Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Dec 10″ | 20-30 SW
Nov 30 3″ | 15-40 W
Nov 29 0″ | 25-55 W
9400′     12/02 at 17:00
36 ℉
SW - 17 mph, Gusts 29
0 " New
8880′   12/02 at 16:00
42℉
10″ 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

Past 5 Days

Fri Nov 19

None
Mon Nov 22

None
Wed Nov 24

None
Fri Nov 26

None
Mon Nov 29

None

Relevant Avalanche Activity

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 - 10
  • 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

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 25. West southwest wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 25 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 33. West southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 33 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. Southwest wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 26 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32. Windy, with a south southwest wind 17 to 22 mph increasing to 26 to 31 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Windy

    High: 32 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Breezy, with a west wind 24 to 29 mph decreasing to 17 to 22 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 41 mph.  New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    Low: 12 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 19. West wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 19 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. South southwest wind 11 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 11 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow likely.  Cloudy, with a high near 20. South southwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.

    Snow Likely

    High: 20 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 10 °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.


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