Trip Planning for Southern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Feb 110″ | 20-50 NW
Feb 10 0″ | 10-25 N
Feb 9 0″ | 15-30 W
9460′     03/30 at 14:00
65.8℉
N - 0mph
Gusts 1mph
9000′   05/15 at 22:00
41℉
82″ Depth
Bottom Line:

Past 5 Days

Tue Feb 8

Low
Wed Feb 9

Low
Thu Feb 10

Low
Fri Feb 11

Low
Thu Apr 21

None

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Cooke City
Goose Lake
Partial Burial on Sawtooth Mountain near Goose Lake
Incident details include images
Goose Lake
SS-ASu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 10,800
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.1437, -109.9040
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 1; Killed: 0

This morning while ascending a line on Sawtooth Mountain (Lower Novocain) we triggered an avalanche (ASu-SS-R2-D2-O)  that caught and carried my partner an estimated 180M and partially buried him. His leg and hand were unburied and excavation of the head was done in less than 2 minutes of the incident. The avalanche only involved new snow from the last 48hrs and was triggered on a MF crust/facet combo 30cm down(formed 1/30/22). The avalanche was 30cm at its deepest and 20-30M wide and ran 250M. We were lucky to find both skis and poles a little ways downslope. No injuries were sustained.

We both agree that we were trying to outsmart the instability that was present on steeper S facing terrain and should have turned around much sooner, we were very lucky. There was 30+cm HST in favored areas and the high winds from 1/31/22 formed some sensitive windslabs in specific areas. 

 


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Beehive Basin
Skier triggered cornice beehive basin
Incident details include images
Beehive Basin
SS-NCu-R3-D2-O
Elevation: 9,300
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.3379, -111.3990
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From email 1/9/21: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."


More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Taylor Fork
Natural avalanches in southern Madison
Incident details include images
Taylor Fork
SS-N-R3-D2-I
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.0607, -111.2720
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0
More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Chris Hericks, snow ranger on Beaverhead Deerlodge NF, points to the lower of two surface hoar layers. We are finding similar layering throughout our entire forecast area. The top 18" of the snowpack is weak and will quickly become unstable when it snows. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown is not visible (it is down and right) but the X marks the approximate spot the rider was found. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown was measured 4-11 inches deep and 75 feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at a weak layer of facets that the avalanche propagated on. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at the crown from below. Photo: GNFAC

  • On Sunday, February 6, Gallatin Country Sheriff Search and Rescue and the GNFAC responded to a avalanche in Lionhead. A snowmobiler was killed on a small steep slope when a shallow avalanche carried him into a terrain trap of trees. Photo: GNFAC

  • This morning while ascending a line on Sawtooth Mountain (Lower Novocain) we triggered an avalanche (ASu-SS-R2-D2-O)  that caught and carried my partner an estimated 180M and partially buried him. His leg and hand were unburied and excavation of the head was done in less than 2 minutes of the incident. The avalanche only involved new snow from the last 48hrs and was triggered on a MF crust/facet combo 30cm down(formed 1/30/22). The avalanche was 30cm at its deepest and 20-30M wide and ran 250M. We were lucky to find both skis and poles a little ways downslope. No injuries were sustained.

    We both agree that we were trying to outsmart the instability that was present on steeper S facing terrain and should have turned around much sooner, we were very lucky. There was 30+cm HST in favored areas and the high winds from 1/31/22 formed some sensitive windslabs in specific areas. 

     

  • Graph of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) at SNOTEL sites in the GNFAC forecast area from October 1, 2021 to January 30, 2022. It highlights the extended dry conditions in January that contributed to weak layers forming at the top of the snowpack. GNFAC

  • A layer of surface hoar that was buried by the recent snow in the southern Madison Range. Photo (1/22/22): G. Turnage

  • A group at Ernie Miller Ridge had an unstable test score in their second snowpit of the day (1/16/22). Lingering instabilities are isolated but it is an excellent idea to dig down and test the snowpack before getting into avalanche terrain. Photo: T Dumbrovsky

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Settlement rings around the base of trees near Cooke City, January 15, 2022. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Seen 1/14/22, R1-D2 on west aspect at 9,500'. Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche that is likely 5-7 days old in Sunlight Basin, Taylor Fork, southern Madison Range. Photo taken 1/14/22 by GNFAC

  • Avalanche that is likely 5-7 days old in Sunlight Basin, southern Madison Range. Photo taken 1/14/22 by GNFAC

  • Avalanche that is likely 5-7 days old in Taylor Fork, southern Madison Range. Photo taken 1/14/22 by GNFAC

  • Avalanches on Red Mountain. Photo taken 1/13/22. Likely broke around 1/8/22. Photo: M. Standal

  • A group in Cabin Creek saw a very large crown from an avalanche that occurred on the east aspect of Sage Peak last weekend (1/7 or 1/8). Photo: Anonymous

  • From email 1/9/22: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."

  • From email 1/9/22: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."

  • A sled was recovered uphill of the 2 avalanche victims in the same area it was stuck. The sled was found with a probe line and is buried 3-4 feet deep. The avalanche crown can be seen in the upper slopes above them. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown of the avalanche that killed two snowmobilers on December 27, 2021 was 300 feet wide and 4-5 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • These are the two sites where the 2 snowmobilers were recovered. They were buried 4-5 feet deep in debris piles that measured 9 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands next to the crown where we dug a snowpit and investigated the snow structure. The crown averaged 4-5 feet deep. Near his right knee is the layer of weak faceted snow that broke 40 cm above the ground. Above this layer was a thick slab of windblown snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • Dave Zinn of the GNFAC gets 3 layers breaking in his Extended Column Test. About 3 feet of snow fell in the last 4 days which got blown into wind slabs. The weight of the new snow is also creating instability on a weak layer of sugary facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • Bare ground on the ridge between Tepee Basin and Bacon Rind Creek. Nearby we found 4 ft deep drifts. 12/22/21. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche in Tepee Basin appears to have failed within or under the new snow around 12/15/21. Photo taken 12/22/21.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche in Tepee Basin that broke under new snow on facets near the ground. Likely occurred on 12/15/21. Photo taken 12/22/21.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Digging a snowpit in 4 feet of drifted snow in Tepee Basin (12/22/21). Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural avalanche in Taylor Fork that broke 100ft wide, 2-3 ft deep, beneath the recent storm snow. Appears to have failed towards the end of the storm (likely 12/15/21). Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche was remotely triggered by snowmobilers from over 100 ft away on 12/15. It broke beneath the recent storm snow, 1-2 ft deep.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier in the Southern Madison Range remotely triggered this avalanche in the Bacon Rind area from a flat bench above the slope. It broke over 50-75' away where the slope got steeper. Human-triggered avalanches are likely. Avoid steep terrain until the snowpack stabilizes. Photo: Anonymous 

  • From obs: 12/12/21: "Heavy wind loading from gusty SW winds and recent snowfall. Made for some touchy conditions. This was at 9100’ between Sage and Sunlight basins." Photo: JR Mooney

  • New snow was blown into thick drifts that can be triggered by skiers or riders. Cracking like this is a sign that drifts are unstable and could slide on steeper slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs (12/5/21): "Went poking around in the Taylor Hilgard today looking for snow. As expected, found a thin and faceted snowpack at lower elevations. Snowpack improved considerably above 8500', often .5-1m. I dug a quick pit to the ground on a N-NE facing slope at around 9300'. Pit measuded 1.1m, and to my surprise consisted of a relatively compacted and consolidated snowpack, almost entirely 4f hardness. I was expecting to find layers of facets near the base of the snowpack, and between crusts in the middle, but did not."

    Photo: L. Heine

  • From email (12/5/21) : "Small avalanche triggered while approaching ice climb in East fork of Hyalite basin. 

    Another D1 natural avalanche was observed later in the day similar aspect/elevation

    NE @7600’
    SS-AFu-D0.5-I"

    Photo: A. Schoening

  • Skiers on Mount Blackmore observed cracking within the freshly wind-loaded snow on a southeast-facing slope just below the ridge (11/24/21). Photo: J Schack

  • From e-mail 11/7/21: "...Once in airplane bowl we saw multiple large slides that ran last night, syn-storm. Most of which came down from the East face of Sac. A few 200-300’ wide and running the length of the bowl.,,, attached is a grainy cell phone pic of the slides in Airplane Bowl." -Anonymous.

  • From email 11/4/21: "...noticed two small wet loose avalanches in the east facing bowl between Pomp and Hardscrabble Peaks." Photo: H. Darby

WebCams


Raynolds Pass, Looking N

Snow Observations- Southern Madison

Southern Madison
Bacon Rind
Bacon Rind
Incident details include images

GNFAC,

I was up on the far south side of Bacon Rind today, skiing was great. Overcast clouds, temps warmed up throughout the day, light snowfall in the morning and a windy drive home at the end of the day. I dug a snowpit on an east facing slop around 8600'. Nothing ya'll don't know already- we found two surface hoar layers in the top part of the snowpack with an NSF layer in between, it doesn't seem to have enough of a slab on top to do anything yet. I attached a  copy of the snowpit.

Hopefully it snows soon!

Spencer

Full Snow Observation Report

Snowpit Profiles- Southern Madison

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Southern Madison

Extended Forecast for

20 Miles S Big Sky MT

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 20 percent chance of showers between 4am and 5am.  Partly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 42. South southwest wind 9 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Showers

    Low: 42 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Rain and thunderstorms before 4pm, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly after 4pm.  High near 59. South southwest wind 7 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 26 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

    Chance Rain
    then Showers

    High: 59 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. West southwest wind 6 to 10 mph becoming north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

    Showers
    Likely then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 36 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 56. North northwest wind 6 to 13 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 56 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 32. West wind 8 to 14 mph becoming south after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 22 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 32 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 54. Breezy, with a southwest wind 9 to 14 mph increasing to 19 to 24 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 33 mph.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Mostly
    Cloudy and
    Breezy

    High: 54 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A chance of rain and snow before midnight, then snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance
    Rain/Snow and
    Breezy then
    Snow Likely

    Low: 28 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Snow likely before noon, then snow showers likely after noon. Some thunder is also possible.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35. Breezy, with a west wind 18 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.

    Snow Likely
    and Breezy

    High: 35 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: A chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 20 °F

The Last Word

We completed our investigation of the avalanche fatality at Ski Hill in Lionhead. A detailed report is HERE, the field video is on our YouTube channel and the incident is recorded on our Accident Reports page.