Trip Planning for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 25-35 SW
Nov 25 0″ | 15-25 SW
Nov 24 2″ | 10-30 NW
8775′  11/26 at 16:08
25℉
W - 17mph
Gusts 32mph
7750′   11/26 at 16:00
30℉
12″ 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

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 Avalanche Activity

Bridger Range
Saddle Peak
Natural on Saddle Peak
Incident details include images
Saddle Peak
SS-N-R1-D2
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.7943, -110.9360
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs. 11/10:  "Fitness skinning around Bridger Bowl yesterday and noticed a fairly large, new avalanche on the east face of the North peak of Saddle. Maybe 100 feet below the ridge, about 100 wide at the crown, ran thru the rock bands but not over the cliff. Was taken back by the clean propagation." -Albert


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
  • 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

C

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 27. South southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 27 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 5am.  Mostly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 23. Southwest wind around 11 mph becoming south southeast after midnight.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Snow

    Low: 23 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 7am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. South wind 8 to 11 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Partly
    Sunny

    High: 30 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24. South wind 11 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 24 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 32. South wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 32 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. South wind 11 to 13 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 23 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 35. South southeast wind 11 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 35 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A chance of snow before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. South wind 8 to 10 mph becoming north in the evening.

    Chance Snow
    then Partly
    Cloudy

    Low: 20 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 30.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 30 °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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