Regional Conditions for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Feb 243″ | 30-40 NW
Feb 23 0″ | 5-20 NW
Feb 22 0″ | 5-20 WNW
10,000′     02/25 at 01:00
2.1℉
N - 18mph
Gusts 23mph
9100′   02/25 at 1:00
7℉
84″ Depth
Bottom Line: Today new snow and moderate wind create fresh slabs that can avalanche naturally or be triggered by a skier or snowmobiler. These fresh slabs increase the possibility of avalanches breaking at least 3-5 feet deep at the base of the snowpack. Large natural avalanches are possible as slopes are loaded with new snow and fresh drifts this afternoon. Anticipate stability to decrease, and take a step back from larger, committing objectives.

Past 5 Days

Thu Feb 20

Moderate
Fri Feb 21

Moderate
Sat Feb 22

Moderate
Sun Feb 23

Moderate
Mon Feb 24

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Cooke City Area

Southern Gallatin
Specimen Creek
Small natural wet loose and wind slab in S. Gallatins
Specimen Creek
WL-N-R1-D1
Elevation: 8,500
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0265, -111.0480
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From an obs on 2/23/20: "...today toured up above 9000 ft on Meldrum and some surrounding hills.... No cracking, collapsing, or naturals observed aside from some small wet loose that occurred yesterday in steep S rocky terrain at 8500 ft.... HS 150+ with depth hoar 130 down. The new snow will be falling on a variety of snow surfaces from crusts (E-S-W) to wind board (ridgelines) to NSFs (N). Temperatures warmed to above freezing today to at least 9000 ft. Winds increased to moderate out of the west by 1400 with some wind transport occurring at ridgelines."

From another group on Electric Peak on 2/23/20: "One recent natural avalanche near the ridgeline roughly 30 cm deep probably due to wind loading (D1) and a handful of natural loose wet (D1) avalanches on southerly aspects. Dug a quick pit on the face (10700’ NE 30 degree slope HS 190cm) and got an ECTP23 @ 35 below the surface on a hardness change below a 1F fresh windslab... Also, bulletproof windboard below the first roll (@10200’) and cranking winds!"


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Scotch Bonnet
Snowmobile triggered on Scotch Bonnet, Cooke City
Incident details include images
Scotch Bonnet
HS-AM-R1-D2-O
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: SW
Coordinates: 45.0706, -109.9520
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

"Seemed stability was getting better, but did see this minor slide that pulled out on Scotch Bonnet Mountain. Evidently triggered by a snowmobile sometime mid-day Saturday."


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Wolverine Peak
Natural on Wolverine Peak Cooke City
Wolverine Peak
Coordinates: 45.0530, -110.0100
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

"While sled skiing a bowl over, we noticed the second half of a natural slide. We forgot to go over and take photos, but it seemed like it was either a cornice break or a point release, and slid somewhere around 1,000 feet."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Cooke City Area

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From obs: "Seemed stability was getting better, but did see this minor slide that pulled out on Scotch Bonnet Mountain. Evidently triggered by a snowmobile sometime mid-day Saturday." Photo: R. Larson

  • "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

  • "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

  • From IG #gnfacobs post: "An avalanche from early Tuesday (02/18) morning caused by a natural cornice fall. Note the step down partway down the path. ENE @ 9700. Ran 1300’." Photo: A. Whitmore

  • From IG #gnfacobs post: "An avalanche from early Tuesday (02/18) morning caused by a natural cornice fall. Note the step down partway down the path. ENE @ 9700. Ran 1300’." Photo: A. Whitmore

  • From email on 2/21/20: "...observed today from the highway. It appears like it was probably triggered by a skier yesterday (on Feb. 20).  It was on a south aspect around 8,000', and estimated to be 1-2' deep and about 30' wide." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • "A small slide approx 100 ft wide ran about 40 vertical feet. Crown was 3-4 feet deep. Aspect, SE. Trigger unknown however tracks indicate it was likely a snowmobile trigger." Photo: Reed Youngbar

  • Cooke City is getting deep! The total snow height is 315 cm. Our pit results on Scotch Bonnet were a variety of ECTNs in the upper layers of the snowpack. When placing our probe for stability tests we could feel the weak snow near the ground as our probes just dropped through the lower 60 cm of the snowpack. I am still worried about the deep layers, but it has been a while since they performed and it seems like it will take a big trigger (i.e. a cornice drop), a big storm to add weight, or some really bad luck to trigger one of the monster avalanches on the basal facets. Photo: GNFAC

  • We rode into Lionhead and found good stability. A sledder highmarked up the hill and then came down right next to us, confirming our results. Wind-loading from yesterday is still a concern, and so are the facets near the ground, although less so than a couple weeks ago. Photo: GNFAC

  • "I observed this collapse & propagation as I stepped over some wood in the skinner on the north ridge of Mount Ellis this morning, ~8000’, due East. I was tailing Chabot and his partner, and they had passed this way just minutes before." Photo: D. Rider

  • Natural avalanches on a west aspect at about 8300' a few miles west of Cooke City. These slides are about 2' deep and 30-50' wide. Photo: B Fredlund

  • "...a fresh avalanche observed out there today.  A south aspect around 9400', estimated to be 2-3' deep and 75' wide." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • "S facing slope, not sure how it was triggered, a foot deep crown at most." Photo: S. Strenge
     

  • "We’ve seen many instances of cracking and wind slab breaks the past two days riding in Cooke, most happened as we sledded past or down the slope." This slide is 4" deep. Photo: S. Strenge

  • "We’ve seen many instances of cracking and wind slab breaks the past two days riding in Cooke, most happened as we sledded past or down the slope." This slide is 4" deep. Photo: S. Strenge

  • On private property, this small child triggered a slide and climbed out of the debris, not buried. A very close call! On the heels of this large snowstorm there are possibilities of children getting caught on road cuts or any open hill!  Photo: Anonymous

  • We triggered this avalanche in the second Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on 2/6/2020 It is on a small roll/cornice "in the flats". It broke within the current 2-3' storm snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • A snowmobiler triggered this avalanche in the second Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on 2/6/2020 It is on a small roll/cornice "in the flats". It broke within the current 2-3' storm snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural crown that broke within the current 2-3' storm on a small terrain feature. It is in the second Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on 2/6/2020. Photo: GNFAC

  • The Nose of Town Hill avalanched on Feb. 1 due to the strong SWerly winds and looked to be triggered by a cornice fall (estimated 2-3' crown, about 75-100' wide).  Photo: B Fredlund

  • SEerly aspect around 8600'.  A thinner, smaller storm slab, triggered by dry loose from above. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • SWerly aspect around 9500'.  Deep slab, mid-slope.  I'd estimate that crown to be about 4-6' deep. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Winds Friday night transported snow creating fresh drifts that avalanched naturally over the weekend. This one on the east side of Woody Ridge appears to be 2-3' deep and 50' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • From email (1/30/2020): "2 natural avalanches that ran last night, just west of Cooke City.  Both slides were on easterly aspects around 9500'."

  • From email (1/30/2020): "2 natural avalanches that ran last night, just west of Cooke City.  Both slides were on easterly aspects around 9500'."

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. This is near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. This is near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. This is near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. Triggered from where Alex is standing. Near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City on a south facing slope at 10,000'. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slabs could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: L. Browning

  • We triggered an avalanche of wind-drifted snow as we approached very carefully from a low angle slope above, on 1/30/2020. It broke within recently drifted snow, but these slides could be enough weight to break deeper and wider on sugary layers deep in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • The 10' deep avalanche in 2nd Yellowmule is almost completely filled in now. In its place are massive cornices overhanging the slope. Give these beasts a lot of extra room as they can break back far from the edge. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands in a snowpit in Beehive Basin. Avalanches are getting harder to trigger, but in more shallow areas we are still finding a poor snowpack structure. The stability test scores are climbing higher, but still propagating and we did not ski the adjacent slope. Photo: GNFAC

  • February 1, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). This is the Friends of the Avalanche Center’s second biggest fundraiser of the year. Come on out and help us raise money by hiking and skiing laps on the ridge. Prizes, camaraderie and a good time is guaranteed. Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.

  • From email:

    "I wanted to make you aware of a snowmobile triggered slide in Lionhead today. Fortunately, I was not injured, was able to stay completely on top, climbed through the majority of the snow wash after seeing it begin to break, and relatively slowly slid down with the last of the moving snow while still on the machine. When I came to a stop, I stood up and was completely free of the snow. Our group is trained in avalanche safety, practiced beacon use prior to leaving town in the morning, were wearing avy gear, and were very fortunate that this ended up the way it did. 

    A clear reminder that this can happen to any of us and to be careful out there."

    Photo: Anonymous 

  • A large natural avalanche observed on the southwest face of Wolverine Peak. Photo: D. Wycoff

  • A large natural avalanche observed on the northwest face of Median Peak. Photo: D. Wycoff

  • Spotted the crown on our way down from Ripcurl yesterday, we got a closer look today when we toured into High Hayden. N aspect 10200' Photo: H. Coppolillo

  • Spotted the crown on our way down from Ripcurl yesterday, we got a closer look today when we toured into High Hayden. N aspect 10200' Photo: H. Coppolillo

  • This cornice triggered avalanche was on a NE facing slope at 9700'. It broke 300' wide, 3-6' deep and 150' vertical. It likely broke on 1/15 or 1/16/2020. Photo: GNFAC

WebCams


Soda Butte Lodge, looking West

Soda Butte Lodge, looking East

Weather Forecast Cooke City Area

Extended Forecast for

2 Miles NNE Cooke City MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Snow likely.  Mostly clear, with a steady temperature around 6. Wind chill values as low as -10. North northwest wind around 9 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 6 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 19. Wind chill values as low as -10. West wind 6 to 9 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 19 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -10. West wind around 9 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 4 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 50 percent chance of snow, mainly after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind around 10 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Chance Snow

    High: 25 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a low around 12. West wind around 10 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 12 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 30 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Chance Snow

    High: 28 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 12 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 34.

    Sunny

    High: 34 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 14.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 14 °F

The Last Word

On Saturday 2/15, three motorized snowbikers were caught in an avalanche in Colorado and two were killed. The full accident report is now available here. Please take the time to learn what we can from this and all accidents.