Trip Planning for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 10-20 W
Nov 27 0″ | 10-30 SW
Nov 26 0″ | 15-25 NW
10,000′     11/28 at 12:00
27.5℉
SW - 9mph
Gusts 21mph
9100′   11/28 at 11:00
34℉
18″ Depth
Bottom Line: Gusty westerly winds drifted this week’s new snow into cohesive slabs which are ready to avalanche. Unfortunately, these drifted areas also have the best coverage for skiing or riding. Don’t get lulled into poor decisions while trying to avoid rocks. Carefully consider and evaluate both the snowpack and the consequences of triggering an avalanche before riding steep slopes.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Mon Nov 15

None
Fri Nov 19

None
Mon Nov 22

None
Wed Nov 24

None
Fri Nov 26

None

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Cooke City
Henderson Mountain
Natural avalanches (on persistent weak layer) near Cooke
Incident details include images
Henderson Mountain
SS-N-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 10,000
Coordinates: 45.0524, -109.9450
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From email 11/15/21: "east Henderson had a fresh slab avalanche- on a NE aspect around 10,000'.  It appeared to have failed on a weak layer near the ground, and I'd guess it was about 2-3' deep and 300'+ wide.  (photo attached)

Also noted some other natural slab avalanches on some northerly aspects of Miller Ridge.  (steep rocky starting zones).  And noted a couple big slab avalanches on NE erly aspects up Republic Creek too. Similar thing there:  steep, rocky, wind loaded starting zones."


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Scotch Bonnet
Natural wind slabs on Scotch Bonnet
Scotch Bonnet
SS-N-R0-D1.5-I
Elevation: 9,900
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.0566, -109.9510
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From email 11/10: "noted two small cornice triggered slab avalanches on a SEerly aspect of Scotch Bonnet Mountain. They looked to be fresh this morning, involve just new snow, and were about 25' wide each."


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Naya Nuki Bowl
Skier caught in slough in the The Great One
Incident details include images
Naya Nuki Bowl
L-ASu-R1-D1.5-S
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.8883, -110.9590
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 0

From e-mail 11/7/21: "Today, my partner and I set out to ski The Great One, with a plan to come up and over Sac Peak and then walk the ridge to Naya Nikki before skiing the Great One into Airplane Bowl. We found more snow than expected at the TH, about 6inches. On our way up to the pass just north of Sac we noticed the characteristic wind stripping down to scree on the trail to the pass. On one of the switch backs we were able to get about an 1-2” deep wind slab to propagate but not move down slope. Given the depth, we didn’t put too much stock into this. We proceeded to walk the almost snow free trail over to Naya Nuki before booting down to the top of the Great One. The skiers left side of the Couloir had some obvious wind load and after a few ski cuts felt comfortable continuing to ski. After my partner skied the majority of the top section, I followed and was entrained and taken for a slide in my own ‘slough’. I was carried about 40’ before I stopped, while the slough kept running for another 100-150’ arresting on the shallower angled slope before the break in the Couloir wall that feeds into Airplane Bowl. The entrained width of moving snow was about 3-5’ wide. There were no injuries, and we continued down to the base of the Couloir, deciding it would be more dangerous to try and go back up to get out. 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. Early season hubris, and is not even thinking about overnight wind totals has us more or less absent minded when we set out this morning. A mistake that could’ve been a lot worse if the slough had taken a larger wind pocket with it, and carried me over the same aspect that led to the fatality in the Great One last fall. No pictures of the slough, attached is a grainy cell phone pic of the slides in Airplane Bowl."


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 6
  • 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

  • From e-mail 11/15/21: "east Henderson had a fresh slab avalanche- on a NE aspect around 10,000'.  It appeared to have failed on a weak layer near the ground, and I'd guess it was about 2-3' deep and 300'+ wide." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From e-mail 11/10/21: "an east aspect around 9900'.  HS 63cms.  ECTV on facets at 19cms." In this snowpit the slab collapsed above the weak layer when the observer isolated the column to perform an extended column test (ECT), hence the score ECTV (ECT-very easily collapsed and propagated). Photo: B. Fredlund

     

  • From email 11/10: "Wind effect: significant in most upper elevation exposed locations.  Westerly winds were moving a lot of snow off the high peaks all day today." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • 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

WebCams


Soda Butte Lodge, looking East

Soda Butte Lodge, looking East

Snowpit Profiles- Cooke City Area

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Cooke City Area

Extended Forecast for

2 Miles NNE Cooke City MT

  • Today

    Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 42. West southwest wind 15 to 18 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 42 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 27. West southwest wind 11 to 14 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 27 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Increasing clouds, with a high near 41. West southwest wind 13 to 15 mph.

    Increasing
    Clouds

    High: 41 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. West southwest wind 8 to 11 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 22 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 31. West southwest wind 9 to 17 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 31 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a temperature rising to around 29 by 3am. West southwest wind around 14 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 25 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 37. West southwest wind 14 to 18 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 37 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 30. West southwest wind around 17 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 30 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a temperature rising to near 37 by noon, then falling to around 29 during the remainder of the day. West southwest wind 14 to 17 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 37 °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.