GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Fri Feb 23, 2024

GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Fri Feb 23, 2024

Good morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Friday, February 23rd at 7:00 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by Spark R&D and Alpine Yamaha in Livingston. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

There is no new snow. Winds are 10-20 mph (25-30 mph in the Bridger Range) with 30-50 mph gusts out of the west and northwest. Temperatures this morning are in the teens F and will rise into the 20s and 30s F this afternoon under mostly sunny skies. Breezy west winds will continue, shifting a bit more southwesterly today. No new snow is expected.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

Human triggered avalanches are likely today. Even after days of little to no snowfall, our remarkably weak snowpack is adjusting painfully slowly. It is unusual for the danger to remain elevated for so long after the last loading event, but our snowpack this year is unusual. Have patience. There will be a time and place this season to ride steeper slopes, but we’re not there yet. 

Dave toured into Hyalite yesterday and saw more avalanches that likely broke following the storm at the end of last week (video). These are just the latest additions to the amazing amount of avalanche activity we’ve seen over the last month and a half ( weather and avalanche log). A group up the East Fork of Hyalite yesterday got some substantial collapses and cracking, showing that the instability remains active (observation).

Continue to plan to avoid riding on or beneath slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

Avalanche conditions remain dangerous and the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE.

Less recent snowfall, less recent avalanche activity and fewer signs of instability point to a slightly lower chance of triggering a slide in the Bridger Range. Still, the snowpack structure is generally similar to elsewhere, with widespread weak snow low in the snowpack. Two large avalanches that failed last weekend (Bridger Peak, south of Saddle Peak) demonstrate the possibility of triggering avalanches remains real. If you are considering stepping into steeper terrain, take an incremental approach rather than jumping in headfirst (video). Choose smaller slopes and somewhat less steep slopes that don’t have recent wind loading and have good runouts beneath them. Stay alert for signs of instability and be ready to back off if you see them.
The danger is rated MODERATE

If you venture out, please fill an observation form. It does not need to be technical. Did you see any avalanches? How much snow is on the ground? Was the wind moving snow? Simple observations are incredibly valuable. You can also contact us via email (mtavalanche@gmail.com), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).

Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events

Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.

Friday evening and Saturday (tonight and tomorrow), February 23 and 24. Companion Rescue Course. More information and registration HERE.

Friday evening and Saturday, March 1 and 2. Companion Rescue Course. More information and registration HERE.

March 8-10. Bozeman Splitfest. Check the Bozeman Splitfest website for event details and avalanche education opportunities offered by the Friends of the Avalanche Center.  

Every weekend in Cooke City: Friday at The Antlers at 7 p.m., Free Avalanche Awareness and Current Conditions talk, and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Round Lake Warming Hut, Free Rescue Practice.

Loss in the Outdoors is a support group for those affected by loss and grief related to outdoor pursuits. Check out the link for more information.

The Last Word

Yesterday, we rode in the Independence Mine area (up the Main Boulder, outside our advisory area) to check out the snowpack conditions before the Sweet Grass County Recreation Association Poker Ride tomorrow. Watch our video for a snowpack update. Avoiding riding on and staying out from under slopes steeper than 30 degrees would be a wise choice if you’re headed up to join in the fun this weekend.

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