Avalanche Danger in Southwest Montana

The weather around here has been seriously wacky. Last week was cold, snowy and perfectly delightful. Then in the last few days it was been above 50 degrees F and all the snow in town has melted. It’s like late spring around here.

This yo-yoing weather hasn’t been good for the snowpack. Especially if you like your snow to stay put and not avalanche on top of you.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center has been issuing avalanche warnings of “high” and “considerable”. In today’s report Ron wrote:

“The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center continues a Backcountry Avalanche Warning for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, the mountains around Cooke City and the Washburn Range in northern Yellowstone National Park. Significant snowfall on Monday, December 3, was deposited on an extremely weak snowpack. Today the avalanche danger remains HIGH on all slopes. Areas of unstable snow exist. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely. Avalanche terrain including avalanche runout zones should be avoided.”

Here’s a video of Scott Schmidt describing the snowpack.


Learn more about snow safety from these books. This first one is my favorite and the book I look to for answers to my snow-related questions:
Snow Sense: A Guide to Evaluating Snow Avalanche Hazard by Jill A. Fredston, Doug Fesler
Glaciers!: The Art of Travel, the Science of Rescue by Michael Strong, Eckehard Doerry

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