Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Dec 60″ | 15-35 W
Dec 5 8″ | 10-30 SW
Dec 4 0″ | 20-30 SW
9400′     12/07 at 3:00
10 ℉
SW - 24 mph, Gusts 34
0 " New
8880′     12/07 at 03:00
18℉
30″ Depth
Bottom Line: Yesterday, in Hyalite, a skier kicked a cornice and triggered a 12-18” deep wind-drifted slope in Lick Creek. Further in the range, Dave and his partner toured into Divide Peak and had concerns with new, wind-blown snow. Further south around Big Sky the story is similar: without widespread weak layers our primary concern is triggering thick drifts of wind-blown snow.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Fri Dec 2

Moderate
Sat Dec 3

Moderate
Sun Dec 4

Moderate
Mon Dec 5

Moderate
Tue Dec 6

Moderate

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Gallatin
Lick Creek
Skier triggered wind-load
Incident details include images
Lick Creek
SS-ASc-R1-D1-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.5243, -110.9560
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Observed active windloading on the eastern side of Lick Creek today.

12-18 inch slab broke easily when ski cut and a small but very reactive cornice was rapidly building.


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Ross Peak
Two skiers caught in avalanche on Ross Peak
Incident details include images
Ross Peak
SS-ASu-R2-D1.5
Elevation: 8,500
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.8586, -110.9560
Caught: 2 ; Buried: 2

Two skiers triggered an avalanche while ascending the Banana Couloir on Ross Peak on the morning of 12/5/22. The skiers were approximately 150 ft from the top of the couloir. The avalanche broke 20 ft above the upper skier. The slide broke in wind drifted snow 6 inches deep and approximately 30 ft wide, across most of the couloir. The lower skier was waiting in a "safe spot on the side" but was also caught by the slide. The slide ran ~600 vertical feet, pulling out a deeper pocket of snow (1.5-2 ft deep) midway down the path. Both skiers were fully submerged as they were carried, but ended up partially buried near the toe of the debris. One skier had snow packed into his mouth and underneath his eyelids. They returned to the trailhead under their own power. 


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Big Sky Resort
BSSP Trigger Avalanche - Cold Springs
Incident details include images
Big Sky Resort
AE-O
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.2760, -111.4360
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." 


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 23
  • 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

  • Saw a group of skiers trigger a small wind slab avalanche on an eastern aspect at around 8,300' in the main fork of Hyalite in "Candy Land" just south of the climb Big League Chew at 2:00pm on Saturday (11/26). Crown looked to be around 2" to 1' and 90' wide. The slide ran maybe 100'. No skiers were caught. Photo: Anon

  • Saw a group of skiers trigger a small wind slab avalanche on an eastern aspect at around 8,300' in the main fork of Hyalite in "Candy Land" just south of the climb Big League Chew at 2:00pm on Saturday (11/26). Crown looked to be around 2" to 1' and 90' wide. The slide ran maybe 100'. No skiers were caught. Photo: Anon.

  • From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." Photo BSSP

  • From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." Photo BSSP

  • Crown of skier triggered slide at Bridger on 11/27: "NE face. Rollover around 35 degrees mellowing throughout the run. The face had tracks from earlier today before i triggered the slide. I was able to self arrest and stop myself before being carried. The crown was around 20-25 ft wide and the slide ran roughly 100ft downhill before stopping. Both myself and my partner skied away unharmed."

  • From observations: "The snow was getting warm on my way up 4th of July couloir (pinwheels coming off lookers right wall started around 11:30) top half took a long time due to deep snow so I was suspicious of the pinch. Ski cut it during the descent (12:30p) and set off a wet slide (point release) that picked up quite a bit of steam as it came out the bottom. Big enough to injure/bury a skier." Photo: Anonymous

  • At 1:30pm on 11/23 I intentionally triggered a fresh drift of snow in a narrow avalanche path along the edge of the north bowl at Bridger. Northeast aspect at 7,600’ elevation. The crown was 6-8” deep consisting of snow that fell today, 20’ wide and ran 250’ vertical. SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-I. Photo: GNFAC

  • At 1:30pm on 11/23 I intentionally triggered a fresh drift of snow in a narrow avalanche path along the edge of the north bowl at Bridger. Northeast aspect at 7,600’ elevation. The crown was 6-8” deep consisting of snow that fell today, 20’ wide and ran 250’ vertical. SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-I. Photo: GNFAC

  • Big Sky ski patrol triggered these slides with explosives on 11/22 during routine avalanche mitigation work. The avalanches were hard slabs that averaged 12" deep and broke on a weak layer above a crust on top of snow that fell in October. Photo: BSSP

  • Big Sky ski patrol triggered these slides with explosives on 11/22 during routine avalanche mitigation work. The avalanches were hard slabs that averaged 12" deep and broke on a weak layer above a crust on top of snow that fell in October. Photo: BSSP

  • From IG message: "We saw a few decent sized point releases in the same zone on Sunday, 11/20, the day after the wind slab. All occurred on SW aspect within approx 15 min at 2:30. The air temp rose noteably shortly before and the sun was baking the SW aspect. Wind slab from 11/19 is on the far right, two point releases on the left". Photo: M. Zenker

  • Toured into divide basin on Friday. Looking at the north face of hyalite peak we saw a slide that went to the ground, and was about 150 feet wide. It possible this slide propagated further, but severe wind loading was actively occurring and it was hard to tell if the crown had been filled back in. We dug a pit at 9300 feet on a SÉ aspect and found a 80-100 cm HS and right side up snow pack with minor faceting below a crust 30 cm from the bottom. 

  • This natural avalanche of wind blown snow narrowly missed hitting two skiers.

    Photo: Anonymous

  • Photo: @M. Stem

  • From obs: "Skied Hyalite Peak today and found a wind slab ~10cm deep. Ski cut a small cornice below the main face and broke a small slide that carried ~20’ with little energy with a ~25’ wide crown" Photo: C. Crowe

  • From obs: "Photos of a small wind slab avalanche (R1 D1)  from yesterday at approximately 7800 feet on the northern end of bradleys meadow. The slide was initiated by the second skier and although the rest of the slope was <30 degrees the starting zone was a NE facing steep cross loaded wind pillow just below the ridge. 

    As my friend was skiing down he saw a crack propagate up and to his left and was able to stop on the side of the path as the snow ran past him. The  crown was approximately 30-40 feet and ran about 100 feet." Photo: G. Roe

  • From IG: "Remotely skier trigger wind slab up on white worm near sac bowl". Photo: C. Howell

  • While traveling up the Fairy Lake road, we observed the aftermath of an avalanche in October Bowl. The avalanche was D2-D3, start zone was at approximately 9000 ft, north east aspect, crown depth and width is unknown. Photo: H. Bigos-Lowe

  • Skiers found a thin snowpack that is beginning to weaken (facet). Read observation here. Photo: T McCutcheon.

  • Skiers in Beehive Basin noted small wind drifts forming as they toured. Slopes loaded by wind-drifted snow are the most likely place to trigger an avalanche right now. Photo: C Ellingson

  • The Headwaters Snow Stake at Big Sky Resort was buried in new snow on Sunday. 

  • Evidence of wind-loading creating the conditions for avalanches in the Bridger Range. Cracking is an indicator of instability. The observer noted this was "Nothing consequential," but this shows that unstable drifts are forming. They will be more consequential where there is more snow and as the wind creates larger drifts. Photo: E Smith

WebCams


8800' Camera, Lone Peak view

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Snowpit Profiles- Northern Madison

 

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Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Mostly clear, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -5. Southwest wind around 18 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 11 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 17. Wind chill values as low as -5. Southwest wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 17 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -10. South southwest wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 4 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 14. Wind chill values as low as -15. South wind 14 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 14 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. South wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 8 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 14. Southwest wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 14 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11pm.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 6. South wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 6 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A slight chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 18. Breezy, with a south wind 18 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Breezy

    High: 18 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 14 °F

The Last Word

Watch our playlist of YouTube videos to get caught up on our avalanche concerns this season.

12 / 5 / 22  <<  
 
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