the lurking dragon in low angle terrain we stayed in during our approach.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Hellroaring Creek
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials

Aspect: north
Slope: 30
HS: 160cm
Basic snow structure: round 160cm-50cm rounds, 50-40cm facets, 40-0cm large facets.
CT13 at 40cm not planar

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Reas Peak
Read Peak, Centenials -Island Park, ID
Incident details include images

Pictures sent to me from an out of state friend. No other info at this time other than that he was able to ride through it uphill.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Hellroaring Drainage
Incident details include images

During a 3+ mile tour from 6500' to 8500' we did not witness any old or recent avalanche activity on upper elevation slopes, or low elevation areas such as steep banks leading to the Hellroaring Creek where we have in previous season, that isn't to say that high winds haven't filled any observable crown lines in. The snow depth in this region was surprisingly shallow given the reported snow depths at reporting snotel stations. i.e., White Elephant Snotel. It seems as though high wind has scoured exposed areas including ridge tops West facing slopes heavily. Between 7,500' & 8,300', all NW-SW aspects had roughly 65cm of unconsolidated snow. The lower half of the snow pack consisted of various sized facets depending on aspect. In general, we observed a snowpack with poor structure and fair strength. Pit results did not yield propagation in any layers. Compressions tests showed low quality shearing at the interface between the new snow and the older faceted layers.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Two Top
Centennial Range and Two Top

As you're well aware, the snowpack around West is crap. We found conditions on Two Top to be very similar to Lionhead. We didn't see any avalanche activity but did get some large collapses and unstable test results. Surprisingly, conditions were quite different in the Centennials. We rode on the west side of the range and found 30-50 cm's of snow on south and west-facing slopes. These aspects lacked weak layers near the ground and had a relatively shallow but stable snowpack. As we ventured onto shadier slopes (north-east) we found a different structure. Snow from early in the season had faceted and was capped by a 30-50 cm slab. In general, the snowpack in Centennials is better than Lionhead and Two Top.

Full Snow Observation Report

Avalanche Activity- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Photos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Displaying 1 - 40
  • This year's report documents all the work we did this past winter. You can read or download a report HERE.


  • "...some wet slides from Tuesday/Wednesday (5/26-5/27) up W Fork Rock Creek." Photo: S. Magro

  • From (5/17/20): "...WS - ASu - R3 - D2 - I SE face of Middle Basin Peak starting at 10,000' Estimated SZ of 30° Slab depth of about 8". We were out too late in the day and chose to ignore a number of observational warnings. We were lucky and remotely triggered the avalanche below us."

  • A very large natural wet slab ran on the afternoon of 5/19 at the Yellowstone Club. (Screenshot from the Y.C. Timberline chair webcam)

  • From obs: "Here are a few snaps from yesterday (5/2/20), looking into the Absaroka from up on Emigrant. Fair bit of smaller, pockety wet slab activity in steep, rocky terrain near the middle/upper transition. I didn't see anything larger than D2 or any activity in true upper elevation terrain." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs: "Here are a few snaps from yesterday (5/2/20), looking into the Absaroka from up on Emigrant. Fair bit of smaller, pockety wet slab activity in steep, rocky terrain near the middle/upper transition. I didn't see anything larger than D2 or any activity in true upper elevation terrain." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs (5/3/20): "N facing gulley, probably similar results from the Pine Creek avalanche posted on 4/29. Avalanche appears to be natural and possibly a couple days old. Ran about 400’ wide in the cone and damned up the creek with massive cement-like debris. There were more similar avalanches on N facing aspects the more I traveled. The skinning was isothermic and sloppy as each step fell through the snowpack to the ground"

  • From e-mail (5/1/20): "...the mountains are coming unglued with the 4 nights of no freeze and heavy rain.  My party ventured up pine creek to take a look and found this big one that ran either yesterday or last night. 

  • From April 30, 6 pm to May 1, 6 pm. Give Big is a fund-raising campaign to rally support for local non-profits. Get more info and donate to the Friends of the Avalanche Center's campaign here.

  • From obs (4/26/20): "....a wet slide from a n-ne couloir up mission creek near elephant head in the absarokas between 10-11:30 this morning. Snow did not freeze over last night and was heavily saturated early this morning before the sun rose." Photo: @laura_delray

  • All surfaces except the upper North faces were getting wet and sticky. We observed lots of wet loose avalanches actively happening on SE-E facing slopes. We found some cold buffy snow on north-facing slopes, not amazing skiing. There was one small crown on a steep East facing slope that looked to be from the most recent storm but everything else was loose wet. Small wind slabs from the last snow seemed to be glued down today. Photo: S. Jonas

  • From IG obs (4/19/20): "Saw quite a few natural wet slides back in Middle Basin over the past two days, April 17-18. Witnessed several break loose naturally after about 2pm on anything from SW to SE slopes." Photo: @joshpelczar

  • Fresh drifts broke naturally along the ridgeline which became long running wet slides. 4/17/20. Photo: GNFAC

  • Pinwheels of snow indicate the surface is wet and losing strength. These were observed at Bridger on 4/17/20, caused by a skier crossing above. Photo: A. Crawford

  • Skiers in Beaver Creek in southern Madison Range on 4/12/20 reported: "...There were probably a couple dozen [wet slides] in total, including several small ones that ran into Beaver Creek road. Every solar aspect had multiple slides from the past few days of warm weather, at elevations from the road up to 10000', but none were larger than any my partner and I observed near Lionhead on 4/9 (≤D2)." Photo: S. Reinsel

  • From IG message (4/10/20): "Huge cornice release on north face of Blackmore today around 11am. North face was not hot yet but I am guessing the rocks on the back side transferred the heat?" Photo: @graeme.emerson

  • From obs (4/8/20): "My partner and I noticed this slide as we summited 10602 at approximately 10:30am, which is when I took the first photo and was able to capture the full runout. After our descent of the peak, we skinned back up to the slide to get a better look (the second photo). The slide appeared approximately a day old, with a crown 1-2 feet deep, on an almost directly north-facing aspect at 10200" elevation. It broke right along the rocks that had heated up in the sun, and was around 200-300 feet at its widest. We did not get close enough to determine which layer failed (suspected wind from the heavy wind-crust in the neighboring area), but the debris at the bottom indicated it was a wet slide." Photo: L. Ippolito

  • Cornice triggered avalanches in Mundy's Bowl at Bridger Bowl. Unsure if natural or skier triggered from the ridgeline. Observed the morning of 4/5/20. Appear to be dry slab/loose. Photo: T. Gittins

  • From obs. (4/4/20): "Rode Tepee today... Got ECTP 24 & 25 on a thin layer of SH... We also saw a few cornice drops that pulled out small slabs, new snow only..." Photo: E. Knoff

  • Close up of a crystal from the surface hoar layer buried 2-3 feet deep north of Bridger Bowl and throughout most of the advisory area.

    From 4/3/20: "I dug a quick pit at ~7450’ on a protected east 36 degree slope - HS 240cm...ECTP18@175 on 3-6mm preserved surface hoar (photos -1mm grid)... All results repeated identically in a second ECT... Seeing the reactive SH layer I opted out of skiing anything that had a distinct rollover or was steeper..." Photo: Z. Miller

  • Sunday (3/29/20) skiers near Fairy Lake saw this cornice collapse that ran for quite a ways in October bowl. Photo: T. Gittins

  • From obs. (3/29/20): "Significant wind started building mid morning, forming even bigger cornices and wind loading many slopes. Noticed this slide on an East/Northeast aspect at the back of the bowl above Maid of the Mist creek, possibly triggered by cornice fall but unknown. Happened between 9:45am and 11:30am today, as at 9:30am it was not there, and when we returned to the spot around 11:30am the slide was visible." Photo: CP

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • Today

    Today: Sunny, with a high near 68. South southeast wind 10 to 18 mph becoming north northwest in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.


    High: 68 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Clear, with a low around 46. Southwest wind 15 to 20 mph becoming east 5 to 10 mph in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.


    Low: 46 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 72. North northeast wind 6 to 14 mph becoming south southwest in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.


    High: 72 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 50. South wind 8 to 13 mph becoming east after midnight.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 50 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 71. Breezy, with a south southeast wind 9 to 14 mph becoming southwest 19 to 24 mph in the afternoon.

    Sunny then
    Sunny and

    High: 71 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 46. Breezy, with a west southwest wind 18 to 23 mph becoming north northwest 10 to 15 mph after midnight.

    Partly Cloudy
    and Breezy
    then Partly

    Low: 46 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 64. West northwest wind 9 to 15 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 64 °F

  • Monday

    Monday Night: A slight chance of showers before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. West wind around 10 mph becoming north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Showers then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 43 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

    Partly Sunny
    then Slight

    High: 61 °F

The Last Word

Thank you to everyone that sent in observations, read the advisories, took an avalanche class or donated money, time or gear. Our success is directly related to community support and the Forest Service. Have a safe and enjoyable spring and summer. See you next Fall!