Regional Conditions for Northern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Today1″ | NA
Apr 1 6″ | N/A
Mar 31 3″ | N/A
9980′     03/22 at 13:00
41.0℉
S - 0mph
Gusts 8mph
8100′   04/02 at 8:00
9℉
95″ Depth
Bottom Line: A large storm ended yesterday morning which dropped 14-20” of new snow. This created instability throughout our forecast area. Yesterday, avalanches released naturally and a few were human triggered. All this activity occurred in the upper 2-3 feet of the snowpack on a weak interface of either an ice crust, feathery surface hoar, or small-grained facets. It really doesn’t matter which since they are all a similar depth and unstable. There is still a strong possibility of triggering slides, most notably on wind-loaded slopes or steep terrain that has not sluffed. Cracking, collapsing and recent avalanche activity are bulls-eye information to avoid a slope.

Past 5 Days

Sun Mar 29

Moderate
Mon Mar 30

Moderate
Tue Mar 31

Moderate
Wed Apr 1

Considerable
Today

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Northern Gallatin

Northern Gallatin
Mt Ellis
Skier triggered small sluffs on Little Ellis
Incident details include images
Mt Ellis
L-ASc-R0-D1
Elevation: 7,450
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.5777, -110.9550
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Winds only 5mph out of the west, temps in the 20’s, 8-10” new snow overnight. Dry-loose intentionally triggered D-1’s from ridge-top on 45 degree NE-facing slopes at 7450’. Otherwise, no obvious signs of instability, skied down through N Ridge glades.


More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Quake Lake
Collapsing and natural avalanches at Quake Lake
Incident details include images
Quake Lake
SS-N-I
Elevation: 9,600
Coordinates: 44.8524, -111.3920
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

"I skied near Quake Lake today, and observed several signs that the snowpack has not adjusted to this last storm yet. While ascending, several drifts collapsed under my weight, and I observed a very recent natural slide on a wind-loaded, east facing slope at about 9200'. I saw another, larger natural slide on a wind-loaded N/NW slope at 9600' that looked to have run on the new/old interface sometime late yesterday. I dug a pit on a south aspect at 9900', and found a thin layer of graupel on top of a crust 35cm down. This failed at ECTP3, which was a little hair-raising. The rest of the pack on that aspect seemed to be fairly well consolidated..."


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Hebgen Lake
Multiple signs of instability above Hebgen Lake
Hebgen Lake
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 44.8381, -111.3430
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Today at Hebgen we were all excited obviously about the new snow.  Having heard about and seen the surface hoar that formed several weeks ago, this was definitely on my mind, but figured like usual we would mitigate our risk and stay on mellower terrain to avoid causing or being caught in a slide. As we got higher and broke out into 1 of the higher meadows we got a good woomph that stopped the three of us in our tracks. We skinned a little further and then dug a pit confirming what we were already concerned about, ectp 18. We rode from the ridge and then cut back to the skintrack along the ridge (commonly where most folks skin up) and kept out of the steeper slide paths.

4 red flags I observed, not to mention the Considerable danger rating given in the morning for S. Madison.  1) the big woomph 2) poor test results 3) riding in or near terrain traps.


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Northern Gallatin

Displaying 1 - 40
  • This tree near the north ridge shows no signs of wind during the storm. Photo: PC

  • "I skied near Quake Lake today, and observed several signs that the snowpack has not adjusted to this last storm yet. While ascending, several drifts collapsed under my weight, and I observed a very recent natural slide on a wind-loaded, east facing slope at about 9200'." Photo: Sam Reinsel

  • We dug this pit adjacent to a snowmobiler triggered avalanche. It broke on the surface hoar layer which is located at the top blue crystal card. The bottom card denotes the larger grains of facets that formed early in the winter. Photo: GNFAC

  • This surface hoar crystal is almost 1.5 cm (each square is 2mm) and was the weak layer in a few avalanches on Buck Ridge (3/29/20). Photo: GNFAC

  • There were many tracks in Buck Ridge and only a few small slides in First Yellowmule. This picture is looking SW towards Sphinx Mountain. Feathery crystals of surface hoar are buried 1-1.5' under the surface and are a concern. This layer seems to be more prevalent in protected areas. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche from afar. It was NE aspect and likely failed on a layer of surface hoar 1-1.5' deep. The Madison Valley is in the background. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs (3/29/20): "...in Maid of the Mist basin there were multiple loose wet avalanches [and a slab] caused by a piece of the cornice falling off on Pt. 10201." Photo: N. Salsburg

  • From obs (3/29/20): "On our approach to Maid of the Mist, my partner and I watched several small point release avalanches on the east face of Palace Butte..." Photo: N. Salsburg

  • 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

  • Main Fork of Hyalite 3/27.

    From obs: "This slide popped on a N aspect at 9000', ranging from 18-30 inches deep... it slid on a crust." Photo: N. Iltis

  • From obs: "Later in the day we ran across what we assume to be a remotely triggered avalanche from another party in the area. There were two sets of tracks on the adjacent slope with cracks visible on the slope. The avalanche occurred on a 40* east aspect at 9250' and failed on the MFcr/FC dn 35cm. We looked at the crown profile, and the structure was very similar to what we found on souths. 35cm of F->4F PP/DF overlaying MFcr/FC. We did an ECT on the crown and it failed on isolation. Skiing out the trail with better light than in the morning, we saw a number of similar avalanches confined to east aspects on steep 40*+ rolls and presumably failing on the persistent grains above the crust." Photo: E. Coba

  • In the Bridger Range, avalanches released naturally on a density change in the new snow sometime Tuesday night (3/24). Photo: E. Knoff

  • In the Bridger Range, avalanches released naturally on a density change in the new snow sometime Tuesday night (3/24). Photo: E. Knoff

  • 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

  • From south of Big Sky yesterday 3/17 about 9:00, just north of Buck Ridge at 8500'. Large surface hoar on northerly aspects. Photo: Spence

  • 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

  • From the Blackmore/Elephant saddle, I observed what looked to be a less than a day old cornice break which triggered a loose wet slide in front of it. The cornice debris was large, about the size of a VW beetle. I also observed some surface hoar on the north side of the saddle. Photo: B. Gordon

  • Spencer Jonas, GNFAC intern, in a snowpit in Beehive Basin. We found over 6 feet of snow and just dug our the top 4 feet to assess the stability. The new snow is bonding well and there were no signs of instability. Photo: GNFAC

  • Cornices have grown rapidly in the last few days. These will be susceptible to breaking and could trigger pillows of wind slabs under them. Photo: Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol

  • Strong wind stripped snow off many slopes above treeline. Photo: GNFAC

  • This naturally triggered avalanche likely happened Tuesday morning. Strong wind loaded slopes and made huge cornices. Photo: GNFAC

  • The winds blew the new new into wind slabs that avalanched naturally yesterday. This photo was taken at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday (3/10) by Evan Schock.

  • Dry loose avalanches on Blackmore. The snow stayed surprisingly cold and dry throughout the day. Photo: R Rustigian

  • A falling cornice triggered a large slide in the wet snow on an east facing slope up Hyalite. It was north of Mt. Blackmore and west of History Rock. Photo: R. Parsons

  • A falling cornice triggered a large slide in the wet snow on an east facing slope up Hyalite. It was north of Mt. Blackmore and west of History Rock. Photo: R. Parsons

  • A google earth view of the cornice triggered location, 

    45.4626N, -111,0219W
    8766'

    Photo: R. Parsons

  • From obs.: "photo of “Avalanche Peak” just south of Lava Lake driving north on HWY 191, all likely from yesterday (3/6)." Photo: S. Jonas

  • 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

  • "Saw this avalanche that broke on a NW facing slope around 9300’. Looks to have failed on the facets at the ground ... the crown was 4-5’."

    Photo: M. Murray

  • "Saw this avalanche that broke on a NW facing slope around 9300’. Looks to have failed on the facets at the ground ... the crown was 4-5’."

    Photo: M. Murray

  • 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

  • Crown 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. It broke 2-3' deep on weak sugary snow near the ground. It was on a West aspect at 7,500' elev., 100' wide, 600' long. Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Northern Gallatin

WebCams


Bozeman Pass, Looking SE

Weather Forecast Northern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

14 Miles SE Gallatin Gateway MT

  • Today

    Today: A chance of snow before 3pm, then a slight chance of snow after 5pm.  Partly sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -5. East northeast wind 6 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon.  Chance of precipitation is 30%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 21 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 7. Wind chill values as low as -10. Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph becoming south southwest in the evening.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 7 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 40 percent chance of snow after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -10. Southwest wind 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Chance
    Snow

    High: 25 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. South southwest wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 16 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 31. Southwest wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 31 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. South southeast wind around 10 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    Low: 18 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Snow likely, mainly before noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33. South wind around 10 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 33 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A chance of snow after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. South wind around 10 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Snow

    Low: 23 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A chance of snow before noon, then snow showers likely after noon. Some thunder is also possible.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 37.

    Snow Showers
    Likely

    High: 37 °F

The Last Word

A backcountry skier was caught and injured in an avalanche in Colorado on Tuesday, 3/31. Details are here. This incident is on the heels of another avalanche on 3/24 that caught, partially buried and injured a snowboarder (details here). Backcountry rescues are risky in the best of times. With COVID-19 running amok, rescuers are also at risk to exposing each other to the virus. Be smart, be safe and think of others.