Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 30-38 SW
Feb 7 0″ | 15-35 W
Feb 6 7″ | 10-30 NW
9400′     2/08 at 18:00
9 ℉
NW - 16 mph, Gusts 35
6 " New
8880′     02/08 at 18:00
14℉
54″ Depth
Bottom Line: The mountains have another day of strong wind with a few inches of new snow falling today. If it is snowing and blowing, triggering avalanches gets easier. The mountains have weak layers of sugary snow in the top 2-3 feet of the snowpack that are reactive in stability tests. Stay off of wind-loaded terrain and be wary of buried weak layers since they can still avalanche on a few slopes. Triggering avalanches on wind-loaded terrain is likely today.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Sat Feb 4

Moderate
Sun Feb 5

Moderate
Mon Feb 6

Considerable
Tue Feb 7

Moderate
Today

Considerable

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Madison
Deer Creek
Small whumphs and triggered wind slab
Deer Creek
SS-ASc-R1-D1
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.3186, -111.2560
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Toured/ skied on S though E aspects between 6000' and 8200' and observed the following:

...

-Several localized whumphs 

...

-Stomped one freshly wind-loaded rollover on micro-terrain and released a small (15 cm - 30cm thick) windslab

 


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Lone Mountain
Skier triggered slide in Lone Mountain backcountry
Lone Mountain
SS-AS-I
Coordinates: 45.2777, -111.4510
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A 2’ storm snow avalanche in the Chippewa Notch area was apparently triggered by a rider. It propagated significantly across complex terrain, and ran through plenty of terrain traps/trauma trees.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobiler triggered on Buck Ridge
Incident details contain video
Buck Ridge
SS-AMu-R3-D2-I
Elevation: 9,300
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.1719, -111.3800
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From FB message: I triggered this one Thursday night (2/2/23). Got lucky it didn't gain speed and sack on itself. Been in this zone 1000 times, never seen it slide, always gotta be on your game... NE aspect in Beaver Creek.


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • 2/4/23: We dug a pit near the top of our ascent on a west aspect at 9,100'. HS was 160cm and we found surface hoar buried 55cm deep (105cm above ground). It did not propagate or easily break in our tests, but it was a clear stripe in the wall and may have contributed to the adjacent large avalanche last weekend. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Avalanche (possibly sled/human triggered) on an easy to northeast facing slope around 9300 feet.  There were lots of sled tracks on the slope, which is located just out of the wilderness at the far end of Buck Ridge.  Slide and sled tracks appeared to be from after the weekend storm and were covered with light snow from the last couple days.  Noted lots of wind transported snow along buck ridge this afternoon. Photo: K Marvinney

  • From IG “Beehive basin on an east/ northeast slope. Photo was taken at 3:15 in the afternoon.” Photo: JP

  • Took a drive up and around the Yellowstone Club and saw this slide today. I think that is Cedar Mt with Pioneer Ridge in front and to the left. Stay safe out there. Photo. B. Rode

  • From IG message: "Another one today. Back of buck creek. Triggered 100 yards above where I crossed below it in the safe zone, after I went by. No burials."

  • From obs 1/28/23: "While snowmobiling up Little Bear we witnessed this natural avalanche. There was 2-3' of new snow." Photo: J. Otis

  • From obs 1/28/23: "There were numerous debris piles, point releases, and crowns on the north face of Elephant and the northeast face of Blackmore this morning.  Most of them appeared to have run during the storm (1/27) and had been covered by at least 6 inches of new snow." Photo. S. Regnerus

  • From IG:

    Fairy lake today (1/27/23), remote trigger from top of the ridge

    About 2-2.5ft deep about 75-100 ft wide

     

  • We saw this rider triggered avalanche along the road to Buck Ridge. It was triggered today, 1/27/23. Photo: GNFAC

  • Surface hoar can often be seen as a grey stripe on the wall of your snowpit as was the case at Bacon Rind in the Southern Madison Range on 1/23. Photo: GNFAC

  • From Big Sky Ski Patrol 1/21/23: "skier triggered a surface wind slab in Wyoming Bowl that broke 8-12” deep. It propagated to an estimated 150’ wide- SS, R1/D1.5... The slide was small, no one was hurt, and the avalanche was reported (which we appreciate), with no further public involvement other than the trigger."

  • Natural soft slab release likely in the last 36 hours. Seen from in-bounds at the Yellowstone Club. Avalanche location at 45.2116512 N 111.47811 W at the headwaters of Muddy Creek. 

  • On a Jan. 16 tour into Beehive, we found the concerning layer of feathery surface hoar buried under 6" of snow. It is widespread from Big Sky through West Yellowstone and Cooke City. It has produced avalanches near Hebgen Lake, with more snow, it will likely produce avalanches in Beehive too. Photo: GNFAC

  • Sinking waist deep into faceted snow in the 1st Yellowmule. GNFAC photo. 1/13/23


     

  • Darren Johnson was a passionate skier, patroller, and wildland firefighter and this fund helps his memory live on. During the week of January 16, 2023, there are two events happening to help spread awareness about the DJ Fund and generate donations for the next recipients to attend National Avalanche School in October 2024. The first event is at the Independent Theatre on Tuesday, January 17. This charity event has a $10 entry fee which includes a raffle ticket to a silent auction. On Thursday, January 19, join us at Beehive Basin Brewery for a raffle and pint night in which $1 from every pint sold goes into the DJ Memorial Fund.

    To donate to the Darren Johnson Avalanche Education Memorial Fund visit djmemorialfund.org, or join us at these two exciting events hosted by Yellowstone Club Ski Patrol. Huge thanks to all who have sponsored and donated to these events.

  • A rider triggered a small avalanche in First Yellowmule on Sunday that broke approximately 6-8" deep, 60' wide, and ran 20'. Photo: D. Kristensen

  • While skiing around our boundaries I observed well developed surface hoar that was relatively widespread in undisturbed areas. The photo included seemed to go well with the fx. Photo: J. Aid

  • Snowmobile triggered slide (~1ft deep and ~20x20 ft) at the head of Muddy Creek (NE Aspect, 9400 ft) off Buck Ridge. Looks like it was likely triggered on Sunday (Jan 1st) in a shallow spot near rocks. Photo: GNFAC (1/3/2023)

  • Jan 3, 2023: Dug a pit and found weak and unstable snow. We backtracked to the ridge. A recent avalanche from 2 days ago involved new, windblown snow. 

  • Natural avalanche on 1/1/23 on Saddle Peak. Appeared to involve the new, wind-drifted snow. Photo: BBSP

  • We looked at the avalanche that killed a snowmobiler yesterday (12/31/22) on Crown Butte near Cooke City. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim, and those involved with the rescue and recovery. Photo: GNFAC

  • Surface hoar south to south east aspects, potentially more aspects, will confirm later this afternoon. 

  • On December 31, 2022 a snowmobiler was killed in a very large avalanche north of Cooke City, MT. The avalanche occurred near Daisy Pass on Crown Butte on a southeast facing slope at 9,800’. The avalanche appeared to be 2-4' deep, 500' wide, 600' vertical, and broke on weak snow near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • Big Sky Ski patrol triggered this very large deep slab avalanche with explosives during routine mitigation work on 12/28/22. Photo: BSSP

  • Large avalanche in the 2nd Yellow Mule that is probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • A large avalanche in the 2nd Yellow Mule that was probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw two large avalanches in the 2nd Yellow Mule that were probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Hard slabs on heavily wind-loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We dug in the second yellow mule, NE aspect 9,300' and HS was 93 cm. Here we had ECTP26 on the layer of facets near the bottom of the snowpack.

    We saw two large avalanches in the 2nd Yellow Mule that were probably 2-3 days old, and likely broke on the weak layer near the bottom of the snowpack. Hard slabs on heavily wind-loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • At Buck Ridge there was a stout ice crust (maybe a rain/mist crust) about 10cm down that is not a problem at the moment, but notable due to being widespread and unusual for our normally dry snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • Many slick roofs shed this winter's snow with the above-freezing temperatures. There are some impressive fracture lines at the ice rink in Bogert Park in Bozeman. Photo: GNFAC

  • Today we toured up Beehive Basin to Prayer Flags and down into Bear Basin. We found moderate winds transporting snow at Prayer Flags. We also observed a recent small natural avalanche that broke just below the cornice at prayer flags (9200'). It was unclear if a cornice collapse triggered the avalanche. We did not go to the crown, but estimated it to be about 20-30 feet wide, 6-8 inches deep, and running less than 100 feet. Photo: J. Breen

  • Obs 12/17: "Saturday afternoon on the way back into town snow was moving in the Spanish peaks. Nice light" 

  • From obs: 12/16: "I thought this would be interesting to share but while driving around Gallatin gateway today I noticed multiple small wind pockets that released in steep draws in the gateway foothills area." Photo: M. Gaffney

  • Cornice dropped in Slats and propagated slab at a weak layer of facets around 70cm height from ground. Dug a snow pit of 140cm and got etc results on the same layer ECTP26 stubborn but holds a large consequence. Photo: Z. Bailey

     

  • Cornice dropped in Slats and propagated slab at a weak layer of facets around 70cm height from ground. Dug a snow pit of 140cm and got etc results on the same layer ECTP26 stubborn but holds a large consequence. Photo: Z. Bailey

     

  • I dug a pit above Silken Falls in the gulley. I found a weak layer of facets breaking about 10" under a wind slab (ECTP15). We did not get any cracking, but the terrain is very serious and even a small slide could be deadly. We did not feel comfortable center punching up the gully. Given how much traffic the gullies are getting, I do not think it is widespread, but it's out there and could avalanche.

    Wind and snow this weekend may make this layer more unstable, so it's important to be careful crossing exposed terrain. Either rope up or tun around if it is suspect.

     

  • Two small natural avalanches observed today from the YC. Both on likely wind loaded easterly aspects on slopes around Cedar Mountain at roughly 8,000’. Photo: Yellowstone Club Ski Patrol

  • Two small natural avalanches observed today from the YC. Both on likely wind loaded easterly aspects on slopes around Cedar Mountain at roughly 8,000’. Photo: Yellwostone Club Ski Patrol

  • Toured up to the NE shoulder on Mt. Blackmore yesterday. Winds were strong and variable, but mostly gusting from the S-SW. A lot of snow was moving around, skin tracks were filled in very quickly, and you could actively see small cornices starting to build on the lee side of the ridge. Photo: H. Darby

WebCams


8800' Camera, Lone Peak view

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Snowpit Profiles- Northern Madison

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 7pm.  Patchy blowing snow before 10pm. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 1. Wind chill values as low as -10. Northwest wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 9 to 14 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.  Total nighttime snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow
    then Mostly
    Cloudy

    Low: 1 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 19. Wind chill values as low as -15. West southwest wind 8 to 13 mph.

    Becoming
    Sunny

    High: 19 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 9. Wind chill values as low as -5. South southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 9 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -5. South southwest wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 26 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 11. South southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 11 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 23. South southwest wind 8 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 23 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 8. West wind around 10 mph becoming south southwest in the evening.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 8 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A slight chance of snow before 11am.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 20. South southwest wind 10 to 14 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Sunny

    High: 20 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 10.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 10 °F

The Last Word

Bruce Jamieson’s videos on Snow Science explain heady topics to the layman. Understanding the avalanche dragon helps keep us alive.

02 / 7 / 23  <<  
 
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