Regional Conditions for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Today5″ | 20-40 NW
Dec 8 9″ | 15-45 SW
Dec 7 0″ | 20-50 SW
10,000′     12/09 at 08:00
6.5℉
NW - 10mph
Gusts 14mph
9100′   12/09 at 9:00
15℉
Depth
Bottom Line: Strong westerly wind drifted 14” of heavy snow into thicker, heavier slabs which remain easy to trigger. Today, large avalanches are easy to trigger and avalanche terrain should be avoided, especially wind-loaded slopes.

Past 5 Days

Thu Dec 5

Moderate
Fri Dec 6

Moderate
Sat Dec 7

Low
Sun Dec 8

Considerable
Today

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Cooke City Area

Cooke City
Daisy Pass
Natural and human triggered slides in Cooke City
Incident details include images
Daisy Pass
Coordinates: 45.0532, -109.9610
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 0

Bill Whittle of Cooke City SAR reported that one sledder triggered a slide in a terrain trap to the northwest of Lulu Pass (45.06703, -109.97180). It caught him, but he was not buried. It only buried the tail of his sled. He hit his "SPOT" rescue beacon because he was stuck. A little while later a rider on a rental sled was unable to ascend Daisy Pass to return to town. As he was walking up the pass and others were retrieving his sled, a 2 foot deep (est.) natural slide released on the northeast aspect of Crown Butte that missed them.

Since the storm began 26 hours ago, 1.4" of snow water equivalent fell which is estimated to be 2 feet of snow.

Winds were W-SW averaging 10-20 mph with gusts reaching 44 mph (Lulu Pass weather station)


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Bridger Bowl
Bridger patrol triggered large slides on heavily wind loaded slopes
Incident details include images
Bridger Bowl
HS-ACc-R2-D3-O
Elevation: 8,500
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.8156, -110.9230
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Ski patrol triggered two large hard slab avalanches, one in Slushman's Ravine and the other in Mundy's Bowl, by knocking large cornices down on the slope. One was 4' deep, AC-HS-R2-D3-O, ran 1150' vertical. The other was 2.5' deep, AC-HS-R2-D2-O, ran 650' vertical. This was their first control in this area for the season, so the snowpack is similar to backcountry.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Gallatin
Hyalite - main fork
Natural and human triggered wind slab avalanches in Hyalite
Incident details include images
Hyalite - main fork
SS
Coordinates: 45.4472, -110.9620
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Observations from Hyalite today:

1. When approaching the base of Mt. Blackmore this morning at roughly 8:45am we observed strong swirling winds at higher elevations (summit of Blackmore and the Elephant/Blackmore Saddle). The winds we observed were primarily loading snow onto E and SE facing aspects. Furthermore, we witnessed four naturally triggered avalanches over a twenty minute span. All slides appeared to be D1/D2 on E and SE aspects and, seemingly, restricted to the newly loaded snow.

2. My partner and I climbed Zach Attack today. We intentionally triggered numerous size 1 wind slabs in the gully approaching the climb, which has slopes up to 35 degrees. These slabs were between 5 and 15 cm thick, up to 5m wide, 4F in hardness, touchy, and failed on lower density new snow. Although none of them ran more than 20m in this terrain, it would be a different story on steeper slopes, and if you were in an exposed position they had enough mass to push you around. Strong down and cross-slope winds formed these slabs at and below treeline, while the more alpine terrain of the climb itself was scoured.

3. Skied up in the main drainage of Hyalite today. Triggered some small wind slabs and propagating cracks. We backed off our main objective (a north facing couloir) because of these red flags and multiple crown lines on the same aspect and elevation.

 

More Avalanche Details

Photos- Cooke City Area

Displaying 1 - 40
  • A snowmobiler triggered an avalanche (yellow pin) north of Crown Butte (the gray mountain at the top of the image). This zone is typically approached from Lulu Pass. His sled was partially buried, but the rider was not. Lots of new snow in the last 24 hours created a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger.

  • This natural avalanche on the northeast side of Crown Butte near Daisy Pass (Cooke City) almost caught people below. Approximately 2 feet of snow has fallen with wind and the avalanche danger is rated CONSIDERABLE. Photo: B. Whittle

  • The Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol triggered this slide on a heavily wind-loaded east facing slope at the ridgeline. They wrote, "With a shovel push the vertical cornice/pillow broke 15''-36'' deep on a steep and rounded bulge just south of Lee's Leap running on the crust. The debris terminated well below Pat's Chute." Its code is HS-AC-R2-D2-O-TR. Photo: BBSP
  • This large avalanche was triggered intentionally by the Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol at the ridgeline above little Slushman's Ravine. They were cutting a cornice and it broke 7 feet back from the edge, 4 feet deep and 150 feet wide. It was a hard slab avalanche and ran 1150 feet. It was east facing and broke on a crust formed in the early season. It's code is HS-AC-R2-D3-O-TL. Photo: BBSP

  • We put up the Taylor Fork weather station today (12/03) and it is churning out hourly data. Check it out here: https://www.mtavalanche.com/weather/stations/taylor-fork

  • We partnered with the Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association to put in two new beacon checkers at the Taylor Fork and Buck Ridge trailheads. They are working great!

    Thanks GVSA! Photo: GNFAC

  • We recognize that backcountry skiing can be daunting to approach. That’s why Ben Goertzen and the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center have teamed up to help breakdown some of the most prominent barriers of entry to backcountry skiing through this campaign. One lucky winner will be given a complete backcountry skiing kit, a spot in an avalanche awareness course, and featured in a three part video series that ends with an excursion into the backcountry with professional skier and filmmaker, Ben Goertzen . These videos will be used by the Friends of GNFAC to help other aspiring backcountry skiers gain awareness, knowledge and start to breakdown their barriers to entry.

    Click Here for More Details on How to Enter

    Watch the Backcountry Barriers Launch Video: https://vimeo.com/376473804

  • This avalanche of wind-drifted snow was triggered with a ski cut on a southeast aspect at 9,800'. Photo: T. Chingas

  • This slide was triggered up Hyalite from 100' away. It was a wind loaded slope at 9,000', northeast aspect. Photo: T. Chingas

  • From an observation:

    When approaching the base of Mt. Blackmore this morning at roughly 8:45 am we observed strong swirling winds at higher elevations (summit of Blackmore and the Elephant/Blackmore Saddle). The winds we observed were primarily loading snow onto E and SE facing aspects. Furthermore, we witnessed four naturally triggered avalanches over a twenty minute span. All slides appeared to be D1/D2 on E and SE aspects and, seemingly, restricted to the newly loaded snow. Photo: SAM

  • From an email:

    "Chris and I toured up the East Ridge of Mineral today and dug a pit on a NE aspect around 9000'. HS 75 cm, mostly facets with the exception of the new snow. ECTX. We found more of a windslab on some more exposed features although it wasn't reactive for us and we saw no natural avalanches with the exception of a small slide in the couloir skier's left of the summit of Meridian. We were still a ways away but it appeared to have run on the old/new snow interface." Photo: Henry Coppolillo

  • From obs.: "New snow from 24 hours ago blew around the ridge tops from 11pm last night until 7am this morning ~30mph. This soft 4 finger slab was about 6”-7” deep and broke on a convex roll.... We were assessing the terrain carefully and expected this result." Photo: R. Christian-Frederick

  • We triggered this dry loose avalanche on a west facing slope in Beehive Basin on 11/30. 3-5" of recent snow easily slid on top of a crust. Photo: GNFAC

  • Dry loose snow avalanches were easy to trigger on Saturday 11/30 in Beehive Basin. Photo: GNFAC

  • These small crowns indicate that new snow may not bond well to the old snow surface. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • This snowpit was on a NE aspect at 10,000' on Henderson Bench. It was 3 feet deep and stable. Facets (weaker snow) are getting stronger. We will keep an eye on these to make sure the positive trend continues. Our snowpit profile is here. Photo: GNFAC

  • This 2-foot deep snowpit consisted of layers of crusts and facets. It was dug on a SW aspect at 9800' in Miller Drainage. Nothing broke clean in our stability tests and we are optimistic about it handling a load of new snow. Photo: GNFAC

    Snowpit profile is here.

  • We dug two pits, one on a SW aspect in the Rasta Chute off Scotch Bonnet Peak (marked with arrow) and another low on Fisher Peak at a spot called Wade's World (where Dave is standing). Photo: GNFAC

    Both snowpit profiles are here.

  • Dave Zinn dug a pit near the top of Rasta Chute (SW aspect) near Lulu Pass and found 65 cm of snow. The layers were crusts and some facets and we determined the slope to be stable. You can look at the snowpit profile here. Photo: GNFAC

  • Strong winds found snow to transport on Saturday 11/23. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs: "We took a tour up into the Maid today. A generally stable snowpack in the area, new snow seemed to bond well with the underneath crust layer. We did observe small pinwheels/rollers on steep pitches on southeast aspects, mostly due to the rocks heating up during the day. We also observed sluff buildup on aprons below the shadier and steep northern aspects." Photo: Tommy S.

  • "Lots of cracking up there this morning on fresh, mid elevation wind slabs"

    Photo: B. Nobel

  • "While skinning up to the top of Powder Park lift at Bridger, we had roughly 15' cracks propagate on an E/SE aspect. A snowpit showed roughly 8" of wind slab above a few inches of facets, on top of last week's rain crust." November 11, 2019.

    Photo: G. Lawrence

  • On November 8th, skiers found weak facets and surface hoar had formed during prior cold and dry weather. Keep an eye out for these weak layers if they get buried. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • On November 8th, skiers found weak facets and surface hoar had formed during prior cold and dry weather. Keep an eye out for these weak layers if they get buried. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Wet loose avalanches at Bridger Bowl (observed on 11/5).

    Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Wet loose avalanches at Bridger Bowl (observed on 11/5).

    Photo: G. Antonioli

  • We found sensitive wind slabs near ridgelines on Mt. Blackmore and evidence of recent cross-loading. Photo: GNFAC

  • Gusty north wind and moderate snowfall created unstable drifts of snow at Bridger on Monday (10/28). Some slid naturally and some were easily triggered by skiers. Photo: P. Hinz

  • Small storm slabs triggered at Bridger on 10/26. From email: "slab formation appeared isolated to leeward sides of midslope terrain features and rollovers as well as at ridgetops". 

    Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Large avalanche observed on 10/25 near Imp Peak in the Taylor Fork. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Large avalanche observed on 10/25 near Imp Peak in the Taylor Fork. 

    Photo: B. VandenBos

  • A local near Fairy Lake gets a taste of fresh October snow and wind. "You know it's somewhat windy when the goats start closing their eyes and their beards get blown sideways." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Strong westerly wind scoured snow off high ridgelines and slopes in the northern Bridger Range on Friday (10/11). Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Dry loose snow avalanches were observed on 10/10 as the recent snow settled. From e-mail "...saw some small, solar-initiated, dry loose snow slides in steep, rocky terrain (heads up ice climbers). With a firm surface beneath the new snow, these little guys were picking up steam quickly." Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Avalanche debris on the saddle near Hyalite Peak. This is indicative of the type of heavily wind loaded terrain near ridgelines where avalanches are most likely this time of year. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Broken off cornice on the saddle between Blackmore and Elephant on 10/5. "Snow was anywhere from inches deep with grass and rocks to hip deep. It was mostly knee deep though. Down in the flats below the bowl there was easily 8-10" fresh and another 2" on my way down..." Photo: @benjacobsenphoto

  • Ice Climbers on the Sphinx sent this photo from October 3, and noted,

    "No snow hazard of much concern on the approach. However, a quick hasty pit in an isolated wind pocket revealed a CT1 on this layer.  ice axe is to the ground." Photo: S. Magro

  • Wind transport of snow on Gallatin Peak, October 2, 2019. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • MSU SAW is October 9th from 5-9pm in SUB Ballroom A. www.montana.edu/outdoorrecreation/SAW.html for more info.

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

  • Today

    Today: A slight chance of snow before 11am, then a slight chance of snow after 2pm.  Increasing clouds, with a high near 20. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind 13 to 15 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 20 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a temperature falling to near 7 by 10pm, then rising to around 13 during the remainder of the night. Wind chill values as low as -10. West wind 13 to 15 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 7 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23. Wind chill values as low as -5. West southwest wind 15 to 20 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Partly Sunny

    High: 23 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -5. West southwest wind 11 to 14 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 11 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25. Southwest wind 11 to 13 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 25 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 13 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Snow likely, mainly after 11am.  Cloudy, with a high near 26. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Snow Likely

    High: 26 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 21. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 21 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 24. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

    Snow Likely

    High: 24 °F

The Last Word

Sadly, yesterday in Colorado a skier was buried and killed in an avalanche. This is the first avalanche fatality this season in the U.S. CAIC preliminary report.