Good morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast issued on Tuesday, January 29th at 7:00 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by World Boards and Spark R&D. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.
This morning, temperatures are single digits F and winds are westerly at 5-15 mph. No snow has fallen in the last 24 hours. Today will be mostly sunny with temperatures rising into the low 20s F and winds out of the west-northwest at 10-20 mph. There may be some snow flurries tonight and tomorrow, but the next chance for significant snowfall is this weekend.
Don’t let today’s blue skies lull you into complacency, weak layers are still reeling from the heavy load that accumulated over two weeks of steady snowfall. Large avalanches remain easy to trigger.
Yesterday, large natural avalanches were seen on Fan Mountain, near Big Sky (details), Sheep Mountain, near Cooke City (details), and on Mount Blackmore, in Hyalite (photo). The slide on Sheep Mountain broke up to 8’ deep in a thick wind drift. Big Sky ski patrol also triggered a large avalanche yesterday that broke 3-5’ deep on weak layers near the ground (details). Yesterday’s avalanches are just the latest in the string of natural and human triggered avalanches that have been reported every day for almost two weeks (avalanche activity), including multiple skier triggered avalanches this weekend (details, details, photos and details), and a skier killed in an avalanche in the Tobacco Roots on Friday (video).
Give steep terrain a wide berth, as you could trigger an avalanche from a distance, either from below, or from connected lower angle terrain. On Sunday, my partner and I triggered an avalanche from 50’ away on flat ridgeline in Taylor Fork (video, photo). There have also been multiple reports of slides on lower angle avalanche terrain, just over 30 degrees steep (details).
Patience and restraint are the name of the game today. Without more snow in the short term forecast, avalanche conditions will slowly improve. There will be a time for riding steep slopes, it just isn’t here quite yet.
Today, triggering a large and dangerous avalanche is likely. Avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE.
Avalanche Fatality Tobacco Root Mountains
On Friday four skiers were caught in an avalanche while ascending a steep forested slope in the Tobacco Root Mountains. Two skiers grabbed trees and were able to self-arrest, the other two skiers were swept downhill. One skier was seriously injured, the other died from trauma. Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of the victim. Preliminary details and photos. Doug put together a video summarizing the accident, a full report will be published shortly.
King and Queen of the Ridge
Next Saturday, February 2, at Bridger Bowl. This is the Friends of the Avalanche Center’s second biggest fundraiser of the year. Come on out and help us raise some money by hiking and skiing some 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.
Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events
Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.
February 6, 1-hr Women’s Avalanche Awareness, 6-7p.m. at REI Bozeman.
February 8 and 9, Companion Rescue Clinic, 6-8 p.m. Friday at REI, 10-4 Saturday in the field. More Info and Register.
February 9 and 16, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness for Snowmobilers, 7-8 p.m. Holiday Inn West Yellowstone.
January 31, Intro to Avalanches w/ Field Day, Info and Register Here.
January 31-February 2, Intro to Avalanches w/ Field Day, Info and Register Here.
February 13, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7 p.m. at Carroll College.
Every Friday and Saturday, Rescue Training and Snowpack Update. Friday 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Soda Butte Lodge. Saturday anytime between 10-2 @ Round Lake.
In the U.S. there have been 5 avalanche fatalities in the last 10 days and 10 in the last month. The snowpack is begging us to be patient and choose conservative objectives for our backcountry tours. Be patient on the bigger lines and choose conservative objectives for your backcountry adventures. #lowanglepow