Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 20-30 SW
Dec 7 7″ | 15-30 W
Dec 6 2″ | 15-35 W
9400′     12/08 at 9:00
23 ℉
SW - 26 mph, Gusts 37
0 " New
8880′   12/08 at 8:00
28℉
14″ Depth
Bottom Line: New snow and very strong westerly wind has increased the chances of triggering an avalanche, especially in gullies or near ridges. Retreat as soon as you see cracks shooting out in front of you and be extra careful around smooth wind pillows. Small avalanches are indicative that more, possibly bigger ones are possible. Ice climbers triggered a slide in Hyalite on Sunday and yesterday a small avalanche was seen near Lulu Pass outside Cooke City, both involving wind-loaded slopes. These unstable conditions are widespread and you need to assess steep slopes, especially those with wind drifts.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Fri Nov 26

None
Mon Nov 29

None
Fri Dec 3

None
Mon Dec 6

None
Today

None

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Gallatin
Hyalite - East Fork
Ice climbers triggered small avalanches in E. Fork Hyalite
Incident details include images
Hyalite - East Fork
SS-AFu-R1-D1-S
Elevation: 7,600
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.4539, -110.9210
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

The slide was on the ice climb in Comet Alley.

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"


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Big Sky Resort
Explosive Triggered Wind Slabs at Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort
SS-AE-D2
Coordinates: 45.2760, -111.4360
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Big Sky Resort Ski Patrol reported triggering wind slab avalanches up to 1 ft deep below alpine ridgelines using explosives during avalanche mitigation work on 11/25/2021. Some of the slides broke down into older snow.


More Avalanche Details
Out of Advisory Area
Livingston
Natural avalanche and powder cloud on Black Mtn
Incident details include images
Livingston
U-N
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.4712, -110.4670
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

This powder cloud from a large avalanche was seen on Black Mountain, up Pine Creek outside Livingston. Located outside our advisory area it is a sign of unstable snow, likely from wind-loading, that can be found throughout southwest Montana.


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 14
  • Monday night's new snow formed wind slabs from the strong wind on Tuesday. We are finding these throughout southwest Montana. Photo: D. Britt

  • 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

  • This post and picture was on the FB ice climbers page. This is from Comet Alley, a steep gully off the East Fork Road:

    Today we found that this gully has some significant loading. We triggered a few wind slab slides on the approach. We managed to get a quick lap on the route and got out before it got loaded more. TBH with more unconsolidated snow I’d reconsider going there.

  • 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 in Beehive Basin observed pin wheels on a south-facing slope that are consistent with this weekend's warm temperatures. Unusual for late November in Montana! Photo: Dorje

  • Skiers in Beehive Basin observed a small slab avalanche and pin wheels on a south-facing slope. Photo: Dorje 

  • 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

  • This powder cloud from a large avalanche was seen on Black Mountain, up Pine Creek outside Livingston. Located outside our advisory area it is a sign of unstable snow, likely from wind-loading, that can be found throughout southwest Montana. Photo: Anon

  • Skiers found a shallow snowpack and very windy conditions today. Snow was moving and loading slopes. Photo: H. Darby

  • From an obsevation: Skied up towards Arrowhead Bowl from Fairy Lake road. Snowpack is still very thin in the trees as you ascend towards the ridge. Strong westerly winds and exposed rocks deterred us from skiing the bowl itself. Down low we found variable conditions ranging from a few cm of graupel to a few cm of windboard and ice in places. We dug a pit at 8140 feet, 143º SE. The snowpack is 55 cm deep with a very distinct knife hard crust layer from 0-20cm above the ground, we were thinking that could be due to a rain on snow event that fell on top of the October snow. There is also a distinct knife crust 40 cm above the ground with new snow/wind blown snow on top of that. Weather today was mostly clear with a few scattered clouds and consistent winds, with very strong gusts from the west. Photo: H. Darby

  • A natural avalanche on Saddle Peak on 11/10/21. Strong winds drifted recent snow into thick slabs near the ridge. This slide was probably one of those wind slabs breaking and/or being triggered by a cornice fall. Photo: P. Hinz

  • 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

  • From e-mail 11/4/21: "Hiking up in the Bridger Range from Sacagawea Pass and noticed no faceting of the current snowpack. The snow near the pass and on the ridge is very wind affected as is to be expected and dropping into the bowl on the east side of the Pass the snowpack there has a distinct sun crust. Dug around a little bit at 8600 ft on a NE aspect and found a sun crust of about two inches with what felt like rounded grains below that. Even in the direct sun, the crust was taking a long time to rewarm and was pretty slippery..." 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

  • Today

    Today: Snow likely, mainly after 4pm.  Patchy blowing snow. Increasing clouds, with a high near 26. Breezy, with a southwest wind 23 to 29 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Snow Likely
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 26 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow likely, mainly before midnight. The snow could be heavy at times.  Areas of blowing snow before 11pm. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -10. Breezy, with a west wind 16 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Areas
    Blowing Snow
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    Low: 4 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 13. Wind chill values as low as -15. West wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 13 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -15. West southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 2 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 20 percent chance of snow before noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 11. West southwest wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Partly Sunny

    High: 11 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 5. South southwest wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 5 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 18. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 21 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph.

    Partly Sunny
    and Breezy

    High: 18 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Windy, with a south southwest wind 26 to 32 mph, with gusts as high as 41 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    and Windy

    Low: 14 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 22. Windy.

    Chance Snow
    and Windy

    High: 22 °F

The Last Word

Bruce Jamieson of Snowline has posted avalanche science and training videos for backcountry travelers. These are worth checking out as we wait for more snow to fall.