Trip Planning for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Dec 10″ | NA
Nov 30 0″ | 20-35 SW
Nov 29 0″ | 20-30 W
8775′  12/02 at 17:08
W - 21mph
Gusts 26mph
7750′   12/02 at 17:00
11″ Depth
Bottom Line: Strong winds will return midweek, drifting soft snow into unstable stabs. The better coverage found on wind-drifted slopes may entice us, but this is where avalanches are most likely to occur. Carefully evaluate snowpack stability and the consequences of getting caught in an avalanche with sharp rocks just inches below you.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Centennial Range
Sawtelle Peak
Sawtelle Peak Snowpack

I drove up the Sawtelle Peak road and dug a pit at the snow marker at 8,800'. There was 1.5 feet (60 cm) of snow on the ground. Around 7,000' the snow was on all aspects, but below that there were melted patches. The snow was supportable and there was no cracking or collapsing. A layer of weak, sugary snow 1 foot off the ground broke clean in stability tests (ECTP 18, 21) and I anticipate this layer will get weaker with time. On the surface there is a thin layer of snow that is faceting and getting weaker. Photos and snowpit are on this page. 

Full Snow Observation Report

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 7
  • 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

  • The snow was breaking 1 foot off the ground in the layer at the blue crystal card. Weak, sugary snow broke and propagated in the extended column test with 18 and 21 taps. We anticipate this weakness to get worse in the coming weeks. Photo: GNFAC

  • There was almost 2 feet of snow (60 cm) at 8800' on NE aspect of Sawtelle Peak. Weak snow (facets) is forming a foot off the ground and were breaking consistently in stability tests. Photo: GNFAC

  • Snowcover on Lionhead ridge begins at about 7,000' in elevation on 11/16. Snowmobiling or skiing from Targhee Pass looks very thin and patchy. Photo: GNFAC

  • Taken on 11/16, consistent snow on all aspects begins around 7,000 feet. 1.5-2 feet of snow is found above 8.500'. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

Snowpit Profiles- Centennial Range


Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Place- Centennial Range


Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

High Wind Watch December 4, 09:00am until December 4, 11:00pm
Click here for hazard details and duration
High Wind Watch
  • Tonight

    Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27. South southwest wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 27 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 31. South wind 9 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 31 °F

  • Friday

    Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. South wind 10 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 26 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. South southwest wind 11 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

    Slight Chance

    High: 29 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. West northwest wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.  Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 16 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 24. West northwest wind 13 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Sunny

    High: 24 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. South southwest wind 11 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 16 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow.  Cloudy, with a high near 21. South southwest wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.


    High: 21 °F

  • Monday

    Monday Night: Snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13.


    Low: 13 °F

The Last Word

Doug was interviewed by Justin Angle for Montana Public Radio about his background, avalanches, and his work in Central Asia. You can listen to the interview HERE.

  <<  This is the most recent forecast.