Regional Conditions for Southern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Today4″ | 20-45 WNW
Dec 8 4″ | 15-30 SW
Dec 7 0″ | 20-35 S
9460′     12/09 at 09:00
8.1℉
E - 4mph
Gusts 7mph
9000′   12/09 at 9:00
11℉
34″ Depth
Bottom Line: Yesterday, moderate to strong westerly wind drifted 8-10” of new snow into thick slabs which overloaded an unstable snowpack. Today, dangerous avalanche conditions exist and large avalanches are easy to trigger. The poor snowpack structure makes it possible to trigger avalanches from low angle terrain below steep slopes. Avoid travel on and underneath steep slopes.
Avalanche Concern: Persistent Weak Layer

Past 5 Days

Thu Dec 5

Moderate
Fri Dec 6

Moderate
Sat Dec 7

Moderate
Sun Dec 8

Considerable
Today

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Southern Gallatin

Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Many natural avalanches on Buck Ridge
Incident details include images
Buck Ridge
SS-N-R1-D1.5-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.1719, -111.3800
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Riders reported multiple natural slab avalanches on N facing slopes.


More Avalanche Details
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
Southern Gallatin
Specimen Creek
Collapses in s. Gallatin
Specimen Creek
Elevation: 8,300
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0265, -111.0480
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail: "Skied up to 8300 feet on Meldrum Mountain until I succumbed to the deadfall and turned around. Poor structure with facets at the ground and low coverage. Collapsing on southerly aspects where there was enough snow. Northerly aspects were unsupportable."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Gallatin

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Skiers at Targhee Pass near West Yellowstone reported: "We got a few good collapses while skinning up through east-facing low angle meadows, and got some serious cracking and collapsing while stomping on fresh wind pillows just below ridgeline on a northeast-facing slope at about 8200'. We dug down at one of the cracks and found a 35cm thick F+ slab that had failed on a layer of 4-6mm depth hoar. Cracks propagated close to 100'..." Photo: A. Schauer

  • Riders reported multiple natural slab avalanches on N facing slopes. Photo: R. Rustigian

  • Riders reported multiple natural slab avalanches on N facing slopes. Note widespread crowns along slope in background. Photo: R. Rustigian

  • 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

  • Photo taken 12/6 near Two Top, south of West Yellowstone.

    From email: "South facing stuff was thinner than I expected and north and west facing was a lot better than I expected. South facing stuff was 59cm deep and we had multiple ECT-P 14’s between the facets at the bottom and the newer snow."

    Photo: B. Radecky

  • We sledded into Buck Ridge (12/4/2019) for the first time this season. The riding was supportable and soft, but we sank to the ground when we stepped off our sleds. This poor snowpack structure makes avalanches possible to trigger, and will create bad avalanche conditions when more snow loads on top. Enjoy the powder in low angle terrain. Photo: GNFAC

  • This is a close-up of the angular Depth Hoar grains found near the ground in the mountains south of Big Sky to West Yellowstone. These are weak and cannot support a lot of snow weight. Avalanches will break near the ground on these. Photo: GNFAC

  • At the bottom of the snowpack is a thick layer of weak and sugary, faceted snow called Depth Hoar. These large grains do not bond well and form an unstable foundation of the snowpack. Avalanches will break at this layer. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

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

  • Sometime last week (11/20-11/22) these large avalanches occurred on heavily wind loaded northeast facing slopes in the Absaroka. The snowpack there is thin and faceted, similar to the southern ranges and mountains near West Yellowstone. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Sometime last week (11/20-11/22) these large avalanches occurred on heavily wind loaded northeast facing slopes in the Absaroka. The snowpack there is thin and faceted, similar to the southern ranges and mountains near West Yellowstone. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • 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.

  • A slab avalanche was spotted from the highway. This slope is to the north of Lionhead Ridge a few miles. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • We skied into Lionhead Ridge on Wednesday, November 20th. The snowpack was shallow (6-18"), and mostly weak and faceted. This will make dangerous avalanche conditions when it snows more. Photo: GNFAC

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • We put up the Lionhead weather station on Tuesday, October 8th. There was 4-6" of snow above 8,000'. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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.

  • We hiked in to put up the Flanders weather station on 9/25 and found a spotty distribution of 4-6" of snow above 8,000'. Photo: GNFAC

  • Last weekend (9/23) there was about 14 inches of snow at 9,000'. Sun and warm temperatures created wet snow avalanches on slopes that face the sun. These small slides can be hazardous if they push you into the wrong terrain. Photo: Z. Drobnik

  • Last weekend (9/23) there was about 14 inches of snow at 9,000'. Sun and warm temperatures created wet snow avalanches on slopes that face the sun. These small slides can be hazardous if they push you into the wrong terrain. Photo: Z. Drobnik

Snowpit Profiles- Southern Gallatin

Weather Stations- Southern Gallatin

WebCams


Electric Peak

Roosevelt Arch

Weather Forecast Southern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

17 Miles SE Big Sky MT

  • Today

    Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 26. Southwest wind 7 to 9 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 26 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A slight chance of snow between 8pm and 3am.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. South southwest wind around 9 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 13 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 27. South southwest wind 9 to 11 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 27 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. South wind around 10 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 16 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28. Southwest wind around 10 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Partly Sunny

    High: 28 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. South wind 8 to 10 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 17 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a high near 28. South southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Chance Snow

    High: 28 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 20 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 28.

    Chance Snow

    High: 28 °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.